Opelika Bulldogs Ready For Anything In 2020

PrepZone

Last season the Opelika Bulldogs were one step away from the Class 6A State Championship Game. The Dawgs dropped a heart breaker on the road to Spanish Fort in the 4th round. While the Dawgs are focused on 2020, there was a big lesson to learn from that game.
“I think that the lesson learned was we played hard. That’s what we always preach to our kids is to play hard on every snap last year,” said Opelika football head coach Erik Speakman.
The Bulldogs are also in a brand new region. Opelika’s region games will now include Russell County, Eufaula and Valley and four teams from Montgomery. With Georgia pushing back their season by 2 weeks there’s some shuffling to do. Their non-region schedule just got a very interesting offer.
“I got a text yesterday from a school you might have heard of in the Birmingham area. Hoover wanting to know if we wanted to play Week Zero. I had to catch my breath there for a minute looking at possibly Hoover, Central and Auburn as our non-region but we don’t care,” said Coach Speakman.
It’s one thing for a head coach to say that but the players also understand the importance of going through a tough non-region schedule because it will pay off later in the season.
“If you’ve played Hoover and Central early you’ve already played the best of the best so when you get to the playoffs you know what you’re up against. I think it pays off later in the year,” said senior wide receiver Will Beams.
The Dawgs want to play their way no matter who is on the other sideline.
“Each year we try to go over just playing our game and just with defense we just try to be the defense that we are. We don’t try to do anything special or anything that’s not us offense they’re the same way,” said senior defensive lineman Jakai Stephens.
Opelika will have 35 seniors in 2020. Head Coach Speakman did mention that he hasn’t named a staring quarterback but there will be 10 seniors on the offensive line. It’s a group that has grown up with each other and could be the strength of this year’s team.
“We’ve been together since we were like 5 or 6. So we’re tight bonded we’re tight knit. We love each other. We play together. We know each other, and we’ll get the job done,” said senior offensive lineman Kris Epperson.
This year Opelika’s offensive attack will look much different than 20-19. Until the Dawgs find out their starter at QB, a battle that could go into the season, the running game will be key.
“Our offensive line and our run game is our seniors this year than can really pick that up. Last year it was our receiving group until we could figure out what we wanted to do with our running backs. It’s kind of the opposite this year,” said Coach Speakman.
There is going to be a lot of different factors for this year’s 2020 football season. In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic Opelika’s stands may not be completely full. Head Coach Speakman says it doesn’t matter to his 30 plus seniors who is in the stands, they just want to compete.
“You know this is their last year. This is all they have. Not many of them will get to play college football. So they’re only right now guaranteed 9 games. And I think if we took our seniors and ask all 35 of them ‘Will you play in front of 12 coaches?’ They would say yes,” said Coach Speakman.

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