Photo by Derrick Mahone
Greg Manior says his players are “hungry” to win after the program has suffered through four straight losing seasons.
While most of the upperclassmen on the Mundy’s Mill football team would much rather forget the past seasons at the school, it is a different scenario with the incoming freshmen players.
Since most from a winning middle school program, new Tigers coach Greg Manior is hoping that attitude will continue as he tries to lead the program in a different direction. Mundy’s Mill has had four straight losing seasons and hasn’t made the playoff since 2007, the year of its last winning season.
“Most of the older guys are hungry for a chance to win,” said Manior, who replaced Peniel Dany just before spring practice last May. “These guys are not thinking about our past, but are looking to the future. Most of the middle school players are use to winning. They have come from winning programs.”
Manior is hoping that the combination of “hungry for a chance to win” and a solid winning background will lead the team out of the doldrums.
So far, the coach has been pleased with his team progress in the early part of preseason practice.
“We are a little ahead of where I had anticipated us to be at this stage,” said Manior, who coached at Screven County the last two seasons. “It is still early in the developmental process. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the players and they seem ready to learn.”
Last season’s Wing-T formation has been shelved for a new multiple attack, which has been installed by new offensive coordinator Patrick Smith. Smith is no stranger to many of the players since he has headed the school’s successful softball and baseball programs.
His son, Rodney, will be competing for a starting tailback position.
“It has helped a lot having someone like coach Smith on the staff,” Manior said. “The kids know him and have gravitated to him It is really a blessing having him around.”
In addition to his offensive coordinator and baseball position, Smith was recently appointed to the school’s athletic director position.
He said he is eager to get the season started.
“There has been a total change in the offense,” Smith said. “We have worked hard all summer, and we are getting better everyday. These kids are really hungry.”
And it showed in the summer workouts.
Manior said between 75-80 kids showed up for early morning workouts four days a week.
“It shows these kids are ready to win,” Smith said.
“I was really pleased with the summer workouts, and our numbers,” Manior said. “We went early in the morning and the kids showed up. We were able to get a lot of things done. I think we are at the point where we need to be.”
Since Tuesday, the team has been camping out at the school. Manior said several positions are still up for grabs, and he anticipates that several freshman could make the varsity roster.
“Those kids are in there every day fighting,” Manior said. “We have not set a roster yet. What I’m seeing is very encouraging. These kids seem ready to compete with their opponents and with each other.”