Panthers experiment with new playcalling system during first fall practice

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Georgiana head coach Ezell Powell is hoping to incorporate a speedier system for calling plays during the 2016 season.

Georgiana head coach Ezell Powell is hoping to incorporate a speedier system for calling plays during the 2016 season.

It’s been such an eventful summer on the gridiron for the Georgiana Panthers that the first official day of practice hardly felt like it, for better or worse.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said there were a few meaningful distinctions between the first official fall practice and the remainder of the summer, however.

“I know for me up front with the offensive line, we were able to do more sled work, and that’s something that offensive linemen have to be used to,” Powell said. “Blocking up front is getting in on the guy, getting your hands in the right place, driving your feet and pushing him out of the way.  We you can use the sled, that teaches linemen a lot.

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“And there were other all-around team things—throwing the ball like we wanted to, doing inside runs and a lot of other different stuff that we couldn’t do much of during the summer time.”

First days of practice typically bristle with excitement, though Powell found the Panthers’ energy a bit lacking in that regard Monday.  But he’s more than positive that that’ll change as the week goes on.

“They’ve been hard at it all summer long, so that excitement that you get on the first day wasn’t quite there,” Powell said. “That excitement may not come until we start getting pads on.  But right now, they’re excited about being out there and doing what they’re doing, but a lot of them are ready to hit a little bit and see what each other are made of.

“That’s one thing I can say about this group of kids, is that they haven’t been fearful of contact.  It’s one of the things that have led to our success, and it’s one of the things they know is a part of the game and how you win ballgames. “

The Panthers will gradually shift toward more physical practices as the week goes on in accordance with the guidelines established by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, working up to shoulder pads on Wednesday and full gear by Thursday.

Instead the bulk of yesterday’s practice concerned implementing a new playcalling system that would speed up Georgiana’s offense significantly in the coming fall.

“But yesterday was the first time we tried to put it together as far as signals and formation calling from the sideline, and that didn’t quite go like I wanted it to go,” Powell said.

“It’s something we’ve used sporadically last year.  We’re looking to use it more this year, but we have to fine-tune it.  If we can’t look any better than we did Monday, we won’t be using it in the fall.”

Despite the inherent challenges in implementing the new system, Powell said the benefits could be huge.

“It’s more of a quicker communication of plays to receivers, quarterbacks and everybody else,” Powell said. “It would also help us with some times we were close to getting delays of game penalties last year because we didn’t get the play from the sideline to the quarterback in a timely manner.

“And it also allows us to play at a faster place because we’ll have a system in place to do it.  And if we want to slow the ball down, we can, so we can play both tempos and it can make sure we’ll always be ready for a two-minute situation.”