MILLEDGEVILLE — Following a much-needed week off from organized practice, the Georgia Military College football team has been back at it this week in preparation for its biggest challenge this season: the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship in Biloxi, Miss. Sunday, Dec. 8 against East Mississippi Community College.
Having gone 11-0 this season, the team spent last week focusing on finals and recovery; however, the Bulldogs have geared up for their final practices of the 2013 season.
“Everything’s been going good. We’ve had good practices, good intensity; it’s kind of like going back to camp almost since school’s out,” Bert Williams, head coach, said. “This first week we’ve been running a lot of work on fundamentals, technique, things that we need to get better at and just continue to develop — old guys and young guys. We’re starting to put some thoughts into action with the team as far as some game plan, tweaks, adjustments and all that.”
GMC spent most of the week practicing in “shells” — helmets and shoulder pads — to help keep the players healthy and fully prepared for the championship in December.
“We haven’t done a ton of full-contact coming off the long season that we had and banged up as we got towards the end — nothing major, but just trying to give them a chance to heal,” Williams said. “We just want to play fast, stay up and don’t lose that intensity edge, but make sure we’re taking care of our people so that we’re 100 percent when we get to that bowl game.”
Williams has been pleased with the effort of the guys this week, emphasizing the level of discipline and focus they’ve displayed in practice.
“I think everybody is continuing to step forward, I don’t want to say that there’s anyone who has just leapt out ahead of where they’ve been,” he said. “You know, the guys have come out and have done a good job at practice, you know, come down here ready to go, focused and executing to get ready for this game.”
The experienced head coach and his staff spent the latter part of the week implementing specific adjustments to prepare for the EMCC team they will face on Dec. 8.
“You go into every game seeing things they do on offense, defense, special teams, and you have your special game plan adjustments off of the base foundation of what you’ve done all year,” Williams said. “So, we’re not reinventing the wheel or anything, but there’s a few things we can add — route adjustments, a couple of plays here and there or defensive calls here and there that we feel like marries nicely with what we’ve been doing all year and can maybe make a difference for us in the championship game.”
Also going undefeated in their regular season, the 11-0 Lions will undoubtedly be the Bulldogs biggest challenge they have faced this fall.
“When you look at them on film, they’re definitely the best team we will have played all year. I could pull guys at positions, or units even, from other teams that I think are as good as the ones on East Mississippi, but not the whole package,” Williams said. “They’re going to be certainly the toughest challenge of the year for us, but it’s as it should be with it being a national championship game.”
GMC is providing fan buses to travel to Biloxi for the championship game, which have a small number of seats still available. Those interested in traveling on the buses should call Karen Wright at 478-387-4704 during regular business hours.