The Long County High School football team wrapped up spring football Friday with the annual Blue and White game.
New head coach Eric McNair said the two weeks of practice were very productive and the players did much better than he expected.
“The boys were fired up about the new scheme and flying around. Honestly, we had to go to shells a couple of days to keep from getting banged up … the greatest thing is, we did not have to coach effort and hustle. The kids did that on their own,” he said.
McNair said that 68 players completed spring training, with eight new players in grades 10 through 12 and 17 new ninth-graders. He also said that during the two-week period, the team worked on a new spread offense and a “50” defense. Even though the team was familiar with the new sets, McNair said there were new aspects installed. The coach also said that the players were very aggressive throughout the practices.
“We wanted the guys to be very physical and fly to the football. I feel like we accomplished this and have a great base to build on this summer and lead into the fall,” McNair said.
Friday’s game was the culmination of the team’s hard work, he said, and McNair said he was pleased with what he saw on the field.
“I was probably the most pleased with the improvement in the passing game,” he said. “We installed the new offense with new passing concepts and the kids took hold … we threw, made our reads, and our receivers made some great plays.”
McNair also was pleased with his team’s defensive play.
“I see a lot of improvement in the defensive front and linebackers. We will utilize a lot of slanting and blitzing, and I saw our guys doing a great job adapting to that,” the coach said. “I also saw some young players stepping up in key roles throughout the team.”
However, McNair also said there were a few areas of inconsistency Friday.
“I thought the offensive line and defensive secondary had an inconsistent performance,” he said. “We have some veteran guys on the offensive line that had on-and-off performance. We have a lot of new guys in the secondary, which is going to cause growing pains … however, for only nine days of preparation, you can expect inconsistent play. All in all, for our spring, our staff is very pleased.”
The Blue and White game over, the coaches now look to start preparing for the summer program.
McNair said the team will work out with weights three times each week in June and four times per week in July.
He said that throughout these workouts, the staff also will work on football. He said there will be some 7-on-7 passing competitions and a lineman challenge.
In July, a defensive camp will take place in Burke County with the Blue Tide going against the host school and Washington County.
“Summer weights is paramount to the success of our program, we will hang our hats on our strength-and-conditioning program … we will not be outworked by anyone. So far, our kids have bought into what we are doing and the sky is the limit for them,” McNair said.