By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
To say that Matt Scott hit the ground running would be a vast understatement.
The day after he was hired to be the new head football coach at Gadsden City, Scott was already working toward having a great season.
“The first day, I had an assembly of all the football players,” he said. “I told them what I expect of them, and that’s not confined to what they do in the field house and on the field. I told them that I’m going to hold them personally responsible for their attitude, behavior and grades.
“I did a power point presentation on what my expectations are of them and of what they should expect of me, as a coach. Kids have to have expectations of what we, as coaches, are going to do.”
Scott also got contact information on every player and said he’s already texting some of them about grades.
“I will look at their grades, and if I see something I don’t like, I’ll first text or call them. If that doesn’t make an improvement, I’ll do a face-to-face,” he said.
After meeting with the players, Scott gathered all of the teachers together to tell them his expectations.
“I told them that I will be keeping an eye on the grades of players,” Scott said. “I want reports from the teachers about grades, attitude and behavior. I believe in having a high character football team. If you do everything with high character, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”
Scott has also started his nutrition program and his conditioning program.
Scott believes that healthy meals will make for a better team. For the coming school year, he wants his players to have athletic PE for their first class of the day, not the last as it’s always been.
“If I have them first, I can make sure they eat a good breakfast,” he said. “It’ll be a requirement for them to eat breakfast in the school cafeteria.”
Scott also said he believes in peanut butter and jelly, saying that as they enter the field house for practice, each player will have two sandwiches waiting for them.
In a move that will help not this year’s team but the program as a whole, Scott spent an entire day talking to students in the city’s three middle schools.
“They were very excited to talk to me,” Scott said. “To me, that’s the only way to keep a good team, year after year. In fact, I will be involved with the middle school teams. I will be an assistant coach if that’s needed. And I will definitely be on the sidelines for their spring game.”
Scott has already figured out what his main priority for the upcoming varsity season is – developing a quarterback. He also plans to figure out what type of offense and defense to use.
“I’m a coach who tries to fit the plays to the players, not vice versa,” he said. “If we have a great passing quarterback and good receivers, we’ll throw the ball a lot. And if we have great running backs, we’ll run a lot. I don’t want us stuck in some cookie-cutter offense or defense.”
As for his staff, will last year’s assistants still have a job?
“That’s an ongoing process,” Scott said. “I didn’t come in here with the intention of bumping any coach from his job. I told (GCHS principal Keith) Blackwell that I don’t have a certain number of assistants I want, or any certain one I want to bring in.
“With that said, I will be looking at what we’ve got and what we can get. Some of last year’s coaches may find themselves coaching a different position, but anyone who wants to help is welcome.”