SOUTH POINT PRE-SEASON INTERVIEW
By: Anthony Perkins
Belmont – I recently visited South Point high school for this interview with head coach Adam Hodge. Following are the questions I asked him and his responses.
Q: How are things going so far in practice this year and how does your team look?
A. We’ve got a lot of new faces in new places. We’ve had one scrimmage but you aren’t trying to look great in August, you want to look great in October, November and December. There were some things I liked, a lot of hitting, but there were some things I didn’t like. But hey, that’s what coaching is all about. If all of the players were great they wouldn’t need me or the other coaches. I think we accomplished a lot, we got some guys on tape so we can evaluate them in game situations and we’ll go from there. If you run the triple option and multiple defenses you must be disciplined to do those things so we’ll watch the film and figure out where we need to go from here. We want to get better every week and if we can do that we will be in the mix at the end of the season. But you have to work and work and work to get where you want to go; the day South Point football stops working to get better we will be in trouble. You have to work and that’s what we’ll try to do.
Q. How do you think this season will go for your team?
A. You know me, we have to take every game, one at a time, and get better every week so that if it comes down to the last game, hopefully, we can get out there and compete to a level to where we have a chance to win. The most important game we play this year will be the one we line up for every week.
Q. Most are thinking that this year will be like last year, in that it will come down to the South Point/Shelby game? What are your thoughts on that?
A. I think East Rutherford is going to have a good team, Chase has a new head coach and there’s no telling how much they might be improved. Hey, we can’t worry about Shelby in August, we have another Cleveland County team to play first and they’re pretty good too. But, I think if we can keep getting better we will have a chance to win.
Q. Keaton Hale played some at the QB position last year; how do you think he will work out as the starting QB?
A. He has good speed, but he needs more reps, more reps, and more reps so that the game will slow down for him.
Q. How is Ray Grier looking and how do you think he will perform this year?
A. I hope he does as good as he did last year (chuckle)! He’s PRETTY GOOD, the boy can run and he’s a talented young man. We threw him a couple in our first scrimmage (3 TD’s) but we mainly worked on our run game, it's our backbone, but when you have a young man out there like him, he gives you another big option when you’re running the ‘triple’.
Q. Naseem Jones got some touches last year and did well, is that who you are leaning to as your starting fullback this season.
A. Yeah! He got a lot of touches in the scrimmage games and he's a good runner and a tough kid. We’ve got a lot of young players and we just have to develop them and see where it takes us.
Q. As far a practice this year, what are you pleased and displeased with?
A. Our defensive secondary looks really good and they have good speed. We need to work on blocking and tackling. If we can get to where we can block and tackle better we will be O.K.
Q. Were there any big surprises in practice this year with the ‘unknowns’?
A. Not really. It’s a lot different now that you can have spring practice. You saw them in May, June, July (camps) and by the time August rolls around you pretty much know what you have. But there will be some freshmen that will make contributions this year that we were not expecting and that will give us some depth in places where we needed it.
Q. Where does your team stand from a depth perspective?
A. It different for every position. We’re strong at defensive back and the running back positions but even there we have a lot of new faces.
Q. What’s your assessment of the JV team?
A. Right now, I’m so proud of our JV team and JV staff. They are doing a great job of coaching those young players to get them ready for varsity level play. I think that one of the most important parts of a successful program is having a good JV program and we have that. As far a good players go, there’s a freshman fullback, several young linemen, some linebackers and several defensive backs that are looking real good but they obviously have some work to do before they’ll be ready for varsity play.
Q. Do you have any upcoming JV players that will have big roles on this year’s team that you would like to name?
A. There’s several so I’ll probably leave some out but Jamani Leeper (RB/DL), Omari Hunt (LB) and Naseem Jones (FB) all played JV and varsity last year and they will make contributions. That’s the whole point of why the JV program is so important; when the Jake Alexanders, the Phillip Davis’s, the Matthew Robinson’s, the Nate Hamilton’s, the Scotty Lee’s graduate, and I can’t name them all; it gives you someone to slide into their hole and keep on going. So, we’ve got a lot of new names and nobody knows who they are but that’s kind of good. And if we can keep getting better and better, week by week, by November we’ll hopefully be where we want to be.