Mercer’s Lamb enjoying Friday nights

mlough@macon.comSeptember 17, 2012 

For six days a week, Bobby Lamb is a typical college head football coach.

But on Friday nights, he’s just another dad, brother and fan.

Mercer’s head football coach doesn’t have games on Saturday this year as the Bears prepare for play in 2013, so he can do what few of his colleagues can: check out his son’s high school football game.

Taylor is the starting quarterback at defending GHSA Class AA champion Calhoun, which is coached by Bobby Lamb’s brother, Hal.

“I load it up every Friday night and head up (Interstate) 75,” Lamb said Monday night at the Macon Touchdown Club. “(Like) a dugout dad when you’re little, I’m like a press box dad.

“I’m my brother’s worst nightmare. I’m always second-guessing him as a daddy.”

Lamb uses “we” when talking about Calhoun and the Yellow Jackets’ 3-0 start, but there won’t be much time for that in a year when the Bears begin play.

Monday was Mercer’s first day in full pads.

“We just finished practice number 13,” Lamb said. “No. 1, we still have 104 players. That’s good, if you started 13 days ago and you still have 104.”

A year ago when Lamb spoke at the club, football life at Mercer was lonely.

“At this time last year, I was thinking we may get 55 or 60,” Lamb said. “The ball just kept rolling and rolling and rolling.”

Mercer president Bill Underwood said 12 days ago at Mercer’s “Meet the Bears” event that season ticket sales had passed 2,500 for the first season -- the eight-game package costs $50 or $75 -- and that the school had decided to expand the stadium capacity to 10,200.

That would make it the third-largest stadium in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, and that’s for the school ranking 10th in the PFL in undergrad enrollment.

Lamb said about 2,800 season tickets have been sold. The Bears open the season Aug. 13 against Reinhardt, an NAIA school that will also be in its first year of football.

The PFL is also adding Stetson, an A-Sun colleague of Mercer, and will break into East and West divisions. Joining Mercer in the East will be Stetson, Jacksonville, Davidson, Campbell and Marist.

The West will be comprised of Morehead State, Drake, Dayton, Butler, Valparaiso and San Diego.

There will be three games yearly with teams from the other division. And Mercer’s first PFL road trip is to San Diego.

“I told Jim Cole, our athletic director, that we may be out of money after trip one,” Lamb said jokingly.

Lamb said the Bears will run a two-back shotgun scheme on offense to start, with an increasing use of the passing game.

Mercer will run a 3-4 defense, and not simply for strategic purposes, as is the case with many major programs.

“The reason you’re 3-4 is because you only have to recruit three defensive linemen instead of four,” he said. “And that’s the truth. Defensive linemen are one of the toughest things to find out there in recruiting.”

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