JHS Football: New Indian chief values the importance of relationships

·3 min read

Jun. 18—Members of the Jacksonville Indian football team are a couple of weeks into their summer workout program, as allowed by the University Interscholastic League, and while the young men have had changes associated with a new coaching staff come their way, they are on track in preparing for the 2022 season; which is slated to get under way on August 26 when a visit to Sulphur Springs is on tap.

One doesn't have to visit with new Tribe head football coach Jason Holman for long to realize just how important relationships are to him.

For example, in assembling his coaching staff, Holman has been focused on making sure the assistant football coaches, some of which will serve as head varsity coaches in other sports, that are assigned to coach at the high level also teach at Jacksonville High School and those designated to coach at the middle school level, teach at Jacksonville Middle School.

"I think it is important for the kids at the high school and middle school levels to see the same faces and to develop relationships with them," Holman said. "It's more difficult to accomplish that if a varsity coach is teaching all day at the middle school. There has to be consistency there. We wanted to eliminate some of the coming and going."

"We also want our assistant coaches to develop relationships with the administrators at the school that they are assigned to."

Another indicator of Holman's commitment to relationships is the fact that both of the Tribe's new football coordinators, Jason McClendon (offense) and Bradley Gandy (defense) coached with Holman at Tatum High School, prior to coming to Jacksonville.

Holman is also committed to maintaining a formidable strength program, which will enable the Indians to be able to better compete against some of their new district rivals such as Chapel Hill, Kilgore and Palestine.

"We will have one of our assistant coaches completely responsible for our strength program," Holman said. "We will establish goals and track the progress of the athletes."

The Indians hit the weight room hard in the spring, with Holman reporting some young men having gained as much as 50-60 pounds in the amount of iron that they could lift.

"I am really proud of what our kids were able to accomplish with their lifting in the off season," Holman said.

Offensively, Jacksonville will employ the spread offense. Holman outlined two key factors concerning the offense.

"We will have to be able to run the football, in order to be able to throw the ball," he said. "You have to keep the defenses off balanced in order to win football games.

"Everything that we do offensively should be focused on making the quarterback successful."

Holman has spent countless hours in the spring watching tapes from last season to get an idea of what position each player is best suited for.

"Starting out, each player will have an offensive and defensive position," Holman said. "As things progress, we should have fewer and fewer kids playing both ways. I think our numbers will support that."

Holman said the Tribe's base defense will be the 3-4 system. Jacksonville will have odd and even fronts, what ever suits the Indians' skill sets best.

Just as was the case last season, Jacksonville will not be participating in 7-on-7 state qualifying tournament (SQT) events.

Holman said there will be some 7-on-7 activities that the Indians will go through this summer and that could included some games against a nearby school or two.

He went on to say that in the future he hopes to get the team back to a point where Jacksonville can compete at the 7-on-7 SQT level.

It has been said, "to improve is to change,"; therefore change has to be a good thing.