Almost one month remains until the Alabama Crimson Tide kicks off the 2016 season against USC, but for a number of high school teams across Alabama, the season begins August 19.

One area team that is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2015 is Tuscaloosa’s Central High School. The Falcons finished last season 5-5 but were 2-5 in Class 5A Region 4. Among their five losses, they lost three games by a combined four points.

During Monday’s edition of the Gary Harris Show, Central Falcons head coach Dennis Conner detailed his emphasis on special teams, his team’s summer conditioning and the task of assembling the 2016 schedule.

Although Central has struggled in recent years, the program has produced two state championships in program history. Conner highlighted two former Falcons players on his staff that he believes can help in returning the program as a state title contender.

“I have two of the state championship guys that played on the ‘07 championship who are now on my staff with Corey Waldon who now is my offensive coordinator and DeMario Pippen is our running back coach. Both of those guys played on the ’07 championship team and they bring a whole lot to the table.” Conner said.

Central’s head coach expressed confidence in the ability of Waldon and Pippen to relate to the players.

“They can relate a whole better with the younger guys that we have. I definitely let those guys take the reign on a lot of issues dealing with the kids now.” Conner said.

Former players like Derrick Oden and Dennis Riddle contributed heavily to Alabama’s success in the 1990s under Gene Stallings. Conner thinks that former Falcons star Lester Cotton has an opportunity to make a similar impact for the Crimson Tide under Nick Saban. Central’s head coach offered his guess at which position Cotton could see the most playing time.

“He told me he’ll probably start at left guard this coming up year.” Conner said.

According to Conner, a number of former Central players will suit up at the collegiate level this season.

“We will have a total of 20 kids playing college football this coming up year.” Conner said.

Central starts the 2016 campaign on August 19 at home against Bessemer City High School.

Catch the Gary Harris Show every weekday from 9-11 AM on Tide 102.9 and the radioPup app.