Delco Football Preview: 7 v 7 has its advantages but is no substitute for real football


Cyrus Barlee launched his football coaching business NoLackinLifestyle (NLL) in 2017. The name derives from the lyrics of a song he listened to during his playing career at Upper Darby, where he was a halfback twice All-Delco defensive.

“I went to Cal University in Pittsburgh and my college playing career was cut short. At the time, I was thinking about ways to give back to the game of football because it got me this far. “Said Barlee. “I remember in high school we always said, ‘No lack’ to the music we listened to and I was trying to put a positive spin on it. ‘No lack and be prepared to everything.’ This affects many young people because they constantly hear these words “no lack”.

It’s more than just a currency.

The mission statement on the NLL’s website reads: “We are a diverse fitness community with a culture focused on getting results through fun and hard work. With experienced trainers who are always available and ready to help, our clients are guaranteed to have a top-notch training experience.

Barlee is CEO of NoLackinLifestyle LLC, whose original goal was to provide youngsters with an outlet to work on their skills and stay in shape during the offseason.

“We started as a non-profit organization and what we did was train children and get them involved. We have a lot of kids training with us from downtown and Delaware County. So we were just trying to provide them with something to do in the summer.

Then the 7v7 boom happened. Throughout the region, teams were springing up. There’s Philly Finest and Delco Elite, which was co-founded by Chester assistant coach Lamar Shaw. The concept of 7-on-7 football has become the cool thing to do in the offseason for quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, and defensive backs.

The Barlee brand brings together high school students from all walks of life. This year he worked with Cardinal O’Hara lineman Edmund Wisseh, Springfield quarterback Jake Rama and Upper Darby quarterback Montez Ellis.

“When I was playing, 7-on-7 was just starting to take off. We didn’t really have that kind of exposure, like we do now. Programs in the area, like Philly Finest, had all the best players on their teams so they can showcase all these guys going to college,” Barlee said. “Now most kids see that and that’s what brings them in. They can go play with it. a guy from another school who is a four star rookie you can get that kind of exposure, whereas when you play for your high school team you can play against a guy who is a four star rookie once in a blue moon. With 7 vs. 7, you do that every week, so I think that’s what makes guys want to go out and try.

The main benefit of 7v7 is to improve your basic skills (throwing, running, catching) while improving your fitness and stamina. Ellis agrees with Barlee that 7-on-7 isn’t going to replace high school football anytime soon. It’s not real football at all.

“I only played there to keep myself in shape. I don’t want to sit around and do nothing,” said Ellis, a senior and one of Delco’s best players. cardio and stuff like that, but everyone knows 7v7 is not real football.”

Ultimately, the 7v7 game is just a taste of what football training companies like Barlee’s offer their players.

“I’m not a big fan of 7v7 because I know there are negatives. Most of the time it’s not real football. You learn things that can sometimes create bad habits,” Barlee said. “We try to let the kids know that, OK, it’s not real football and you have to understand that. We do it because we try to stop the kids from doing anything else. We coincide it with our program of training and weightlifting. A lot of schools have off-season training and have gyms, but a lot of kids can go months without real training. A lot of schools in the city, for example. So what we offer is that you can always practice throughout the offseason. But I say to the kids, if you have a training program at school, that always comes first before you come to our house. Come on at your school training and make sure you bond with your team mates and stuff but if they don’t have it we give them the opportunity to train on a pitch and be able to stay in shape.

Barlee is an assistant coach at Upper Darby, so he knows high school football takes precedence over any off-base training schedule. Veteran high school coaches, including Jason Vosheski of Academy Park, would prefer players to stay immersed in the high school curriculum year-round.

“I want them to learn our terminology, to start with. They aren’t trained the way we train them, they don’t follow the same routes or get called the same way, and they pick up bad habits. And then we have to try to break those habits,” Vosheski said. “The other thing is the teams that are there are not community teams. They are all-star teams. There is no continuity. The quarterback does not work with his receivers. So , you are going to come to our training and our kids might not be as fast or we are doing different routes and there are different timings I admit it has its advantages I know it keeps them busy but I would say to one of our children that if you’re going to, please don’t tell me.

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Richard V. Johnson