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Friday August 14th, 2020 7:35AM

Two-a-Days: Defense is still highest priority for East Hall

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

There are just 29 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)...

EAST HALL

There’s no secret the only thing keeping the Vikings from challenging for playoff spots the last two seasons has been their defense. And second-year head coach Michael Perry, considered an offensive genius, knows it.

As summer workouts continue to heat up, the Vikings are putting even more renewed focus on trying to stop the opposition. Which makes sense since their offense, behind the state’s 12th leading passer in 2019 in Clete Cooper, is as potent as it’s ever been.

Perry told Friday Game Night for our Two-a-Days feature that 2020 could be the year they turn the corner.

 

QUESTION: Coach, you have acknowledged that improvement on the defensive side may well decide any playoff future for the Vikings. Do you feel progress is being made as the fall approaches?

ANSWER: The kids are showing good effort. Open field tackling and knowing our assignments are the two biggest areas that we emphasize every day. We have to make sure that our kids understand that diving at a ball carrier results in missed tackles. We simply cannot leave our feet too early. This is something that has to be taught over and over again. The kids have to learn to get that one extra step that is so vital to getting what we call “toes on “toes” in reference to the ball carrier and getting the offensive player down on the grass.

 

QUESTION: Despite being a freshman last year, quarterback Clete Cooper looked at times like a veteran running your Air Raid offense. How good can he get and how potent can the offense get as he and his teammates get better and continue to gell as a unit?

ANSWER: Clete is working extremely hard. He has really started to develop the work ethic that is essential to getting the job done at the quarterback position. He has really taken care of his body. He is so much stronger from where he was last year. He has lost all of his baby fat. He has been working extremely hard on his drops, which has really improved his ability to make the more difficult throws. The thing that I have been most pleased with in terms of his development is just him growing up and becoming a much more mature player. Clete has the talent to be a very good high school quarterback. If he continues to mature and some of our new receivers mature and learn how to flip defenders hips, we get our timing down, then I expect this offense to be much improved in regards to last year.

 

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, East Hall football
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