The Turnaround – The Weeks that Were

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

Lubbock High School football helmetIt’s been two weeks (I think) since my last blog. Way too much going over the last fourteen days, including a much needed jaunt to Laguna Beach, California. Time to play some catch up with The Turnaround.

Spring Ball Prep
We have been meeting bright and early in my office over the course of the past week gearing up for spring ball. There is a lot of planning going into this. We have eighteen practices to get it right. There are specific things we need to see. Therefore, in order to see what we need, we have to be master planners.

We were young last year, so we return a lot of starters and key contributors. Having these eighteen practices is going to be huge for us, in terms of working on new wrinkles and finding some more pieces to fit into our puzzle. We need to fully utilize this time. The 2015 season really begins on May 1st.

Shift Back In Philosophy
Sitting on a Beach in Laguna is very therapeutic. For some reason, whether it’s the waves crashing or calmness surrounding you, the mind seems to empty and you regain a certain clarity. I needed this.

Sitting there I realized we have gotten away from some of the things I have always done or believed in. Even before I left for Laguna, I knew I was getting back to some of the simple things I hold dear to rebuilding football programs. Dropping anchor on the beaches of Laguna really solidified what I have been thinking: I’m going back to my old philosophies.

Run what you need to run. Be efficient in what you do. Make it work for your personnel. Pick up first downs on offense. Get the defense off the field. Use special teams as a weapon. Stay the course.

Social media, the internet and coaching clinics are filled with buzzwords and info that sometimes inundate the mind. For example, the word tempo. It’s all you hear. Well tempo isn’t for everyone and I am putting the kibosh to it at LHS. I’m swapping out the word tempo for efficient. That’s right. I’m going back to what I used to preach. This is just one example of my shift back to my roots.

Quite The Encounter
As I said, Laguna is awesome. It’s the happiest place on earth. Sorry, Disney, but you are lame when it comes to Laguna. Anyway, even though I was hanging out in paradise, I still needed to workout. I found a great little gym to go to just up the street.

I was done working out one morning when this large fella came walking in. Coaching football all these years, you know a player when you see one. This guy was close to 6’9″ and at least 325. A physical specimen.

I walked by and just asked him where did you play football? Not surprisingly he said Colorado. With that we engaged in a five minute conversation about college football. At the end of the conversation I asked what are you up to now? I received a sheepish reply of “New England”.

It finally dawned on me that I was talking to the starting left tackle for the Patriots, Nate Solder. Here is this guy who just won a Super Bowl, working out in Laguna. He never even would have said anything about the NFL had I not asked that question.

What did I take from this? A couple things. One — Nate Solder is possibly the most humble person I ever met. Outstanding guy. Two — he isn’t resting. He is banging weights and working hard a little over a month after winning a ring. Tremendous work ethic, one in which young people should take note of.

I tried sushi in Laguna. It was just as disgusting as I thought it would be. But I did it.
– I’m proud of the entire Westerner athletic program. Our soccer teams won and advanced in the first round of the state playoffs. A shout out to coaches Brandt Martin (Men’s) and Brian Ducas (Women’s) on doing a fantastic job! Our softball team and baseball team both won on the same day as well. Awesome job Westerners!
– Coaches, surprisingly enough, are human beings. We may actually have our own opinions that vary from what others think (can you believe that???). Well, I have opinions and dislikes just like regular people do. Sometimes you can read that on Twitter. I’m never disrespectful to anyone and NEVER tweet an opinion directly at anyone. I will reply if someone asks me about my opinion or questions it. But I always wonder, what do you care? I don’t bother you, don’t bother me. Simple.
– Yankees open the season soon. Here is looking at 3rd place. Yes, by the way, I like baseball and the Yankees.
– My favorite color is black.
– I don’t like poker.
– I do not like auto racing. None of it.

It’s a thin-skinned world we live in. Thankfully, I enjoy who I am and have no problem being me.

Til next time, enjoy your freedom and live your life!


Editor’s Note: Strunky appeared on the High School Football America Radio Show.  Listen to the interview below.

No More Fumbles

Play Football

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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.