SAND HILLS, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - The Bozeman football team is working through fall camp under first year head coach Jason Griffin.
Griffin comes from Arnold where he was the assistant coach and offensive coordinator.
The Bucks went 5-4 last season under former head coach Lyle Messer and 1-2 in 1A-1.
Ever since Griffin was hired in February, he's hit the ground running.
And the first thing on his agenda, "First thing I had to do what get a team," Jason Griffin, Bozeman head football coach said. "We needed players. We needed numbers in this program, and that's one of the things that I didn't have and made me the most nervous about. I felt like in the spring, we got some guys and then of course, we kept adding into the summer. We picked up a few guys recently and you can see by the group I have over there that we've managed to put a football team together. How that results in wins and losses, that's up to them."
Now that the numbers are up from 16 in February to 36 now, Griffin says Bozeman has a chance to compete.
It's just all about seeing how far his team wants to take it.
"I can't say enough about the heart and the effort these guys have," Griffin said. "These guys are tough. We're coming out a little later in the morning to deal with the heat. We could have gone a little earlier and had it a little cooler, but that's not who these guys are. These guys want to deal with the heat. They want to get out here, and beat and bang. These guys are tough kids and these kids want to work hard. And at first I was just surprised, but now it just seems to be that's who we are here at Bozeman."
The Bucks are lining up in just nine days to play Wewa and Cottondale, but are they ready?
Griffin says no matter what, you always feel like you need more time.
"Every time you feel like you've got something in, oh you know, we've got to do this on special teams, oh, we've got to do this," Griffin said. "So you never really feel like you have enough time. You know at some point the game's going to get here. So we have to just keep working. Keep getting as much stuff we can get in. We're going to show up and that's what jamborees are for. Kind of see where you're at, give you a gage of how much you do have in and where you guys are. That's what we're looking forward to next Thursday. Is to kind of get an indication of what we missed, what we as coaches haven't done, and what we as players need to correct and do a little bit better on."
Bozeman is hoping to improve in district this season. Keep in mind districts 1-4 make up one region. So the four district champs get playoff berths, and the next four teams come from those who accumulate the most points within that region.
Griffin says points and rankings aside, "
"We have to go out, and we've got to start with our jamboree and prove our football team," Griffin said. "And we've got to start out the following week against Liberty County and handle our business. And if we handle our business 10 weeks in a row, all of the other things take care of themselves. So I'm not one bit concerned about the system. I'm not one bit concerned about how it's decided. All I'm concerned about is if we go out week in and week out and we do what we need to do as a Bozeman football team, then the rest of it is going to take care of itself. We're going to be where we need to be when playoff time comes."
That 1A-1 class is pretty stacked with teams like Blountstown, Port St. Joe, Baker, Freeport, Vernon and Chipley, to name a few.
"We know what we're facing," Griffin said. "We know we're facing a tough football schedule against a bunch of good football teams. A bunch of well coached football teams. So we understand we have to coach our tails off, and the kids have to play hard week in and week out. We're not going to go up and stack up athletically against some of those other teams. But we hope we can stack up with our toughness and with our execution. With how we perform out there. And if we do those things, again, we have every opportunity that those guys have to be there when it's all said and done."
Bozeman hosts Wewa and Cottondale in next Thursday's jamboree followed by a season opener against Liberty on August 24th.