At this point in fall training camp, it’s only natural for college football offenses to be a few steps behind the defense.
That hasn’t been the case for the Fort Hays State University football team, benefitting by experience at nearly every position on offense.
Tiger coach Chris Brown said the FHSU offense has been ahead of the curve, which was evident during the first scrimmage on Saturday at Lewis Field Stadium.
“Usually those first few days of practices, the defense just destroys your offense,” Brown said. “We haven’t really seen that this year because we have so much experience at the quarterback spot, the running back spot, the receiver spot. Our O-line, a lot of those guys played for us last year. They’re just kind of on the same page.
“You could tell they put the work in the summer, doing seven-on-sevens, and the O-line getting together and doing different drills and working different schemes. I think it’s going well and think there’s good things on both sides of the ball. Both sides are making great plays and hopefully we can continue that these next two weeks.”
The Tigers had success in their passing game during limited snaps for starting quarterback Jacob Mezera and back-up quarterback Chance Fuller in the scrimmage. Highlights included a couple long receptions by Jmari Davis and Manny Ramsey.
“Honestly, the play calling and the misdirection and a lot of the stuff they’re putting in right now is kind of messing with us,” FHSU defensive back Connor Shedeed said of the offense. “We’re having to watch it a lot more in film and walk through it.
“I think they’re really just honing in on using certain guys and their abilities to beat the defense in certain ways. They’re not trying to do anything special, they’re just using what they have and playing well right now."
Much of the reps in the scrimmage went to the Tigers underclassmen, with Brown by encouraged by their progress.
“I thought it went well on both sides of the ball,” Brown said. “We didn’t do a lot with 1s and the 2s. We’ve got to get these young guys ready just to see if they can play or not. It was good to see those young guys be able to get some things done. I thought they made some great plays on both sides of the ball.”
The Tigers will hold another scrimmage next Saturday. The defending MIAA champs open the season at home against Central Missouri on Aug. 30.
“I feel like there’s some more things we still need to work on,” junior offensive lineman Romello Burke said. “We still have 19 days to get it right. Nobody’s perfect, but we’re grinding, still going hard and ready for the season.”