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Etheridge spends spring rebuilding Bulldogs

CONYERS - Mike Etheridge spent his first spring as the head coach of the Rockdale football team building the squad from the ground up.

"We got a lot done, even though we were limited with what we could do," Etheridge said. "All of our coaching staff is still not in. Still, we were able to put a lot of our base offense in and our base defense in. The kids seemed like they adapted well to what we were doing. We started the spring with around 70 kids and we finished with 68, so we only lost a few kids during the course of spring practices, which I thought was pretty good.

"There was also a lot of enthusiasm, but we've still got a long way to go to be fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball. We're going to have to gain a lot of strength over the summer."

Etheridge replaced William Johnson, who stepped down after last season. Since taking the reins, Etheridge has tried to instill his brand of football in preparation for the upcoming campaign.

"We're trying to get fundamentally sound. One thing we're working on is teaching the offensive line how to get lower," Etheridge said. "I think they were playing too high along the line, and we need to get lower. We also need to get stronger on both the offensive and defensive line. We're real quick, but we've got to learn how to finish."

Etheridge said spring practice and the spring game was a great chance to evaluate the talent of his players.

"Overall, I think spring football was a success," he said. "Of course, anytime you scrimmage yourself, you always think you're better than you probably are. I realize that we still have a ways to go. The kids have got a grasp of what we're trying to do, and once we get our entire coaching staff in here this summer, we'll continue to get better. I don't know if that will dictate how many games we win next year, but right now, our goal is to get better every week and let the chips fall where they may."

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com.