Football has been in the air at the Thomson High School practice field the last two weeks - literally.
In order to turn their lack-luster running attack of the past several seasons around, longtime legendary Thomson Head Coach Luther Welsh has decided to mix up his offensive scheme for next season.
The Bulldogs plan to throw the football.
"We're still going to run the football, but we're going to throw it a lot more than we have in the past," Coach Welsh said. "We've decided to go to the spread offense. We'll be running out of the Shotgun Wing-T offense this next season."
The last time that Thomson had a balanced offensive attack was back in the 1984 and 1985 seasons when Terry Pettis quarterbacked the Bulldogs under Coach Welsh.
Bobby Thomas, who is in his second season as offensive coordinator, said the Bulldogs need to become a more balanced team in terms of offensive output.
"Throwing the football can achieve that goal," Coach Thomas said during the last day of spring football practice last Friday. "We believe we can be more successful with this kind of offense."
Thomson, which made it into the second-round of the Class AAA state football playoffs last season before bowing to LaGrange, will be led by talented junior quarterback Phillip Anderson. He will be getting his first start as varsity quarterback after having played backup quarterback to senior quarterback Brandon Turman last season.
"Anderson has a pretty good throwing arm," Coach Welsh said. "If we can throw the football and catch it in games, we ought to be alright."
He noted that in recent years, he hasn't been pleased with the number of attempted passes verses the number of them actually caught.
"I want us to complete passes when we throw the football," Coach Welsh said. "I want each of the passes we attempt to be caught for positive yardage."
Coach Welsh said he was particularly pleased with the enthusiasm that was displayed by the 50 prospective football players.
"Football practice went alright," Coach Welsh said. "All of the players worked hard and gave a good effort. They put forth an effort and that's all we could ask of them."
Once again, the Bulldogs will be a young and inexperienced team, overall.
"We'll only have six seniors on the team next season," Coach Welsh said. "That's the least number of seniors I've ever had playing for me in a season. We just don't have the senior numbers that I'd like to have. We need more - a lot more."
The longtime prep football coach contends that because the team lacks numbers when it comes to seniors that the team also will lack the kind of leadership he'd like to have.
"We'll have to depend on a number of younger players to help us out when it comes to leadership," Coach Welsh said.
The team, overall, will be made up of juniors and sophomores.
He said a couple of players were injured and that he regretted that happening. Nick Rau and Nick Wood, both members of the varsity baseball team, will be out indefinitely nursing injuries received from spring football practice.
The Thomson football schedule will be the same as it was last year with the exception of the games played at home last season being played on the road next season. The road games of last year will revert to home games next season.
One of Thomson's big road games will be traveling to Buford - the defending Class AA state football champions. Buford played Thomson last season in The Brickyard and defeated them, so the Bulldogs will be looking to avenge them when the two teams tangle next time around.