Football preseason notes: Hudson’s Bay Eagles

My impression of Hudson’s Bay practice: What a difference a year makes. Can’t predict they will win a lot of games. But I can say they looked more like a football team than last year, in Sylvester Green’s first season as coach. That is not meant as a knock on Green. He knows that preseason practice last year was difficult for his Eagles, with a new system, and not everyone on the same page. Anyway, my feature on senior leader Devon Casey will be in Tuesday’s Columbian. Here are a few more notes:

Coach: Sylvester Green
Second season
Record: 0-9
Note: First time this year’s seniors will have the same head coach for the program for two years in a row.

High risk, high reward:
I arrived during an offense vs. defense drill, with an emphasis on the passing game. Sophomore quarterback Jeremy Matheny was running the show.

The first play that I really focused in on was a roll-out to the left, with three receiving options. The back in the flat was wide open for at least a five-yard gain, probably a little more. On this play, though, Matheny got a little greedy, trying to squeeze the ball into tight coverage down field. The pass was broken up and fell incomplete.

There was no negativity from the coaches. Matheny was not down on himself. They all just went right to the next play.

“He’s very fundamentally sound,” Green said. “He definitely wants the big play, and he can make it.”

Sure, there are times when Green will insist on taking the short gain that is there, but the Eagles also have to take some risks.

The very next play, Matheny went deep again. This time, the throw was perfect. His receiver was covered, but the defender had no chance as this long ball fell over the receiver’s shoulder into his hands for a 35-, 40-yard gain.

Yes, the Eagles can make the big play.

That’s better:
A year ago, it took an agonizingly long time between plays during some scrimmages. The best teams are go, go, go with their scout teams, with their huddles.

Last year at Bay, though, it would take minutes between plays to get everybody in the right position. This year, things are a lot quicker. That means more reps, more opportunities to improve.

“We’re way more organized this year than last year,” Green said. “It’s day and night.”

It also makes practice more fun, with less standing around, just waiting.

“We’ve got guys excited,” Green said. “These guys get mad when we end practice early.”

A lot of years left:
As noted earlier, Green is back for a second year as the head coach, which is not the norm at Hudson’s Bay. However, this is only the beginning for Green.

This is what he told me last November for a story I wrote on the struggles at Hudson’s Bay and Fort Vancouver:

“I’ve given them a 15-year commitment. After that, we’ll talk,” Green said.

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