As 7-on-7 tournaments continue to dominate the summer prep football landscape, some have asked whether the format actually serves in the best interest of high school football teams, or even the athletes who star in the biggest 7-on-7 events.
Well, now two coaching brothers in Southern California think they've caught on to something that's much better suited for both individual development and full team improvement: 11-on-11 padless scrimmages.
Essentially, the scrimmages that have been put on by Mike Herrington's Newhall (Calif.) Hart High and Dean Herrington's Alemany (Calif.) High are played in the quick paced style of 7-on-7 tournaments. Yet, unlike 7-on-7, the Newhall Hart-Alemany scrimmage which was played on Wednesday used two full-fledged teams, even though neither squad was wearing pads.
As the video of the scrimmage above shows, despite the game being one-hand touch, there was still plenty of aggression on the field. Yet, unlike a fully padded game, when a player got knocked over on Wednesday, he was quickly picked up off the turf and helped to his feet.
For that reason and others, Los Angeles Times writer Eric Sondheimer questioned whether 11-on-11 padless scrimmages would be possible between teams that are traditional rivals. Given those prior tensions, teams might be subtly (or even subconsciously) pushed into more violent play which would be virtually unprotectable without pads.
Yet, for teams that have any kind of a familiar or -- as in the case of Newhall Hart and Alemany -- familial connection, 11-on-11 padless scrimmages could prove to be valuable stepping stones for forthcoming seasons.
Not only do the full-team workouts provide game-like action for linemen, they also set up more natural conditions for quarterbacks, who have more room to work with in 7-on-7 than they might in regular season game action.
Whether or not 11-on-11 padless scrimmages emerge as vital training tools in future summers remains to be seen, but if they do, future acolytes will be able to point back at Herrington brothers as innovators, just as many did with the emergence of 7-on-7 in recent years.