MORRIS – The best thing for the Morris football team at Friday night’s intrasquad scrimmage? Well, it depends on whom you ask.
“We like to do this as a fun type of practice for the kids.” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “They have been working real hard all summer and so when they get a chance to get in front of the fans, it’s good to let them have some fun.
“The biggest thing that we as coaches get out of it is that we have an officiating crew here. That’s something we don’t normally have in a practice, so now we have a week to know what it is we have to clean up penalty-wise. That information is very valuable to us heading into that first week of the season.”
The players, on the other hand, enjoyed a different aspect.
“No sprints after practice,” said more than one of the Redskins.
In all seriousness, though, the Redskins were excited to get back on the field at MCHS, where they are eager to make the 3-6 record of 2013 a distant memory.
“We just want to get going,” Morris senior Robbie Meucci said before the scrimmage. “We are getting tired of hitting ourselves. We want to hit someone else. But it’s fun to get out here and play on the field.
“After spending most of the summer practicing and doing things by ourselves, it’s nice to get out here and do it in front of the town of Morris. That’s what it’s all about.”
Meucci, along with Griffin Sobol, Jake Walker and T.J. Layne, is one of the four captains selected by his peers, and will see plenty of action as both a running back and linebacker. Sobol is the quarterback and Walker figures to get most of the carries as the Redskins’ main running back and also will play in the secondary on defense. Layne will anchor an offensive line that hopes to be one of the Redskins’ strengths this season.
“Our line looks a lot stronger,” Thorson said. “They have a year under their belts and they have worked very hard in the offseason.”
So has the defense, which allowed an uncharacteristic 30.2 points a game last year.
“We feel like we know our offense will be pretty good,” Meucci said. “That was our strength last year, too. But the defense has gotten about 10 times better over the summer. It feels like we are way more intense than we were last year.
“I feel like we are a lot more aggressive on defense. We lacked a lot of experience last year, but this year, we have all played and we are a lot more comfortable. We all know where the other guys are going to be, and that lets us be more aggressive, knowing that someone is going to have our backs. We know we can go 110 percent because if we make a mistake, we would rather make it an aggressive mistake than a passive one. If you are being aggressive, then good things happen more often.
“Also, our defensive coach [John Courter] has done a good job of making sure we communicate on the field a lot better than we did last year. We are excited to get going.”
The Redskins kick off the season for real next Friday at neighborhood rival Minooka before the home opener Sept. 5 against perennial downstate power Metamora.