The school proceeded to hire former Lovejoy offensive coordinator Craig Chatman as the new head coach to replace Scott Dean, who resigned last December.
Chatman, an alumnus of Lovejoy, had been on the coaching staff of his alma mater since 2000 after graduating from LaGrange College in 1999. Since he took over offensive coordinator duties in 2002, Lovejoy became one of the top programs in Class 6A, making the state finals in 2012.
The Lions have been in intensive offseason training since Chatman took over in May.
“We’re still going through some growing pains but not as much as expected,” said Chatman. “We’ve had a lot of new players join the team since school started last week so we’ve continued teaching.”
Offensively, Lithia Springs looks to start sophomore Jadon Walker at quarterback while using a running back rotation including senior DeAndre Gullatt and junior Ahmad Ross.
“We’re going to run a balanced offense that will run and throw the ball equally,” said Chatman. “We’ll also have a rule-based offensive blocking system that matches up against any defensive front.”
On defense, the Lions will use a multiple package with three defensive linemen. Seniors Benji Johns, Anthony Carmichael, Gullatt along with junior Jordan Harris will be in the front seven rotation for Lithia Springs.
“We’re going to use our scrimmage game against Douglas County on Friday to make sure the players understand where they’re supposed to be,” Chatman said.
Chatman and the coaching staff have confidence in the potential versatility of the defensive backfield with multiple players’ abilities to line up at cornerback or safety. Defensive backs Brison Davis, Will Martin and Jasper Henderson will each see time on the field.
The overall youth of the Lions’ roster also brings excitement to the coaching staff.
“We’re trying to implement our plan and get the program heading in the right direction,” said Chatman.
Lithia Springs opens its regular season on Aug. 29 in a road contest against Landmark Christian.