According to South Cobb coach Terry Jones, “Evaluation never stops.”
South Cobb is having to replace its top three producers from 2018, with quarterback Aeneas Dennis, running back Desmond McDowell and receiver Brysen Boone all having graduated.
Dennis threw for more than 1,200 and 13 touchdowns four South Cobb, which finished 2-8 last season. McDowell rushed for 503 yards and four touchdowns, while Boone tacked on 704 receiving yards and eight scores.
Finding replacements for the trio may be a tough thing to do, but the candidate list is long.
While sophomore Terrance Clark and senior Prince Jordan are battling for at quarterback, running back and wide receiver will be decided by committee. Jones said there are too many contributors to name.
“We just don’t have that dynamic guy,” Jones said, “and that may be a good thing.”
South Cobb is having to fill other voids as well, starting with two spots on the offensive line, at least two more on the defensive line and a couple in the secondary.
While the lack of experience on both sides of the ball has been a concern for South Cobb, Jones said the culture of the team is starting to change since he coming to the school in 2017.
Jones said this year's team is showing signs of being stronger, faster and more aggressive.
“We’re a tougher team than we were before,” he said. “Once, we played with more finesse, and now we’re starting to get over the hump and playing physical football. The kids are stronger. They’ve done a good job during the offseason in the weight room.”
Senior Ali Fard is arguably the most experienced skill player coming back this season. He rushed for nearly 300 yards as a backup running back, and he is expected to contribute in the secondary as well after finishing with 41 tackles.
South Cobb has three returning offensive linemen in Georgie Walker, Banji Bamidele and Trey Riley, who had a solid two weeks of spring practice. All three are expected to contribute on the defensive line as well.
South Cobb, which is looking for its first winning season since finishing 7-4 in 2012, won a combined four games in Jones’ first two years. The Eagles have been in games during Jones' regime, losing by an average of two touchdowns, but they have struggled to finish.
Knowing that his team is playing in Region 6AAAAAA against such strong opponents as Dalton, Harrison, Allatoona and Creekview, Jones set South Cobb with a tough non-region slate, opening at home against Pebblebrook and on the road against McEachern.
“The kids I have now are starting to trust the process,” Jones said. “They’re understanding what it takes here at South Cobb to be successful. Everybody who is a part of this program is ready to roll up their sleeves, get dirty and get to work.”