Local Sports

Back to the basics

— Spring is a time for renewal. No one knows that better than Sebring football coach LaVaar Scott.

Entering his fourth year as the Blue Streaks head coach, Scott is working on building a solid foundation ahead of the 2014 season.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” he said. “This is the time of the year when we’re trying to work on the fundamentals. We went all the way back and we’re working on starting stances and technique — the basics.”

Scott, who lost a sizeable nucleus of senior talent from last year’s squad, added that perfecting the finite details will be vital if the Streaks want to be successful next fall.

“We want each guy to focus on the intricacies of his position,” Scott said. “A lot of guys are on the bubble [for varsity]. But most kids think they can help the varsity just because they can run a 100-yard dash. That’s not going to do it alone — we need to see can you block? Can you run the correct route? Can you take care of the fundamental parts of your position that will really help the team?”

Scott’s biggest losses came on the interior. Jacquae Peart, A.J. Gayle, Gary Demarest, Luis Sanchez, and Devon Durham all graduated. They were a talented quintet, and all of them saw time on both sides of the ball.

“We need linemen bad,” Scott said, who had mentioned last year wanting to cut down on two-way players. “We don’t have the luxury that we had last season, so we’re going to need guys to play on defense and offense.”

That means someone might be out of their natural position, but Scott doesn’t want any excuses.

“Some kids might have to play a position they’re not used to, but that’s no reason to dog it. It shows a lot to the coaches if a player is willing to get out there and give it his all.”

Sebring was primarily a running team in 2013. However, Scott hinted that there are tentative plans to morph the Streaks into a passing team.

They’ve certainly got the arm strength.

During Monday’s practice at Firemen’s Field, quarterback Jair Watson was doing his best impersonation of Brett Favre, blistering the hands of his receivers with rapid-fire passes.

“Jair really throws a fireball,” Scott said. “He claims he doesn’t know any other way. But I’m impressed because he really killed it in the weight room in the offseason. Now that arm is even stronger.”

But Scott warned that utilizing the passing game brings added responsibility. Namely, in studying the playbook outside of practice.

“All it takes his five minutes,” he said. “When you’re done with your homework, just flip through the playbook for a few minutes and learn the names and direction of the plays.”

Scott added that other fundamental aspects of football can be improved at home as well.

“Just getting in front of the mirror can help you correct things in your stance or technique,” he said. “They’ll have to show they’re disciplined to find time to fine-tune things.”

Sebring will play its Blue-White game next Friday at Firemen’s Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. A BBQ precedes the game and will start at 4.

The Streaks host Martin County on May 23 for the annual spring game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.