COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Monday morning was a busy time for Hardaway Hawks head football coach Michael Woolridge. It was temperature taking time and questionnaire collecting time and introduction time for the first voluntary workout of the summer.
The GHSA gave the go-ahead to begin workouts in June, but the Muscogee County School District didn’t greenlight programs until July, three practice weeks later. Woolridge isn’t looking at the delay as lost time.
“We don’t do excuses here,” Woolridge said. “We’ve got the opportunity to get out here and our first game is actually not until August 27 so we’re two months away. We’ve actually got plenty of time to get in shape and get the boys prepared for the season. I never look at problems, I always look at solutions. Three weeks behind? I say we’re three weeks well rested.”
He gathered the team at the school’s practice facility before the beginning of the workout, and gave the squad a pep talk and a challenge in a welcome meant to jump start things.
“We’re good, but we’re going to be great. Is that understood? First round of playoffs, that’s it – we’ve been knocked out two years in a row. I ain’t even thinking about it no more! We’ve got the team here to be great! We’ve got bullets everywhere! We’re loaded and you know that! But ain’t nobody gonna hand nothin’ to you, you understand that, in this lifetime! You’ve got to go take what you want, and it’s time to take this city!”
Woolridge has high expectations for a team that made the playoffs in 2019 despite a very youthful roster.
“We started eight sophomores last year,” said Woolridge.” Those guys have been in the fire. Sometimes you that wouldn’t think they’d be ready, but them being in the fire so now this year they’ve been through the process. It’s been baptism under fire and they’re ready to go. We’ve also got some seniors and a couple of sophomores that are going to play this year. We’ve got a cohesive group. That’s the best part of our team. Our kids love each other, they work together, and that cohesiveness is what we take pride in, that family atmosphere.”
“We have a team full of talent, but talent doesn’t get you anywhere without hard work. We’ve got the tools this year, we’ve just got to put them in play and I feel like the sky’s the limit with this team. It’s just two key things – staying humble and ourworking the competition.”
The Hawks begin their quest for their first region title since 1984 when they host Americus-Sumter on August 27.