Teaching and rehearsing the basic fundamentals was the top priority during spring practice and summer workouts. Now, they’re ready to get on with offensive and defensive schemes and figuring out depth charts.
First-year Campbell coach Ryan Brady would have preferred more offseason time to get himself acclimated.
Hired in mid-April to replace Harris Rainbow, Brady has hustled to establish his own culture. He compliments the Campbell players on how quickly they’ve adapted.
Even the assistants Brady retained from Rainbow’s staff have spoken highly on how productive the offseason has gone in the short time frame with Brady, formerly the defensive line coach at Hillgrove.
“(Everyone has) surprisingly bought into what we’re doing,” said Brady, who’s worked to install a spread offense and multiple defensive sets during his short offseason. “The guys who have stayed on staff said this is the best attendance of summer workouts we have had in some time, and that’s encouraging to me.”
At first, there was hardly any activity in the weight room, due to the coaching change. But Brady put an end to that when he hired McEachern strength and conditioning coach Brian Smith, and after several weeks of intense training during the summer, the Spartans are almost where they need to be in regards to strength and speed.
In their final week before practice officially begins, Brady said the Spartans will attend a camp at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville. Improving depth and shoring up its special teams will be Campbell’s primary objectives.
“We want to go up (to the camp) so we can get a good feeling on who will be two-deep offensive and defensively,” Brady said. “We want to start the process of building some depth and take a look at our special teams schemes.”
And as the preseason progresses, Campbell will continue seeking the right players to replace such key players as running back Mike Rogers, who rushed for 1,735 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, three-year starting quarterback Ricky James, and receiver Marlon Horne.
Kell will be also be in camp this week, albeit on its own field, hoping to have all its bases covered before the preseason begins. After graduating many of the starters from their Class AAAAA state semifinal team of a year ago, including safety Taylor Henkle, running back Jay Moxey and running back Julian Burris, a week of two-of-days should prove beneficial for the Longhorns.
Kell Derek Cook said he will use this week of camp to make tweaks offensively and defensively.
“We don’t want to slow down. We want to speed things up before we put on full pads,” Cook said. “To this point, I feel we’ve got some guys who are turning the corner in teams of learning from mistakes in a non-contact situation. It’s nice to see guys figuring out some things.”
Marietta coach Scott Burton is taking a different approach before practice starts. He’s giving his players a few days off, instead taking the coaching staff on a two-day retreat with no plans of discussing football.
Burton refers to this week as “the calm before the storm.”
“We’ve gone pretty hard all summer long,” Burton said. “We will allow them a few days off to get their legs out from under them. When we start on Friday. Hopefully, we will hit the ground running. We’re going to be going hard every day for four months, so this will be a nice little break.”