For the better part of a decade, Bulloch Academy has given opponents nightmares with its flexbone triple-option attack.
Things won’t change this season, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t be tweaked.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday kicked off summer activities for the Gators as players attended six sessions focused on honing the offense that has made them such a force. Along with the usual Bulloch coaching staff, members of the Flexbone Association have been on hand to guide the Gators in rendering their unique offence an even more intimidating force.
"I think that this is a great opportunity for our team," BA coach Ronnie Hodges said. "This is a great opportunity for us to learn and make ourselves a better team. We’ve had a great turnout and I know that our guys have learned a lot."
The same sentiments were passed along by Chris Couch, a former Georgia Southern and Missouri Southern assistant who now directs camps for the Flexbone Association. While many schools employ the company to teach the basics of the offense, Couch was impressed by the levels of mastery that the Gator players already possess.
"The players (at Bulloch Academy) are really on top of things," Couch said. "It’s obvious that they have a good idea of how to make this a very effective offense."
Couch also relayed a mantra of the triple-option offense, commenting favorably on the Gators producing so much without the same size, strength and numbers of other GISA Class-AAA foes.
"This offense depends a lot more on execution than on other physical abilities," Couch said. "This team has a lot of guys that have really shown a full understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish. When you have the whole team functioning as one, that’s when this offense reaches its potential – that’s what I’m seeing with these players."
Just as the flexbone is a relatively new attack to those outside of the Georgia Southern influence, those at the Flexbone Association are a new type of coaching option. Many college and high school coaching staffs from powerhouse institutions host camps or are available for hire by schools, but the Flexbone Association is its own company, traveling to schools that are interested in implementing or improving their option offense since few coaches from established flexbone programs can offer the same instruction.
"It’s a little different, but we operate in the same way as other camps and clinics," Couch said. "The flexbone is just another type of system that teams can use. We’re here to teach teams how to run everything effectively and efficiently."
For the Gators, this past week was a chance to take another step toward the postseason success that they crave.
Two years ago, Bulloch rose to the highest level of GISA competition. The Gators have risen to the challenge by making the state playoffs in each of their two seasons in Class-AAA, but have also dropped a pair of first round playoff games.
The Gators took advantage of all the running and blocking tips that the camp provided, but paid a lot of attention to the passing game instruction provided by the Flexbone Association.
"The passing game is something that we really think that this camp will help us improve on," Hodges said. "That’s something that we want to do better this year. Running the ball is our bread and butter, but if we can develop a better passing game, that will give us the balance that we need to be a bigger threat."
Bulloch went through all of the camp’s drills in helmets only and with no contact. The Gators will continue to workout through the summer months before opening fall camp in August.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912)489-9404.