After a whirlwind four days of rigorous spring workouts, new Ada head coach Chris Berus is feeling good about his Cougar football team.
“We had a great week of getting to know each other,” he said. “I think if anything was accomplished this week, it was everybody gaining the understanding of the expectation of how we’re going about our business daily. That was the biggest and most important characteristic that we accomplished, and my assistant coaches helped really set that tone.”
The Cougars will now get a break until summer workouts begin June 12. High school players will meet from 6:30-8:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday at the Craig McBroom Football Complex, and junior high players will work out from 6:30-8 a.m. at the Ada Junior High
Berus said he was pleased with how his players picked up on the information that was being thrown their way at a very high pace.
“There was just a lot of teaching — fundamental work that we had our kids go through. The kids responded really well,” he said. “There was never a time, as we watched practice, that we were questioning the kids’ effort or desire to do what we were asking them to do.”
Most every player worked on both offensive and defensive drills, and he said that was something many had not experienced.
“Some of the things we were teaching may have been foreign to them a little bit. They may have heard it, but they hadn’t gone through it themselves, whether it be a tackling circuit or just a specific drill in a position,” Berus explained. “There was a lot of learning from that standpoint.”
Berus said it was too early to formulate any type of depth chart. That will happen during the Ada Individual Football Camp that his varsity players will participate in July 5-7.
“There was some evaluation, but not really a whole lot,” he said. “We have some kids that have some ability. But until we get them in a scrimmage setting, we won’t have a depth chart. We’ll have that started after we’ve finished our three-day camp.”
It was obvious to Berus and his coaching staff that the 2017 football team has plenty of skilled athletes.
“We have a lot of talented kids, a lot of good skill kids, that can be difference-makers. They can be more than just contributors — playmakers, if you will,” he said. “The expectations are extremely high, I’ll just say that.”
While a number of the skill players Berus is referring to are returnees from last year’s team, Ada lost a host of offensive and defensive linemen to graduation. But Berus likes what he has seen from those Ada players as well.
“The thing about guys that play up front is if you just have a desire to be great and to be self-sacrificing, you can put together a really good offensive and defensive line,” he said.
“I know we lost a lot game experience, but I think we have some kids that are really ready to get nasty and do what they need to do to get the job done,” he continued. “You don’t like to lose experience, but I’m very excited about the ones we have at those positions.”
During the July minicamp, the Cougars will participate more team-like drills.
“We’ll take the skill work we began improving during these past four days and putting those pieces together schematically and do some group work and some team work,” he said.
Until then, the Cougars will work on getting bigger and stronger.
“It’s a sprint to get to August. When you’re behind the curve a little bit with as late as we got in ... we want to know what our kids can and can’t do before we start telling them what we want them to do,” Berus said. “We’ll use the summer for development and then come Aug. 7, we’ll have all those pieces where we think they need to be, and then we’ll begin the process of getting ready for Sept. 1.”