"When we leave Newnan on Friday we'll know how good we are," the Bears second-year coordinator said of the scrimmage at the newly-refurbished Drake Stadium.
New stands and a press box on the home side have been erected since last season when the Cougars went 6-6 under third-year head coach Michael McDonald. Of course, Griffin (9-3) also reached the second round of the state playoffs last year under then 11th-year head coach Steve DeVoursney.
Both head coaches are back to match wits and minds again as they prepare their teams for the season opener, Aug. 24 at Marietta for Newnan and Aug. 31 at Dutchtown for Griffin. They met in Griffin last year when Newnan handed the Bears a 34-0 loss, Griffin's worst preseason defeat in more than a decade.
“We have something to prove," DeVoursney said after his team ended its camp week Friday and immediately set its sights on facing Newnan. "The big thing is when somebody embarrasses you, you want to be able to go back and make a good showing. You don’t want to go back and get embarrassed two years in a row. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about winning in every aspect of what we do — on and off the field. If somebody beats you bad, you can’t let that happen two years in a row.”
No part of Griffin's game will be on display more than the Bears' much-touted spread offense led by junior quarterback Jaquez Parks who went 6-1 as a starter last season, his lone loss coming to eventual state champion Tucker in the second round of the state playoffs.
Rogers will unveil the most highly anticipated Griffin offense since the 2009 squad set the modern-day school record averaging 37.5 points per game, a total which does not include points scored on defense and special teams.
When asked what's the top thing he wants to see Friday, Rogers flatly said, "Execution."
"The No. 1 thing I want to see is execution," he said. "All our kids can regurgitate the answers, 'This is what I do on this play, this is what I do on that play, this is what I do if you blitz here, this is what I do if you blitz there,' but can they execute Friday night at game speeds."
DeVoursney said some of his players were sore from last week's camp.
"Some of them are just getting over the soreness and I know some are a little dead-legged," he said. "But hopefully the excitement of playing against somebody else will get them ready to go, especially in game-like situations."
Griffin's defense will try to stop an offense led b 6-foot-4, 190-pound sophomore quarterback Bailey Bryant. The pocket-passer played backup last year.
"The big thing is we just want to make sure they are assignment sharp, doing what they're coached to do and watch them compete," DeVoursney said of his team. "We want to see who's going to compete. We have a lot of guys competing for positions right now."
Griffin's defense is led by sixth-year defensive coordinator Rusty Easom.
Griffin last played at Drake Stadium in the 2010 preseason scrimmage, a lightning-truncated affair the Bears won 20-7.