Go inside Titans football camp to see how family bonds are built

Published 12:10 am Friday, July 15, 2022

The Memorial Titans football team took a bit of a break from the summer’s rigorous workouts Thursday as the squad went through an annual team-building exercise.

The first part of the activity featured speeches from Memorial Principal Melissa Oliva and the coaches talking about the expectations for the team on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

The players followed the speeches with pretty accurate imitations of the coaching staff for some laughs.

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“A lot of it is stressing and going through our core values of the program,” Morgan said. “There are some fun parts to it and, hopefully, some learning on their end by making them get up and speak in front of their teammates. More than anything, it is trying to develop that team chemistry outside of just working hard.”

Memorial coach Ronnie Jones beats linebacker Darrell Thornton in a race. (Chris Moore/The News)

Morgan said the coaches have been tough on the players over the summer, and the staff wanted the players to know it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Like I always tell the guys, we obviously want to win a ton of football games, but it is our jobs, as coaches, to help grow them into young men,” he said.

“The demographic we have, they don’t have a ton of positive male role models in their lives. The more we can fill that role for them, that is a huge part, in addition to winning games.”

Morgan said the players’ impressions also give coaches an insight into how the student-athletes see them.

After the light-hearted impressions, Morgan talked to the group about accountability and everyone being on the same page. The head coach told the team that overcoming adversity is an essential part of playing sports and succeeding in life.

Memorial corner Jelani Chevalier grabs a link from coach Darrell Granger. (Chris Moore/The News)

Behind him on the projector were two goals: state champions and being successful fathers and husbands. For the Titans to achieve those goals, Morgan said the team must come together and sacrifice for the greater good.

Defensive Coordinator Korey Mangum said he enjoys the event.

“It builds that team that you are going to need later on in games when things get hard,” he said. “You learn a lot about your teammates. It puts them in that family mode. They have been working hard over the summer. I think it is major to have this day to have fun and still do a lot of learning. We have some new coaches and they get to hear from them.”

Following Morgan’s speech, the coaches arranged competitions against select players. The coaches swept, winning in tug of war, pushups and a foot race.

“We are here to win,” Mangum said with a smile. “That is the main thing. They need to know we are here to win. The power hasn’t shifted and won’t for a while. The kids love it, though. It is good to see them having fun.”