There are just 38 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, twice daily)...
The Tigers are coming off yet another state playoff run after reaching the Class A Public quarterfinals in 2016 -- following up on back-to-back state semifinal appearances in 2014-15. Coach Michael Brown is entering his fifth season on the strength of the program's best three-year run in over a decade. That said, the Tigers have several holes to fill as they enter 2017 after graduating a number of playmakers. How is Commerce's summer progressing in light of those facts? Brown talked with Friday Game Night to shed a little light on the subject.
QUESTION: Considering that Commerce bases out of a triple option, how many 7-on-7 passing leagues/tournaments do y'all compete in during a given summer, and how do those help you in a run-heavy offense?
ANSWER: We have several that we do against local teams, and on occasion we'll go to a bigger tournament-type situation. But we try to match-up with some of the teams in the area and usually have five or six dates during the course of June and July. You really can't work on your run game, and we're a team that's heavily dependent on play-action pass. A lot of people think we don't pass the ball at all. We threw for 800 yards last year. That's not a ton, but that's some. What we try to do is take our base concepts that we will use in our play-action game and work those during the 7-on-7s, and it's hard sometimes for us not to get carried away and start adding routes and concepts that we're not going to use in the fall. We've made that mistake. There's been several summers that we've worked on concepts that we're just not going to throw, so we've kind of made a commitment this year to do what we do, and if we don't look really good at these 7-on-7s that's OK. We're getting the work in.
Q: Speaking of offense, you graduated several key players on that side of the ball after last season. Who are some of the players currently looking to step up and be leaders on that side for you?
A: We did. We lost our entire backfield. But the good thing is we've got competition for starting jobs right now. We've got a senior, Braxton Legg, and he's competing at quarterback against a sophomore, Nate Ray. And they're both doing a great job. If we had to name a starter right now I don't think I could. We've got two-three guys competing at fullback. We've got four halfbacks competing for two starting jobs there as well. So we've got some guys that we really feel like can contribute, and as I've said they're really competing to find out who's going to end up starting those positions.