Spring has sprung, and so have the whistles, helmets and shoulder pads. The Sylvan Hills Bears are well into their spring practice schedule and coach Jim Withrow is quite pleased with what he sees so far.
"I think we are a little faster, a little stronger," Withrow said. "We’ve been running plays since February. We’ve done some good work in the weight room in the offseason."
Withrow doesn’t see quite as much size on the field this spring as he did in the fall of 2012, but he believes he has better players.
"Our players aren’t as big," Withrow said, "but I think we have better players."
But Withrow’s biggest issue in spring is the same as it was in the fall — line depth.
"We’ve got five guys on our offensive line that are really good," Withrow said.
But where does Withrow go beyond those five starters up front? For that reason, the help wanted sign has been hung.
Withrow’s likely pool of candidates will come from the incoming freshmen. Knowing that it is unlikely that there will be no injuries to his front line, Withrow is looking for just a few good players to add some depth to this troubled spot.
"I just need two or three guys to step up," Withrow said. "At this point, it’s all about depth."
A defense that was youthful, but athletic has Withrow pleased as well. Some seasoning, however, is in order.
"I wish we could maybe get into one more 7-on-7 tournament," Withrow said. "I think it would help our skill guys on defense a lot."
The Bears will have a pretty packed summer slate anyway with two tournaments as well as team camps and summer individual workouts that are already scheduled.