Gulf Shores' Hammac tackles transition from safety to linebacker

Rising junior added muscle, maintained speed to move closer to line of scrimmage

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 7/25/22

GULF SHORES — As the Gulf Shores Dolphins' summer practices wind down, the season's expectations continue to ramp up heading into the second season under head coach Mark Hudspeth.

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Gulf Shores' Hammac tackles transition from safety to linebacker

Rising junior added muscle, maintained speed to move closer to line of scrimmage

Posted

GULF SHORES — As the Gulf Shores Dolphins' summer practices wind down, the season's expectations continue to ramp up heading into the second season under head coach Mark Hudspeth.

The action and workload have also been raised for rising junior Isaiah Hammac who transitioned from the safety position to linebacker in the Gulf Shores' defense, although he's been up to the task.

"I think it's amazing, I love it. It's a lot more tackling, a lot more hitting; a lot more fun," Hammac said with a smile.

While he did add some muscle and weight – he was listed at 5' 11", 167 pounds last year and is listed at 6', 180 pounds this year – Hammac said he has been working this summer to maintain his speed and has been able to do that, thanks in part to the coaching staff.

"They're amazing, hands down best coaching staff I've had yet," he said after the July 20 practice. "Coach Hud's a great coach and he's got a bunch of great coaches around him."

Last Wednesday's practice marked 29 days away from the season-opening kickoff against the St. Michael Catholic Cardinals and just 12 days away from the first real practice of the season.

Throughout the whole summer, the team has only been getting better and the conversations about deep playoff runs are only feeling increasingly plausible.

"The summer's been great, nice and hot," Hammac said. "I think we've been doing really good and getting a lot better, we haven't really had a bad day yet, so I think as a team and as a whole, we're getting a lot better and growing as a team."

With the growth comes adjusted expectations but Hammac says the team shares the same visions.

"State," he said. "I want to go to state and win. Everyone around me wants to win, coaches want to win, and I think we have a good chance."

As they've been growing as a team on the field, the squad took another step toward building the off-the-field camaraderie when they ventured to Waterville for some off-day fun the following day.

However, it was earlier in the week that the players gathered after their practice for some extra reps. While teams can hold practices with their coaches at this point in the summer, footballs and pads are not used so after the official practice and without the coaches' supervision, the players slung the pigskin to build their timing.

"Tuesday night we got done about 9 o'clock, we were out here from about 6:30 to 9 as a team," Hammac said. "Even though we can't touch the ball (during official practice), we came out here later and were throwing it around with everybody."

Following a 7-4 overall record last year, the Dolphins' 3-4 mark within Class 6A's Region 1 kept them just outside the playoff picture. Now in 5A following the biennial realignment, Hammac sees last season as simply a springboard for this year.

"I think it's going to be a great season," he said. "We had a good season last year as kind of a build-up season, so I think we're basing this season off that one and it's going to be really good."

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