Bears, Devils conclude spring practice

Published 11:23 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

Billingsley football coach Kevin LeSueur said spring practice is usually a time where the maturity level of a team becomes evident.

The Bears for example, are replacing 10 seniors, all of which were starters, from last year’s team.

Verbena finds itself in on the opposite end of the spectrum, with an 11-member senior class that coach Mike Harris said is the biggest he’s ever had at the school.

“If they all come back in the fall, then we’ll have pretty good leadership,” Harris said. “This is a good bunch. They work together.”

The Red Devils put their experience on display Friday in a spring jamboree game, holding both Billingsley and Montevallo’s varsity squads scoreless. Verbena’s varsity players played 12 minutes against Montevallo to begin the night, with younger players playing two four-minute sessions.

Montevallo then played Billingsley, and Verbena and Billingsley concluded the night.

The first game ended in a scoreless tie, though Montevallo could only muster two first downs on its possession and Verbena recorded three consecutive first downs to begin its possession, though the Devils didn’t score.

A team’s level of experience determines how much information a coaching staff can try to teach in the spring, which is made up of 10 practice dates.

LeSueur said he and his staff, for example, were able to go over more in spring 2008 because the Bears were a veteran squad.

“What we’ve been trying to do this year is walk before we can run,” he said. “We’re trying to plug kids in, build a two-deep, move kids around.

“I just want to play and see how well we respond once we click the lights on.”

LeSueur said he would be more interested in execution than the score, and the Bears had their moments.

Montevallo scored on Billingsley on a 63-yard quarterback keeper by Kevin Callendar and added an extra point.

Verbena topped the Bears because of Kelly Lucas’ five-yard run, the only points of the contest.

Harris said he feels good about his starters, but, like last year, depth will be a concern.

“If we get one person hurt, we’ll have an eighth grader backing them up,” he said.

Like LeSueur, Harris said the score Friday night would be a secondary concern.

“I want to see them hustle from the snap until the whistle every play,” Harris said. “If we get that effort, we can correct most of the other things that happen.”