MOULTRIE – Several head football coaching changes took place at the high school level in Georgia this offseason. It can explain why an unexpected name pops up among the guest list of a summer organized team activity weekend.
Bradwell Institute was a new name that visited Moultrie this weekend for OTAs on the Colquitt County High campus. The Tigers made a three-hour jaunt from Hinesville and an area known out east as the Coastal Empire. Bradwell Institute hired Kyle Adkins away from Campbell High School in the Atlanta area, and he made it a point to put a padded camp in southwest Georgia on the Tigers’ schedule.
Adkins, after Saturday morning’s session against Dougherty High of Albany on the outdoor field, said it was absolutely worth the trip. He pointed out that trekking here with the Campbell team last year was a longer journey.
“It’s the best contact camp in the state,” said Adkins. “Period. I don’t care what anybody says. I’ve been to a lot of them. It’s the amount of quality reps you get. It’s unbelievable.”
Adkins is originally from Americus, so southern Georgia is dear to his heart, thus the move from Atlanta to Hinesville.
“We were blessed with this opportunity,” he said. “I think (Bradwell) is a hidden gem. I think we have a lot of good things going in the right direction. Our superintendent and board of education have been fantastic. The key to this season is to get those games No. 9 and 10 and you’re playing for something.”
Bradwell Institute is in Class 6A of the GHSA and its final region game is with Glynn Academy. Other OTA participants with the host Packers were the Trojans of Dougherty and the Red Elephants of Gainesville High, which has been an annual visitor from Hall County.
While this OTA included an informal 7-on-7 round robin Thursday, what the coaches really wanted to see was the padded camps. If nothing else, this is a time to go toe-to-toe with somebody unfamiliar instead of your teammates day after day.
“It gets old,” said first-year Colquitt County High coach Justin Rogers about how every Packer by now knows what the other’s going to do from one side of the ball to another. “It’s great to get a fresh set of eyes, fresh people to go against.”
“That’s probably the most important thing,” said defensive coordinator Shawn Campbell. “We get tired of going against each other all the time.”
“All of it’s good. 7-on-7’s are great with working on pass coverages, drops and routes,” said Rogers. “These padded things are so much better. You get to work on those things but you also get to add the run game, run fits and the gap integrity of our defense. And work at pad level, making sure our leverage is there, hat placement on pads, whether we are leveraging on our blocks and our feet. It’s very valuable.
“These things are what makes the state of Georgia so good. This is why the state of Georgia has so many good football teams. They allow us to work in the summertime with each other. It creates a better product.
“From session 1 to session 4, there were improvements in every area (for the Packers). Are we still making mistakes? Sure. We’re just not making as many.”
“(The defense) is progressing day by day,” said Campbell. “Obviously it takes time. When you get on defense, you got to have patience. We’re getting better.
“I don’t think you can put a price on these padded camps. These are so valuable in the summertime. You don’t get to get in pads other than in OTAs. This really gives us an opportunity to get a true picture. When you are in t-shirts every day, even 7-on-7 doesn’t give us defensively a true picture. I really enjoy these because it gives me an opportunity to evaluate where we’re at and an honest picture of who we are.”
This was the second time at a shoulder-pad OTA for Colquitt County, the first one taking place in late June at Cairo High School. There’s a third one right before the acclimation period set by the Georgia High School Association begins, which July 25 (full pads begin Aug. 1). On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, the Packers return to Cairo High.
“We scheduled it on purpose like this where we end the summer with two of them so we get our chance get better,” said Rogers. “It will be Thomas County-Central, Westover out of Albany, Cairo and us. We’ll do it just like this one in 70-minute sessions with two teams.”