Madison County High School wrapped up spring practice with an instrasquad scrimmage Friday in Danielsville under new head coach Chris Smith.
Smith likes what he saw this spring — though there’s tons of work ahead.
“I thought we did well,” he said. “I was impressed. They worked hard.”
Smith said a major goal this spring was to ramp up the pace of practice.
“We’re going to practice at a faster pace,” he said. “Getting them to realize that and actual do it during the spring, I think that’s going to help out a lot when we roll into the fall practices.”
Smith spent part of the spring practices introducing players to the option spread the team will run in the fall. The coach said his players embraced it.
“They looked good at it, picking up mesh points with the pitch relationship and meshing with the fullback and the quarterback,” he said. “That was a bright spot. I didn’t know how well that would turn out.”
Smith will incorporate more wrinkles in the offense once fall practices opens Aug. 1.
“We’ve got other things that we’ll add in that we didn’t get to in the spring,” said the coach. “I just wanted to get the base offensive package in and we’ll come back and add some combination deals with our running game.”
One thing Raider fans can expect is a lot of motion by receivers, who will also share ball carrying duties.
“Any of the four receivers could go in motion,” said Smith. “So that creates problems for the defense, because they can’t key on one person going in motion. It kind of breaks tendencies sometimes as well … It will give us an opportunity to get the football in their hands besides just having to throw downfield. And they (the players) like that.”
The coach said the team will be young along the line of scrimmage, but he’s encouraged by what he saw during the spring.
“We’ve got some good-looking young linemen,” said Smith. “I think we have some kids we can develop there and give us some depth up there.”
Smith didn’t just focus on offense, noting that the team looked good on the other side of the ball.
“For the spring we did a good job, defensively too,” said the coach. “The kids picked up the pace on both sides of the ball.”
Madison County had 64 guys out this spring. Several players were academically eligible for practice this month, but Smith expects to get those players back in the fall. He is also speaking with others at the school about participating in football. He expects to enter fall practice with 75-80 players.
All players are expected to hit the weight room hard during the offseason. There are 36 possible lifting days this summer and players are expected to participate in at least 30.
“In order for us to win, we’ve got to be committed to the weight room,” said Smith.
Madison County will participate in camps at the University of Georgia, June 8; Jefferson, June 12; and Athens Christian, June 28. They will also take part in a passing league every Tuesday between May 29 and July 24. The team will hold 7-on-7 scrimmages with Oglethorpe County June 7 and 14.
Madison County’s opening game of 2012 will be Aug. 31 at home versus Oconee County.
Smith said his focus is on getting his guys to understand commitment.
“We’ve been preaching all spring about being committed and making sacrifices,” said the coach. “If you want to accomplish what you’ve never accomplished before, you’ve got to be willing to do things you’ve never done.”