Spring game: Bearcats get a feel for new War Memorial turf

© 2017-Paso Robles Press

After the conclusion of a ribbon cutting ceremony, once all the fans cleared off the field, the Paso Robles Bearcats hosted their spring game on Tuesday at 6 p.m. This was the first time any of the Bearcat faithful had the opportunity to see the brand new turf at War Memorial Stadium and to meet new Head Football Coach Larry Grant.

The fieldturf is the very same material that the Dallas Cowboys currently have installed in AT&T Stadium. The turf is made up of artificial grass and recycled pellets. Fieldturf is known to play very fast, and on Tuesday, the Bearcats football team looked just that. The Bearcat team gathered together in a group behind the north end zone before breaking on full sprint into their warm-up groups. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. for the new field, and at 5 p.m. the field was opened up to the general public. During the 30 minutes the field was open, there were kids playing out their Friday night fantasies in every inch of the crimson end zone. Laughter rang out as many kids experienced turf for the very first time, running fade route after fade route, trying to tiptoe the sideline like their favorite players.

The entire day was an entertainment event, the spring game contained both football and fun. During breaks in the action, parents would compete against their children in some form or fashion for everyone’s enjoyment.

The players played without pads, the offense wearing protective padded beanies. The game started with the starting offense going against as much of the starting defensive as possible for a set of around 10 plays. After the script was finished, the field goal team would come out for a couple attempts from a few different spots. Then the starting defense faced as much of the starting offense as could be assembled.

This was our first look at what the Bearcats offense and defense will look like next year, although though anything and everything is subject to change with the season still so far away. The Bearcats looked to play fast on offense. They often featured three and four receiver sets, and ran some quick screens trying to capitalize on their speed. Senior receiver and strong safety Fred Thompkins was impossible to miss, making plays on both sides of the ball. On offense, Thompkins caught a bubble screen that seemed to go the distance, hard to tell without pads on, but the speed was clear. With the first team defense, Thompkins undercut a shallow out route for the interception and ran into the end zone with a caravan of Bearcat defenders.

This will be Grant’s first season as the Bearcats head coach. He played in the National Football League from 2008 until 2014 for five different teams including the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. Grant also comes with vast knowledge on championship level football playing in a national title game each of the four years he was in college. I was unable to speak with Coach Grant, but I did speak with a couple of the coaches and they all told me there is no projected started at quarterback yet, were too early into the spring.  The Bearcats will break in their brand new turf Aug. 25 when they host Lemoore.

© 2017-Paso Robles Press

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