“I think we’re ahead of where we were last year for sure,” Ranburne head football coach Chad Young said Tuesday night after the Bulldogs completed their allotted 7-on-7 days by throwing against visiting Randolph County earlier in the evening. “They’ve worked hard, worked all summer. … We’re going to give them the rest of this week off and start back up Monday and do those three days in helmets and try to work on special teams and our run game a little bit.”
Early last week, the Bulldogs attended a passing camp in Carrollton, Georgia. Saturday they went to Piedmont where the extra work the quarterbacks and receivers have put in over the summer showed. Ranburne finished second in its pool, losing only to Oneonta – last year’s Class 4A runner-up – 19-13. The Bulldogs defeated Anniston (31-30) and Gaston (13-12). Ranburne then reached the single-elimination tournament semifinals before falling to Piedmont.
“We don’t go to those things really to win. I don’t think anybody does,” Young said. “I think you go to compete and see what your kids will do when things are good and when things are bad. … It’s really good defensively, to work on what you’re going to do on third-and-medium and fourth-and-long because you know it’s a pass. … We work a lot on reading routes and knowing what our coverage is and what our responsibilities are so it helps us in that sense. Breaking to the right spot and what are we going to do when it’s a tackle situation, what kind of angle are we going to take, we work on that a lot during 7-on-7.”
A year ago at this time, Young made a commitment to revamp the Bulldogs’ offense by hiring Stephen Bailey as offensive coordinator. Bailey brought a scheme that used the pass more often than folks in Ranburne had witnessed in many years. There was a lot to be learned in a short time and all the repetitions by necessity went to the starters. Depth was at a premium.
“This year, we’ve been able to actually try to get some depth, to develop some people that can help us when we’re tired,” Young said. “Last year, we had to only work on our starters because it was so new, with a new offensive coordinator, basically changing all the passing game in just a couple of weeks because coach Bailey didn’t come until July. We couldn’t really focus on anybody but the people that were going to play the whole time. This year, we’ve been able to work a lot of kids and play some people that may not be starters but are going to play at some point in the game.”