BY BRANDON SPECK
Tupelo would love to win the National Select 7-on-7 Qualifier taking place today and Friday at Ballard Park.
But the priority for the defending North 6A champion Golden Wave is to get better prepared to win games in November, not July.
“It is 100 percent an opportunity to go compete with someone else,” Tupelo offensive coordinator John Keith said. “It’s an opportunity to line up with someone else and try to get better.”
7-on-7 is a skewed version of football. It alters what teams are able to work on defensively because you are constantly guarding against the big play.
But Keith isn’t saying Tupelo won’t try and win the second-year event, that starts with pool play this morning at 10. The winner of the 14-team field will get a berth in the July 17-19 National Select championships in Hoover. There, 32 teams including Oxford will compete.
“Everyone likes to win, but it doesn’t translate in any way. So, many go out there and run 7-on-7 offense or defense and it’s not what you do come Fall and on Friday,” Keith said.
“We look at this as a chance to get better and go against someone else.”
Keith says each position can learn from the 7-on-7 experience, but in Tupelo’s case, it can be particularly helpful for junior quarterback Daniel Bristow. Bristow is slated to be the starter, though senior receiver Alex Norwood can play there as well.
Bristow threw for 1,637 yards last season, his first as a starter. He completed nearly 62 percent of his passes.
Norwood and a couple others won’t be available. Younger guys will get the chance to prove their worth on a stage where it would be nice to win, but
“We do what we do and try to get better at it. It’s an opportunity to get better, instead of not doing what we do,” Keith said.
“Winning 7-on-7 is not the goal. The goal is to win games in the Fall.”
BY BRANDON SPECK