Troup hosts South Atlanta
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – Troup’s Kobe Hudson still has three seasons of high-school football to play, but he is already one of the area’s most heavily-recruited players.
Hudson, a wide receiver, had a breakout freshman season, and he’ll be a critical piece of the puzzle this fall as the Tigers look to improve on their 8-3 record from a year ago.
On Tuesday, Hudson and his teammates were on the field for an 11-on-11 scrimmage against South Atlanta.
Hudson showed why he so highly-regarded when he caught a touchdown pass from another one of Troup’s elite players, quarterback Montez Crowe.
The defender had decent coverage, but Hudson went up and grabbed the ball, and he came down in bounds and scored the touchdown.
Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said that play is a continuation of some exemplary work Hudson has been doing since the start of the summer program.
“I think Kobe Hudson has had probably the best two weeks that he’s had since I’ve been here,” Glisson said. “He has gone to work. We’re really pleased with the strides he’s making.”
Right before Hudson’s touchdown, Troup tight end Kenly Bridwell provided a highlight of his own.
On third down, Crowe rifled the ball up the middle, and Bridwell made the catch in traffic for the first down to keep the drive alive.
“He has improved leaps and bounds,” Glisson said. “He’s a kid that didn’t play football up until last year. He creates a mismatch with everybody. It’s hard for safeties and linebackers to cover him, because he’s more like a wide receiver playing tight end.”
It was the first time the Tigers were in a competitive situation since they played the Callaway Cavaliers in their spring game last month.
The Tigers were short-handed that night because of injuries, and Glisson was glad to see a full complement of players on Tuesday.
“It was good to have (linebacker) Nick Ligon and (wide receiver) MaCenta Stafford back out there,” Glisson said. “That makes a big, big difference for us. We didn’t have them during the spring. Those are our emotional leaders, and our hard hitters. They just kind of get everybody fired up a little bit and moving a little bit. It was good to have those guys.”
While linebacker Kevin Martin was available during the spring, he was dealing with a shoulder injury, and he was playing free and easy on Tuesday.
“It was just good to get back out there, and have a healthy Kevin Martin,” Glisson said. “He nursed that separated shoulder, and still played in the game, but wasn’t 100 percent.”
Martin and the other defenders were dealing with a talented South Atlanta offense that featured an option attack.
“The triple option that they run is something we don’t see much, so we wanted to get involved with it, just because we’re playing some Wing-T teams,” Glisson said. “It’s good to have a little background knowledge, and be up on that a little bit.”
One thing Glisson feels could be a huge benefit for the Tigers moving forward is the depth on the roster.
While the Tigers enjoyed an exceptional 2016 season, Glisson felt having so many players going both ways cost them toward the end of the year.
“It appears that we have more depth than we’ve had in the past,” Glisson said. “It allows us to hopefully keep people fresh.”
Some of the team’s top players rarely left the field last season.
“I think one big thing that hurt us, we went kind of all in early in the season to make sure we got off to a good start,” Glisson said. “We ended up putting a lot of miles on Ken Truitt, and Chanse Hill, and Cam Russell. I think toward the latter part of the season, after Sandy Creek and probably starting about with Cedartown, we started getting fatigued. And I think that kind of hurt us.
“People talk about having people going both ways in the game and all, and that’s true,” Glisson added. “But you also have them going both ways in practice, too. So that puts a lot of mileage on those guys. So hopefully with the depth we have, and it’ll help us on special teams and all, it’ll help.”
Northside was supposed to be at Troup on Tuesday as well, but it pulled out over concerns over the weather.
Northside will instead come to Troup on Tuesday for a 11-on-11 scrimmage. Also next week, Troup will participate in a seven-on-seven passing camp.
“I like the 11-on-11 much better than the seven-on-seven,” Glisson said. “Seven-on-seven, everybody knows it’s pass. You’ve got a linebacker dropping 20 yards deep. It is what it is.”
As for the South Atlanta scrimmage, Glisson said it was a success.
“We got exactly what we wanted to get,” Glisson said. “Nobody got hurt, nobody got beat up. So it was a really good day for both teams.”