Tim Thomas was the offensive line coach at Blue Ridge two seasons ago when the Barons won a state title.
"The chemistry of that team was really special, they all got along, took it one day at a time," Thomas says. "Nobody though about a state championship."
Thomas was an assistant coach under Mike Alley at Albemarle last season, then returned to Blue Ridge in May, this time as the head coach.
"I love it up here, the education is top-notch, great group of kids, obviously beautiful," he said. "it was a great fit for me."
When Thomas came back, the Barons were literally a whole different team. There are no players left from the team that he helped coach to a state title just two seasons ago.
As a new coach is getting to know his new players, they're also getting to know each other. And they don't have much time to get familiar. The Barons started camp exactly one week before their season opener, which will come at Christchurch on Saturday.
"We have three practices a day, and we're working very hard," said senior quarterback Trevor Eaton, who recently transferred to Blue Ridge. "The team's really bonding. I mean that was the big challenge coming in, was how are we going to bond and mesh? But we've really come together, and we're really working hard."
When it comes to teaching the team his system and plays, Thomas says he's keeping it simple. The players are trying to soak in as much as they can on short notice.
"We're doing three practices a day and that's a lot of work especially on our bodies," said Eaton. "At night, we're all exhausted and we go to sleep early. I like a little more time to prepare, but honestly we're going to make it work and be ready for Saturday."
"We're all just quiet during practices," said sophomore lineman and linebacker Jahlil Puryear. "We listen to Coach. He's a very smart guy, so we just follow what he says."
A smart guy who sees a lot of potential in his new team. Thomas even says this group reminds him a little of his last team at Blue Ridge that won it all.
"He compares us to the team a lot," said Puryear. "He says we have a strong line just like them, good quarterback, good wide receiver set, and we work hard just like them."
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