There are just 22 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2022 high school football season. But make no mistake, preparations for the upcoming campaign got underway months ago. And teams throughout northeast Georgia already 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. Our "Two-a-Days" series honors 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)...
Probably no other program in Northeast Georgia is undergoing as systemic a change as the Trojans. After running the wing-T for more than two decades from elementary school to high school, new coach Sean Pender and his staff are implementing a spread offense. They also are experiencing a near-complete roster turnover in the process.
Time will be the biggest obstacle for the Trojans. Can they get everything in place by opening night? We caught up with Pender to see how the changes have been coming along during the summer.
QUESTION: Coach, the big question is, how is the transformation from a wing-T offense to the spread coming along so far? What have been some of the biggest challenges?
ANSWER: I guess with any change of tactics, schematics, terminology, coaching philosophies, and or staff overhauls, there is going to be a period of adjustment that is necessary to embrace. Our student-athletes have done just that. Our players have worked real hard in developing the fundamentals, learning the terminology, understanding the concepts, and executing their assignments. Even though we still have a long way to go, our team is making tremendous strides and continues to get better every day. The biggest challenge so far is figuring out our team strengths. Our coaches are still learning our players’ strengths and weaknesses and identifying how to best utilize them in the new scheme.
Q: You also are dealing with a near complete roster turnover with heavy graduations from a year ago. However, have there been some areas of strength to step forward during the spring and summer?
A: It is a big roster turnover and coaching staff turnover. But the size of our roster has actually increased from last year due to players that haven’t played in a while returning to the sport. So more student-athletes are getting opportunities to show what they can do. It’s an opportunity more than a hurdle.