Travelin' With Joe: Donoho dressing for success

·3 min read

Aug. 3—Editor's note: High school football practice has started, and Anniston Star Sports Writer Joe Medley has begun his annual round of preseason visits to all 12 football-playing schools in Calhoun County. Check The Star's Facebook page for live interviews each weekday. His columns and fun facts will also appear on The Star's website, social-media platforms and in print editions.

Jeremy Satcher had just finished his first Calhoun County Quarterback Club Media Day appearance as Donoho's head coach when a woman stopped him with a compliment.

She shook Satcher's hand and thanked him for the fact that he and the two players who represented Donoho at Anniston Country Club wore matching gray suits. Satcher and Lucas Elliott wore ties.

Donoho had the only contingent so nattily attired.

If clothes make the team, then Satcher's formal Falcons just might beat a trend for first-year Donoho coaches. The school's ninth head coach hopes to be the first to open with a better-than-.500 season.

Scratch "hopes."

Satcher's word is "expectation."

"You can't win if you don't expect to win," he said.

If anybody knows what that takes at Donoho, it's Satcher. He returns to Donoho, where he once served as assistant head football coach, assistant baseball coach and head coach in boys and girls basketball.

Satcher also brings a broader view. He was an assistant on Sam Adams' Oxford staff in 2021, with one of his roles as assistant recruiting coordinator.

He knows something about getting local kids college looks.

He also coached on John Grass' Jacksonville State University staff as an offensive analyst and special teams assistant. He's seen the view from the next level.

"There's so much," Satcher said. "Since I first left, my knowledge of the game grew, just seeing how different coaches, well-known coaches like Coach Grass and Coach Adams, just the organization of everything.

"Everything needs to be organized. Everything needs to be fast paced. Everything needs to be efficient."

How does that look from the inside?

"Every little thing," senior Garrett Orth said. "Even in the locker room, having your helmet on the left side and your cleats on the right side ... everything just in order, and everybody tries to abide by that."

Elliott, also a senior, cites a more intense practice pace, Elliott said, because of course. A sharply dressed team has no time to waste.

A team with Donoho's schedule has no time to waste.

The Falcons' 1A region includes 2021 state runner-up Wadley and Spring Garden, which bumps back down to 1A after making the 2A quarterfinals and semifinals the past two years. Winteboro and Ragland made the second round of the playoffs in 2020 and 2021.

The non-region slate includes 2A Pleasant Valley, 3A Weaver and 1A playoff regular Cedar Bluff.

Donoho had better come dressed for success.

The Falcons also need better luck with COVID-19 and injuries than they had while winning three games the past two years.

Older players like Elliott and Orth remember nine-win seasons in 2018 and 2019. They want that feeling again, so they gladly embrace the coach's new order, say nothing of the coach's new clothes.

Look like winners, feel like winners.

Most importantly, Satcher says, think like winners.

"Our mentality is going to be different," he said, "faster, and really just having the mentality to finish and dominate, having that expectation."

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.