Since it last stepped off the field, the Rockdale football team has had a tumultuous time.
Monday the Bulldogs took a step away from the stress of coaching changes and controversy getting back to just football.
Rockdale opened its 2012 spring practices under interim coach Kevin Rogers who comes over from his role as Rockdale High Assistant Principal to help guide what is a young football team.
The Bulldogs finished 1-9 in 2011, losing their final nine contests. Last year's squad was the first in four years to play without the star trio of Grady Jarrett, Jerry Mathis and Neville Hewitt.
Jarrett played at Clemson, Mathis at Furman and Hewitt displayed his talent for the likes of Alabama and other DI schools while at Georgia Military as the Bulldogs tried to nurture a group of youngsters.
Rockdale has shown signs of maturation and improvement in the first week of spring practice under the guidance of Rogers.
"We've got a good young group; a very talented group of young men," Rogers said. "I see good things from them, if not right away than in the future.
"We're taking one thing at a time we're seeing a lot of positiveness out here, seeing young men hustling and seeing a lot of guys who are hungry, who are committed to some things and they want to be successful."
There are plenty of upcoming juniors and sophomores on Rockale's roster who can provide a season of success or potential in the Bulldogs' first year in the state's biggest classification, AAAAAA.
Before they get there, however, Rogers is working the Bulldogs on the fundamental. Rockdale has been hard at work at the basics of tackling, blocking, throwing and catching.
"We've been just keeping with the fundamentals," Rogers said. "We're sticking with the fundamentals of blocking, catching, holding the ball while running and tackling."
Rogers is acting as the steward of Rockdale football until the school can hire a new coach after Mario Allen was let go April 23.
Allen was brought in to replace Etheridge but an investigation uncovered recruiting violations that led to RCHS not bringing him on to start the 2012 season.
After Allen was let go, Rogers was asked to add to his duties as assistant principal and help lead the football players. A task he had done before moving to the school's administration as a former Bulldogs' assistant coach.
"I enjoy it for the short time," Rogers said. "I'm really enjoying it. Anything to help the kids we're doing this for the kids."