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Tigers jamboree helps prepare for Selma

Black and Gold squared off against one another as the Greenville varsity football game pitted brother against brother in a jamboree Friday at Tiger Stadium.

Though for Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon, the most important elements of the night occurred even before the first snap.

Hours prior to kickoff, the team held a Moms Night event for mothers of the Tigers program.  The event, held at the Greenville Middle School cafeteria, included a dinner and a special gift from the players to their mothers.

“I thought it went great,” McLendon said.

“We had a great turnout, the meal was good, and I though the video that we prepared with each player saying a thank-you to his mother went really well.

I thought it was a good night, and I thought it was something that we’ll definitely do again in the future.”

Things were decidedly less nice on the field of Tiger Stadium as the Tigers split into black and gold teams, each helmed by Greenville defensive coordinator David Bush and McLendon respectively.

McLendon pitted his starting offense against Bush’s starting defense in the first quarter.  In the second quarter, the second-string defense faced off with the Tigers’ first-string offense and vice versa.

In the third and fourth quarters, all backup players saw playing time.  McLendon called the format a last-call audition of sorts to see if any backup players stood out.

“Some people are different in a game than they are at practice,” he said. “You might see some guys stand out more than others when it’s real live action.”

Though the Tigers’ offense and defense flourished many times throughout the night, McLendon said that he was impressed with the level of physicality both sides demonstrated.

“We obviously want to be physical on both sides of the ball, and I thought we were,” McLendon said.

“It was good to see that.  Obviously, there are some things we need to work on and clean up before we’re ready to play, but I feel good about where we are.”

Coaching a scrimmage game becomes a bit more complicated when praising a player on the offensive side of the ball almost always means criticizing another on defense, McLendon said.

But he also said that measuring a player’s ability to take constructive criticism is a major component of coaching.

“That’s the way it is in a game,” McLendon added. “You’re going to have people who make mistakes, and you want to see more than anything how they respond to those mistakes.  We’re looking at their body language, and how they act after making a mistake.  We want to see their effort.  I’m not too worried about the outcome, obviously, but we want to see if they can get lined up, how hard they play, and if they can bounce back from a mental mistake. As long as the effort is good, I feel like we’re in good shape.”

The Tigers will face the Saints of Selma Friday in the team’s first full-contact game against an opponent other than themselves.

“It’ll be nice to line up against somebody else and have everybody in the same color and on the same sideline.  We’re just looking forward to getting going.  This Friday will be a lot like last Friday; we’ll just be playing a different team. So we won’t do any live kicking.  We’ll play four quarters of live football, but a lot of the format and the situations will be similar to the way it was this last Friday.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.