Pass, pass, pass: Even teams that run the ball find benefit from 7-on-7 camps
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Jul 22, 2013 | 3763 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pleasant Valley quarterback Lucas Ford unloads a pass during the 7-on-7 camp at Jacksonville State. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Pleasant Valley quarterback Lucas Ford unloads a pass during the 7-on-7 camp at Jacksonville State. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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JACKSONVILLE — Wellborn quarterback Landon Machristie dropped back hundreds of times Monday afternoon, but what he did with the football wasn’t what he’ll be doing most of the time on Friday nights.

The ball didn’t go to stud running backs Chantz Goodman or Kevin Mixon. Instead, Machristie threw. Sometimes it was a short screen pass, and other times Machristie aired it out long. Either way, it was something Wellborn fans don’t see often.

“We’ve had a good time at the 7-on-7s, but it really doesn’t define us,” Machristie said. “We’re here and playing as a team, but we aren’t playing our style of football.”

Wellborn, which puts the “T” in the Wing-T offense, is no stranger to 7-on-7 camps, such as the one Jacksonville State University is hosting Monday and today.

The event drew 15 schools from Class 1A-3A on Monday, and nine from 4A-6A are slated to compete today.

These camps create an opportunity for quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs to work against other teams. Although there is no running of the ball, Wellborn’s attendance at JSU on Monday was its fourth 7-on-7 camp this summer.

“One thing it helps is conditioning with competition,” Wellborn head coach Jeff Smith said. “It also helps your defense run man-to-man, and lastly it gives us a chance to work on some things that we won’t have time to work on if we don’t do this.

“In spring training, we really tried to get the physical part of it so in the summer we try to get the conditioning part of it done.”

Conditioning is going to be vital for Machristie, Goodman and Mixon, all of whom will play both ways this fall. Machristie starred at linebacker and fullback last season, while Mixon and Goodman are working at defensive back.

“They’ve been doing it, but they’ve been at different position,” Smith said. “But they always work hard. Our kids give good effort and they want to win.”

Along with getting good conditioning, Machristie has a chance to work on what he, along with Goodman, said should be an expanded-passing game this season.

“This really helps us out,” Goodman said. “We could go into spread or Z, but most of the time we’re just in box and running the ball. We should do a little more passing this year.”

While the trio of 2012 backs worked on improving their new roles, center Jaleel Burton is Wellborn’s lone returning offensive and defensive lineman. Goodman said the young replacements are “getting better.”

“Some of the guys we have have never played lineman before,” he said. “But once they get the alignment ready and they get used to it, we’ll be fine. They just have a lot to learn as far as assignments.”

Wellborn’s fourth 7-on-7 camp participation marks its last, but with so many spots to fill from last year and the Panthers just more than a month from the season opener vs. Saks, excitement is building on The Hill.

“We’ve got some good kids and high expectations,” Smith said. “They’re going to get out there and they’re going to perform. I’ve got full confidence in that.”

Brandon Miller can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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