Spring practice is just a memory for T&D Region teams now.

With the dog days of summer right around the corner, local prep football players will don their helmets and shorts in hopes of perfecting their skills at passing camps held at Orangeburg-Wilkinson, beginning at 6 p.m. today. The 7-on-7 style exhibition gives local teams a quick glimpse at how to defend and execute offenses.

“It all started in the spring,” O-W head coach Tommy Brown said. “We had 21 days to get back into football and, you know, we’re back into football mode. The players are excited and the coaches are anxious to see what kind of work we’ve done in the offseason. So, this is a blessing having time to get back to football to start working to see how much improvement we made.”

Like many teams, Brown’s Bruins held their spring game nearly two weeks ago. With several upperclassmen returning to the team, the passing camp gives them an opportunity to get better with the season just a couple of months away.

“It’s very important because you spend the offseason working to improve your skills,” Brown said about this time for juniors and seniors. “You work on your speed. You work on your agility. You work on just your overall ability to know what’s going on in the game. Now, you get an opportunity to apply this to what you’ve done in the offseason. As an older player, you’re always looking to improve every time you step on the field. So, this is still an opportunity to see where you were, where you are now and how much I can do to help the team.”

But the juniors and seniors aren’t the only ones with something to prove. Young players who may have just moved up from their respective junior varsity squads are looking to make a name for themselves and possibly earn a starting spot on Friday nights.

“They can improve a whole lot,” Brown noted. “We expect our veterans to lead our young players and they learn by watching. They learn by making mistakes. This is a good time to make mistakes because we compete against other teams and it’s an intense situation. It’s almost like a game. They get into a game-type situation and compete. So, the learning curve is very good and it’s an opportunity to see what a player can do when they’re put in a situation when we get to August. It’s a good learning situation for a young player. A young player can grow. You may be able to find a young player that can help you in August sooner than you thought he could.”

Lake Marion and Orangeburg Prep are slated to join O-W today on Bruin Parkway, but Brown also expects to see a few more teams as the weeks go by. With local teams joining the mix, Brown believes that the competitive juices will flow at Bruin Stadium for the next seven weeks.

“It’s good because these kids know each other,” Brown pointed out, “and they don’t compete against each other normally during the season. So, it’s an opportunity to compete against somebody you know and with schools in the area that are close to you. That kind of helps the enthusiasm about what you’re doing. It makes the work that you do a little more exciting. They look forward to it. We look forward to it. It helps us be able to compete at a level that we want to compete in August.”

* Contact the writer: eglover@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5332.

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