Madison County’s Chris Smith may be new as a head coach, but his philosophy on winning is pretty old school — you got to put in the work.
The first-year head coach said he made it very clear to his players that he expected a commitment to the weight room this offseason.
His players listened.
A total of 53 earned the annual “men of summer” award, which was earned this year by attending the required 26 weight-lifting sessions during the summer.
“We’ve got to re-dedicate ourselves to the weight room,” said Smith. “We’ve got to get bigger, stronger, faster.”
Smith, who says he will have between 60 and 70 players on the varsity roster this year, said he was pleased with the effort his guys showed this summer. Players were offered a choice of attending 9 a.m. to noon or 5 to 8 p.m. weightlifting sessions, which were offered Mondays through Thursdays this summer.
Smith said the number of “men of summer” awards was about four times as much this summer as in recent years.
“I feel like it’s going to pay off,” he said. “In order to turn the program around, we’ve got to be committed there (in the weight room).”
Smith said he’s also expecting a lot this season from his 18 seniors.
“After spring practice, I told them that this was their team,” he said. “They have to step up and lead. They’re leaving their legacy behind this year and I expect them to be leaders. They responded well to that and did a great job over the summer.”
Madison County opened a five day “acclimation” period last week. Basically, the Georgia High School Association now wants football teams to practice five days without pads to get acclimated to the heat. Madison County was scheduled to open practice in pads Wednesday, Aug. 1.
The coach knows there’s a lot of work to do before the season opener Aug. 31 at home versus Oconee County. Madison County will travel to Athens Christian Aug. 24 for a pre-season scrimmage.
“It feels a little rushed,” said Smith of the short time between the start of practice and the first game. “You try to figure out where the summer has gone. But these kids have really worked their tails off this summer.”
Smith will try to solidify a depth chart in coming weeks. Plenty of positions remain up for grabs. The coach named only a handful of players who he feels have starting positions locked up, including sophomore quarterback T.J. Skelton, fullback Keidrick Curry and split end Staquavious Mack, middle linebacker Dustin Howard, strike end Tyler Colquitt and cornerback Kardashian Johnson.
Here are Madison County football players who met the minimum of 26 weightlifting workouts over the summer:
(Total individual workouts included next to name)