BONIFAY, FL (WJHG/WECP) Tuesday leads us to another area high school football practice, this time around it's the Holmes Blue Devils, one of the area teams working under a new head ball coach.
Jeff Lee guides an indoor workout as Holmes prepares for the season ahead.
Jeff Lee, after being pushed out at North Bay Haven, landing up in Bonifay, succeeding Kevin Womble.
When we stopped by, the bad weather forcing their workout into the gym for coach and his players, who number 52 total, with some 33 or so set to dress on the varsity level.
Last year a 2-7 record, so there's room for improvement, improvement the new coach hopes, will come from a new plan of attack!
"I think the more physical nature of the play that we're trying to instill." coach Lee told us. "We're gonna run the ball first, which opens up big passing yardage. But we're gonna run the ball first, control the line of scrimmage. Control the tempo of the game by our offensive production. So that has been the biggest thing, and just the discipline part of, everybody's got a job to do and everybody's got a responsibility.
And as a way of motivating the kids, the letters GATA are on a lot of the t-shirts and sweat shirts around the practice field and locker room these days. Coach Lee first learned that phrase when playing for Erk Russell at Georgia Southern in the early 80's.
"G-A-T-A has been around." coach Lee says "Politically correct it's 'get after them aggressively'. (winks) But it's a lifetstyle that we try to get our kids to understand that every day they have attack the day, and get after it, every single day. Whatever they may tackle. We've got guys now, not to promote this, but we've got guys tattooing it on their arms and everything else. But I didn't expect it to get that far."
But hey, it's proof the kids are committed.
And helping to instill all that, new assistant coach Jimmy Ray Stephens, who's coached Fort Walton Beach and Walton in this area. As well as coaching major college ball at Florida and Tennessee, among other spots. Most recently he was with the Orlando team of the Alliance of American Football before that league suddenly ended midseason a few months ago. Safe to say coach Lee is thrilled to have coach Stephens on board.
"That just added to the experience level." coach Lee says. "This is my 35th year. And so to add him in here with his college, professional and high school has been a tremendous plus for us. Our kids relate to him and they're excited to have him. And to have his...to fall back on, to bounce ideas off of, and have his ideas created into what we're doing. And we actually got one our plays named after the now defunct team he was with, the Orlando Apollos."
Holmes' opener Friday comes at Bozeman, that one of several games we'll feature on Friday Night Overtime.
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