There are just 35 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2018 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 couple of weeks 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 two weeks, 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 took their lumps in 2018 as part of what coach Heath Webb called the beginning of their "1,000-day project" to rebuild the program. However, they got loads of grass time for a slew of underclassmen who are talented. A solid offseason may be helping to expedite Webb's rebuild, and one of the state's best-projected offensive lines also won't hurt.
Webb said they are chomping at the bit, so to speak, to see just how quickly things have turned around in 2019.
QUESTION: Coach, you expected a two or three-year rebuild when you took over last season. However, you have a lot of experience and talent returning after a tough 2018 season. What has impressed you the most with this group during the offseason?
ANSWER: What's impressed me the most is how much they've grown as players and individuals. Being so young and inexperienced last year we were often out-manned by older, stronger players. Our players bought into our strength program in the offseason and got bigger and faster. We also spent a lot of offseason time teaching the game so we feel like we've covered that inexperience gap. But what I'm certainly most proud of is how they've grown as young men. The guys have bought into doing things the right way. They're respectful, mature, thoughtful, coachable, teachable -- just a joy to be around. The time period between January and April was the most rewarding part of my career. We saw a team transform into a great group of young men.
Q: The offensive line, behind senior Division I prospect, Jordan Williams, is already being touted as one of the best in the state. How good can this group get by the end of the season?
A: It's a very good group! They work well together as a unit and they get along great. Keep in mind we're still pretty young. They've got good experience because several had to play as sophomores last season but they're still young. You're looking at an O-line that will most likely have three Division I players on it and a couple of other really good complimentary guys that will have college opportunities as well. The more this group plays together, the better they're going to be. They could be really special by the end of the season because of the combination of talent, work ethic, and teamwork. Our running backs show up every day with a smile on their face because they know these guys will pave the way for them.