CONYERS - In the eyes of the average high school sports fan, Chad Frazier's first season as the Heritage head football coach was not a memorable one.
The Patriots went 3-7 and missed the state playoffs, but what most fans don't know is that the Patriots lost four games by eight points or less.
This spring, Frazier was looking to find that extra something that turns losses into wins.
"We were so close last year. A few things here and there and it would have been a different looking season," Frazier said. "Next year, we've got to have confidence and our kids have to make plays. We made a lot of plays last year, we just didn't make enough. We're going to have to minimize penalties and turnovers and we had those issues this spring. We've really got to focus on taking care of the football and not committing any stupid penalties."
But that was just the tip of the iceberg for Frazier and company this spring.
"No. 1, we had to find a quarterback because Kenny Seabolt graduated. The good thing is we were able to find a replacement," Frazier said. "We were real pleased with our quarterback play during the spring. We had to find some depth on the offensive line, and we're not there yet. We need to have a very good summer with that bunch. We also had to find some depth at running back. Our starting running back is returning, but we need some depth, and I think we found some kids that will be OK.
"All of our wide receivers, except for Mikel Hunter, are coming back next year, so we feel pretty good about that position. Defensively, we've got a ton of kids back and we've got some kids that have really stepped up. We feel real good about our defense."
Frazier's preparation for spring began last winter with voluntary workouts he called mat drills.
"We had mat drills this winter and we had over 100 kids made enough mat drills to go through spring practice. Those kids will be varsity kids next year," he said. "The numbers this spring were there and the kids are excited. The kids are working hard and the coaches are excited, too."
After a spring that Frazier gave an overall grade of B-, he feels his second year as head coach will yield better results.
"I think the fact that the players will have another year in the system, even though we're changing things a little bit offensively, and another year in the weight room will really help our team be better. Also, the coaches we've added to the staff will make a difference. We've improved our coaching staff, not to knock anybody we had, but we've added five coaches. We're blessed this year. A lot of it is coaching and we were able to hire some good ones, so we'll see how it works out."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.