As far as wins and losses go, last season was a tough go-around for Armuchee and first-year head coach Jeremy Green.
However, as he begins his second campaign at the helm of the Indians, Green said the encouraging things he’s seen during the last two weeks of spring practice wouldn’t have been possible without the growth his squad experienced during their 2-8 season.
“I’ve just been proud of the way our kids have approached it,” Green said. “The first day (of spring), nobody got them out of the locker room. Nobody said ‘get dressed and go.’ At 3:30 they were all standing out there on the field in pads. I mean, I had to bring them back in because it was too early.
“I think the biggest takeaway from this spring so far is that you can tell that our culture is moving in the right direction.”
Green was announced as Armuchee’s new head coach last February and immediately got to work in helping his alma mater get out of a slump that saw the team win no more than two games in a season in six years.
After a 2018 schedule that was bookended by wins, Green says he’s encouraged by the way the Indians have pushed themselves all offseason long and says their hard work signals good things for the future.
“I think we have some talented players,” Green said. “We got a lot stronger than we were. I think the strengths of this team still go back to the culture. We’ve worked on being tougher, being more reliable. We work harder. We’re more unselfish. That’s always what’s going to be the things that give us a chance to be successful.”
For Green, this spring and this offseason have been less about scheme and more about continuing to get the Indians to buy into that bigger picture.
“The culture is something that we’re trying to build with competition and things like that, and with our kids being able to cut loose and play football,” Green said. “It’s okay to be good at football at Armuchee, and getting our kids to buy into that and say ‘why not us?’ We don’t have to hold back, and I haven’t seen them holding back. That’s a big difference between this spring and last spring.”
One thing that Green and his coaching staff have been keeping tabs on during the past few weeks’ practices is the prospect of replacing some key pieces on both sides of the ball. Second-team All-Area selections Randan Carter and Brayden Butler have graduated, along with starting quarterback Brayden Perry.
“In high school you always need a quarterback. That’s number one,” Green said. “So losing Brayden, that’s big shoes to fill. We’ve got open competition at quarterback. We have a couple of kids that are battling for that spot, and it’s really no secret other than you ask kids to compete for it and the best one wins the job.”
Armuchee will be able to evaluate their progress and their chances to be successful when they host Coahulla Creek in the team’s spring game Friday at 7:30 p.m.