Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


More than practice for some 7-on-7 leagues

Hillsborough quarterback Tarean Austin already has received offers from Division I-A schools.

\uFEFFSpecial to the Times

Hillsborough quarterback Tarean Austin already has received offers from Division I-A schools.

TAMPA — Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia remembers when 7-on-7 competitions were unheard of, when the idea of organized summer football was illegal.

"You used to have to sneak over to a park under the dark of night and wear masks," Garcia said jokingly. "It used to be called cheating. Now it's called hard work."

It's also now commonplace.

"It's either get on board, or get left behind," Blake coach Sean Washington said.

Starting this week, 10 county teams will participate in a 7-on-7 league at Chamberlain every Wednesday for the next six weeks. It offers a chance for teams to set the foundation of success for the upcoming season or for new players to grow accustomed to their new teams.

Of the 10 teams participating, three have quarterbacks who have received Division I-A offers — Plant's Aaron Murray, Chamberlain's Dontae Aycock and Hillsborough's Tarean Austin. For some, though, the value is just getting precious extra repetitions.

"We look at it for what it is, 7-on-7 ball," Garcia said. "It's extra practice. No more and no less. We're not going to look at the scores or anything. Times have changed so much. Now we start up in January, so if you're seeing too much new a month before preseason practice, you might be in trouble.

"I'd rather have a good team in September than a good 7-on-7 team in July,"

As true as that may be, the competition is seen as "crucial" to a program such as Blake.

The Yellow Jackets scrapped a run-oriented offensive scheme this spring in favor of the spread, which relies much more on the pass. Because the team also has a new quarterback in place, any extra time on the field is invaluable.

"This will make my kids better," Washington said.

Alonso faces a similar task.

A year ago, the Ravens passed only about five or six times a game. But this fall, that number should significantly increase.

"We're going to be a little more open this year, to say the least," Alonso coach Mike Heldt said. "This is real important for us, to get all of our timing down offensively. And it carries into the fall.

"You only get two or three weeks to get ready for the season once practice starts, and that's just not enough time."

The league isn't just about offense.

"It's good for defensive backs and linebackers, also," Washington said. "They get reps, too."

More than practice for some 7-on-7 leagues 07/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 6:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
  2. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  3. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  4. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.