Coming off of its first losing season in 12 years and with a new head coach leading the ranks, it’s clear that Bulloch Academy has plenty to strive for this season.
Fresh off his first season as a head coach in the fall of 2013, Terence Hennessy made the leap from Edmund Burke Academy to Gator Alley and has hit the ground running since his arrival just before the end of the last school year.
“Overall, I’ve been very pleased with what we’ve seen this summer,” Hennessy said. “We’ve had good attendance at our workouts and in our 7-on-7 drills.
“The biggest thing is the effort. I tell our players that I’m never going to waste their time, so don’t waste mine. They aren’t just showing up and going through the motions. Everyone has shown up ready to work.”
Plenty of work will be required to get the Gators back to the heights they’ve become accustomed to.
Last season, Bulloch rattled off wins in three of its first four games before dropping its final six contests. The Gators were out of postseason contention by the end of October and failed to make the state playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Despite the rough season and a handful of seniors graduating, the Gators anticipate having good roster numbers when the season starts.
“We’re still waiting on one or two more that might join us to give us more than 30 players,” Hennessy said. “Of course, as it is with many GISA schools, there might only be 17 or 18 that are regularly getting playing time on Friday nights. We still have a ways to go to figure out how old and how experienced we’ll be.”
No matter the numbers, the Gators will have to prepare for the long haul as they are already guaranteed to play more games than last season.
Bulloch starts things early with an Aug. 22 season opener against First Presbyterian and will play 11 regular season games — including a trip up to Waynesboro to face Hennessy’s former squad.
The long season and early start has the Gators scrambling to get everything in order. With one less week of fall practice before games begin, Bulloch is trying to ensure that the hot, muggy conditions of the first half of the season won’t wear down the Gators.
Throughout the summer, weight training sessions have been done without the benefit of air conditioning. Thermometers have been kept on hand to keep conditions from getting dangerous, but Hennessy believes that the added difficulty of strength training in the heat will show even more benefits.
“We’ll be going in helmets and shoulder pads this week and we’ll have some two-a-days coming up,” Hennessy said. “But there still isn’t a lot of time for us to get everything ready for our first game. We want to get everyone acclimated while weight training. It isn’t going to be air conditioned on the sidelines in the fourth quarter.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.