Coosa’s football team had some strong senior leadership on its roster last season.
This season, with those 14 seniors leaving the squad, it’s time for a new group of players to rise to the occasion.
With the loss of players like Sean Brown, Gavin Hughes, Kenon Dixon and Logan Pledger, head coach Todd Wheeler knows his team has a lot of work ahead of it as players move on to summer workouts.
“We obviously graduated some good players,” Wheeler said. “But that affords opportunities for other guys to step up and fill those roles. Our spring went well. The atmosphere was positive throughout.”
The Eagles have significantly less seniors looking to be on the roster in the fall, and Wheeler says filling the spots left open by the graduating group is the coaching staff's biggest concern right now.
“It’s obvious we have some big holes to fill,” Wheeler said. “We lost 14 seniors, and almost every one of them contributed in a big way. We’re looking to a large group of sophomores and juniors. The faster they mature and accept the discipline of their assignments, the more our team will improve.”
Wheeler said the upcoming summer months will offer opportunities for the team to grow into their new assignments, and they are going to be very important for his team as they try to bond as a unit.
“It’s going to be very important for us to grow together as a family and build that team unity. It’s going to be key for our kids to come and show up and make sure their excited about the task at hand," Wheeler said. "It’s probably going to be more important this year than in the past.”
Last year’s Eagles team faced their own set of adversities including an injury to Brown that sidelined the future University of Tennessee player for six games. The Eagles also struggled at the start of the season, dropping their first five contests before salvaging the rest of the season with a 4-7 record and earning a spot in the Class AA state playoffs.
Wheeler said he’s already seen some good things from his team in getting ready for the upcoming season.
“We’re making strides that way,” Wheeler said. “We just have to make them faster. In all facets of the game, we have to get stronger and be more disciplined. That’s just the nature of a young football team."
Wheeler said they will be looking at trying to get more 7-on-7 camps and tournaments in over the summer than they normally do on top of voluntary workouts to prepare for the upcoming season.
Coosa opens the regular season on the road Aug. 23 at Trion.