With two weeks of practice under their belts and two weeks remaining until the season opener, the Brownwood Lions will measure their progress to this point in their first scrimmage of the season against the Class 2A Godley Wildcats Friday night at Gordon Wood Stadium.
The varsity is slated to take the field at 7 p.m., preceded by the freshmen at 4:30 p.m. and JV at 5:30 p.m. Brownwood head football coach Bob Shipley stated the scrimmages will follow the traditional format.
“There will be 12 offensive and 12 defensive plays for the starters, then 10 plays each for the second team," Shipley said. "There will be no live kicks and extra points and field goals will have no rush.”
Through the first two weeks, Shipley stated the Lions are right on schedule to be ready for the season opener despite the revamped practice format instituted by the UIL this season, which reduced the number of preseason workouts.
“It’s gone well and I think we’re where we should be at this point,” Shipley said. “We’re certainly ready to be tested by someone wearing a different colored jersey so we can get a better idea of what we need to improve on.”
The Lions are returning five starters on each side of the ball from an 8-5 squad that reached the third round of the Division II-3A playoffs a year ago. Godley, a member of District 12-2A Division I, welcomes back four offensive and seven defensive starters from last year’s 10-2 area finalist squad.
Brownwood will be putting its new offense, devised by first-year offensive coordinator Bryan Clark and quarterbacks coach Sam Harrell, on display for the first time against Godley.
“We’ll keep it pretty plain and simple,” Shipley said in regards to how much of the offense will be unveiled in the scrimmage. “But I want us to do a good job of executing and not making mistakes.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions’ ability to stop the run, as well as some position battles, will garner the most attention from the coaching staff.
“We always emphasize stopping the run so that will be our main emphasis,” Shipley said. “Also, we still have some spots up for grabs so we’ll get a look at some battles and have them on tape to evaluate. We have a couple of defensive back positions open and a linebacker spot or two. We need depth up front defensively so that will be an area we watch closely. We may have three starters on our defensive line, but we’ll play six or more guys in a game to make sure we have fresh bodies.”
On the health front, all but one Lion is expected to suit up for the varsity scrimmage.
“Overall we’re pretty healthy,” Shipley said. “We’re going to hold starting running back Braxton Kilgo out of this scrimmage as a precaution. He’s going to be fine but there is no sense in doing anything that may hinder him being full speed by our first game.”
While there are no winners or losers in scrimmages, how the Lions play against Godley will still matter a great deal to Shipley.
“I want us to limit our mistakes and play with a lot of passion,” Shipley said. “I don’t mean rah-rah, I mean giving tremendous effort every play. Defensively and offensively we need to focus on the running game and see how we do running the ball and, of course, stopping the run.”