Days into his tenure as Cambridge High School’s head football coach, one word kept flowing from Craig Bennett’s mouth.
“Excited,” he said after one of the team’s first summer workouts. “I’m excited to be here, the kids are excited to get started and we want to keep building on that excitement.”
The growing buzz around the program comes just weeks after the Fulton County’s newest school underwent their first bout of athletic controversy — when previous head coach Christian Hunnicutt and both of his coordinators resigned from their positions following spring practice.
Bennett, who was serving as linebackers coach and athletic director at Milton, was announced to his new post on June 1.
He called the opportunity to be a high school coach his “dream job” and while he is the first to admit it came in an unorthodox manner he said he was approaching the situation in the same way that he was telling the players to.
“It isn’t an optimal situation, but we have to do what we tell our kids and that is to adapt and adjust. A lot of things are out of our control right now, but the one thing we can control is how hard we work and how we move forward.”
All totaled, Bennett comes to Cambridge with 15 years of high school coaching experience — spending eight years at Pope, two at Darlington and his last five at Milton.
For the better part of his football life his bread has been buttered on the defensive side of the football. Bennett was a defensive back at Forsyth Central in the early 90s, spent one year playing at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and four more playing free safety at West Georgia.
As a coach, he was an offensive coordinator for one year and a defensive for four years at Pope, and the defensive coordinator at Milton from 2007-2010.
At Cambridge he said he is still laying out the plans for the Bears 2012 offensive and defensive systems with the biggest factors being personnel and who he hires to coordinate each side of the ball in the coming weeks.
“I’ve been on offenses that run the I-Formation, Wing-T, and option sets. On defense I’ve coordinated 4-4, 4-3, and 3-5 looks, so as a staff we’re going to take some time to evaluate our kids and place them in the best system.”
Cambridge will kick off their inaugural season on August 31 against Riverwood before jumping into 7AAAAA region play as a first year school.
“I told the kids today that somebody in that room will score the first touchdown in Cambridge history and another would get the first interception. That’s the excitement we’re working towards.”