Opelika came into last week's game off a rough loss to Tuscaloosa County, and were a little shaky…
McGill-Toolen (12-0) vs. Daphne (11-1)
We spoke with Offensive Coordinator Brian Campbell this week about the team and their chances against McGill-Toolen on Friday night.
Rebecca Johnston: Your team has the characteristic they are not going to give up. They seem to have an iron will. Is that unique to this group of players or is that in your teaching?
Coach Brian Campbell: "That's something that we stress. We stress it in practice. We have a pre-game maxim that we read that talks about if a team gets ahead, don't give up. We preach that all week. It's a four-quarter football game and that's the way we take it."
"We've been down before. Our kids have been in big ball games, and when they're down you don't see their heads go down. They just try to work a little bit harder and go from there."
RJ: Opelika jumped out with 14 points last week, and then you came back with 21 points unanswered to win the game. How much confidence does a game against a defense as good as Opelika's give your team?
BC: "We knew coming in that Opelika was pretty fast. I think it took us about three series for our guys to really understand. We preach to them and preach to them. A lot of times they know what you are saying, but I don't know how much they take it to heart."
"I think after the first three series they saw how fast that defense was, and then after that we made some adjustments and the kids believe in what we are telling them. They just went with those adjustments and did a pretty good job."
RJ: McGill-Toolen has dominated opponents throughout the season, but last week did Wetumpka fine a little bit of vulnerability?
BC: "I don't know so much about vulnerability. Wetumpka is a real good football team. They have a lot of speed, and I think McGill had one of their better players injured (linebacker Adrien Cole), and we expect him to play this week."
"They are going to be the best defensive team that we've faced so far. That's the approach that we are taking, and based on what we've seen on film, and we've seen them in person."
"Foley and Opelika were pretty much the two best defensive teams up to this point, but right now we are saying that McGill will be the toughest defensive team we've faced so far."
RJ: Coach Keith Powell took over the job at McGill-Toolen for Coach Steve Savarese this year, and he hasn't missed a beat.
BC: "Yes, he's done a real good job. We've all coached together. I was at Daphne when Coach Savarese was here, and I stayed here when Coach Vickery came over. We've all coached together. We all coach the same."
"We coach hard and expect a lot out of our players, and we really didn't expect for them to miss a beat with Keith. He's taking what Coach Sav has taught him and just run with it and done a real good job. Plus he's added a little bit of his own stuff in there. Keith is a heck of a coach, and we knew from the get-go that he would do a good job."
RJ: What will you need your offense to do to be victorious in this game?
BC: "We're just going to do what we are best at. We don't have any tricks up our sleeves or anything like that. We're just going to keep playing Daphne football, and do what our kids know and not try to come up with anything new that we haven't done before. That's been our M.O. all year long."
"Our defense has played real well all year long. When you've got a defense playing that well you just want to stay in the game and not do anything stupid. Just keep doing what you know and what you do best, and hopefully everything will take care of itself."
RJ: What is Daphne Football? Is it take what they give you?
BC: "That's kind of the way we look at it, and McGill doesn't give you much. For us it's just for us to get better."
"We work on the opponent, but we also work on Daphne. Just keep doing the things we do well. We're not going to change anything. We do the same plays just maybe out of different formations. That's what we've done all year long, and everybody knows what we are going to do. There is no use changing that. A few wrinkles here and there, but pretty much everybody stays with what they do best, and that's what we are going to do."
RJ: This seems a special team that plays with a lot of heart. They seem a real TEAM.
BC: "It's a good group of kids. They do what you ask of them. They go the extra mile. They are here early. On days they don't have to be here they come up here on the weekends and run on their own. They just do the extra things that it takes. They have done the extra things in the summer."
"They are a good group of guys that work together. They all love each other. You can see that on the field and off the field, and that's a good definition of team. That's pretty much what we've got this year. They are all playing well together, and they all enjoy playing together."
RJ: What does your schedule look like this week?
BC: "We will practice in the morning, regular Thursday practice, game scenario that we walk through and have about an hour and a half practice and have a little short time to talk about Thanksgiving a little bit. Then let them go and be with their families. Then we'll bring them back in here early again Friday morning."
Players to Watch:
Daphne -Quarterback Coley White, running back Reggie Hunt, and offensive lineman Teavis Durgin. Hunt is committed to Auburn University and White and Durgin have multiple division one offers.
McGill-Toolen -Quarterback Cullen Wacker, running back Torian Russell, defensive end Glenn Harbin and linebacker Adrien Cole. Wacker completed 26-of-32 passing attempts last week for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
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