Practice sessions are already underway for the senior Broncs football team, which is seeing new players come up from the bantam program.
Now in its third year as a 12-man football program, the senior Broncs are starting to see experienced players from the feeder program make their way into the senior team.
“It’s kind of our first swarm of kids that have seen a lot of experience through the bantam program,” said co-coach Cody Baird.
He suggests the experience those players gained with the bantam team will help them be leaders this year. “We focus on character first . . . lifting your brother is always our focus,” said Baird.
There are approximately 40 players who went to spring camp and Baird says he feels most of those will be part of the team. He suggests with the more experienced players, coaches will be able to add some complexity to the game, which will bring some benefit to the team on the field.
The large number of players joining the bantam program is an area Baird intends to watch closely as he feels they will be a strong addition to the senior Broncs when they are old enough.
Baird is also the defensive co-ordinator for the team and Jamie Blinkhorn is the other co-coach while handling the offensive co-ordinator position. Baird said he has played football and worked alongside Blinkhorn with the Central Alberta Buccaneers for many years. He suggests the two will find balance together managing and coaching the team.
“As far as coaching on the field goes, nothing changes,” he added.
Blinkhorn is also excited to see the bantam players come up to the senior team. “We have a lot more experience mentally.”
“It’s just going to be less teaching and more doing. More practical stuff for the kids,” he added.
Along with the co-coaches, special teams coach Darryl Feschuk will also be providing key teaching to receivers and defensive backs. Former players Dallon Perry and Roman Rains have also committed their time to help coach players, said Blinkhorn.
Looking at quarterbacks for the year, Blinkhorn says coaches have a couple of strong candidate choices with DJ Horn being the top pick but added that Hector Ibarra shows strong potential for the position.
Clayton Raugust is another quarterback candidate who was with the bantam team last year and Blinkhorn suggests this year will be an opportunity for the young player to hone his skills.
The bantam program is creating options for coaches in a way that Blinkhorn, like Baird, feels is enabling coaches to start to put together strong defensive and offensive plays.
“The more feeder programs, the better for the Broncs; so we’re definitely noticing that,” said Blinkhorn.