QUITMAN –– Georgia High School Association (GHSA) sports teams are more than a month into summer workouts. Brooks County football coach Maurice Freeman is still concerned the impact not having spring practice will have on his team as it nears the regular season opener on Aug. 21.
Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools for the latter part of spring semester, dating back to mid-March, GHSA football teams did not have the chance to participate in spring drills. Freeman didn't have the chance to gauge the progress of his team's development over those 10 days because they weren't on the field. They weren't in full pads. That's what has made this summer so tough for the veteran coach.
“I don't feel like I've made a lot of progress (this summer) because I missed spring practice. Spring practice is my time for seeing progress with my guys. Now, this is the time you start to try to tune things,” Freeman said. “Without pads on, I can't really grade and monitor any progress. I don't consider anything we're doing as progress, just trying to maintain what we have.”
Freeman was especially disappointed he didn't get the opportunity to monitor the progress of his players in the trenches, a position group that's going to be young next season for the Trojans.
“We're young on the offensive line so anytime you're young on the line, you need those days of contact to see what you've got. Are they gun shy? Are they finesse guys? Are they physical brutes? We didn't get a chance to find that out,” Freeman said.
Expectations are once again high for the Trojans. They finished runners-up in Class AA last year. They dropped to Class A this year but are likely to clash with Irwin County and Clinch County for Region 2-A and state supremacy.
Like other school teams, the Trojans have been able to practice in groups of 50 and have intra-squad competition, as mandated by the GHSA. The GHSA has loosened restrictions since allowing teams to return for summer workouts on June 8.
“It's going slow but it's going,” Freeman said. “We're picking the pace up on things we can do. We can have more numbers so we're doing that. Just trying to continue to work out and be safe.”