Grangers try something different

Published 11:53 am Saturday, June 22, 2019


Daily News

He wanted to shake things up.

The LaGrange High football players have been working hard this summer, and head coach Chuck Gibbs decided to throw a little spice into the schedule last week.

LaGrange’s players were split into teams, and they took turns pushing a pair of pick-up trucks up a hill at the school.

“We’re doing it in senior parking, and we’re blasting the radios, and the kids are screaming,” Gibbs said. “By the time we got to our championship push, the kids had already done it six times, and we pushed them uphill. So they were tired. By the time we got done, we had about 75 spectators that had stopped and pulled in down by the baseball field, and they were honking their horns, and hooting and hollering. It was fun. It was a blast.”

Gibbs added that “summer

workouts can get real tough and monotonous. If you don’t liven it up, the kids will get burned out real quick.”

The contest capped a productive week of practice for the Grangers, who are preparing for their second season with Gibbs at the helm.

“This week topped last week, and last week topped any week since I’ve been here,” Gibbs said.

On Friday, Gibbs hosted some of the team’s key players at his lake home in Alabama.

The members of the team’s leadership council, players who have excelled in all aspects of student life, joined their coach for some relaxing time on the water.

“They’re up here having a blast, and breaking bread together, and starting to realize that they have the ability to set themselves apart, and be a part of changing the culture,” Gibbs said.

The Grangers began their summer schedule earlier this month, and it’s been a busy and productive few weeks for the players.

“We’ve been on the field for 90 minutes every morning,” Gibbs said. “So we’ve gotten an opportunity to go through and work on our terminology, and get them used to the new voices, new coaching staff. And everybody’s settling into the scheme and how things work together. It’s been really fun. It’s been one of the most fun summers I’ve had coaching.”

With a handful of new people on staff, the summer has given the players an opportunity to get familiar with the new coaches, and vice versa.

One of the new staff members is LaGrange High graduate Tyler Eady, who is the new strength and conditioning coach.

Gibbs is glad to have someone he can depend on to handle that critical responsibility.

“It’s been great for me,” Gibbs said. “He and I run the same system, the same program in the weight room. I can designate it fully to him, and I don’t have to spend the time worrying about it.”

Eady began his coaching career at the University of Alabama, and he was the strength and conditioning coach at Charles Henderson High in Troy, Ala. before returning to his hometown.

“Eady has done it at Alabama,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think a lot of high-school coaches realize the tempo that’s expected out of the college and the professional game.”

The work continues next week with LaGrange hitting the road for some on-the-field activities.

“Next week, we’ve got an (organized team activity) with Northside, we’ve got an OTA with Auburn and Valley, and Wednesday we’ve got a padded camp with six teams,” Gibbs said. “It gives us three hard days, football days, and then my freshmen are doing a seven-on-seven tourney with Phenix City and Opelika and Prattville.”

The players will take some time off the following week for the Georgia High School Association-mandated dead week.

While the players will get to step away for a few days, Gibbs said the coaches will use that time to take a close look at the film from next week’s camps.

“I’ll have four days of film where we’re going to get our kids playing and competing,” Gibbs said. “That way over the break I’ve got all my coaches that we’ll have an opportunity to spend a week going through our film and getting ready. A lot of our coaches don’t necessarily know their players. They know ‘em, but you don’t know a lot about them until you put pads on. At least seeing them in their run fits, and coverage skills, and OTAs, and the padded camp, that gives us a look. I set it up this way to give us as much ammunition, and as much home work for the coaching staff that we can do over the break, so that when we get back after the dead period, we can really be focused on the few things that we need to get done in the month of July before the regular season starts.”

LaGrange will host a padded camp at Callaway Stadium on July 22-23 before beginning official preseason practice on Aug. 25.

LaGrange has a preseason game against Kendrick on Aug. 15 before opening the regular season at Heard County on Aug. 23.