Liberty County Panthers Head Football Coach Kirk Warner wants the momentum from spring football to continue to build heading into summer and the season.
“Spring practice was a blast. We had about 90 players out. Overall, a great young group of players also were out with us this spring,” he said. “If we commit to the weight room like we should four days a week we should have a great season. We are preparing to play 15 games this season.”
The Panthers are averaging 70-75 players for its 8-11:30 a.m. workouts Monday-Thursday at the school.
“We are really concentrating on increasing our speed and strength for this season. We are confident that this is going to be a good season for us, but getting faster and stronger only increases our confidence,” Warner said.
Every college scout knows about Panther middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan, but some of his teammates are getting recruiting opportunities of their own.
“We have had players going to camps all over. Players have gone to camp Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and Georgia Southern this year,” said Panthers defensive coordinator Derek Sills, who is entering his second year at LCHS. “Obviously, the Raekwons of the world are already noticed, but we want to put as many kids in college football as possible.”
“The best way to do that is expose them to the college football work ethic on the field and in the weight room. My one goal from the summer program is to make my Xs bigger, stronger and faster than your Os,” he added.
The Panthers’ training program is coordinated by Keith McGee, who also is the head track and field coach and is United States Weightlifting and National Strength and Conditioning Association-certified.
“Weight training can dramatically impact what players do on the football field,” he said. “The first major program that came out was ‘BFS,’ which means ‘Bigger, Faster, Stronger,’ which came from Nebraska when they were producing some of their best teams in the 1980s. Football has changed a lot from the 1980s, a lot of schools don’t have the size lineman for three yards and a cloud of dust. Today’s game relies much more on explosion and quickness.”
McGee’s program differs from most schools’ in that his is based on the lifts from the Olympic training center, which teaches more explosive and quick lifting techniques rather than typical, static lifts like the bench press.
“We still do bench, squat, incline, but we also do the Olympic snatch and jerks. The key thing is that we are building strength in athletes, but at the same time developing their fast-twitch muscles, which will help make them a better overall athlete,” McGee said.