by A.C. Hall
Brewer fans got one last sneak peek at the varsity football team on Friday as the Bears took on Eastern Hills in a scrimmage game at Brewer High School. This is the final warm up for the Bears as they open the regular season on Thursday night in an away game against Arlington Heights.
As the Brewer starting offense ran through several drives they showed some good things. Just like last season, it appears that the Bears will be heavily focused on running the ball in 2015. Returning backs Jameson Carson and Tre Johnson both had good runs in the scrimmage. Johnson showed flashes of greatness last year and he looked even better in the scrimmage.
Another player who had some great moments running the ball last season was Bryce Miller. Making the most of limited rushing attempts, Miller showed the potential of a game changing back in 2014. Miller again looked great in the scrimmage Friday evening as he looks poised to be a valuable weapon for the Bears in 2015.
Defensively, the Bears showed a lot of quickness. Their run defense was particularly impressive as they shut down most running plays right at the line of scrimmage. The passing defense wasn’t tested much in the scrimmage, but if they can limit the deep passes it’ll go a long way in making the Brewer D a force to be feared.
Starting quarterback Brian Kueck had a tendency to disappear at times in 2014 as he spent several games handing off the ball and rarely being asked to throw. One question mark hanging over the Bears is just how much Kueck’s decision making and accuracy have improved over the summer, as the team needs to establish the threat of the pass in order to make their run attack work. Although he made just a few pass attempts in the scrimmage, Kueck did appear to be delivering a much more accurate ball than he did in 2014.
Some concerns remain about this team’s ability to finally make it to the post season. At least in the scrimmage, several key players were playing on both offense and defense. This was done last year as well, but it never gets less risky to have star offensive players also putting in time on the defense.
It’s also slightly worrying that the Bears appear to be sticking with their reliance on a run heavy offense. They found success with it against weaker teams last year, but more talented teams were able to shut down the run because they never had to worry about the pass. Brewer’s run game is obviously their strength, but when it’s the only move in the arsenal it is able to be held in check by defenses. The team’s ability or willingness to adapt to this and mix in more pass plays could be the difference between play offs and another middle of the pack season.
The time for talk and conjecture is over, as the Bears head out to take on Arlington Heights this Thursday for the first game of the season.