There are just 32 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2020 high school football season. But make no mistake, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, swirling uncertainty since April, and the cancelation of spring practice, preparations for the upcoming campaign have been underway throughout the state since early June. 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 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 Leopards have a ton of experience coming back with 14 returning starters from last year’s squad. However, they also are making some changes to the offense with the departure of wing-T guru Kerry Kidd.
They are still in a very tough Region 8-2A with the likes of quarterfinalist Rabun County, Elbert County, and Union County and are coming off a season with their fewest wins since 2013.
We asked coach Jay Reid, now in his third season, what the mood has been like during summer workouts and how the changes to the offense are coming along.
QUESTION: Y’all have a ton of experience coming back but suffered through a tough season in 2019. How do you think the experience of going through that has helped motivate the group for this year?
ANSWER: Going into year three of our program it is easy for us to see that we have grown exponentially. Looking back at the 2019 campaign, we were fortunate to experience many different situations and challenges that have aided us in our growth and maturity throughout the off-season. I believe that everyone in our program now truly understands how to prepare for each and every game with the same mindset, focus, and determination. The way this team and program is beginning to gel and work together with a common purpose is a pleasure to witness. We do have a good amount of experience coming back with only a few holes to fill and plenty of capable ballplayers to step in and fill those positions. It will be fun watching these guys battle for positions as we move into the fall. I am really excited about where we are, how far we have come, and where we are going.
Q: The offense struggled last year (15.1 points per game) in the wing-T and you are tweaking things for the 2020 campaign. What can fans expect from your new-look offense?
A: First of all, our main focus offensively moving into the 2020 season is to take care of the controllables. We have to do a better job of eliminating turnovers and costly penalties as well as knowing our responsibilities in each and every formation and scheme. Too many times last year we would have a drive cut short due to a turnover or a penalty that we just could not overcome. That being said we are making some changes schematically that will allow us to be more multiple with formations, concepts, and tempos. What you should expect schematically could be seen as a mixture of the West Coast, wing-T, and spread systems with a few additional wrinkles. I believe this could be a really fun offense to play in, coach, and watch under the Friday Night Lights. Our guys are working extremely hard and they are having lots of fun right now and I can't wait to see them get the chance to play some ball.
- Up Next in Two-a-Days: BUFORD