The Stamford High football team is starting from scratch.
After losing a season to the pandemic, the team is bringing back no players with varsity experience, will likely be relying on a lot of underclassmen and are also installing a new way they are calling offensive plays.
While the season officially kicks off with OTA’s from Aug. 12-14 and official practices Aug. 21, things got off to an informal start for Stamford this past weekend at the Grip it and Rip it 7-on-7 Tournament in New Canaan.
“It’s a sign of things getting back to normal,” Stamford coach Jamar Greene said. “After a whole year and some change of not getting to play some football, it’s just good to get back out here. Watching kids in 7-on-7 is good because I get to see them doing what they are supposed to be doing and what they are not supposed to be doing. We got it all on film, we will go watch it and we will correct those mistakes.”
Stamford went 1-5 in the games Friday and Saturday but for them it was not about wins and losses but all about learning.
Greene and his staff know there is a lot of learning do be done for a team with no returning players.
The 2020 football season was marked as a special one for the Stamford football team with 25 seniors set to return but that never came to be.
“We graduated 25 seniors last year who never got to play. That was supposed to be our year,” Greene said. “We are very young. We still have a lot to install and put in. Coming out here and playing against these teams is a good opportunity for our guys to see how much more work we still need to put in. We have zero experience at the varsity level. Not one kid is coming back that played on varsity football on our team. It’s good for them to see the difference in speed and the toughness of the game and how fast thing move even in 7-on-7.”
The Black Knights plan to switch from verbal signals to hand signals on offense this season, going with a system used by many local teams with success.
It will take time to learn but the Stamford coaches are involving the players in every step of the process, including letting them name the plays.
“We let them take some ownership of the hand signals and what we call the plays,” Greene said. “We are going to a no-huddle, all hand signal system and they are still learning that. They are still thinking as opposed to just reacting. Once we can get the thinking part of it out of the way, we will be all right. Once they get it down they can just react.”
Greene said when camp opens in August, he expects much of the first few weeks to be focused on getting players up to speed by taking everything they do step-by-step knowing that virtually everything they are doing is new to the players.
“You have to slow things down,” Greene said. “We have kids who are going to be sophomores who we expect to be varsity starters that have never played high school football. They have to learn everything between now and the start of the season. We also have incoming freshmen that didn’t play football last year either. We have to go slow and get kids better every day.”