Bulldogs hit practice field gearing up for the gridiron

Friday, August 1, 2014
Jamie Crowell (1) hurdles a defender while running the ball during Oklahoma Drill. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After posting a 6-5 record last season and making the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Cornersville Bulldogs began to set their sights on the start of the 2014 football campaign this week when they wore full pads for the first time in practice.

Entering his second season as CHS' head coach, John Denton believes that his team has become more comfortable with his practice regimen and has been able to build on last year's progress.

'Way ahead'

Justin Black (25) makes a tough catch during a 7-on-7 passing drill.

"There has been some carryover from last year so that's been nice. We're way ahead of where we were last year. We've changed a few things to keep practice interesting, but we also have a set routine that the kids are used too," said Denton. "I've also learned some things about being a head coach that I didn't know at the start of last year."

Anchored by a strong senior class, the Bulldogs return a number of starters on both sides of the ball and are hoping to do bigger and better things this season.

"I think the kids have a little more enthusiasm, but they also feel a little more pressure because they want to go back to the playoffs again. We also want to win a playoff game because it's never been done in the history of the program," said Denton. "We have a good group of seniors overall. They've done things the right way and have all been in the program since middle school. They're a special group."

Chance Dyer (15) sprints up field after catching a swing pass from quarterback Jamie Crowell.

On time

With music playing in the background and each portion of the practice session being time on the scoreboard, Cornersville began Tuesday evening by warming up and running position drills before the backs and receivers worked on their pass plays in a 7-on-7 competition while maintaining a fast tempo throughout.

"We still want to go fast offensively, but not as much as we have been in the past. We're going to mix it up this year and might even huddle some. Going fast in practice also helps with our conditioning," said Denton.

Devante Spencer (24) hauls in a long pass during a receiving drill.

After the first team offense ran plays against the backup defense, the Bulldogs worked on their special teams before going through their tackling drills. Cornersville then honed their inside running game by using a variation of the Oklahoma Drill, which pits two offensive lineman and a running back against two defensive lineman and a linebacker.

Harder play

"We're trying to be more physical this year so I added that period into our practices," said Denton. "Last year we were so worried about injuries that we may have pulled back too much. We try to have at least one session a day where hit and go full bore."

The Bulldog receivers and defensive backs then competed in some one-on-one drills, while the lineman worked on their blocking schemes. After the first team defense received some reps against the second team offense, Cornersville wrapped up practice with sprints.

CHS football fans will get a chance to see the Bulldogs before the start of the season when they face Fayetteville in a scrimmage at home on Friday night at 6:30.