Holland, Pike County looking to future

Published 11:14 pm Monday, April 23, 2012

By Ryan McCollough

BRUNDIDGE – Just a little more than five years ago, the Pike County Bulldogs hoisted a state title. Since that last state championship, the Bulldogs’ can be summed up in one word – unstable.

Fred Holland takes over as head coach in 2012. Holland finished last season as Bulldog head coach, after Rodney Dollar was granted a medical leave. 2012 will be the sixth season in a row that Pike County has started the year with a new coach.

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Brad Waggoner, Eddie Stephenson, Robert Johnson, and Dollar were unable to capture the magic that took place in Brundidge under the command of Wayne Grant.

Grant averaged 10 wins a year over 19 seasons as Pike County head coach, but Holland isn’t looking to the past. He is set on the future.

“We can use a year like last to build on and teach,” said Holland. “We saw a lot of things we didn’t like, and the guys know what we have to do this year to improve upon that. We have a lot of things to turn around and we have been doing that for the last few months.”

The 1-8 record in 2011 didn’t have an ill effect on the player turnout on the first day of spring drills. Over 40 players took part in the first organized team activities of 2012.

“The numbers make me feel good,” Holland said. “It means we have a lot of guys excited about playing football for Pike County.”

This year’s edition of the Bulldogs features a lot of new players, but Holland will call on some of the older, more experienced players to be leaders.

“Guys like Stephen Smiley, Isaac Nickson, Terrance Cochran, and Raheem Pearson are who we are looking at to help bring the young guys on along,” said Holland. “I think those guys will really help us as we go along.”

Monday’s first practice focused on what coached like to call “the little things.” Holland and the Bulldogs spent much of their first day on the field going through special teams drills. The Pike County coaching staff made sure everyone got reps, as the Bulldogs rotated three groups of players through the drills. The team also spent time in offensive groups – linemen, receivers, quarterbacks and running backs.

Holland said that the team will play a spring game.

“We are going to play an inter-squad game, a Purple and White Game,” said Holland. “We will give everybody a chance to play and get them excited about the summer and maybe carry it over to the fall.”