Like most high school football teams in the state, the Deer Park Stags are not waiting until mid-August to get ready for the 2011 season.
The Stags are spending the current week finishing up their NFL-like organized training activities (more commonly known as summer camp) before heading to a four-day team camp later this month at Eastern Washington University.
The Stags OTA has brought out 88 football players, including 34 eighth graders who will make up the bulk of the freshman team this fall. About two dozen of the campers suited up for varsity action last season.
“We start at the beginning with all of them (the entire team),” said head coach Keith Stamps on the first couple of days of OTAs.
It only takes a day or two of OTAs for the returnees to remember the basics of the system, he added.
By the end of the two weeks, Stamps and the coaching staff has installed the basic offensive sets and basic defensive front. The team can also run various plays and become astute in blitz pick-up packages since every school at EWU loves to blitz the opposing quarterback during the scrimmage sessions.
“By the time we get to team camp we could play a game if we had to,” Stamps said.
He also will have a pretty good idea who will be the first and second teamers during the team camp, which starts on June 22. The Eastern camp draws about 20 schools from all parts of the state.
Once the Stags get to Eastern (Stamps expects about 45 players to make the trip), they can expect to play plenty of football.
Under the format, each team can expect to scrimmage 3-4 times a day, which means each school will see about 100 plays a day.
“It’s a lot of football,” Stamp said. “By the time they leave, the kids are tired.”
He added that sophomores grow up in a hurry at EWU.
The camp will also give the coaching staff a chance to see who fill some of the holes created by graduation, including All-Great Northern League lineman Shawn Burton, who played in a school record 41 varsity games at Deer Park.
“Everybody’s got holes to fill,” said Stamps on the decisions facing every high school football coach during the summer months.
While most of the players will have to wait until Aug. 17 to get back to any organized football, some of the older players will help the coaching staff with the week-long little kids camp at the high school from June 27 to July 1.