By TONY EIERDAM
In their final tuneup before hosting Graham in the regular season opener, the Mineral Wells Rams will travel to Azle for a controlled scrimmage beginning at 7:15 p.m. followed by a timed practice game of 24 minutes, or one half.
The freshman/junior varsity scrimmage will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Each team will run 10 plays before switching sides of the ball. The scrimmage will last an hour and 15 minutes.
For 30 minutes prior to the varsity scrimmage, the MWHS and Azle varsity squads will go through a 30-minute warmup.
The controlled portion of the varsity scrimmage will see the first team offenses and defenses from each team go at each other for 15 plays. The second teams will follow and run 10 plays each on both sides of the ball.
The controlled part of the scrimmage will end with the first teams coming back on the field for 10 plays followed by the second teams, which will
run eight plays.
The scrimmage will end in a game-type simulation with two 12-minute quarters. The Rams went only one timed quarter with Decatur last week.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said the second scrimmage each year is traditionally longer than the first.
“One of the reasons we go longer in the second scrimmage is to find out about our improvement in the area of conditioning,” Lawrence said. “We will push them in this scrimmage.
“We want to make sure we are on track to play a full ball game. Secondly, we want to make sure we aren’t making the same mistakes as we made
in the first scrimmage.
“Obviously, we are going to make mistakes, but you hope they are new mistakes and not repeat mistakes. We can correct the new mistakes and then move forward and get ready for Graham.
“We had a film session Saturday after the first scrimmage and covered everything, and this week we worked on those things. We used half of this week to prepare for Graham and the other half to work on Azle.
“But (today) it is a scrimmage, and the main thing is not to get anybody hurt.
“We want to do enough to make sure we are progressing toward the Graham game plan.”
According to Lawrence, there are still position battles ongoing. But the coach also wants to use the scrimmage to decide the depth chart. The coaches will probably have to rotate players in and out on both sides of the ball in order to keep certain players fresh during the regular season.
“We want to go longer for more plays and for more simulations of game conditions, and we also want them to get used to playing longer,” Lawrence said. “We also want to get more kids in there and get more snaps for everyone.
“We still have some position battles and we have battles on the depth chart as well.
“But we really need to find out who we can use in rotations so we don’t have to have anyone playing both ways once we start the season next week.”
Lawrence said the main goal of the scrimmage is to stay healthy.
“We are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating personnel for our different rotations, especially on the line,” he said. “But the main thing about the scrimmage is to come out of it completely healthy.
“As thin as we are, injuries will be critical this year. If we can, we would like to find 22 different players playing 22 positions.
“If we can’t, that’s where the rotations come in. We have staff meetings every week where we set up rotations with different players before the scrimmage so when that time comes everyone knows where they have to be.
“Again, we still have some position battles on going, but this scrimmage will also be big on finding out who can play where in rotations.”