With scrimmages against Bedford and Lakewood in the books, Westlake football head coach Mark Campo admitted his 2011 Demons were still a work in progress.
“We improved today, but we’re young,” said Campo after his team’s scrimmage session with Lakewood at Lou Duchez Field Saturday.
“They were more physical than us today,” Campo said. “That’s something that we’ve got to try and fix. That’s something that has to come within our players, playing physical. We’ll create that kind of environment in practice so they can understand that you have to play like that.
“Hopefully they have that piece inside of them and we can bring it out,” he added.
Campo lost 25 seniors from last year’s squad, meaning some young, inexperienced players will have to step in and pick up the slack. There will be a number of juniors, as well as some sophomores, who will see substantial playing time this season, he said.
“Offensively, I thought we moved the ball better today than our first scrimmage,” Campo said. “But we’re young up front, plus we’ve got one senior and one junior who are playing offensive line for the first time. We’ve got a sophomore at tackle, and a first-year center.”
The only returning offensive lineman is senior Carl Laux, a 6-3, 240 tackle. The line will need to jell around him to give Campo’s new no-huddle offense room to work.
“We’ve got skilled kids who can make plays. We just need to figure out how to get the protection down up front and spread things out to give Jonathan some lanes to run in. If we can do that, I think we’ll be OK,” he said.
Jonathan Brick returns as the team’s top ball carrier after gaining 999 yards last season. At receiver, seniors Kyle Perkins and Anthony Zappone will be in the slot, while senior Grant Gase and junior Brian Mackenzie will line up outside, according to Campo.
As of Saturday, there was still a two-man battle going on for the starting quarterback position. So far, senior Phil Brusk, who saw some varsity playing time last year, and junior Shawn Turk are neck and neck, according to Campo.
“They both do different things,” he said. “Phil has a little bit stronger arm and he’s a senior who has played all the way through the program since Burneson. Shawn’s got a good arm and is a little bit better runner.
“So right now, I think they’ll both end up playing. They both have strengths and they both make plays for us. We’ll see how it unfolds,” he added.
Despite the inexperience on both lines, Campo said his squad has made progress over the past week.
“I thought we had a better understanding of what we were trying to do offensively,” he said. “I think we got more reps during the week, and I thought we improved in our blocking, especially in our pass protection.
“It’s a new offense. As the kids get more comfortable with it, it’ll continue to get better,” Campo added.
The Demons will scrimmage at Avon this week, then start preparing for the 2011 season opener at North Ridgeville on Aug. 26.