|Senior Darren Clark hustles down the line during defensive drills.
JULY 21, 2011 - COVINGTON
Every year at Covington its all about improving from the year before - taking the next step as a football program.
In each of Dave Miller's previous four years the Buccaneers have managed to make strides, which may not always show in wins and losses. It does show, however, in the overall picture - how far the kids have come in regards to buying into Miller's philosophy.
"When I go back and look at us in the weight room in my first year here compared to now, we're light years ahead of where we were five years ago," said Miller. "Not to take anything away from those guys five years ago, because we did have some kids that worked hard, but more of these kids have bought in than before."
And if the effort and commitment to kids put forth in the off-season program over the past seven months is any indication, the program will likely take another step forward in 2011.
"These kids overall worked their tails off," Miller continued. "I'm pleased with the entire summer. Our attitudes are where we need them to be right now and hopefully that carries over into two-a-days."
Miller was reluctant to identify any specific group of kids, because in his words, "Everything we do, we do as a team. These kids have bought into the 'TEAM' philosophy, so I want to give all of the kids credit for how hard they've worked and not point out one or two guys."
The results showed in the improvement the kids displayed during the lift-a-thon - figures that won't be published because everyone across the board made strides since day one.
"The kids really pushed each other in the weight room and the numbers are proof of that," Miller said. "The best way I can probably describe this group is blue collar. They have a desire to work - to come in and get things done."
It is great that the kids have paid their dues in the off-season, but Miller feels his team has plenty of hurdles to clear in order to take the program to another level.
"Our next challenge is taking what we've done in the weight room and off-season conditioning and carry that over to the football field," Miller emphasized. "When we apply the same attitude and effort on the field that we have in the weight room, we'll take that next step."
The Buccs have a week off to rest their bodies and then it's back to work in preparation for the 2011 season.
And Miller has a vision in his mind of what he hopes to see his team accomplish through two-a-days.
"I have a vision in my head of what things should look like and we're going to continue working to get there," he said. "Guys flying all over the field, going 100 miles per hour, firing low and hard off the snap of the ball on every single play - we do those things some of the time, but not all of the time. When we finally do that, we're going to be on another plateau."
Miller's vision may come to fruition because the competition will be fierce to earn starting spots at nearly every position - even for returning starters.
"I can already see we're going to have more depth this year," said Miller. "We've got a lot of kids who are hungry and they're pushing the guys ahead of them. It's going to be very competitive to see who emerges. The competition within the program is great because it will only make us better."
Just how much better will be determined by how well the Buccs build on the work they've put in so far.