Clint Jenkins is determined to change the culture in the locker room at Morgan County High School.
The idea is centered around buying into the first-year head coach’s philosophy, which is to “be focused about the now.”
“Winning is a great goal, but right now, we don’t talk about that kind of stuff,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t talk about winning championships or making the playoffs at other places I’ve been, either. So, what we talk about with our kids is that they should be focused on the now.”
Jenkins is set to begin his first season as the head coach of the Bulldogs. He spent nearly the past decade at the helm of Dacula High School, which is where he had a lot of postseason success. He is returning to Morgan County, where he was an assistant from 2001 to 2009.
Morgan County posted a 6-5 overall record last season and qualified for the state playoffs. However, the Bulldogs made a quick first-round exit after losing 42-3 to Appling County. The program returns a lot of key playmakers from last year’s team and they have the capability to make another postseason run.
Nonetheless, Jenkins said his guys aren’t focused on that, and that they have bought into this new mentality he’s been preaching.
“You’ve got to learn from your mistakes and be focused on what’s right there in front of you,” Jenkins said. “Whether it’s in the weight room, at practice, or the play that’s going on. We want them to be the best ‘you, you can be.’ That’s been the formula for success in the past, so these kids are really focused on getting better everyday, which is what they need to do.”
Jenkins’ top priority this offseason was to get better at each and every checkpoint along the way.
"I think we’re getting better every day,” Jenkins said. “I kind of like to gauge from padded camp in June to padded camp in July to this first scrimmage, it can tell you a lot about where you are. So, I feel like we’ve been getting better, but the film won’t lie on Friday nights.”
The Bulldogs return two anchors on the offensive line in seniors Chance Reid and Dominic Frazzitta.
“We’ve got Chance (Reid) and Dominic (Frazzitta) upfront, who are the leaders on the offensive line,” Jenkins said. “Chance is an Air Force commitment and he’s done a great job of leading the younger guys. On the other hand, Dominic has really bought into what we’ve been preaching about over the last couple of months.”
Reid and Frazzitta have been instrumental in helping the rest of the team get adjusted into new systems on both sides of the ball. Each senior not only contributes on the offensive line, but also on the defensive front, too. They are two important players that can help the team succeed, which is something that Jenkins and the coaching staff can see happening.
Morgan County lost several skill players on the offensive side of the ball last season.
However, there are several returning upperclassmen that have the potential to have breakout years in 2021.
Junior tailback Jacere Cooper and senior wide receiver Ashton Cooper have the intangibles to make the Bulldogs’ new offense dynamic. Then, there’s sophomore quarterback Talan Fuller, who has been working with the offense and striving to get better since the start of summer workouts.
“I definitely think Jacere and Ashton continue to improve and continue to get more comfortable in a new system,” Jenkins said. “They can definitely do some special things on the field. I also think Talan (Fuller) has done a great job so far, too. He’s trying to lead and has been a good example out there. The biggest thing with him is to get out there and get some experience.”
Jenkins said that he thinks all three of those guys will be key contributors; nonetheless, he wants offensive coordinator Loren Purvis to bring in an old-style approach this season for
“If you can run the football, it’s going to set up the passing game for you,” Jenkins said. “We’re not as deep as we want to be, but we’ve got some good players in some spots. However, there’s just not a lot of depth at the skill positions. So, hopefully, this approach will give us some success.”
Jenkins, who is a defensive-minded coach, said that the defense is a little bit better off, despite having some inexperience in the secondary.
“We are having to move some guys around in the secondary, which can create some inexperience,” Jenkins said. “They have gotten better over the summer with more reps, but there’s not a lot of depth at those positions right now. So, that’s going to be a focal point as we move forward.”
Jenkins said that a lot of it is just getting the players accustomed to playing in a new scheme.
“First of all, we’ve got to be able to stop the run upfront,” Jenkins said. “I think that the defensive line and linebackers are going to help the secondary out tremendously. We’ve got some guys in the front seven who have some valuable experience. With that being said, we’ve got some key pieces.”
Frazzitta and Reid will be crossing over and playing on the defensive with sophomore Antavious Elder. Then, Key Malone, JP Pritchett, and Jacere Cooper will come out of the defensive backfield to disrupt plays. The Bulldogs’ secondary will round with Ashton Cooper and Rogers Clark manning the safety positions while several others will rotate in and out at cornerback.”
“It’s all just about repetition and finding the right pieces,” Jenkins said. “These guys have been working hard all summer, so the results will show on Friday nights.”
At the end of the day, however, Jenkins wants his team to take a new approach this season and develop a strong culture heading into the future of the program.
“Every year you’re climbing a mountain, so I feel like we are just moving away from base camp,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know what we can be, but I feel like we’ve got some potential. So, it just depends on how we work to fulfill it.”