Some high school athletes use the summer to rest their bodies, play travel ball or simply to have fun. Alcovy’s football team hasn’t used either of those luxuries coming off a season that saw them go 0-10.
The Tigers have been hard at work this summer, traveling to compete in seven-on-sevens and maintaining a constant presence in the weight room to the point that the team lifts and runs four days a week. Head coach Kirk Hoffman says his focus before the summer was for the tem not to miss a day in the weight room for any reason.
“We’ve had a pretty good summer. I’ve been real pleased with the kids’ effort. We’ve probably worked them as hard as we’ve worked them in a long time,” Hoffman said.
From UGA to Kennesaw, the Tigers have competed tenaciously in seven-on-seven drills. After finishing up at a camp, the Tigers head back home and get right back in the weight room. Hoffman says even when the team hasn’t performed well, the effort has been there.
“The effort from the first one (seven-on-seven) we went to at Georgia to the one we did [Tuesday] you could just see so much more effort,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman says that he just wants to make sure his kids compete and that’s been the main topic in their conversations this summer.
“Every down we wanna compete,” Hoffman said.
“The biggest thing about what summer workout does is you start getting some team coherency. The teams starts coming together at least that’s what we’ve gotten so far. We feel like as a team we’ve really come together as one,” he added.
In addition to working out in the weight room, Alcovy worked a lot on agility and footwork as well. With such a young team, Hoffman has been trying to get his guys as much as experience as possible. Most teams don’t take a lot of players to seven-on-seven tournaments, but the Tigers have taken 30 to 40 players and sometimes fielded two teams. They played 11 games on Tuesday, rotating as many guys in as possible to allow them to compete and get experience.
“Some of ‘em probably didn’t need to be there, but they stepped up and did an outstanding job,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman noted that seniors Dalton Carter and Jarrett Mobley have led the team on the offensive line, saying he’s pleased with their work ethic. Other players such as Elija Godwin, Robert Black, Chris Stewart and James Bell have had a tremendous impact on the team.
Last year’s running back Kenyon Kelley signed to Methodist and Stewart, Godwin and Bell will all compete to be the No. 1 option with the likely outcome being that the Tigers use their entire stable of backs to run the rock.
On the defensive side of the ball the Tigers will look to replace standout safety D’Anthony Bell.
“It’s hard to replace a D’Anthony Bell,” Hoffman said before naming a few guys who had stepped up this summer and could potentially fill his role such as Black.
After one month, Hoffman feels like they’ve got kids in the right position. He says when they get to put the pads on it’ll be huge to see who’s gonna play where and who’s separate themselves from the rest of the team.
The last time the Tigers had a year like this was 2010, when they went 1-9. Next year, in 2011, Alcovy secured a five-game win total improvement finishing the season with a 6-5 record and a trip to the state playoffs. Hoffman says the team could see a similar improvement this season if they continue to build and get better every week.
“If we get better every week we got a chance to be one of those four teams that gets to play the 11th week,” Hoffman said. “Every team in the state has that same ability. I think the key for us, like every team, is can we go out and every get better and better to where we’re playing our best football at the end?”