He named 12 players he individually feels will have a major impact on the season — center Cameron Carder, receiver and corner Ernest Carter, all around athlete Brian Dansereau, guard and defensive end Deion Evans, Collin Geisey, slot and corner Quinton Gissentanner, Mikell Lands-Davis, slot and corner Darrel Mims, tight end and outside linebacker Logan Mushro, guard and linebacker Taylor Schartle, tailback and nose guard Tyler Tolbert and left tackle Josh Turner.
The team also will have enough seniors, 22, to fill the entire offense and defense.
While all of his seniors were not listed as impact players, Combs made it clear all the senior players have done a great job and put in the work to get where they are now. He said he appreciates all they’ve done and will do this season.
Coaching them all since they first began at Alexander, the seniors have worked with Combs and each other for years. Now it’s time to show that experience on the field, he said.
“Eleven have started multiple games since they were sophomores…They’ve done a great job…The offensive line and defensive line are heavy in seniors,” Combs said.
Finishing last year with a 2-8 record in Region 5-AAAA and winning their last two games, Combs said the summer has been spent in the weight room, going to camps and fine tuning the little things to improve on their record – including going back to the fundamentals and working on better pursuit of the ball.
With this season’s schedule being the same as last year’s, the Cougars will begin play against Class AA Bremen Aug. 24 at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. Combs said he knows what to expect from a team to whom Alexander lost 34-28 in 2012.
“It’s a big stage out at West Georgia. Last year we played a good two quarters of football, but let them come back in the last quarter and a half. Hats off to them, they’re a grinding team…We have to play physical with them,” Combs said.
When it comes to the team this year, Combs said, “What’s unique about these guys is that we’re returning a lot of seniors.
“The expectations are to win more games than last season. We have to grind them out. Take it one play at a time, one game at a time.
“We have gotten bigger and gotten stronger. We can’t let the other teams push us. We have to play our game and focus on the little things.”