No weight room, no locker room, no helmets: No problem for Eagle’s Landing

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Eagle’s Landing’s seniors had gone 2-28 their previous three seasons. But that was the least of the Golden Eagles’ worries heading into this season.

Due to a massive construction project at the school, the Golden Eagles didn’t have helmets or equipment for spring practice. They haven’t had a weight room since May 31st and had been working out of a makeshift locker room until just two weeks ago.

Somehow, they stayed positive. Somehow, they’re 6-2 heading into a big Region 4-AAAA home game against Locust Grove on Friday.

During a Tuesday phone interview, Eagle’s Landing coach Joe Teknipp explained how the program got turned around, how they amped up conditioning despite not having a weight room and pointed out the inspirational figure behind the Golden Eagles’ resilient attitude.

Q: What put you in position for this turnaround?

Teknipp: This year’s seniors, in their freshman year (2010), we decided to go young. A lot of them played as freshmen. They’ve taken their lumps. They’ve always been playing against kids who were older than they were. So this is the first time, where they’re the big guys.

My first year (2009), we went to the playoffs. It had happened here before: New coach comes in, brings in some new blood, there’s some energy and we win some games. Well, the next year we thought we had arrived. The kids didn’t put the work in. I was miserable my second year, to be honest. From that point, I said we’re never going to do that again. We started with a character program, when these guys were freshmen. In the spring, they had to fill out a 20-page packet. They had to rate themselves as a person, as a football player, as a citizen and as a student. What their strengths and weaknesses are. They had to interview with me.

We’ve always been a team that was just missing some depth. We’ve always had some good players and have a bunch playing college football right now. It just seemed like a lack of depth would grab us each year; one injury or anything that would ever happen would just make us fall apart. So this year, we really concentrated on trying to build depth. We still don’t have a huge squad. We only dress like 44 or 45 for every game. Every one of those guys probably plays every game.

Q: How many guys play both ways?

Teknipp: There’s probably six or seven. I call it 1 ½ ways. We rotate some guys in there and make sure they get reps. I know when we were getting ready to play Stockbridge, they thought they could wear us down in the fourth quarter, but that’s when we made our mad dash. They were actually the ones who were tired. Our kids just kept going. We didn’t really lose the game, we just ran out of time. (Stockbridge won the game 35-30).

Q: You said you emphasized conditioning this season, but how did you go about it without a weight room?

Teknipp: We did a lot of pushups, a lot of stadium stairs and flipped a lot of tires. After our scrimmage, we ran them really hard. They were like, ‘Didn’t we win the scrimmage?’ But I told them that it wasn’t punishment; this is what we need to do to survive.

Q: With the run of losing seasons on top of all the construction going on at the school that deprived your team of some of the normal necessities like a locker room and weight room, how was your team able to stay positive?

Teknipp: We have a team mom (Chanier Jackson) who is battling brain cancer. She comes to every practice. She does the water bottles, she washes the uniforms. She’s here every day. Before the Lamar County game (Sept. 6), I know doctors gave her 12 months to live. These kids see her battling every day and with a smile on her face. They all hug her after every game, after every practice. Every time I see a kid leaving, they’re going up to give her a hug.

Q: What stands out to you about this group of kids?

Teknipp: It’s a special group of kids. They’ve grown up together, played little league together and they hung in there when times were tough. Each year, it seemed like we’d have a kid bail, but these guys have stuck together and said they were going to win and they were going to win here.

20 comments Add your comment

Sportsnut

October 22nd, 2013
4:35 pm

Good job coach. To think you have programs complaining about “better” facilities, you were able to get better without what others take for granted. Good luck the rest of the way. Southern Crescent style.

Max Sizemore

October 22nd, 2013
7:09 pm

You’re positive and knowledgeable guy, Sportsnut, but what I like best about you is that you’re thoughtful and low-key.

Dekalb Watcher

October 22nd, 2013
7:23 pm

Well no @Sportsnut, you missed the main point all together. The coach did something DIFFERENT due to the lack of a weight room, they did a lot more overall conditioning in the off season. I bet they had at least decent Facilities before construction, and they will be great once construction is done. You can have some of the best facilities around, but if you don’t have the conditioning program to make full use of them then,,, Also don’t take complaints about facilities lightly either, some schools don’t even have decent facilities.

Bear_Backer

October 23rd, 2013
12:48 am

Great Program they have at Eagles Landing. I went to their game against Dutchtown due to my alma-mater Griffin having a bye week. Sort of a semi scouting outing if you will. I was impressed by the speed, determination and all around team-attitude the Golden Eagles portrayed. They were methodical in picking apart an (up to then) stout Dutchtown defense. It really shows these guys have played together and weathered the storms of hard fought games against the likes of region powerhouses Griffin and Stockbridge in the past. I hope they make it deep into the playoffs this year because if any team in the region deserves to, it is Eagles Landing. Although I am a proud backer of the mighty Griffin Bears, I am also a fan and am happy to support other teams when I can. Good Luck Golden Eagles!!

Patriot Speak

October 23rd, 2013
7:03 am

Let’s be honest, they are no Sandy Creek.

Sportsnut

October 23rd, 2013
7:04 am

@ Max == Low key? Sometimes. Thanks anyway.
@ DeKalb Watcher == I thought my comment was sufficient for the topic. I did not miss the point.

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
12:44 pm

@Sportsnut From what you stated to begin with, yes you did. You said that with some schools complaining about facilities they were able to get better, and that those schools take them for granted. You did not pay attention to what the coach stated, he changed the conditioning routine due to not having a weight room. If they didn’t have to lose the weight room in the construction process, no change in the conditioning routine would have occurred. He stated that Stockbrige thought they could wear them down, but because of the change with the conditioning routine, that did not happen.

Losing the weight room helped them out greatly with conditioning, it had nothing to due with any strength training at all. So when you state that teams take a weight room for granted, that has nothing to do with conditioning, that is strength training, two completely different things. You felt the need to go on about other schools and weight rooms, and how they did without, the main reason they are better is due to them being forced to find more ways to improve without a weight room, which would not have happened had they still had a weight room. Which goes back to my point about it doesn’t matter if you have the best facilities, if you don’t have the Strength & Conditioning programs to max the potential, those facilities are just being wasted.

cbro122

October 23rd, 2013
1:31 pm

The program had NO weight room. Their locker room was the storage shed out by the game field. This team has dealt with a multitude of issues some could never imagine. It wasn’t a reformatting of the conditioning, it was all they could do for workouts. The weights were stored away during construction. Think about it like cross-training out of necessity.

Sportsnut

October 23rd, 2013
2:22 pm

I paid attention to what the coach said. I stated what I meant. He did a good job under the circumstances. I meant nothing more, nothing less.

Sportsnut

October 23rd, 2013
2:29 pm

In my book, strength and conditioning goes hand in hand. That is why you have a strength and conditioning coach. I can’t say this is true for everyone but this is what I am accustomed to.

Sportsnut

October 23rd, 2013
2:37 pm

Why do I catch so much from so many? A positive statement by me is cause for attack. Why? And it is not even my team. I would like to know.

======== Did anyone else see anything wrong with my comment? If so, explain the wrong. =====

Nuff said

October 23rd, 2013
3:21 pm

======== Did anyone else see anything wrong with my comment? If so, explain the wrong. =====

No. You did not say anything wrong. Sounds like Dekalb Watcher

is a Doctor Drew want to be and over analyzes everything.

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
4:27 pm

@Sportsnut When you make a statement that other teams take for granted because they are complaining about better facilities, you are saying you have a problem with those schools for wanting better facilities. You took issue with schools wanting better facilities, everyone doesn’t have even decent facilities, If you didn’t have an issue, you would not have said anything about other schools for wanting better facilities, which this school is getting btw. Also taking things for granted would only apply to schools with great facilities, not the ones who have poor to decent facilities. It sounded to me that you were taking a shot at those schools who have lesser facilities, while giving out praise because they have been without a weight room since June. I also stated the reason for improvement due to lack of a weight room, which forced them to greatly improve the conditioning of the football team. That is my point @Sportsnut.

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
4:35 pm

@cbro122 I understand that perfectly well, SWD went an entire year with out a weight room due to school construction, and actually produced the last Great team Buck Godfrey with the 2009 squad. It forces you to find other ways to deal with strength, besides kids having them at home, private gyms, outside of what the coaches set up for that for them to do. I did not mean to sound like I was diminishing what the staff has done, it’s an excellent job by them!

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
4:46 pm

@Sportsnut Yes Strength & Conditioning is the total program, but they are still separate from each other as they deal with two different Goals. Elite coaches in Ga know how to maximize both with what they have, it works best if you have the best facilities, but that is not a requirement. Having lesser facilities makes things harder to achieve the same goal as those with better facilities.

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
4:51 pm

@Sportsnut The positive statement I saw was good job coach, after that you went in a different direction which I explained above.

Dekalb Watcher

October 23rd, 2013
4:53 pm

@Sportsnut The only positive thing you said was good job coach, everything after that went after other schools, I explained why up above. No problem, just two people sharing our views on things.

Keeping it Real

October 24th, 2013
10:30 am

I think it is great that Eagles is having a successful year but come back and check their record next year after number 7, 6, 3 and 9 graduate. I’m not trying to take anything away from them but in this case I think it has to do more with the talent the the coaching.

# 7639

October 28th, 2013
11:09 am

if there was a weight room this summer, scoreboards would’ve been looking a lot worse. 7 6 3 9 , all had 3-a-days .

# 7639

October 28th, 2013
11:10 am

and they have the same amount of talent as sandy creek in my opinion