The Turnaround: Time to play the games

The Turnaround

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

The week is finally upon us!  Football season is here and it is about to get real, meaning the games count in the standings.

For months leading up to opening week we have talking heads on ESPN forecasting everything from the SEC to the NFL.  We are forced to listen and read what football pundits are weighing-in on.  For crying out loud, ESPN has guys on staff that focus on broadcasting fantasy football picks.  Talk about overkill!

Well, once this week starts up all the geeks at ESPN will still be talking and making sense of nothing.  Me on the other hand, I get to prepare a team for their opening week and ACTUALLY be a part of football!  Let the Paul Finebaum’s of the world keep chirping while the coaches and players get ready to tee-it-up for real.

It’s an exciting week for me, as Week one always is.  It’s the best time of the year and nothing is ever going to change my mind on that.  This is what we work for and live for as a coach and player.

Let’s see what we are made of at LHS.  You have worked hard and you have done so with great attitude and effort.  You have pushed yourself to the limit, making each sprint burn longer.  It’s part of the process of becoming great.  You have done everything that has been asked of you.  Now it’s time to put it all to the test!

Welcome to the 2016 football season!

These Guys

Every year, around this time, as we get ready for Week One, I think of all the great people and coaches who have helped me get here.  I have worked with so many great guys that it is impossible to list them all.  But, I decided I’m going to list some of them.  I figured this would be a great time to think out-loud and thank some of the guys responsible for getting me to where I am.

Jeff Knarr, HFC, Kings College

  • Jeff was a young coach back in 1995 and coached me in the McDonalds All-Star Football Classic.  I remember thinking how much he loved coaching.  He was energized and you could clearly tell he loved what he was doing.  He didn’t know it then, but it was him who first made me think I wanted to be coach.  I was fortunate enough to coach with Jeff in 2007 at Muhlenberg College. He was the OC and I coached LB’s.  What a year!  Undefeated regular season and second round NCAA playoff appearance.  Jeff is one of the best in the business.

Chris Gerhard, HFC, Nazareth HS

  • Chris is my favorite all-time football coach.  He was an assistant at Northampton HS and coached me from 1992-1995.  During my senior year in 1995, my mother passed away.  It was Chris who kept me going.  He was a second father to me.  When he got his first head coaching job in 1997 at Nazareth HS, he brought me on-board and gave me my first coaching job.  I basically owe my entire coaching career to, Chris.  To this day, he is still a second father to me.

Teko Johnson, HFC, Northampton HS

  • What can I say about, Teko?  He was awesome.  He gave me my first coordinator job in 2003 at my alma mater, Northampton HS.  He took a shot on me and we went 31-19 over a four year period with three payoff berths and the school’s second state playoff appearance in its history. He quickly became my best friend.  Teko suddenly passed away in 2010 and it has left a void in my heart.  He opened so many doors for me.  God rest his soul.

As I said, there are so many people that gave me opportunities, I cannot list them all.  But these three guys were the most influential in my life and career.  I cannot thank them enough!

2016 Westerners

I’m going to begin talking a lot about our players in the upcoming weeks and that gets me excited.  We have so many good kids and a lot of great stories.  I am looking forward to sharing all that in this blog.

Randomness

-Yanks just can’t get a sweep.  It’s maddening.

-Seriously, what is with ESPN?  Bunch of hot air always blowing on those sets with no substance.  Take it back to when they reported on sports or just pull the plug on this clown-operation.

-Tomorrow is the first day of school for students.  Goes by quick.  Enjoy it, kiddies.

-Top Gun was just on.  What a classic.

-The Olympics are over and what a dominating performance by USA!  Proud to be an American.

-I need to go see the movie War Dogs.  Maybe Friday night?

-I wish this presidential election was over already. Good heavens, it’s painful to listen people and read Twitter.  If you can do better, go run for the job yourself! But you won’t.  It’s easy to sit back and criticize without moving a muscle.  You can run the country from your living room, right?  The position of president sounds a lot like a coach: everyone can do better than what you are, but they are not willing to
put in the hours.  Interesting.  Whiny society.

-Bartolo Colon is still pitching.  And pretty well.

Week one is here.  So FIO.  It’s that simple.

FIO.

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.