That makes events like Saturday’s 7-on-7 tournament at Grand Haven High School all the more important.
“We need as many reps as we can get, and this gives us an opportunity to see where we’re at,” Farley said.
More than a dozen high school football teams will get a jump-start on their fall practices when they attend the Grand Haven’s 7-on-7 tournament. Farley has hosted such an event every year since he took over the program at Grand Haven.
At 7-on-7 events, teams bring their skill position players and line them up against an opponent’s linebackers and defensive backs. No linemen are included, and contact is discouraged.
“We’ve got a total of 14 teams participating,” said Farley, who led the Bucs to an O-K Red Conference title last year. “The MHSAA rules give kids an opportunity to come out and compete, throwing the football, working on our pass routes and working on your defensive coverages. What’s great is that teams from all over come out and each team gets four games.”
Farley said the 7-on-7 format helps give coaches an early glimpse of their respective team’s skill sets. The Bucs have competed in other 7-on-7 tournaments throughout the summer, including one in Lowell in June.
“A lot of it is developing that timing between the quarterback and wide receivers,” he said. “And it gives us another opportunity to get out and compete. It also shows us what we have in the secondary. It helps us find out what early strengths we have and what areas maybe need some additional work.”
Farley listed several of the competing teams, including O-K Red foes Hudsonville and Muskegon, along with Mona Shores, Holland, DeWitt, Charlotte, Holt, Grand Rapids Union and Vicksburg.
The action begins at 9 a.m. at Grand Haven High School and will wrap up around 1 p.m.
The Buccaneers open their 2011 season at Traverse City Central.
Spring Lake coach Jerry Rabideau said his Lakers’ squad has also visited several 7-on-7 tournaments this summer, including a 14-team event at Muskegon Oakridge.
“I used to think it was primarily a benefit for our offensive players, but the more and more we visit these, the more I think it adds to the cohesion of our defensive secondary,” Rabideau said. “It allows you to go into Cover 1, 2, or 3, and really gives those players a head-start going into the fall.”