The Bradwell Tiger football team started spring training earlier this year and, after a week of field training, the players retreated to the weight room throughout most of June and July. New head football coach Adam Carter said they will attend a camp and start working more on football drills this week, but the weight room still is a big part of his practice routine.
“We’ve been lifting four days a week and also conditioning,” Carter said. “But even when we get to Aug.1, we are still going to lift. We are not going to change that. … We’ve put a lot of emphasis on the weight room — that is my big thing, and I think it will be a big carryover to the field as far as getting our kids physically prepared.”
He said the work in the weight room pays off physically and mentally.
“If you would have seen the guys when I walked in here on April 26 versus now — the difference is huge right now,” he said. “Physically, they are coming along and they are enjoying it. They see the difference when they go home and look in the mirror. They see the difference, and when they see it, the result is, it makes them work harder. The difference that we’ve made in this short period of time is tremendous. They have bought into the program and it is paying off.”
Carter said he is taking the Tigers to the University of West Georgia on July 14 to attend a three-day intensive defense camp. They will return to normal two-hour workouts and, starting July 25, will start practicing in helmets. According to the Georgia High School Association, they can wear pads and gear Aug. 1.
Carter said they participated in a seven-on-seven passing camp in Brunswick earlier this summer.
“It was a learning experience for our kids,” he said, adding that for some of the players, it was their first passing camp since their freshman season.
Carter said he is comfortable with the 11 players he has chosen to be his starters offensively and defensively. He added he has some guys who can serve as his second group should the need arise, but he also still is evaluating the rest of the bench. “There are needs and that is what this camp for,” the coach said of the upcoming trip. “I told them this camp will let us know who can play on a Friday night and who can’t. When we get back from camp, we will have a better idea. We do have guys that are going to play both ways because we are going to put the best we have out on the field, and that is why we’ve been conditioning the whole summer.”
He said his offensive linemen have been trained to play at every spot on the line.
“Same is true for our defensive line and our linebackers, so we don’t have to necessarily be two deep at every position because we’ve got roll guys,” Carter said. “What is promising is that we have a lot of underclassman that are going to play, and that is a good thing for us now and that is a good thing for our future.”
The Tigers open the season at Donell Woods Stadium against Liberty County High School. Carter knows it’s a big game in terms of local bragging rights, but he said there is a bigger picture he wants to make sure his team stays focused on.
“When you play a game of that magnitude early on, you have to have a mature football team for the rest of the season. I mean, somebody has to win the game and somebody has to lose. There isn’t go to be a tie,” he said. “We have to be able to respond from either situation. Obviously, we want to win the football game. If you win the football game, there is going to be an emotional high, which, hopefully, we can ride through the season, but off that emotional high, there can’t be a letdown the very next week. Having the first game of the season be that big of a game emotionally and mentally … it is up to us as coaches to get them through that. We have nine more game left, and our main goal is to make the playoffs, and we have to make sure we are keeping our mind set in making the playoffs through all 10 games.”
He said the kids need to understand that, win or lose, the game against Liberty doesn’t affect the Tigers’ playoff run.
“Our season is not based around week one. It is big for the community and big for our school and big for the kids, but it doesn’t affect us making the playoffs, and that is our long-term goal. We want to be playing come week 11,” he said.