New Bay head coach Mike Watkins working with his team on the field in spring workouts

PANAMA CITY, FL (WJHG) Call it the start of the Mike Watkins era at Bay. Coach Watkins hired from John Carroll high school out of Fort Pierce a couple of months ago,taking over for Jimmy Longerbeam who took a job in Virginia.

This week coach Watkins and the Tornadoes getting into their first week of spring practice together.

The coach says he has about 55 players out, counting both the varsity and the j.v. He knows he'll have to spend a fair amount of time in this 20 spring workouts not just putting his guys through drills, but also teaching them how to do the different drills he wants them doing.

He knows that will slow things down a bit in these first practices, he doesn't want to overwhelm the kids, he says. So patience is likely going to be a key word for all involved these next few weeks at Bay.

"We're gonna limit it, and maybe I have to limit it some more, or maybe I'll have the freedom to install a little more of what we do." Watkins told me "Right now I'd say we're definitely under 70 percent of the offense and I want to do that so like I said we can play fast. The other thing, just get our base stuff in and let the guys compete. I need to learn about them and what they can do and accomplish. And they're gonna learn about me and my style of coaching."

Watkins was himself a quarterback in high school and at the University of Louisville. So it's only natural for him to be more focused than most coaches on coaching that position.

"Well when that position is soley responsible for making every decision out on the field you've got to spend that kind of time with them you know. The other guys, they've got to learn it as well and we'll spend time with them. But the q.b., when on every play he might have multiple options on where to go with the ball, the play caller, which will be me, and him better be on the same page. If you're not, it doesn't matter what you do, it's gonna be bad."

The Tornadoes will work towards the Bay County Jamboree on May 20th.