Warren County Football Notebook: Wildcats looking to improve during bye week

Warren County head coach Brian Bush speaks to his team after practice this week. The Wildcats are idle this week. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – After going 0-2 to start the season, Warren County is trying to hit the reset button on its season this week.

The Wildcats have a bye this week, and head football coach Brian Bush said the team needs to find more energy during this time off.

“We need to get that fire back in us,” Bush said after Wednesday’s practice. “Having the bye week week 3 of the season is kind of tough, especially starting 0-2. It’s tough to get rolling. And that’s what we’re trying to do this week is stay on top of our game and work on our things and do what we do better than what we’ve done.”

He said that the players responded well in the first two practices of the week and he’s liked what he’s seen from them.

Bush said he doesn’t mind the bye week being this week. He said it doesn’t really matter when the bye week happens during a season.

“You can have a bye week in the middle of the season, or at the beginning or the end, a bye week’s a bye week,” Bush said. “Whenever it is you’re going to spend time at doing better at what you do.”

COMPETING AGAINST EACH OTHER: During Wednesday’s practice Bush had the offense and defense practicing in simulated game-like situations against each other.

At times, Bush would have them practicing goal-line situations. Another time he would have them trying to drive the length of the practice field. If the offense would score, the defense would do push-ups. If the offense didn’t score the offense would do push-ups. At times Bush would call a penalty on his players and back them up 5 or even 15 yards.

“The old motto says you play the game like you practice,” Bush said. “And especially with this being our bye week, we need to compete. And we need to make sure that we don’t lose that fire in us. And if we can beat each other up in practice, then maybe it will carry on over to the next game and help us become more together. Because you’re beating up on your brother every day and once you finally go against another team now you look to your brother for help and that’s what we’re trying to rely on.”

The junior varsity squad practiced with the varsity squad using the same format as the varsity did. Bush said the JV team always practices with the varsity squad, and he believes it helps them to see how the varsity team practices.

“JV’s – those kids need to see how hard we work on varsity and learn that trait,” Bush said. “Maybe one of those guys will be pulled up and play by the end of the year, I don’t know. But they need to see how we practice. And with the energy we had with the varsity (Wednesday) JV needs to see that too so that they can carry it forward.”

DEFENSE ON THE RISE: Despite the two losses to Handley and Kettle Run, both Class 4 teams, Bush said he has been very happy with his young defensive unit.

The Wildcats allowed 33 points to Kettle Run, but Bush said that he still saw signs of improvement in the game.

“We’ve given up some big plays,” he said. “We’ve given up the deep ball. We’ve given up some passes and some big runs, but we weren’t very experienced on defense coming into this year. I’m pleased with where we are right now and we’re getting better every day.”