There are just 36 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2017 high school football season. But make no mistake, preparations for the upcoming campaign got underway months ago in weight rooms, sand pits and practice fields throughout the state. And teams throughout northeast Georgia are in full countdown mode.
With that in mind we spent the last few days catching up with programs around our area to get a feel for how spring practice went, how the summer is going and what coaches believe the fall will look like. We call the series "Two-a-Days" in honor of those old-school grinding sessions that lead us out of summer and into fall, asking each area coach two key questions about the state of their respective programs.
Over the next few days, AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night will get you prepped for the start of gridiron action with responses from coaches throughout northeast Georgia. (Teams run in alphabetical order)...
After missing out on the playoffs for a third consecutive season, the longest streak for the Falcons since their first three seasons as a program, Ben Hall was lured from powerhouse Jefferson in the offseason to try and turn things around for the largest school in the Hall County system. Hall, who helped lead the Dragons to a state title in 2012 (Class AA) as offensive coordinator and took over for the legendary T. McFerrin the following season, said they expect some growing pains but with high expectations as well. AccessWDUN’s Jeff Hart caught up with Hall and asked how the changes were coming.
QUESTION: What have been the biggest challenges and changes you have made since taking over the program?
ANSWER: Probably the biggest challenge was putting together an entire staff of seven new coaches. You don’t normally have to replace that many people and it was the first time I’ve had to really put a staff together, so that was a big challenge before I even got here. But we got everyone together before the spring and it’s a very experienced staff so we feel good about that. Also, the personnel was new to all of us since none of us had been here previously. Player development will be huge and it may take a good year to get things they way we want them.
Q: From what you’ve seen so far, has the team embraced those changes?
A: One of the real pleasures so far is how the kids have embraced things as a group. We changed styles on both sides of the ball so there were a lot of changes and new ideas and philosophies and everyone has gotten on board. The kids are hungry for some success and have responded well to what we’re trying to do. The seniors in particular have really stepped up. We sat down with all 30 of them individually and asked them what their expectations were from us. That was a very positive meeting and their attitude has been refreshing. We feel good about where things are right now.