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Rebels show dedication during home workouts
Buddy Holder
Rebels head coach Buddy Holder talks to his end squad at the end of a game in 2019. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Effingham County football team are hard at work even though school is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Footage of three players on Twitter —  Keysean Mccarr and Brady Meglan — show the Rebels lifting weights and doing ladders drills. It’s just the type of thing Rebels head coach Buddy Holder wants to see.

“We’ve got good kids here,” Holder said. “We’ve sent stuff out we felt like they could do. Some of the stuff that they are trying to do on some of these videos I’ve seen is stuff that we do during our Rebel Makers, so they’ve taken it home and even added their own little twist to it. 

“All that does is show me not only the desire they have — which we already knew — but to overcome situations that are out of your control, you have to have mental toughness. That shows me the mental toughness of these kids.”

Holder also believes workout clips can be used as potential recruiting tools.

“They can get some very good clips of themselves (working out), put it on Twitter and tag us in it,” Holder said. “We have a recruiting site that one of our coaches runs and then it gets out to Recruit Georgia and wherever else. If we sit here and think that it takes that kind of mental toughness (to work out during tough times), what are these college coaches thinking?”

Their hard work ethic is also critical to their development because no one knows when high school football teams will be able to practice this summer.

“We are supposed to (start spring practice) May 4,” Holder said. “Of course, we are not going to have it now. The big worry now is — are they going to let us do anything in the summer? I don’t know if they are going to let anybody do anything all summer long.”

That’s why Holder is glad to have players like Mccarr who are hard at work. He will rely on some of his older players to help rising ninth graders adapt to the demands of the game at the high school level.

“It helps them to learn and move at their own pace,” Holder said. “Then we get to certain points in practice where they are all intermingled. (Through that), leadership takes hold). You are hoping that they are doing that now and it looks that way (based on the video on Twitter). They are and I’m certain other people are.”

COVID-19 has forced restrictions on how many people can congregate in one area at a time. Because of this, Holder can’t meet with rising ninth graders and collect their contact information. It’s much needed as he uses a certain system to keep his football players informed.

“All you can do is read up, study and watch film,” Holder said. “We can send out mass group messages through Hudl and we have the Remind 101 system set up. And the problem we have is the people that are in our Remind 101 are people that have been in our program.

“So now how are we going to get information to these younger kids?

While realizing that health is the primary focus during the unwelcome break, Holder is also concerned about the amount of  time that could pass before the team is together again.

“Football is allowed to have their day one or what they call ‘heat acclimatization start’ on July 25,” Holder said. “And then you can start in pads Aug. 1. I’m worried that they are going to tell everybody you can’t do anything until after July 4. That’s what I worry about.”