McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local Sports

August 31, 2013

Buffs survive frustrating Norman scrimmage

NORMAN — “It was dumb.” “The format sucks.” “We’re not coming back.”

The McAlester Buffaloes participated in the Top of the World Scrimmage at Norman High School on Friday. But with a stop-and-go format weighted heavily towards “stop,” the experience left Buffs players and coaches frustrated and ready for an actual game.

“This is TU team camp,” coach Bryan Pratt said, referring to a summer football camp at Tulsa University. “I play a game, then I sit for 20 minutes, I play a game. It’s stupid. You can’t get any kind of rhythm.”

Half of the scrimmage was devoted to the “Drive-to-Score” team series, which gave each team one offensive drive and one defensive drive. The Buffs played five of these, but as the scrimmage’s length went past three hours, Coach Pratt chose to skip the sixth series against Shawnee, sending his players to the locker room to change and head home early.

“It’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” Coach Pratt said. “It’s 10 p.m., and we haven’t even left yet. It’s not what I signed up for.”

In the “Quick Fire” rotations, teams played three downs in a row on defense but switched out every down on offense. With defenses getting far more reps than offenses, Pratt said he made sure not to show to much of the Buffs’ playbook to future opponents.

“We didn’t show any of our packages, and we don’t want to show any of them,” Coach Pratt said.

Because of the scrimmage’s format, the Buffs had to settle for moments of success or moments of failure. McAlester looked good more often than it looked bad, scoring a touchdown but giving up none in its four “Quick Fire” rotations, but even the successes couldn’t really satisfy.

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