The Turnaround – Spring Ball and More

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

Lubbock High School football helmetHope springs eternal, so the saying goes.

Two days of spring ball are in the books and we are rolling! Enthusiasm and energy is a abound. Spring has definitely energized the Westerners and the coaching staff! So far, so good!

We are using spring ball to evaluate key pieces of personnel, install our staples and find out how tough we are. We return seventeen starters, ten of which were sophomores during this past football season. So spring ball gives us a chance to get them more experience. I’m excited about this group of sophomores.

I’m also excited about our rising seniors. I don’t think we have had a class displaying this much leadership since we have been here. That is exciting to see! We need leadership from those guys. We are getting it!

Spring is off to a great start. Let’s keep this thing rolling!

For the first time in a few years we have had some key coaching staff members leave for bigger opportunities. So what do you do? The first step is easy. Hire from within. This is why you build the program and why I preach continuity.

Jake Willingham is now in Ennis. We had some pretty big shoes to fill. Fortunately I was able to promote from within and bring up Derek Mauldin into Willingham’s vacancy. Mauldin has been here from Day 1 with me. He has done a tremendous job, so why not give him his shot? He earned it. Easy move to make.

I have also brought up Tyler Lloyd from the freshman team to coach varsity QB’s. Again, no brainer here. Tyler played QB at Frenship and has done a great job here the past year. The kids look up to him and respect him. Once again, easy move to make!

DC Nate Jephcott has re-tooled the defense. I mean major re-tooling. It’s been fun to watch. I wonder what we will be running this year? Maybe Ampipe High Schools 6-2 Stack Monster? Look for Tom Cruise to drop in on us now.

Jephcott has got this going. Can’t wait to see it in August!

This weekend Justin Wieller was in town. He is a fellow Northampton Konkrete Kid. I coached Justin at Northampton from 2001-2007. No, it didn’t take him six years to graduate. So you can FIO that part.

Justin was a standout football player for us back at Northampton. He was also a state champion wrestler from our nationally-recognized program. He would be a great fit for us. Hope we can get this ironed out and going!

This is another example of the life long relationships you build with players. Justin (if it works out) would join another Konkrete Kid, Devin Kline, here in Lubbock. I coached both of those guys during the same time span. Relationships are a vital part of our profession. This is just another example of coach and players reuniting years after coaching them.

I wouldn’t have it any other way!

-Had a great visit last week from Caleb Hanie, former NFL QB with the Bears and Broncos. What a great guy! Dropped a ton of info on us in the hour we visited!
-The Yankees are 16-9. First place. Waiting for the wheels to fly off, but I will enjoy the good baseball they are playing for awhile. Fun to watch right now.
Tyler Trout has been seriously considering opening up his own crop dusting business.
-The NFL draft happened. THANKFULLY! Now Mel Kiper and that McShay guy can back to working at Wolfer’s Gas Station in Northampton. Coverage of the draft is BRUTAL!
Neal Tull watches The Muppets before every practice for inspiration.
-Jeff Fisher has turned into a professional whale watcher. Just discovered that this week.
-A baseball game with no fans last week? Pretty neat. But extremely sad. People can’t behave?
-Tebow is back in the NFL. Good. Hope he shoves it to the people that doubt him. The NFL needs a positive thing like Tebow. You don’t believe me? Google NFL arrests.

That’s is. More later, including Brandt Martin leaving the LHS nest for a new gig.



About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.