Grantham excited about Rams' mix
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 12, 2010 1:46 PM
SNOW HILL -- Focused.
Ken Grantham couldn't be more pleased.
The third-year head football coach at Greene Central gushed enthusiasm when discussing this year's team, which has just 10 seniors and 12 returning starters.
"We're seeing the intensity, the hunger, the working to getting this program on the right track," said Grantham. "You see it in their eyes and see it in the way they work. It's been a pleasant surprise ... three years to get to this point.
"We're seeing the kids taking ownership in the program. They're realizing they're the ones who have to perform (and) put the extra time and effort into it during the offseason."
The Rams are also anxious to erase a frustrating 2009.
Grantham's squad lost its first three games by a combined 12 points and endured a one-point defeat to archrival Farmville Central in its regular-season finale.
Greene Central failed to advance to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
"We learned that we had to be mentally tougher handling adversity and physically stronger going into this season," said Grantham. "We've worked real hard on that in the weight room. Our kids have responded and seem to be more focused ... mentally tougher right now."
The team's mental and physical state has certainly been tested.
Under careful supervision with trainers in attendance, the Rams have worked out in the early-evening hours during the recent sweltering heat. Grantham has noticed that it's toughened some of the players.
The practice intensity increased Monday when the team began workouts in shoulder pads. Grantham said the "real" players started separating themselves from the "pretenders" during various contact drills.
The major focus is fine-tuning the offense and defense.
"We've been in the same system now for three years," said Grantham. "We're starting to tackle and block now in practice, so we're watching how we handle that. There is a better understanding, better confidence and familiarity in what they're doing."
The seniors have been vocal and improved their work ethic. They've come to expect their teammates to follow their example, and put the Rams back where they belong -- among the elite in the Eastern Plains 2-A and state playoffs.
Greene Central plays host to a six-team jamboree on Friday at the James R. Fulghum Athletic Complex. The Rams will scrimmage against Jacksonville Northside, South Creek, Currituck County, Perquimans and Jones Senior.
Grantham's team opens regular-season play Aug. 20 at South Central.
"I'm real excited right now and eager to see what we're going to do when we get on the field," said Grantham.
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