The loud pops of players hitting one another at full speed and whistles being blown by coaches could be heard all throughout Bill Corry Stadium in the mid-morning hours this week in Madison.
All those sounds indicate that Morgan County football is back in full swing after a week-long layoff to start the month because of the GHSA’s mandated dead week.
With the season starting in just over a month, the Bulldogs hosted a three-day football camp, which started on Monday, July 12, and ran through Wednesday afternoon.
A couple of schools in the surrounding area participated, including Alcovy High School, Social Circle and Franklin County. All three programs made the trip to Madison this past week to partake in drills. All the players from every school dressed out in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.
MCHS first-year head coach Clint Jenkins was excited to see his players engaging in a fast-paced style of play again.
“The GHSA only allows two of these padded camps per summer,” Jenkins said. “So, they are two days and there’s only a certain amount of time you can be out there. You know, it’s thud-level contact, which is permitted. The great thing about it is you get the full 11-on-11 experience.”
Jenkins said the Bulldogs participated in their first padded camp in Habersham County in late June, which was the last time he saw his team get to run full-speed against competition.
“We are two weeks off of that camp in Habersham,” Jenkins added. “And what I like about it is that we will be in full pads in another two weeks. So, these kinds of padded camps kind of give you a measuring stick of what we are. It makes us ask, are we improving? It leads into our player evaluations.”
Jenkins said that the Morgan County coaching staff did their previous player assessments following an abbreviated spring practice schedule.
“The coaching staff will do another round after this padded camp,” Jenkins said. “We will talk about their strengths and weaknesses, obviously with each specific player.”
There were some positive takeaways from this week’s camp, including some big-time plays for Morgan’s skill players and an impressive performance by the offensive line. Several Bulldog defenders also made some big-time stops against other teams’ offensive skill players.
“I thought we did a great job,” Jenkins said. “I feel like we are better than we were at the padded camp that was held a couple of weeks ago, which is what you want to see.”
However, despite all the positive takeaways, the Bulldogs still have a long way to go until the start of the season. Nonetheless, progress is being made in Morgan County under the direction of Jenkins.
“Our kids are doing a really good job with the concepts, and what we are asking them to do, and how we’re asking them to do it,” Jenkins said. “I told them at the end of the first day, ‘we have to come back even better tomorrow.’ That’s always the measuring stick of this entire process.”
The Bulldogs appear to be responding well to the coaching transition, especially the upperclassmen, who have spent the past few years in another system. Now, the entire team is having to learn brand new schemes and concepts on both sides of the ball. That part usually takes time to fully understand, but the players seem to be grasping the hang of the new installs.
“We’ve got to get to the point where we are playing fast all of the time,” Jenkins said. “But, that’s just going to come with reps. We don’t play fast on offense or defense all the time right now. That’s where we as coaches have to get the players feeling comfortable with what they’re doing and teach them their assignments. So, that’s just where we are at right now.”
Morgan County will begin its season at Greene County on Friday, Aug. 20, in Greensboro at Tiger Stadium.