A Southside Panther running back found the running tough against the Selma Saints in the 2011 season opener. The Panthers finished the season 1-9 with their lone victory coming against in-county rival Dallas County.

Southside getting back to work

Published 11:41pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

While last season marked Bertrum Crum’s first year as head football coach at Southside High School, this will be the first year Crum leads the Panthers into spring practices.

Crum said the Panthers have already begun the weightlifting program, and that very program is key to helping the Panthers improve after a 1-9 finish last season.

“I think it’s essential. It’s right up there to help build the guys’ confidence along with building their bodies to be able to handle the grind of a full season,” Crum said of the offseason program. “I think we got off to a slow start and just never really recovered (last season). I liken it to being in a car wreck. If you’re in a car and have an accident, you can survive three or four accidents in the car and the car can still drive, but eventfully on about that fifth or sixth accident, that car isn’t going to be any good. So, we’re trying to get the body prepared for the long season.”

Crum said he and his staff have been working to instill the importance of working hard in the weight room to the Southside players, and they’ve had a little help from Selma native and Cincinnati Bengal’s defensive end Michael Johnson.

“We’ve been fortunate … we had Michael Johnson come out and talk to our kids and kind of lead workouts also, and just impress upon them to see a guy that’s in the NFL take time out and stress the importance of working out,” Crum said. “He’s 6’7 and 265 lbs of muscle, so when they see him telling them it’s important to work out, it serves as a great motivator.”

Crum said the Panthers will start what some would consider to be a late spring practice on May 1.

Crum said Southside is in the process of finalizing a two-year home-and-home series of spring games against Central-Tuscaloosa High School, which would see the Panthers travel to Tuscaloosa this spring and Central travel to Southside next spring.

Crum was hired to coach the Panthers in July 2011 and did not get a chance to lead the Panthers into spring last season.

He’s hoping that a full year with the team along with some other measures will help Southside improve on the gridiron.

“The main thing I want to try to do to be prepared is make sure that I do my homework on our opponents and do my homework on different defenses and different philosophies of the past successful coaches,” Crum said. “I plan on going to the Alabama Coaching Clinic at the end of this month. I’m trying to get myself prepared mentally and get my coaches prepared to the point where we’re all on the same page. Coming in last year we kind of got off to a late start and had to pull things together. Hopefully this year we can be better organized.”

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