After injuries decimated his team last season, Springfield coach Ryan Serpas is eyeing Thursday's scrimmage against Sumner and Carver as a vital part to laying a foundation for the coming season.
"It's going pretty good. It's just a struggle at this point to try to find and make new things mesh out and hopefully have a better idea of what you've got going into fall," said Serpas, who said the team has changed its offensive scheme. "I think that we've answered a few questions going forward. I just hope we can have a great summer and build on what we started. Hopefully it translates into a better season for us."
The Bulldogs are moving from a triple option scheme to a more multiple look, which Serpas said has taken some patience for players and coaches.
"It's going to look similar offensively, but it's not going to be near as much triple option," Serpas said. "We're still going to have some of that in there, but what we've got quarterback-wise coming back, we're just trying some other things to try to get those kids to be more successful."
Colten Davis, who played running back and safety last season, is working at quarterback and will see "30 to 40 percent of the reps" in Thursday's scrimmage, which begins at 6 p.m. Serpas said Nunzio Martello will see most of the reps under center Thursday. Davis is a first-time quarterback, while Martello will be a freshman next season.
"We just don't want to ask too much of those kids or put them in a situation where they're going to be unsuccessful coming in and really get frustrated," Serpas said. "We want them to be successful, build a little confidence and hopefully make them feel more comfortable back there."
The Bulldogs are also looking for running back John'L Fryson to take some pressure off the quarterbacks after he's played mostly on defense in previous seasons. Mikail Young is also working at running back, with Zac Wild at fullback.
"He's led the team in tackles for three years now," Serpas said of Fryson. "He really enjoys that side of the ball, but going forward, we had a talk and I told him the best thing you can do for our defense is to be getting first downs to keep them off the field. He's kind of embraced that role a little more."
Serpas is hoping to get tight end Beau Husser more involved in the passing game. Tyler Ratcliff and Nylan Pinestraw are working as the team's receivers.
The offensive line shapes up with Noah Bonura and Jaden Conley working at center, returnees Nick Macaluso and Jason Brown at the guards and Austin Wallace at left tackle and Ben Gainey, who saw time at tight end last season, at right tackle.
Springfield is sticking with a 4-4 defensive scheme with Hunter Hue and Jykeleon Kelly working inside on the defensive front and Husser and Gainey at the ends. Wild, Macaluso, Fryson and Kendall Stanga are the linebackers with Davis at free safety and Kenneth Moses, Michael Adams and Pinestraw at the cornerbacks.
"We're hoping to build on that a little more and be a little bit more multiple with that," Serpas said of the defensive look. "We've shown a lot of progress. We feel really good up front with the guys we've got. Our linebackers have shown a great deal of improvement throughout spring as well. We're still trying to get some things ironed out in the secondary, but we feel comfortable with where we're at and hopefully we can build on it."
The coaching staff has a new look, where Clint Husser, a coaching veteran with stops at Loranger and Ponchatoula, joins as offensive coordinator, along with former Bulldogs quarterback Milan Love and Ronald McCaleb.
Serpas is expecting a challenge from Sumner and Carver.
"We're going to have our hands full," Serpas said. "We're going to see a lot of talent on the field. I just hope that our kids rise up and come out ready to go."