Monday, May 30, 2011

Arkansas Varsity Releases First Ever 7-on-7 Rankings

Luke Matheson of Arkansas Varsity (Arkansas' site for prep sports) has released his rankings for this year's 7-on-7 season. This is the first rankings that we know that has ever been released. You can see those rankings by clicking here.

We feel like this is a solid list and a great idea. I think everyone agrees that being better than a team in 7-on-7 doesn't make you better in real football. However, note the success of these teams in real football:
  • 18 Playoff Teams
  • 14 Quarter-finalists
  • 9 Semi-finalists
  • 5 Finalists
  • 3 State Champions
  • Central Arkansas Christian and Russellville were the only two that did not qualify for the playoffs
I think it's also worth noting some teams not on this list that are successful, but do not play in many or any 7-on-7 tournaments during the summer. Most notably is Greenwood, who has competed in only one tournament in the past 7 years that we can remember. However, they have won 4 state championships during that time. Fort Smith Southside, Cabot, Texarkana, Camden Fairview, and Junction City are perennial powers whose names are rarely if ever seen on the 7-on-7 circuit.
Here are some of our thoughts about these rankings.
  1. We are excited that Matheson has taken the time to research and come up with this poll. We believe that anything that promotes high school athletes in a positive manner is a good thing.
  2. Although no one would argue that Bentonville is not a top program (if not the top program), we do not feel that they are generally successful in 7-on-7. We think a top 3, or even a top 10 7-on-7 ranking is a bit high. Regardless, Bentonville will likely be a favorite to win the 7A title again this year.
  3. Lake Hamilton was ranked out of the top 10 in the first ranking, but Matheson has revised them to #7. We feel that the Wolves are likely a top 5 7-on-7 team every year regardless of personnel. This year, with most of their team returning, we would rank them at #2 behind Pulaski Academy...another team that seems to be very good in 7-on-7 regardless of personnel.
  4. Greenbrier has one of the state's top QB's in Neal Burcham. He is being recruited by several top colleges in the south including Alabama. In 7-on-7, a top QB makes up for other deficiencies as they continue to put pressure other teams to score. We would rank Greenbrier in our top 5 this year as well.
  5. West Memphis runs the ball 95% of the time, but Matheson ranks them #5. We say "Bravo!" West Memphis runs a league in East Arkansas as well as a tournament this first week. Although their play action pass may be a little unorthodox for 7-on-7, they stick to running their offense and are simply trying to get better in their passing game, but more importantly, in their pass defense. We would probably rank them a little lower, but still in the top 10.
  6. There are some other teams that we would rank a bit differently, but for the most part, this is a very solid list. Obviously, there will be some changes throughout the summer, but it is interesting and gives football pundits and non-pundits alike another bit of discussion before real football begins in August.
Please feel free to comment below about this post or about Arkansas Varsity's rankings. We love to hear from you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Now is a great time to subscribe ...

... to Arkansas 7-on-7 Football. We are not asking you to buy anything. We would simply like you to subscribe to our RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) feed. For those unfamiliar with RSS, sites that update their content frequently use RSS to syndicate (or publicize) when their content has changed. The feed is published in a standard format (for you web geeks, XML) so that the subscriber can pick his/her favorite feed gatherer. You have likely seen a button like this on our (or another) website:

The summer season in Arkansas is just about to kickoff with the Sonic Air Raid and the Fenter Physical Therapy Air Devil 7-on-7 Tournament next Saturday, June 4. We intend to give our readers as much coverage as possible. You can be instantly updated when we have new results, awards, and pictures by signing up for our feed. By subscribing, you let us know how many of you are following us on a regular basis.

If you would like more information or help getting started with an RSS feed reader, don't hesitate to contact us at Thanks and have a great Memorial Day Weekend! Don't forget to take time to remember our fallen American heroes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quick Updates

--- Henderson State University 7-on-7 Tournament ---

HSU defensive backs coach Ty Gower has let us know that the Reddies are still accepting entries for their 7-on-7 event in Arkadelphia.  The HSU 7-on-7 tournament is a one day event that will happen on July 16. The tournament will begin at 9 am with free admission to spectators.  Our original post has all the contact information that coaches/teams need for more details.

--- SEArk Shootout Location Change ---

The SEArk 7-on-7 Shootout location has been moved from the Warren Baseball/Software Complex to Hermit Field at Heritage High School.  Greg Mauldin was recently named head coach at Hermitage on and he asked the organizers to hold the event there.

The event will now be held in Hermitage on July 12th starting at 2:00 PM. The tournament staff is still looking for 5-7 more teams for the event. Currently Fordyce, Smackover, and Hermitage are set to participate. The entry fee is $100 with a 4 game guarantee. A concession stand will be available, and there will be a hospitality room for coaches and officials.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Final" Update - 2011 Arkansas Football Camp and 7-on-7 Tournament Schedule

Updated 5/29 - DeWitt and Fountain Lake Tournaments Added, West Memphis 7-0n-7 on June 4 has been canceled.

We have been looking high and low for team camps, individual camps, and 7-on-7 events scheduled for this summer. We think that we have essentially all the events for 2011. If you know of one that is left out, please let us know.

May 2011
June 2011

JUNE 19 - JULY 3: Arkansas Activities Association Dead Period for 2011

July 2011

We will try to get you participants and results of these events as soon as they are available.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 Clint Conque (University of Central Arkansas) Football Camps

University of Central Arkansas head coach Clint Conque and his football staff will conduct several football clinics this summer. They are anticipating fun events with campers getting an "all access" view of the UCA football program including instructional sessions at both First Security Field at Estes Stadium and the Pepsi America's Indoor Practice Facility.

The staff will conduct 2 one day Rising Senior Camps.  The camps will run from 12 pm - 5 pm on both June 12 and July 24. The campers will need to be part of the 2012 high school graduating class and they must provide their own helmets. The cost of the rising senior camp is $35 per camper.

The UCA staff will conduct 2 different Team Camps. The first camp will take place on June 13 while the second will be held on June 15. Campers must be a part of a team and provide their own helmets.  The camp will be conducted from 8:30 am - 4 pm, and the cost is $35 per camper.

The UCA Youth Camp is intended for campers in grades 3-8 and will take place June 20-22. This "morning" camp will be held 8:30 am - 12 pm.  The cost for the youth camp is $70 per camper.

For additional details, consult the UCA Football Camp brochure or contact UCA's Stephanie Crain at 501-450-3153.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys Football Camps

Arkansas Tech University head coach Steve Mullins and his staff will conduct several camps and a 7-on-7 tournament this summer. The Wonder Boys staff will conduct the camps in June and July.

There will be two sessions of the Arkansas Tech Football - Youth Day Camp. The first session is June 6-8 while the second session will be conducted July 11-13. The camp is designed for ages 6-12. Camp participants will learn the basics of football skills and movements in this beginning football skills camp. ATU football players will share their experiences of playing college football with campers during the mid morning break.  The cost of the Youth Day Camp on the ATU campus is $75.

The ATU football staff will conduct a Senior Skills Camp for college eligible seniors (2011 Graduating Class) on June 11. The ATU staff will monitor the testing and evaluation of the campers football skills. The cost of the skills camp is $60 and lunch will be provided.

The Arkansas Tech 7-on-7 Tournament will be held on June 16. This one-day tournament will consist of a round robin brackets in the morning and seeded single elimination play in the afternoon. Each team will be guaranteed 3 games in the morning and a minimum of 1 game in the afternoon. The cost of the event is $200 and coaches must register their teams.

The Arkansas Tech Football - Team Camp will be conducted June 17. This team camp will allow each team to receive valuable live repetitions against other schools and systems. Teams will practice in all phases of practice including: inside drill, 1 on 1’s, skeleton, and scrimmages. Drills will take place on Tech’s Practice Fields and will be supervised by Tech’s football staff. The cost of the camp is $250 for teams up to 25 members ($10 for each additional member over 25). Again, the coach must register his team for the event.

Finally, the Arkansas Tech Football - Lineman Only Camp will be conducted for the 14th year in a row. The primary objective of this camp is to have fun while developing fundamental skills which enable tight ends, linebackers, offensive and defensive linemen to be successful. The camp is intended only for inside/outside linebackers, strong safeties, offensive/defensive lineman, and tight ends. The cost for "day" campers is $200. The camp is $250 for "overnight" campers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

WANTED: Photos and Results

7-on-7 Shootout of the South Action
If you are a photographer, tournament director, coach, or combine sponsor, we are looking for photos and results of your event. If you would like to promote your event or photography business, we will provide a link to your website for each photo that we publish for you.

Pulaski Academy Spring Drills
We are looking for photos of spring drills, combine activities, camp participation, and tournament action. Submit your photos to us at

We are also looking for updates from coaches on the results of spring drills (depth charts, etc.), combine results (40 yard times, bench press, etc.), outstanding campers, tournaments results (pool play and championship play), and tournament award winners (outstanding QB, etc.).  You can send also send those to

Southwest Elite 7on7 Showcase
We appreciate any information and/or photo contributions that help us keep Arkansas high school football fans up to date on what is going on in the state.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

*Helmet Stickers - Distant Replay

Photo by Jonathan Gibson
Over the last 4 years, we have been discussing the concept that 7-on-7 competitions emphasize the importance of skill position players. They also allow the skill players to develop that all-important concept of timing between quarterback, running backs, and receivers. However, what usually comes up in the discussions is what should linemen (both offensive and defensive) be doing during the summer while the guys with the eligible numbers are "playing catch?"

We came up with very few ideas other than conditioning and weight training. So, we are looking to you guys out there for some fun ways of making sure that these big guys are involved. We are interested in how coaches make these guys understand their importance to the success of the team. Along those same lines, how do you reward OL/DL during the regular season because the media tends to concentrate on the stats of the QBs/WRs/RBs?

For example, do you make the internal team recognition (e.g., helmet stickers) more obtainable for the linemen?

Please submit your thoughts and ideas for discussion fodder.


*This is basically a re-post (with small changes) of an early article.  This makes it easier to find and, we hope, fodder for discussion.

Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Hugh Freeze (Arkansas State University) Football Camp Dates

Hugh Freeze, head coach at Arkansas State University, and his RedWolves assistant coaches are putting together several football camps during June and July. All the camps will include instruction from the ASU football coaches and are open to all eligible entrants (limited by camp size). The camps will take place at the ASU Football Complex in Jonesboro, AR.

The "Elite One Day Camp" is the first ASU camp this summer and occurs on June 4 ($30 per session). The camp is focused on improving fundamentals for players entering their Junior/Senior seasons.  The athletes will be instructed by coaches at the position selected by the camp attendee. 

The "Padded Camp" is designed for teams to get an opportunity further develop team focus/unity on both sides of the football. This camp will take place June 6, 7, and 8 ($30 per day, per camper). Teams will get a chance to work on specific situations and compete in 7-on-7 periods against some of the best teams in Arkansas.

The "Jr. RedWolves Camp" is designed to teach fundamental skills that will help them across all sports. This camp is open to boys and girls ages 7-14 and will occur June 13-15, 2011 ($100 per camper).

The "Additional One Day Camps" will also occur June 13, 14, and 15 ($30 per session). This camp is designed to provide opportunities to work on the skills that were taught during the "Elite One Day Camp."

Finally, "The Mid-South Shootout" is a 7-on-7 tournament that will take place on July 21 ($20 per camper). The shootout will feature pool play followed by a tournament.  There is a four game guarantee for each squad. A "Big Man Camp" will also take place during the shootout.

Here is the ASU camp brochure to download and fill out to attend any of the above camps.  For more information, you can also call (870) 972-2082 or visit


Thanks to the ASU sports information staff for the great information!

Friday, May 6, 2011

2011 Oil Town 7-on-7 Tournament

Coach Brian Strickland and his staff at Smackover will be hosting the inaugural Oil Town 7-on-7 Tournament.  The Buckaroos are looking for smaller schools (AA-AAAA) to fill out the event, but they are willing to accept JV squads from the larger classifications.

The event will take place at Smackover High School on Saturday, July 16. The tournament will begin at 9 am. The entry fee for the tournament is $100 per team.We have a feeling that the Buckaroos will put on a really nice event.

If you would like more information, send an email to Coach Strickland. You could also find his phone contact information in the "Athletics" section of the Smackover High School faculty page.


Thanks to both Coach Norton (Hermitage) and Coach Strickland for letting us know about this event!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The spread passing game has proliferated around the state of Arkansas. Its popularity and high profile successes (most notably, the nation profile of Shiloh Christian) has made some coaches feel pressure to "modernize" their game and chuck the ball around the yard. We think that we can make the case that this is a bad idea if this philosophy doesn't suit the entire coaching staff and the players that a school has historically produced. We feel that if a coaching staff will choose a philosophy (a grind it out power, a finesse type of speed option, or a no holds barred spread passing attack) and demonstrate to the players that they believe in it, then the team will be successful because of the consistent training in the system throughout the program.

First, the implementation of a spread passing offensive philosophy must get the buy-in of the ENTIRE coaching staff. By its very nature, the spread passing attack is very aggressive and takes chances that a traditional offense wouldn't dream about. For instance, these offenses are much more likely to go for it on 4th down on their side of the 50-yard line. These decisions place more pressure on the defense and its coordinator. The risks taken can lead to big rewards, but it can also mean that the Saturday morning paper reports on some lopsided defeats if the offense has a bad night.

Most assistant coaches are early in their careers as coaches and many have aspirations of becoming a head coach at some time in the future. Thus, a defensive coordinator may not fully commit to an offensive system that places "his" defense in positions to give up lots of points. It may be difficult to convince a young coach with head coaching aspirations that he should sacrifice that career goal for the team. This means that a coaching staff implementing a new spread offense attack must be ready to address some of the possible inter-staff conflicts.

Second, a coaching staff that does not have experience with a sophisticated passing attack may find it difficult to find and develop quarterbacks that can perform with some efficiency in the system. This is another aspect of believing in your system leading to success. If a head coach (and his staff) has cut his teeth on power football or the option attack, then it is likely that he understands the fundamentals of developing QBs, RBs, and OLs for those systems. It is also just as likely that he has only a superficial understanding of what it takes to develop QBs, WRs, and OLs in a passing system.

Next, the kids in a football program know whether or not a coaching staff believes in an offensive philosophy. How? Well, for one thing, they know if the playbook and offensive formation changes from year to year. If a team runs the wishbone one year and a slot-I formation the next with no real explanation of the changes, the kids begin to understand that the coaching staff isn't sure how to best move the ball down the field and give the team the best chance of success. However, if a kid starts running the wing-T in the first practice of 7th grade and continues to run it every day until he plays his final game six years later, then he knows that his coaches believe that offensive philosophy is the best for the team. So, if the spread passing game is just another offense that the coaching staff is taking for a whirl, then it is likely to meet with little success because of the limited experience that both the coaches and players have with it.

Finally, we want to make it clear that we understand that football is still football whatever the offense that you choose to run. A well executed running attack that dominates the time of possession and puts points on the board can frustrate the wide open attacks and prevent them from getting into the rhythm need to perform at a high level. What we are essentially saying to coaches is "Know yourself and your team." This is the surest formula for a successful season.

Some of you may be wondering why we are taking the time to argue for coaches to stick with types of offenses that do not lend themselves to 7-on-7 competitions. We feel that all teams could benefit from participation in these competitions for the following reasons:
  • No matter what a team's offensive philosophy, it is almost a certainty that its defense will face a hurry-up, no-huddle spread passing offense at some point (maybe several times) during a given season. So, 7-on-7 competitions provide excellent full speed opportunities for defensive backs and linebackers to work on pass coverage skills.
  • The 7-on-7 competitions provide the ability for coaches and skill players to work on techniques and plays that may be needed in come from behind situations. We feel that it is better for QBs and receivers to have at least seen the ball in the air before trying to use passing plays in game situations.
  • These competitions provide the conditioning opportunities for the players. With regular workouts outdoors in the heat, it is less likely that players will suffer from the heat and humidity at the start of the fall campaign. Since the players will be acclimated to the heat, it will be safer for them during the extreme heat of August.
  • Finally, the coaches get a chance to stay in contact with players. While this may not seem significant for some, it is well known that participation in athletics (or other extracurricular activities) decreases the probability of mischievous activities. This contact between the coaches and players at a time of the year when the athletes have lots of free time may keep some of the kids out of trouble.
While we may not convince you that a spread passing attack is the best offense for your team (and we are pretty sure we don't want to do that), we hope that you will consider some of the possible advantages in becoming involved with this fast growing derivative of that offensive philosophy.


*This is a re-post of an early article.