“We’re going to look different, more than Northside has ever looked on offense.”
That was new Head Coach Chad Alligood, via his Twitter feed back in April.
That obviously begins with him, but will also be an extension of his coaching staff – one in particular being new Offensive Coordinator Shane Sams.
“It’s going to be fun,” Sams said in an earlier SportsMic interview. “It’s going to be a challenge really coming into a more pro-style spread offense and studying those routes. (One of the philosophy’s – one among many in his arsenal – he brings with him, he said, was one he learned from former Warner Robins Head Coach Mike Chastain: To make the opposition defend the “whole” field.)
“But to me that’s the fun in building it from the ground up and going from there.”
Alligood, Sams and company, for starters, will be out to erase the memory of a 3-7 2019 record – getting the mindset back on the right side of tradition in other words. It was the first time the Eagles had a losing season since 1991 (also 3-7). You’d also have to go back to 1966 to find a year in which they scored less points; 183 in 2019, 182 in the other.
Still there’s much to be optimistic about, Sams said.
“I haven’t had the luxury of seeing our guys play yet,” he said. “What they can do (on the field as a unit, etc). (But) I think we have some players. We’ve got some ballers I’m very excited about.
“Definitely (for example), I think we have some guys who are ready to compete at the quarterback position. That’s something I’m really excited about.”
First things first when they do get the green light, Sams said, is to “find what these guys do well. (He added he felt that was something Northside – in particular during the tenures of former Head Coaches Conrad Nix and Kevin Kinsler – did a great job at.)
“And that’s one thing I remind our kids, our coaches, anybody I talk to about this. We’re going to put the ball in the air. There’s no doubt about it. But we’ve got to find what our kids do best. What’s the best ‘run game’ that fits them. What’s the best way to get the ball in the air. Is it sitting in the pocket? Is it rolling out?
“And so I’m very excited about the players. I’m vey excited about the guys. I’m excited about it. (I believe we’re) just a little behind in seeing what they can do, (but) I think everybody’s on the same page to be honest.”
Northside is slated to begin its year at home against Veterans, Aug. 21. Then it’s on the road to Peach County, Aug, 28, at Howard, Sept. 3, before taking on Warner Robins Sept. 11.
Following is a road trip to Richmond Hill (Sept. 18), and home games against Colquitt County (Sept. 25) and Luella (Oct. 9).
Then Region 1-AAAAAA action begins. First it’s a game at Valdosta Oct. 16. Lee County follows at home, Oct. 23, before closing out the regular season at Houston County, Oct. 30.
As schedules go, in particular the non-region part and the toughness of the opponents, “I think it’s perfect,” Sams said. “You’ve got to play elite teams with elite coaches to be able to compete in this region. So, it’s really perfect.”