Tigers enjoy productive week of camp

Published 4:56 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

The Greenville Tigers enjoyed one of the most productive weeks of summer as the team hit the road to Auburn High School and Hoover High School this week for a pair of camps.

The first, an Organized Team Activity (OTA) camp held at Auburn High School, placed an emphasis on improving as a team as opposed to the numerous 7-on-7 competitions, which exclude linemen from the exercise.

Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon said that the whole day offered much more practical—and useful—experiences than those afforded by typical summer camps.

“We took about 55 players, and it includes everybody—offensive line, defensive line, everybody,” McLendon said. “And they all get work, including drills and competitions.  And at the end, you do 11-on-11, so you’re running your offensive plays against another team’s defense, and then your defense against another team’s offense.

“You get 7-on-7s, but you also get some team work and you get to go against someone a little different than your own self, which you’ve been seeing throughout the summer.  I thought we had a good, productive day.  It was organized really well and I thought it flowed really well.  And I think our kids got a lot out of it.”

The linemen of Greenville earned a healthy dose of experience, courtesy of several 1-on-1 drills and unit drills that established physicality and technique.

Simultaneously, the Tigers’ receivers squared off against opposing defensive backs, and the Greenville running backs did the same versus other schools’ linebackers.

Lastly came the 11-on-11 exercises, which pitted the Tigers offense against either Valley, Tallassee or Auburn High School’s defense for five plays.  Then, the teams would switch offense and defense and repeat the procedure for another five plays.

McLendon said that perhaps the most useful element of the camp was also the most understated.

After a spring and summer season largely spent competing against one another, it was useful for the Tigers to unite against a common enemy.

“It’s good to come, be a team and root for each other, have to score and bounce back from a turnover and things like that,” McLendon said. “It was good to see our guys pull together and do some of those things that a team needs to do.

“And the more experience you can get in team settings, the better off you’re going to be in being able to see how you respond to certain situations.  Experience is the best teacher, so it’s just a good way to see where you are.”

Those lessons were further reinforced by the Hoover-hosted national 7-on-7 tournament that the Tigers attended just a short two days later, in which the team was offered looks at an even larger variety of opponents.

“We had to kind of bounce right back, because we went all day Tuesday in Auburn and then we were up at Hoover all day Thursday for that camp,” McLendon said. “We’re a team that’s a little young, and so the more competition we can have and the more formations we can see on defense or offense, those things will help us learn and make us better.”

The Tigers finished 4-2 before facing elimination in the third round.  But McLendon was ultimately pleased with what he saw.

“We saw a variety of teams.  We played against some good competition, and the main thing we were able to do was go out and execute our stuff, for the most part,” McLendon said. “Obviously, there are going to be things you need to work on, and there’s always going to be room for improvement.

“We’re not where we want to be yet, but it’s just the first month of the summer, so we don’t expect to be full speed ahead just yet.  We want to peak at the right time and make sure that we’re the best in September and October, and not necessarily best in June and July.”