THOUGH spring has brought many changes to Jefferson football, first-year head coach Ben Hall says the Dragons will stick with what works.
T. McFerrin may have retired after last season’s state championship run, but his spirit remains in the way the new coaching staff conducts practice.
“We were used to the practice schedule, so we just picked up where we left off,” said Hall. “We didn’t want to change too much. We didn’t want to spend a lot of time with the kids trying to go over a completely new routine – it’s not like we didn’t agree with what we were doing before. It worked, so we want to stick with it.”
Hall, previously the defensive coordinator, says the transition to head coach has gone smoothly. Other changes to the coaching staff this spring were the additions of receiver coach Brian Moore and defensive coordinator Cory Dickerson.
Moore was previously the head coach and most recently the athletic director at Apalachee High School. Dickerson finished last season as the defensive coordinator at South Gwinnett High School.
“The kids have adapted well and everybody’s excited about having those guys out there,” Hall added.
When asked how the prestige of a state championship has affected the Dragons, Hall noted that the team has grown to approximately 95 members, as compared to last year’s 85.
“We may have a dozen or more players than we had last year,” Hall said. “A few of the upperclassmen who didn’t play last year have come out, and actually some that could contribute.”
Hall touted his upcoming senior class for stepping up as leaders this spring. He pointed specifically to defensive end Tyler Bowen, tight end Donnie Hatfield, fullback Tristan Jackson and offensive linemen Jordan Tyler, Ethan Hix and Eil Griffin – all of whom received substantial playing time last season.
“They’ve done a super job of filling the leadership roles,” Hall said. “They are doing what you want your senior class to do.”
He also pointed to sophomore Evan Shirreffs as the projected starting Dragon quarterback for 2013.
As far as offensive and defensive schemes are concerned, Hall is sticking with the Dragons’ bread and butter – a base I-form offense and a multiple 4-3 defense.
“We adapt to the personnel every year, but our foundation stays the same,” he added.
Jefferson spring training comes to a close today (Wednesday), but the preseason is just getting under way.
The Dragons will be in the weight room four days a week throughout the summer and will attend four 7-on-7 competitions.