There are just 35 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)...
The Red Elephants made the state playoffs for the 17th straight season in 2016 -- but also experienced their first losing final record since that streak began in 2000. Gainesville is looking to show that was but a blip for a program that is amongst the winningest in the state, not to mention northeast Georgia. To do so they are looking for yet another starting quarterback. The Red Elephants have not had the same starting signal caller in consecutive seasons since Deshaun Watson (now of the Houston Texans) 2010-13. Certainly Gainesville's normally explosive spread attack wants an offensive resurgence after averaging 19.5 points per game. With that in mind, coach Bruce Miller discussed the Red Elephants' QB spot and what to look for on defense in 2017.
QUESTION: You are looking at another new starter at quarterback this season. How has the 7-on-7 season and summer progressed as far as that position goes?
ANSWER: I thought Tre Luttrell's had a really good summer. Banks Griffith is involved with baseball all summer, so we haven't seen him that much. But Tre's had a really good summer with us; he's a fast learner. He absorbs everything you tell him. As far as 7-on-7s he's done well, but I think his strong suit will being able to be an all-purpose quarterback. Number one, because of his dad, Stan, he's been lifting weights since he was about six I think. And he's an extremely strong kid; he's a very intelligent kid. He is a sponge, wanting soak up everything you tell him. He's really what you want in a quarterback as far as wanting to learn.
Q: Returning standout Keith Harris is expected to lead the way for your linebackers this season. Who are some of the other guys that are stepping up and showing they're going to be leaders on that side of the ball?
A: I really look to Trevor Calvert, who's a two-year starter for us, to be one of them. I look for Tyreke Watson, who is a very-quick nose man, going to be very big for us. I tell you who I'm looking forward to -- we've got a couple of sophomores who I think, including one who will get some playing time up front. And that's a kid named Makius Scott. Keith will man down the linebacker. We'll have two outside linebackers, but those are yet to be determined. I think in the secondary we've got several people back there. We're going to be young in the secondary, but I think we'll be pretty good in the secondary before it's over.