With a perennial football power like Statesboro, everything works as a system — even the offseason.
Every passing year brings the same methodical approach to an upcoming season. The Blue Devils start to gear up in the weight room in June, really ramp things up after July 4, go head-to-head against other schools in passing leagues throughout the final few weeks of summer, then return to full-pad practice in August with another great year in mind.
As with most other things related to SHS football, this offseason has been business as usual.
“It’s been a great summer for us,” assistant coach Scott Schofill said. “We’ve had good attendance at workouts with over 100 guys showing up for most of them. We’ve been turning things up the last couple of weeks and our guys have responded well.”
For the longest time, the Blue Devils’ winning blueprint has remained the same. Statesboro’s wishbone running attack may seem simple enough to the naked eye, but the perfection of execution and the talent of the Devils’ ball carriers makes it a relentless machine each year.
Offensive coordinator Kenny Tucker stepped down after 31 years of coaching during spring practice. The full effect on the Devils’ offense remains to be seen, but there is no doubting the abilities of this season’s returning players.
“We run the ball a lot, but we still like to see what our guys can do during the summer passing sessions,” Schofill said. “We have a lot of kids who can run, catch, and throw. No matter how we’re planning to attack, it’s good to know what we’re capable of doing.”
Skill position players will return in droves for the Blue Devils this season, but a big part of Statesboro's success will depend on how the offensive and defensive lines perform. The Devils had smaller front lines than usual last season and had trouble with some of their bigger opponents — including playoff foe Mary Persons.
Senior offensive lineman John Underwood missed all of the 2012 season after injuring his knee during a preseason scrimmage. Now healthy, Underwood is going to be a key factor in controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing the Devils to run their ball control offense.
"We're always looking to get bigger and stronger," Schofill said. "I like the commitment that our guys have shown in the weight room throughout the summer. We just have to keep going these next couple of weeks and then get to work when we put the pads on."