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Soldiering through the summer: New coach leads Briarwood football players through camp this week

With the official start of summer football drills only a few days away, the Briarwood Buccaneers have already been at work this past spring in several activities that will get them ready for the 2007 season.

The Bucs will be getting used to a lot of new things this season, especially the instruction and guidance of a new head football coach. Blake Duncan has assumed the role as the new engineer for the Buccaneers. He comes to Briarwood from Bradwell Institute, where he served as offensive coordinator for the Class AAAAA school from Hinesville.

"We are trying to get a lot of things installed here at Briarwood," Coach Duncan said. "We started these new things during spring practice, and we will continue with them all during the season."

Spring practice for the Buccaneers was held from May 8-19, which was finalized with a big scrimmage competition against Coach Bo Johnson's Piedmont Academy from Monticello.

"From May 8-11, we centered on all defense, and then the rest of the days, we worked on all offense," Coach Duncan said. "This scrimmage was used as an evaluation process. We looked at all the positions to see who needs to be where."

During this scrimmage session, Briarwood had 20 players participating, while Piedmont had 35. The Bucs rotated every three plays on offense and defense, with the team's three quarterbacks getting 15 plays each. Junior Chase Walker, sophomore Dakota Clark and freshman Garrett Mohr will be the signal callers this year for the Bucs.

"This was a controlled scrimmage, with no clock running," Coach Duncan said. "It was a 15-play format, where each team had the ball for 15 consecutive plays. Both squads got a total of 45 plays."

During the first week of June, the Bucs were very busy in two other activities. From June 1-2, some of the Bucs participated in a passing tournament, and then from June 3-6, members of the Briarwood squad traveled to three-day camps at the University of Georgia and at Auburn University.

"In the passing camp, we worked on 200-300 repetitions on both offense and defense. All the players there worked on routes, reads and man-to-man coverage. All the schools participating were very talented and very athletic, and we were the smallest school there," Coach Duncan said.

He said UGA Quarterback Coach Mike Bobo and Head Coach Mark Richt spearheaded the camp in Athens, while Auburn Quarterback Coach Al Borgess was in charge in Alabama.

"The time we spent at both of these camps was very vital, for part of our running game is geared to what Auburn does, and we will also be doing some of their same blocking schemes and philosophy," Coach Duncan said.

Coach Duncan's philosophy on football is very simple: "Stick to what your kids can do!"

"We will run what we are good at from goal line to goal line. My job will be to find out what's the most confident play to call. I'll call a play to score a touchdown, not gain three yards," Coach Duncan said.

And he admitted it will be a learning process for everyone.

"If I show my players something on the field, the why and how questions will be solidified," he said. "We will be learning who to hit, why you are doing that, how to execute, where you need to be, and when to do certain things."

The Buccaneers are involved in a week-long camp this week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day to get ready for real-time drills in a few days.

Web posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007

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