THOMASVILLE – It was a year and three days ago that Thomasville Head Football Coach Jonathan DeLay was named the leader of the Bulldog program. On Wednesday, DeLay and his staff kicked off spring practice on a scorching hot April afternoon. Helmets clashed and pads were driven back as the Bulldogs touched the turf for the first time this spring.
“I was pleased with our energy and the way our guys came out and performed,” said DeLay. “We’ve got some things that need to be corrected, but that’s always to be expected coming off of first practice. I love the way we flew around on defense and we made a couple plays on offense.”
Wednesday’s practice starts what is sure to be a tough spring for this new class of Bulldog football players. Bulldog fans will see many new faces on the field this coming season, especially on defense. Thomasville will have to find new players to slot in on the second and third level of the defense and, after graduating four offensive linemen, DeLay will need to find guys to protect his quarterback.
“The fun thing to see is guys having to step up into new roles,” DeLay said. “We have some returning guys in key spots. Defensive ends especially, quarterback, running back, receiver and tight ends and those guys had a great day.”
In his second year as head coach of the Bulldogs, DeLay will be looking to his staff and his players for leadership within the program.
“As a head coach, one thing you learn is you have to hire great people around you. You give them a task and they go and get it done,” DeLay said. “Our kids do such a good job of coaching each other as well. That’s how you build a program. We are really big here in Thomasville on building a football program from our elementary school all the way to high school.”
Players’ leadership is a big deal for DeLay and he doesn’t care if it’s a senior or a freshman.
“Yes, you want your seniors to be leaders, but, for me personally, it doesn’t matter who it is on the team,” DeLay said. “I want guys that do right, play hard and perform well and show others and teach others how to do right, play hard and perform well.”
The Bulldogs spring practice will culminate in their spring game on May 12 against Dooly.