August 2, 2013

Prep football: Bruins are on the move

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of reports from area high school football programs’ preseason camps. We will visit the remaining local teams in the coming days.

TUNNEL HILL — Thursday marked the beginning of full-contact practices for Georgia High School Association football teams.

It was also the first time this year Northwest Whitfield could replicate the game-night version of its fast-paced offense.

Throughout the summer, the Bruins have participated in seven-on-seven games and other drills that simulate Friday night competition, and they’ve had five days over the past week to work out in helmets, T-shirts and shorts. But the close of Thursday’s practice was the first time during the offseason or preseason Northwest went 11-on-11 in full pads while using offensive coordinator David Crane’s no-huddle, up-tempo style.

“We didn’t count them, but I think we ran 50-60 plays in a 15-minute span with basically our starters against each other,” Bruins coach Josh Robinson said. “Some of the things were sloppy because of that, but at the same time, while we understand it will be sloppy, it has to get fixed.

“I told coach Crane, ‘Run them as fast as possible.’”

The past two seasons, Robinson’s first two as head coach, ended in disappointment for Northwest despite the Bruins finishing with a 6-4 record each year. The reason why was that neither mark was good enough to reach the Class 4A state playoffs. In 2011, the Bruins lost Region 7-4A games to Rome, 14-13, and Johns Creek, 24-18, when a win in either would have resulted in Northwest reaching the playoffs.

In 2012, Northwest lost 40-37 in triple overtime to Gilmer in the season finale when a win would have assured the Bruins of a spot in the playoffs.

The postseason is the goal for the Bruins in 2013, and Robinson said the first real glimpse of this year’s team was a pleasant one.

“We had some really good moments on both sides of the ball, and some really ugly moments on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We’ve conditioned. We’ve ran a lot. We have seven-on-seven, 100 different things (to prepare during the offseason). Our linemen ran a lot this summer. But there’s no way to truly prepare you for a game-like situation.”

The end of Thursday’s practice was an attempt to create that feel, though. Robinson said it was the first chance to force a tempo even faster than what players will experience on Friday nights in order to get them comfortable with the speed. Some already are experienced in that regard — like talented wide receivers Tevin McDaniel and Andy Whisenant, who each made The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Football Team — but junior Caleb Shiflett is getting his first taste of what being the starting quarterback is about in Northwest’s system.

“The shorts and helmet-only period, we didn’t do a lot of team stuff,” Robinson said. “I didn’t want to get anyone hurt. I just didn’t see a lot of good coming out of it. So we did a lot of seven-on-seven ... just that kind of stuff.

“Caleb had some work with plays and our system during the spring, but we didn’t go this fast at spring practice.”

Caleb Bowie, a senior defensive end, said the first practice in pads and going “100 percent” always brings the most fatigue. He also said practicing against Northwest’s offense makes it easier for he and his defensive teammates when playing opponents who play at the same pace or a slower one.

“We get used to going against this fast offense, and it’s easier for us,” Bowie said. “We can think about what we’re doing, read our keys and listen to the calls on defense.”

Text Only
  • DSCsoccer2.jpg Ready to get started: Roadrunners add Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh called Kerem Daser a good “fit” as the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CreekFootball.jpg Coahulla Creek enters new era with Barger

    VARNELL — With just two varsity football seasons to its credit and little success in the win column so far, Coahulla Creek High School doesn’t yet have what one would call a proud football history.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rush turning to Gold's

    Dalton is gaining a Gold’s Gym, but losing The Rush Fitness Complex.

    July 30, 2014

  • Dalton State College hires Kerem Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday that Kerem Daser, a veteran soccer coach, is the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 29, 2014

  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014