It’s all about the fine-tuning for the Sylvan Hills Bears, and frankly, the Bears are bored with practice.
"We are at the stage where they are little bored," Bears head coach Jim Withrow said. "We’ve gone through spring, team camps, 7-on-7, and now preseason."
The Bears are itching for a trip to Vilonia.
"We’ve had a good week," Withrow said. "We’ve gotten some good work in, and now it’s all about execution."
While the Bears are obviously strong on the offensive side of the ball, Withrow said his defense is on notice and need to be a strength of the team in order for them to improve on last season’s one and done playoff appearance.
"They have to be," Withrow said. "We’ve made it a focal point."
Trouble is, the defense’s physical strengths and weaknesses mirror the offense—impressive at skill positions, thin up front.
"We’ve been working a lot with our secondary," Withrow said. "I think we’ve got them coached to where we need them to be."
Key for secondary success will likely be how much pressure defensive ends Matt Thompson and Daniel Molden can apply to the opposing quarterback. That is something Withrow is excited about.
"They are better there than we’ve had recently," Withrow said.
Thompson must stay healthy and Molden must make an adjustment from playing backup linebacker.
"He just hasn’t played the position," Withrow said of Molden. "He’s been very disciplined, which has been a pleasant surprise. He hasn’t run himself out of plays."
Withrow said that pulling a player like Molden from a backup linebacker spot to end isn’t new for him.
"When I was at Mills, I’d pull a guy that was a backup linebacker of fullback that wasn’t getting to play and put him there, and it’s worked out so far," Withrow said.
Withrow said Molden is impressing in practice. Whether or not the move pays off this time will begin to prove itself at Vilonia.