The Rolla football team spent three days taking part in the Southwest Baptist Football Camp on Tuesday-Thursday, July 17-19. The Bulldogs had a great showing, being named Best Team , while also earning some individual recognition.
The camp was broken up into two major formats. In one, teams played out different scenarios, like pass offense and pass defense or goal line plays. In the second, teams played jamboree-style scrimmages. While the Bulldogs didn't sweep the board, they performed well enough to be named the top team at the camp. Rolla head coach Jon Franks saw this as recognition of their consistent play throughout the three day camp.
"Their coaching staff went with the most consistent team, the team that kind of does things well the whole camp, plays hard, executes," said coach Franks. "We didn't win every scenario we were in, but we won a majority of them and the ones we didn't win, we were highly competitive and doing things well.
"The way the kid represent the name of Rolla is unbelievable," continued the Rolla head coach. "Everywhere we go, they play hard and they get peoples' attention, so it's exciting."
Coach Franks saw a lot of great play over the three days, particularly out of his defense. As a former defensive coordinator, coach Franks loves good defense and the Bulldogs will look to pick up where they left off last year.
"We're excited about our defensive football play," said coach Franks. "They just did a really nice job on defense. They were physical, our linebacking core is really solid, our secondary is obviously very talented and can do a lot of stuff."
One of the question marks that the Bulldogs have had this offseason is line play on both sides of the ball. Rolla graduated most of their offensive and defensive lines last season. The SBU Camp was a great opportunity for those linemen to showcase their skills against live talent and coach Franks really liked what he saw.
"I know we definitely had some question marks on our offensive line, to see how they would handle live action and our offensive and defensive lines did outstanding," said coach Franks. "(They're) Definitely prepared. Obviously, we still have things to work on, but very physical and did some really good stuff.
"I think I was happiest with the way our offensive line showed up," said continued coach Franks. "I think that was really exciting to see those big dogs show up, be aggressive, physical, play hard and play together well."
Individually, Rolla had a very familiar faces stand out. On the offensive end, Blaize Klossner got to shine while getting snaps at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Defensively, Ahmed Boubacar had a stellar camp, which earned him Defensive Player of the Camp recognition in the secondary.
"Blaize did a really nice job offensively, Boubacar won Defensive Player of the Camp, he had a good camp," said coach Franks. "Blaize was in the hunt for (Offensive Player of the Camp). Blaize was definitely one of the top offensive weapons there.
"Some kids will get accolades and praise and regress or slow down. Ahmed had a great offseason, he got some accolades and got some attention and he worked harder," continued coach Franks. "That was good for him and a good decision on his behalf. You've gotta make those decisions, you've gotta keep working hard and developing. He knows he's got some areas to work on and get better."
This is just another feather in Rolla's cap this offseason. They went down to St. Dominic for a 7-on-7 and lineman challenge and had a great showing before earning Best Team honors at SBU. For a team that has lost so much talent from last year's senior class, it's important for this year's team to know that they can be just as successful if not more.
"I think it's important," said coach Franks. "Every senior group that comes on has gotta make that transition from being underneath another class to being in charge and understanding that their actions, their demeanor and the way they go about things is drastically important for the team chemistry. I think this class is doing a nice job of taking charge of being the seniors.
"We talk all the time, it doesn't matter how good your underclassmen are, you're only gonna be as good as your senior leadership and if they're all on the same page, they're all giving the same types of talks, if they're leading the same way," continued coach Franks. "It's kind of like your program, it's gotta be a unified front, all marching the same way."
This was Rolla's last big offseason event. Next up is the start of practices, which will pick up after the MSHSAA Dead Period. Those practices will start on Monday, Aug. 6.