Posted: 10:54 am Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
By Jeff Greer
Coaching changes almost always end up causing one of two results. The move could present a team with a completely new outlook and mindset, or it could hardly change anything other than who is calling the shots.
At Atlantic, where a different approach was needed after the dismissal of former coach Andre Thaddies, interim coach Chris Bean and his coaching staff are preaching a brand-new ball game.
Irvin Jones and his staff at Treasure Coast, many of whom are holdovers from the previous coaching staff, are pushing ahead with mostly what the Titans already know. There isn’t much reason to change philosophies: the Titans went 8-4 last season and made a playoff appearance.
With both teams expecting to be competitive this season — and they’re both capable of winning seasons — the contrasting feelings about the coaching changes makes for an interesting topic. The difference is as simple as where the coaches were last year.
Treasure Coast’s new staff is made up of coaches from last year’s staff. Jones was the defensive coordinator before stepping in for Bill Kelley, who is the team trainer this year. The team has employed a slogan for this season that promotes the very continuation the Titans feel. Coaches rock T-shirts that say, “The Swagga Continues.”
Jones didn’t need to make too many changes to a team that returns two FSU commits in defensive backs Lamarcus Brutus and Keelin Smith, who was an All-American, and standout defensive lineman Jephte Leveille.
“There wasn’t too much of a transition or anything like that,” said Leveille (6-0, 230, No. 32 on the PBGametime Big Board). “We know what they expect of us … We’re out to prove that we aren’t a one-hit wonder.”
Meanwhile Bean, who was Atlantic’s basketball coach before replacing Thaddies, previously coached Eagles football from 2003 to 2005. His teams made the playoffs each year that he coached. But given the gap in years, none of the current Atlantic players knew much about Bean’s philosophy.
Bean said his staff wanted to set a list of priorities for the team. He wanted to “straighten them out” and get the players to concentrate on doing well in school. In other words, instill a culture of respect that can foster a disciplined football team.
“It’s accountability,” Bean said. “We set four priorities: Religion is first, family is second, then school, then football … We don’t allow cursing. Our seniors check in on the younger guys and report back to us.”
Senior linebacker Jephete Matilus (6-0, 220, No. 13 on the Big Board) has already noticed a difference.
“They’ve taught our guys how to respect people,” Matilus said.
Both camps feel like they have the weapons and the desire to win. Whether the coaching changes carry them to successful seasons or not will be a big question this fall.
For more high school football news, follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffgreer.