Sylvan Hills sports a dominant blue on their uniforms, but ask Bears head coach Jim Withrow and he might want to use green as a secondary color as in unseasoned.
The Bears will go into the 2012 season with just eight seniors on the roster, but Withrow says those lean numbers don’t mean poor quality.
“We only have eight,” Withrow said, “but I like the one we have.”
Such low numbers at the top means younger players will be called upon to play significant roles, and preparing those young players to fill those roles is what Withrow sees as his team’s biggest challenge.
“They are adjusting to the speed of the game right now,” Withrow said. “We are doing a lot of team camps this summer to prepare.”
The Bears will even host camps with Robinson, Maumelle and North Pulaski in the waning weeks of the summer schedule.
Another avenue Withrow has encouraged his kids to take is participating in individual camps and it seems to be paying dividends already.
“They have come back a little thicker, more confident,” said Withrow. “If they want to go up there and spend a week, I’ll let them miss a couple workouts.”
Junior Matt Thompson who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 210 pounds went to an Arkansas Razorbacks camp and came home with the Tough Man award.
“He is going to be impressive,” Withrow said. “He is a defensive player and we’ve got him playing offensive tackle out of necessity.”
Withrow said Thompson would possible end his high school career as his class’ valedictorian.
Sophomores Elijah Sowards, who will likely play tight end, and flanker Marlon Clemens have been to camps as well and have returned much improved.
With school ending early last year, Withrow has had a lot more summer than usual this year. Hopefully, it will reap an extra win or two once the season finally gets under way.