COVINGTON, Ga. -- For many, the football season doesn’t start in August. It starts now.
In the summer.
In the weight room.
At least for Alcovy football coach Chris Edgar, that’s where he’s hoping to see his young squad — particularly the players who get down in the trenches — once summer workouts begin in earnest the day after Memorial Day.
Edgar bases such an assessment, not only on what he’s seen over the winter and spring, but also what he noticed during Alcovy’s spring football game against Newton last Saturday.
“Well, Terrance (Banks) said they would try to pound people this year, and that’s exactly what they did to us,” Edgar said. “In the spring game, they beat us on both lines of scrimmage, and that’s something that we’ve really got to work on. Our offensive line, during this summer, is going to have to live in the weight room. We’re going to have to learn how to pick up assignments and blitzes and just not get pushed around.”
The concern up front didn’t just start with the Newton spring game, though. Last year during Edgar’s first season at the helm of Alcovy football, the Tigers got off to a fast 4-1 start, with its only loss being a closely contested 21-9 setback to a talented Eastside team.
Alcovy averaged 23 points per game in those four wins. It showed off skill position talent, and considerable speed on both sides of the ball. But it wasn’t until region play hit when the Tigers dropped all five of their region games by a combined score of 163-21 when Edgar realized what the difference between a good Alcovy team and a great Alcovy team would be.
“It’s always going to start up front,” Edgar said. “We return 90 percent of our skill, so we have some playmakers. But we’ve got to get better and stronger up front. That’s where we kind of got pushed around at during region play last year.”
And this is why, despite losing 27-0 to Newton in the spring scrimmage last week, Edgar was still able to find some takeaways.
“That’s the whole point of doing a scrimmage like this,” he said. “It’s to get on the field, to see what we have to work on and to get it on field so we can better evaluate it. And plus, Newton, that’s a good team they’ve got over there. They had Georgia and Clemson and all those guys out there to look at them for a reason.”
But Edgar said he liked the fight in his team.
“Our guys didn’t quit,” he said. “They fought. And they were upset at the loss, which I think it’s a good thing. They’ve known a lot of these guys, so it hurts whenever you have a bad result. But there was a lot of effort. They battled hard. They listened. They tried. But the film will show us that the main thing is we just have a lot of work we have to do this summer.”
Alcovy’s rising senior slash-guy Quindrelin Hammonds also doesn’t mind admitting that class is now in session, as he and his teammates prepare for homestretch workouts before the season comes.
“We have a lot of learning to do,” Hammond said. “We have a lot of young guys on the field. We’ve made our mistakes and we’re still learning, but I know we’re gonna get better.”
Hammonds was one of the key cogs in last year’s Alcovy resurgence. He played a little bit of everywhere, including quarterback, running back and receiver. And he expects to continue that role in 2017 as the team’s unquestioned leader.
“I want to definitely get better as a leader,” Hammonds said. “It’s one thing to go out and do it yourself, but when you can do it as a team, and do it as a group, it’s more fun. It feels good to go out and have success together. It doesn’t feel good when you’re out there trying to do it by yourself.”
Hammonds’ help will likely come in the form of rising junior quarterback Cameron Anderson, twin tailbacks Andrae and Adrian Robinson and rising senior wideout Darius Bowens, who Edgar says seems poised for a breakout season this year.
Alcovy will give its skill position players an opportunity to get better as well, starting this weekend, June 2-3, when the Tigers travel to Marietta High School for the annual Cam Newton 7 v 7 Tournament.
To be sure, younger, unproven players liter the roster, particularly at linebacker and on the lines. But Hammonds says that part of his team taking the next step in the new season will be how serious they take their summer work.
“We’ve just gotta motivate everybody,” he said. “We’ve got to motivate everyone, every day to come to practice and be ready to work hard. We’ve gotta remind the guys that we can’t come goofing around. It’s natural for young people to want to come in and have fun, but you’ve gotta know when to have fun and when to come in and get to work.”