By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
Many NFL coaches say after the first few practices and maybe one preseason game that the defense is slightly ahead of the offense. Whether that is because of the strength of the defensive core or the lack of continuity amongst the offense, defense usually has the upper hand early on in a new season.
After Thursday night’s Blue vs. White scrimmage at McKinney Boyd High School, there is little doubt that the Bronco defense will leave spring football practice much more confident than the offensive side of the ball.
With the Blue squad being the offense and the White squad being the defense, the number 1’s and 2’s from White defeated Blue 47-23. The defense could pick up points for creating three-and-outs, and for stopping the offense on fourth down, sacks, and tackles for loss. On offense the Blue squad had 14 possessions with the ball, and the only points on the scoreboard that came outside of gaining a first down was a field goal by Patrick Ladd in the second quarter and a touchdown on the final play of the game by starting quarterback Curtis Ladd.
On defense, impact players like outside linebacker Benjamin Bouchez, inside linebacker Adam Kimm, and safety Daylon Markham were among the many other Bronco defenders that collected points from the very start of the game with creating turnovers and stopping the offense in the backfield on several occasions. When asked about the overall impression of the spring game, head coach Don Drake was greatly encouraged by his defense’s effort on the field and thought they took advantage of the scoring system early.
“Well I thought the defense played really well,” said Drake. “We turned the ball over a couple times early, and in that scoring system it puts you under the gun pretty quickly. Hats off to the defense. I thought they played really, really well. I thought it was probably the best overall performance they’ve put together in the entire spring, to be honest with you.”
But while the obvious assessment would be that the offense is a couple steps back from its counterpart, Drake shakes off that conclusion and points to the 15 practices leading up to the game.
“I thought we really had a good spring. It was a lot of back and forth. I thought our offensive production overall was really pretty good and I thought we got a lot better,” said Drake. “Matter of fact, as the game was going on, I was talking to one of the other coaches and he made the comment that, ‘Man, this is not really indicative of the spring practices that we’ve had,’ because we’ve really gotten some great performances out of that group. So I’m not worried about us, offensively, by any means, because I’ve seen over the course of the last 15 days what they’ve been able to do and I see a whole lot of upside.”
While running backs Dedrick Scrivens and Kalvon Howard showed bursts of speed and power throughout the night, the leading man in the Bronco backfield was not wearing shoulder pads and a helmet on Thursday night. Bryan Driskell was donning shorts and a visor after slightly tweaking his hamstring on Wednesday. While Drake says his All-State running back could have suited up and played had this been a game in August, the spring game in May didn’t exactly seem like the time to push it and risk further injury.
“He could have gone [today] but I’m going to be honest with you, what’s the point? I mean how dumb would I feel if he went out there and did that and something bigger happened and I’d be kicking myself now till next season. So yeah, we held him back,” said Drake.
For many fans and observers leaving the game on Thursday night, the offensive struggles were much more prevalent in their minds than the outstanding efforts on defense, something that Drake believes is reflective on society’s views on the game of football and what keeps fans intrigued in games today.
“That’s the funny thing about the game of football is just kind of where society is going, because I’m a defensive guy,” Drake said. “I call offense, but to me, Alabama-LSU this past year which ended up 9-6 in overtime, that was one of the best football games I’ve seen in a long time,” says Drake. “But I mean most of society nowadays if [the score] is not 50-30, you say it’s terrible. Football is a game of toughness, it’s a game of getting after each other, it’s a game of physicality, and defense is where that starts. So to me when your defense plays really well, we are going to be fine. The offense is going to come, I don’t worry about that.”
After a 2011 season that saw Boyd go 6-1 in District 10-5A and lose to Dallas Skyline 31-8 in the bi-district round, the Broncos return to the tough district they battled in three years ago with Allen, Plano, Plano West, Plano East, and joining the ranks of 5A in 2012, McKinney High.
The Broncos will open up the 2012 season by hosting Mesquite Horn at Ron Poe Stadium August 31st at 7:30 p.m.
Photos by TSB contributor Shelby Tauber