Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ken Sparks Inducted into the TN Sports Hall of Fame

I am glad to see that Coach Sparks has been recognized for his contributions and accomplishments at Carson Newman. He is a class act and a great coach. Do yourself a favor and attend his next clinic which is held either in Gatlinburg or at nearby Pigeon Forge.

Link: http://tshf.net/inductees/2004Sparks.htm

Monday, August 30, 2004

J.V. Wins Big!

Just a quick post. Well, our host of Freshmen and Sophomores took it to Corbin's JV this evening and won to the tune of 26-0. Corbin had a few drives end in turnovers, but, then again, so did we. Many of our 9th graders are seeing a lot of action on Friday night... as are our Sophomores. But as shown tonight against a worthy opponent, the wheel is turning for us in the right direction. It might be turning slowly... but it's turning none the less!

Nuts and bolts: Corbin runs a 44 but rolls up the OLB's vs a TE to give a 6-2 look vs 2 Tights. Not being brilliant, I ran a lot of 2 Tights (with a flanker) to make 'em balance up the D line and LBs and give me less to look at when calling plays. If they tighten the DE/DT 's then you run OSV... Widen them (and the 2 techniques) and you can go to your ISV and inside trap. Of course, I didn't catch it all the time, but the players know the angles and who to block even if we're not running the "perfect" play... just so long as it's "close enough." We could have ran more speed option at them, but we were doing okay with OSV and it hits faster... so why bother? It wasn't "broke," so we didn't "fix" it. The inside trap worked as well. There's going to a "bubble" in that D line somewhere - you just have to find it! I'm a firm believer that you can win with a small number of plays if your kids know how to fine-tune them to work versus the various fronts you see.

Now, there's just enough time to savor this victory one last time before bedtime... then it's time to move on to getting ready for Friday night's game vs. Pineville (my high school alma mater, BTW.)

When It Rains It Pours...

Wow. In week one we're tied 15-all and suddenly we blow up with mistakes and eventually lose 36-15. Now this past Friday we faced Senior-heavy Bell County (who never fail to hit the off-season weights hard, I might add) and get our hats handed to us to the tune of 56-6.


When it rains, it pours. Well, when you have a young ball club, you are going to make mistakes. When you aren't physically dominant as a ball club, you have to play near-perfect football in order to win. So we have to take a young ball club and play near-perfect football in order to get this season on the road to recovery.

Hoo-boy. It can be done, but it's going to be tough. Which reminds me of Coach P.A. Pratt's parable that got us through a couple of really tough seasons. I don't know where he got it from, but it sure was the truth.

"Tough Times Don't Last - Tough People Do." Simple, direct, and to the point. Sometimes all you can do is survive the rough seas and hang on until the storm has passed. Get better each game in little ways that aren't easy to measure but slowly add up intil you feel it, and know the players, the coaches, and the team itself has weathered the storm, outlasted the tough times, and through stubborn determination has gotten back on track again.

We're not there yet. but we're getting close.

Tough Times Don't Last - Tough People Do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

48 Hours...

Its roughly forty-eight hours until we open the 2004 season. As usual, I'm getting a little nervous as the season opener nears. Today we ran our inside drill and it looked good. Until now, it kinda didn't - look good, that is. I really think we can move the ball and put some points on the board if we keep the penalties down and hold on to the football. But we're young, and in my experience that translates into mistakes. Not much time to worry about it now. All you can do is coach 'em your best and hope for the best.

I'm very proud of the ones we have left... the ones tough enough and dedicated enough to stick with the team. Those special players that have had the guts to stick it out through camp, through the heat, and being thrown in the mix without much playing time... well, my hat is off to those guys. We may lack experience, but we are in no short supply of heart, and guts, and "want-to". I know we're gonna struggle at times this season, but I know that we will prevail. Every season I find renewed respect for those I coach... that shrinking number of young men drawn to a sport not because it is easy but because it is hard. (and I have no idea why I'm paraphrasing JFK...!)

Coach Smith