Spring ball and seven-on-seven: What’s it all about?

by Erich Bogner, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Before summer training camps and preseason work, returning football players start working on the offense.

Simpson football players call it spring ball.

They lift, do drills and have live seven-on-seven scrimmages. They’ll play three evenings a week and lift on days when they don’t play.

“Spring ball gives us a chance to get out there and work the drills and work on little things without shoulder pads or helmets,” junior wide receiver Jackson Redmond said. “We now have 16 practices compared to last year’s 10. So it lets us go out and make ourselves better in every aspect of the game.”

Redmond said players like to take this opportunity to show the coaches where they’ve improved and what they’ve been working on since the season ended. He said it’s a time when coaches get to see and early view of what specific players can bring to the team in the upcoming season.

Junior linebacker Galen Gist said they start the practices out with stretching and loosening then break into position-specific drills. After that they go into one-on-one between wide receivers and defensive backs. They keep score and the losing side of the ball has to do up downs before the next part of practice begins.

The team then goes into offense versus defense on half of the field, so if a play is run toward the home sideline, it will be three-on-three or three-on-two on that side of the field. Then they go into full seven-on-seven, which is just the offenses and defenses minus linemen and there is no running game.

Along with a few other seniors, Redmond puts together seven-on-seven games with the team over the summer so they can stay sharp and stay competitive.

While they aren’t wearing pads and helmets and don’t tackle, they still go 100 percent. Since the offense can’t run the ball, defenders need to act like the run is still an option and go through motions like they would if there was a possibility of a running play.

“We don’t have pads or anything, but it’s still pretty aggressive. I’ve got cuts on my hands and a little bruise by my eye.” Gist said. “The idea is that we’re not tackling, but the idea is that the wide receivers can run their routes, and we’re still gonna break on the ball and we go and kind of touch them on the back and let them keep running to let them know that we were there to make the tackle.”

Gist and Redmond said the seniors are in contact with Grand View’s coaches to set up games of seven-on-seven over the summer. Since Grand View and Drake are in different leagues than Simpson, it is legal for them to work together in the offseason.

“It’s nice to play against teams like that because they are at the point where we want to be, so we’re trying to work toward their level,” Gist said.

Gist said his favorite part of spring ball is when one of the guys on defense gets an interception and all of the defensive players rush the field in excitement. He said defensive coordinator Ted Haag is making highlight videos of the defenses big plays and putting trap music behind it to hype the players up.