Tigers get plenty of time on field
LAGRANGE – The process continues.
Everything the Troup Tigers are doing at the moment is about preparing for a football season that is a little more than two months away.
On Thursday, the Tigers took another step toward getting ready for the Aug. 19 season opener when they hosted a team camp at the school’s practice field.
Troup was joined by Northside-Columbus and Marion County in the camp that gave the players from each of those teams plenty of time on the field.
The camp began at 10 am., and it wrapped up at 2 p.m. under a sweltering sun, although a slight breeze helped to cool things off a bit, but not a whole lot.
The Tigers began their summer program nearly three weeks ago, and Thursday marked the first time they had a chance to go up against another team.
Kelby Holt, Troup’s offensive coordinator, said it was a welcome change of pace.
“They look forward to this just as much as us coaches do,” Holt said. “They get tired of competing against each other. They want to compete against some other people and see where they stand.”
The Tigers, predictably, are a lot further along this summer than they were a year ago this time.
Last June, the players were still getting to know their head coach, Tanner Glisson, as well as a handful of other new members of the staff, including Holt.
Holt was trying to install a new offense a year ago while he was still learning the names of all the players.
Now, Holt has been with the players for more than a year, and there’s obviously a familiarity that wasn’t there last summer.
It also helped that, unlike last year, Troup held a spring practice, giving the players and coaches two weeks of valuable field time together.
“We know the guys’ names, and know where they can actually play, and we actually went through the spring,” Holt said. “We’re light years ahead of where we were last year this time.”
Holt said the whole process is a lot more streamlined this year.
“They know what to do,” Holt said. “It’s a year of being around them. They know me. We’re all on the same page.”
One of the players who has benefited from being in the system for a year is quarterback Montez Crowe, who saw significant playing time as a sophomore last year.
Crowe made tremendous strides as the season went along, and he was at quarterback when Troup won its one and only game in the season finale against Whitewater.
Holt said Crowe is doing everything it takes to be a big-time high-school quarterback.
“He’s developing,” Holt said. “He’s going to take what you say, and he’s going to learn it. He’s always here on time. He works hard in the weight room. He does all the little things right, just to make himself better. He doesn’t take it for granted like a lot of kids do.”
During Thursday’s camp, Crowe and incoming freshman quarterback Kobe Hudson split the snaps, and Holt said that will continue through the summer.
“He’s getting a lot of the reps,” Holt said of Hudson. “Right now we’re kind of playing them both. Kobe does some things that Crowe can’t do, and Crowe does some things that Kobe can’t do. Right now, we’re letting them both play and compete. And they feed off of each other, which is good.”
One man who will be on the field a lot this fall is senior running back Camren Russell, who was one of the team’s top play-makers a year ago.
Russell had a handful of explosive plays on Thursday, including one long touchdown run where he left Northside’s defenders in his wake.
Holt said Russell and wide receiver Chanse Hill both exceled on Thursday.
“Cam last year was our most explosive guy on offense,” Holt said. “He was averaging 16 yards when he touched the ball. People probably didn’t see that a lot with the other people we had, but he was very explosive. And I think Chanse Hill had one of his best days on offense out here, too. He caught some really good balls, and ran some really good routes.”
Troup will have team camps the next two Thursday, one at Harris County and one at home, and it will also host a seven-on-seven competition against Callaway.
Troup will then take some time off for the Georgia High School Association-mandated dead week the week of July 4, and it will resume its summer schedule on July 11.
Preseason practice officially begins on July 25, and Troup opens its season on Aug. 19 at Hardaway.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports