A new offensive scheme will make its debut for the Thomson High Bulldogs when they travel to Lincolnton to take on the Lincoln County Red Devils in a scrimmage Friday night.
Players and coaches alike are excited about introducing their newest offensive weapon: the pass. Even so, there are skeptics who wonder whether it will work.
"We're going to continue to run the football," head coach Luther Welsh. "But we're going to throw the football sometimes, too."
It's all in an attempt to do what many prep teams have already implemented in the past five years: a spread-type offense, capable of running and passing, says offensive coordinator Bobby Thomas.
"We've really been working on developing a more balanced offense and I'm confident that it's going to work," Thomas said during an interview Friday. "We'll get to test it under a game-type situation when we play Lincoln County."
Welsh, who has begun his 53rd career prep season, said the Bulldogs will continue to run out of the Wing-T offense.
"The only real difference will be that we'll pass the ball a little more than we have in the past," Welsh said with a big smile.
In the past, Welsh has been known to rely on what has worked for him: the run.
And he should know. He led the Bulldogs to back-to-back state championships in 1984-85 and again in 2002 during his two separate stints at Thomson.
Overall, Welsh said he has been pleased with practices up to this point.
"This is a good listening group of kids," he said. "They seemed to be taking in what we're trying to teach them.
"And that's a big plus. It makes our jobs as coaches much easier."
What still concerns him as much as it did last year, when the Bulldogs made it all the way to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs, is that the team still is young and inexperienced at many positions.
"We don't have but just a few kids with starting experience, and that concerns me," Welsh admitted. "Still, we've got what we've got and we'll just have to go with them and hope for the best."
As was the case last season, the Bulldogs play in a torrid region. Thomson will be battling such teams as Liberty County, Washington County, Burke County, Baldwin County, West Laurens and Richmond Hill.
Don't think for one minute they'll have a cakewalk when it comes to trying to get past four non-region opponents: Buford, Hart County, Statesboro and Washington-Wilkes, who the Bulldogs take on in their season opener at The Brickyard in Thomson at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4.
"We've got another tough schedule -- there's no doubt about it," Welsh said. "All we can do is to take it one game at a time."