There’s at least one sign that Madison County’s 2009 campaign might go better than last year’s 2-8 affair:
Everyone’s getting along better.
“It seems to be a little more cohesive group this year,” sixth-year coach Randell Owens said. “The 11th and 12th grade group seems to be a lot tighter. A lot more unified.”
Madison County suffered its first losing season under Owens last year, losing its last seven games of 2008.
As the team prepared to head to team camp at West Georgia this past week, Owens said this year’s group appears to be without the divisions that perhaps hindered previous squads.
“It seems like a closer-knit group without some of the factions that we’ve had in the past that we were trying to pull together and get on the same page,” he said. “It’s been encouraging.”
The team left Monday for West Georgia and was scheduled to return Wednesday.
Owens said he’s seen better chemistry throughout off-season workouts, which included several passing league dates and weightlifting sessions throughout June and July.
He hopes that bodes well for the 2009 season, which kicks off in a mere 29 days.
“I think the best way to say it is that we’re working with a group of kids that genuinely like each other for the most part,” he said.
•Owens liked what he saw in his team’s seven-on-seven passing league sessions the past two months, though Madison County was rarely at full strength due to several players with multi-sport obligations. “Getting everybody on the same day was probably more challenging than usual,” Owens said.
•Preseason practice starts Aug. 3, but no two-a-day workouts are planned. The GHSA has implemented rules to steer teams away from two-a-days and more towards heat acclimation amid concerns about heat-related exhaustion. So Madison County decided to scrap two-a-days altogether. “We said, let’s just don’t battle it,” Owens said. “Let’s just go one-a-days.”