Week of inaction is underway

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, July 1, 2009

After this week, high school football coaches and teams throughout the state of Georgia will start turning their complete focus toward the upcoming season.

The week of the July 4 holiday each year is designated as a dead period by the Georgia High School Association. No team is able to do anything in the weight room or on the field during the week.

Recently coach Ed Pilcher’s 2009 Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team has been working out some in the weight room.

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In addition, the quarterbacks and receivers have been doing a little throwing and catching in shorts.

Top receivers coming out of spring practice were senior James Hudson, who also plays quarterback; junior Sean Samuel, who plays in the defensive secondary; seniors Sylvester Byrd, Justin Harris and Derrick “D.J.” Stubbs and junior Clifford Johnson.

When the Bearcats do throw, which is not often in the split-back veer offense, there is a good chance the receivers will be open.

During spring practice, I was very impressed with the way three quarterbacks, junior Rohan Gaines, Hudson and sophomore Steven Bench, ran the split-back veer. They all made the correct reads time after time.

In the split-back veer, the quarterback has to decide which of three options to employ after looking at how the opposing defense is set up. He can either keep the ball himself on an option run, hand off or pitch out to a running back, or drop back to pass.

The key to any offense executing successfully is the play of the offensive line and the Bearcats have a good one anchored by returning senior center starter Jackson Kendrick.

Coaching the offensive line this fall will be coach Steve Bench, who built the offensive lines for Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones’ two state Class AAA championship teams, the 1982 Bearcats and 1990 Cairo High School Syrupmakers.

Key offensive linemen in addition to Kendrick returning for the Bearcats this fall are senior Brian Digby, and juniors Jim Griffin, Quatavaus Middlebook, Ridge Piechota and Bill Holt.

Senior Daniel Bivins, one of the Bearcats more versatile defensive players, will see action at linebacker and on the defensive line.

The Bearcats special teams are in good shape with the return of junior place kicker and punter Keenan Adams. He was strong in both areas of the kicking game last season.

Senior Jonathan Warren will join Samuel as one of the key returnees in the defensive secondary.

All in all, I’m excited about the upcoming Bearcats football season. I’m not going to make any prediction about what the record will be, but I will guarantee you one thing. No team the Bearcats play will be better prepared than the Bearcats.

I have just known and worked with coach Pilcher for about a year and a half, but during that time I have gained a lot of respect for him. His workouts, whether lifting in the weight room or working out on the field, are intense.

When the dead period ends, it will be full speed ahead.