By Doug Gorman
It's hard not to get excited this time of year.
After all, with the calendar reading July that means it's nearly time to play some football?well at least starting to practice football.
Okay, so I won't really be practicing football, but pro, college and high school players from around the state will soon buckle up the chinstraps for some good old-fashion gridiron fun.
Here is my take on the upcoming season in a nutshell:
High Schools: Who knows exactly what is in store for teams in the Southern Crescent. One thing is for certain, there will be a new look to several programs, as off-season coaching changes occurred in abundance in Henry and Clayton counties.
Forest Park, Jonesboro, Morrow and Stockbridge will have new head coaches when the season opens in less than two months.
Luella High School will begin its inaugural season as an enthusiastic Paul Burgdorf leads his team into action for the first time ever.
The first-time head coach is eager to build the program from the ground up.
Glory to old Georgia: So confident is the University of Georgia of repeating as SEC champions, the Bulldogs have included Dec 6, the date of the conference championship game, on their pocket schedules for the upcoming season.
Despite being hit hard by key graduation losses, the Bulldogs confidence is understandable.
Quarterback David Greene returns to the lineup, but look for North Clayton graduate D.J. Shockley to see plenty of action in a back-up role for the Bulldogs.
Let's just hope if the Bulldogs to repeat as champion they don't try to pawn their rings again this year.
A Rambling Wreck: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have enjoyed a nice run of a record six-straight bowl games, but things aren't too pleasant down on The Flats. Embarrassing losses to Georgia in the regular-season finale, and a deflating defeat to Freseno State in the Silcon Valley Classic have left Yellow Jacket fans scratching their heads.
The offseason stung a little bit too as several key players flunked out of school leaving a huge question mark heading into the season.
With games against BYU, Auburn, Florida State and Clemson to open the season, the Yellow Jackets could find themselves hurting before they get out of the first month of the season.
High flying Birds: I've always said if the Falcons ever turned into a winning football program fans would jump on the bandwagon in record numbers.
With all season tickets sold out and only a limited number of individual tickets on sale, the Falcons are a hot commodity.
Let's face it, despite the Braves recent success this is a football town. Local sports fans love nothing more than to cheer for their favorite college football team on Saturday and see the Falcons win on Sunday.
Michael Vick almost single-handled resurrected this team. Throw in an owner in Arthur Blank who really wants to win and this team is headed in the right direction. Blank proved that by going out and signing sure-handed wide receiver Peerless Price in the off-season. A year ago, Price hauled in an amazing 94 catches.
Of course, the Falcons have never put together two straight trips to the playoffs, nor two winning seasons back-to-back, but times are could be about to change.
So let the two-a-day practices begin, I'm ready for some football
Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. His column appears on Fridays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org