PRE-SEASON INTERVIEW WITH SOUTH POINT’S ADAM HODGE
By: Anthony Perkins
Statesville: I went to South Iredell on Wednesday night to check out one of the pre-season scrimmages and had the opportunity to interview South Point’s new head coach Adam Hodge who took over the helm after Mickey Lineberger retired at the end of last season. Here are the questions posed to Coach Hodge and his responses.
Question: What has the transition to head coach been like?
Answer: Well it’s been pretty smooth. I’ve been here a while, I grew up in Belmont, played for Coach Lineberger and Coach Devine so I have a lot of Red Raider in me and it’s home to me. Some of the assistant coaches, Coach Lee, Coach Shepard and Coach Tate have been around for a while so it’s been pretty easy so far, well, not easy but it has been smooth. Coach Lineberger still comes around two or three days a week and sits down and talks with me. He’s a lot like my Dad, I look up to him a lot. He’s looked after me a long time…from my freshman year here at South Point and even while I was at college. He helped me get my first job at teaching and coaching…I owe him a lot!
Question: What are your expectations for your first year as head coach?
Answer: The expectations at South Point are the same every year…to win! That’s just the way it is, if you’re going to be at South Point, you better be ready to play and win. We want to win every game, be as good as we can be, win the Southwest Conference and a State Championship. Our goal every year is to be best team we’ve ever had.
Question: What is level of excitement for the players stepping into starting roles for the first time and for the new players coming up from the JV team?
Answer: Well, we’ve obviously got some shoes to fill; we have some great players that are gone. Nick Muse, Max Mead, Nick Farmer and James Granson were good solid players for our program. For the new guys, their situation is sort of like mine; it’s the next man up! The expectations will not change because I am the coach and my expectations for the players will not change because of who is playing. It remains a constant and that is the sign of a good program.
Question: You have a solid core or returning players but how are they handling their roles as leaders?
Answer: I told my upperclassmen, “You are going to take a lot away from South Point, a state championship, and I hope they get another one, a couple of conference championship, you’re going to take a lot away and I hope you will leave something behind. The way to do that is to be a leader in the classroom, a leader in the weight room, a leader in the fieldhouse, a leader on the field a leader in the community and teach the young guys what this is all about so that when you are gone it won’t drop off, it will just keep on going.” They have done a good job so far, Scottie, Matthew and Jake and the rest of the seniors. They have all been great examples.
Question: After experiencing the success of last year and bringing home the state title, sometimes there is a let-down or a sense of entitlement. How have they responded with their offseason conditioning and weight training?
Answer: In December, when I was still the defensive coordinator, coach Lineberger held the last meeting of the year. The question was asked, “Does anyone have anything else to say?” I spoke up and said, “Look guys, when you when a state championship it doesn’t get any easier, it just gets harder because everybody is after you now so it’s going to get harder and you will have to work that much harder. And they did! They responded and our weight room attendance in the spring was great, summer workouts were great and when we went to camp at Mars Hill, 77 out of 78 kids attended. I think their level of commitment is real strong and I really believe they want to be a back-to-back championship team and they won’t settle for anything less. If they can do that if will be a great accomplishment but that’s a big challenge! There’s a lot of good teams out there and you have to stay healthy and have a little luck on the way. Their mindset is in the right place, I think they are still hungry, we have some experienced players and they are ‘all in.’
High school football is fun, I’m looking forward to the season and I know the team is too.
As a side note, the Red Raiders looked pretty good in their first scrimmage against Statesville and South Iredell. The offense moved the ball almost at will and it included a surprising number of passing plays. Fullback Jake Alexander has beefed up a bit and quarterback Scottie Lee is already making good reads from the triple option, Red Bone offense. Ty Tinker had some good runs from the wing back or slot position and backup quarterback Keaton Hale also had some very good reps. The defense was also in fine form especially against the run and the passing defense isn’t far behind.