Richmond Hill head football coach Brian Brocato likes to think his Wildcats will be ready when the 2007 football season kicks off in four short weeks.
His team has been shedding a lot of blood, sweat and tears this summer to help back him up.
Being on a football team is not unlike being in the military; common traits like discipline, dedication and drive, to name a few, are important to both. So what better place to start Brocato’s summer football campaign than on a military base. This past June the Wildcats went to summer camp at Fort Stewart.
"We were really pleased with how camp went, we managed to insert our entire offense in one week," commented Brocato on the team results from their one week adventure.
The coach went on to explain that, not only did they want to get the players acquainted with the offense and defense, he also wanted them to get used to being with each other.
That necessary camaraderie also extended to his coaching staff that has some new members and returning members in different roles.
"The kids seem to be a lot closer since camp and the coaches are all pitching in and learning too" remarked Brocato
After camp the team went from the two-a-day workout schedule that they adhered to during the first part of the summer to just one-a-day workouts Monday through Thursday from 7-9 p.m.
The first half of the workout is spent in the newly equipped weight room. Coach Brocato has seen a big improvement in his team's strength over last year thanks to the school's purchase of new weights, rubber bumpers, lift bars, benches and curl machines.
The second half of the workouts are spent doing conditioning on the field and running offensive and defensive repetitions. All which will become more important when the Wildcats dawn their pads August 1.
In compliance with Georgia High School Association rule the Wildcats will only be in shorts and helmets that first week of practice, but will be in full pads the following week and go right in to two-a-day practices. It will be then that the Wildcats will be making what Brocato calls their minor adjustments to schemes and techniques.
Richmond Hill will keep things simple and set up in a 5-3 defense a scheme most on the team will already be familiar with and those that are not should be able to catch on quick. On the other side of the ball the Cats will run a wishbone offense, one that will be dependent on angles and quickness more than the speed of their backs.
According to Brocato, the Wildcats will try to run the clock on teams this season but will also throw the ball some primarily to a pair of tall tight ends.
He also expects the kicking game and special teams to shine.
Among the players to watch as the season opens are Xavier Owens who made the all region first team as a kick return specialist and is moving to the quarterback position with Darius Postell returning in the backfield.
Josh Davis, an honorable mention in all region selections, will return at center. Linebackers Caleb Brewer, and Nathan Kilburn are returning as 2nd team all region honorees to lead the defense along with Matt Wyatt, a 240 lb. defensive tackle.
In addition to these valuable returning players coach Brocato was very complimentary toward some of the underclassmen.
"We have some freshmen that have a chance at playing, one is a 320 lb. lineman that we are anxious to see in action," Brocato said.
Along with the young guys there are also an influx of new students moving to the area. A couple from Windsor Forest and several from military families transferring into the area that Brocato is hoping can contribute as well.
Richmond Hill fans first chance to see them all for themselves will be during a pre-season home scrimmage against Pierce County on Aug. 24.
The team will open their regular season at Bryan County on Aug. 31.
Brocato knows the 3-AAA region will be tough again this year, with South Effingham, Liberty County and Burke County coming off good seasons, but he remains optimistic.
"We won only two games last season but I felt we should have won a few more... last season we tried to change things up a little when we weren’t having success. This season we are going to live or die with what we have started this summer"
Brocato also talked about a gleam in some of his players eyes when he brings up the prospects for the season. If the Cats don’t have success in 2007 it won’t be because he, his coaches and his players haven’t worked for it and it won’t be because they don’t believe.