Credit: Passion Photography/Tigers Football Facebook page
Football Fridays in Georgia: A special 'Hey! You're 3-0' Edition
On this special Labor Day week edition of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, Jon Nelson goes one-on-one with three coaches who are 3-0 heading into week four of the season. Troup County Head Coach Tanner Glisson, Elbert County's Shannon Jarvis and Heath Webb of Lumpkin County break down some of the factors behind their strong starts.
Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for accessing us however you are doing so. It's amazing what happens when you hit the record button. Inside joke to Tanner Glisson, the head coach of Troopers Batting leadoff. This week here on the podcast, I decided to catch up with some friends who are three and O, and Tanner, you're batting leadoff. How does it feel?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Awesome, Jon I used to bat leadoff back in the day. And so now I appreciate you having me on. I hope you're having a great Labor Day and just excited about this football season.
Jon Nelson: So, we have some friends who do some television down there in Columbus, and we battle for the tag team championships when it comes to television. Hannah and I battle with Jack and Rex for the tag team titles when it comes to sports television.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: That's right.
Jon Nelson: And one of them referred to Taeo Todd as a cheat code.
Jack Patterson: Troup County Teao Todd was a human cheat code.
Jon Nelson: And I think that was probably the theme song in on the Western Frontier early this year. Is Taeo Todd a cheat code coach?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: He is a cheat code, that's for sure. He is really dynamic. You know, Taeo was the leading freshman rusher in the country in 2020. He had nearly 1700 yards. He was the Atlanta Touchdown Club freshman of the year for all classifications. And so last year, he went down for about four or five games with a knee injury. Seems to be healthy now, and we're just really excited about him.
Jon Nelson: I was going to ask you how his game has continued to grow and evolve since we seem to have been seeing him at quarterback for you since he was eight years old. How has his game evolved?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Well, first and foremost, during this offseason, we felt the need to make a change in the offensive coordinator position. So, we went and found someone whom we felt really fit, and that's Kyle Wilson coming to us from Brooks County. And so now we sat back and watched those guys at Brooks County make that state championship run last year and do some similar things and that all fans that we thought would tell you. And so, we really feel like that was kind of the missing piece, you know, to get a coordinator in here who we kind of help him expand a little bit. Taeo was more or less a running back playing quarterback, and so we felt like he had to get better in the passing game. And because of his size or some things he can do in the middle of the field, sometimes he's got to get out of pocket to do, and really felt like Kyle Wilson brought that to the table. And so, it's fun to see right now. He's having a great year, and we just have to keep him healthy.
Jon Nelson: I was going to say and you kind of answered this for me, what does he need to work on as he continues to grow? But, you know, you mentioned the idea of adding the passing game to someone who's not afraid to tuck and run.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah. And you know, Jon, I think one of the things too, though, is his receivers around him have to develop, you know, so it is just not all on Taeo you we have Qua Moss out there who is our lead dog in the receiving corps who has done a really good job and then we got a bunch of junior, sophomore guys that are very talented but just trying to find their way with the experience. And hopefully, those guys can continue to mature, and that'll do nothing but help Teao.
Jon Nelson: So, when you look at your team out of the blocks at # and O, and you've done some work in the Western frontier against other teams that are in that footprint. When you look at yourself right now, how would you grade yourself in your three phases?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Oh, you know, I think we've done what we set out to do. You know that game with Harris County? You never know that we're in a transition deal with head coaches. A team that went to the second round last year, but we always played them because of our proximity in us bordering Harris County to the north. And then we wanted to sandwich a game in between Harris County, who is a rival, and also Callaway, who is a rival. So we went with Hardaway, who was always very physical, you know, regardless of the scoreboard, they're always really physical. And so, we did what we had to do in those two games. You know, we were up 33 to nothing at halftime versus Harris. So, a lot of those guys Taeo Todd those guys didn't see action in the second half, the Hardaway game, I think it was maybe 49, 21. And there again, it was a physical, you know, task force. We passed that test. And then another rivalry game with a physical pedigree of a Callaway team expects to win type deal, big crowd, at Callaway Stadium and to come out victorious in that one. So, I think we've chased three of the boxes, and it's going to really heat up here with Whitewater and Starr's Mill coming up.
Jon Nelson: Well, I was going to say, you know, you're heading into a bye-week, and a lot of coaches, when they have this kind of momentum, you're out of the blocks 3 and 0, do you want to catch your breath a little bit? Do you want to keep going? What's your perspective on that?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah, you know, we could take it or leave it; either way, you know, we're not very deep. We do play some guys both ways. So those kinds of breaks kind of help us catch our breath, and hopefully, the weather is cooled down a little bit. And so therefore, it won't be such a strain for the Qua Birdsongs; the Qua Moss-es and even Taeo Todd plays a little bit on defense. So yeah, you know, I think that Callaway game fell at a good time because it's a good test, you know? Callaway, I know they fell out of the top ten in AA this week here, but they'll be back in the top ten, and there's no doubt about that. So you had a top ten AA Callaway team, a top ten Whitewater team, and a in the top ten Starr's Mill team coming up, so there's three top ten teams in a row, so a break is probably not a bad thing.
Jon Nelson: And you know, you look at your region now, you know, you mentioned Whitewater, you mentioned Starr's Mill, and then you go down toward the end of your schedule in games nine and ten, and you've got Trinity Christian, Kenny Dallas who wanted to move up to AAAA because of proximity and all of that. And then you finish with the house that Napier's building at LaGrange. I mean, your region is stacked, man.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah, it's wild, you know, and I mentioned this in another interview a few days ago, and I don't mean to direct Sean in the reclassification committee or anything, but you kind of wish you count those teams, you count Riverdale, and you throw in Troup, so there's six teams that are really, really good teams and only four teams are going to make playoffs. And then you look at some other regions, and you're like, oh, you know, these teams, you know, three or four of them wouldn't even make the playoffs in our region, you know? So, you kind of wish that was a little more spread out to give a little more fairness when the tournament gets here. But, you know, it is what it is, and this is going to be tough. That game, that last game with LaGrange at the very end of week 10 and can be for a lot. You know it's already a big deal here. And we're lucky to have won six in a row against those guys. But you can't; you can't ever count that game. That game's always like Auburn, Alabama. And so, you know, it can be wild.
Jon Nelson: Does it seem like this is your eighth-year head coaching at Troup?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Is sure it does not yet. It does not. You know, I was just thinking of that the other day and coming over from Manchester, and the first year I got here was June the first. I slept in the fieldhouse. We had six running clocks, one and nine. You know, we were in a region with Sandy Creek and stars. I mean Sandy Creek and Cartersville. Carrollton was in there at that point, and it was just it was tough.
Jon Nelson: So, when you look back at who you were as a head coach at Manchester and as someone who has flown up there in West Georgia in the footprint, how do you think you've changed as a coach since you started coaching and then how have you changed as a head coach and how have you matured over time?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Well, number one, I was a head coach at a pretty young age. I played at Manchester, so I followed Greg Oglesby at Manchester, and that was really a tough thing to do. 150 wins, state runner-up, state champion. And so that that was a tough gig to follow. And I think probably for the first three or four years of my career, head coaching career, I was trying to figure out how to be the head coach. You know, I think it just took me longer than most probably to try to figure that out and to surround ourselves with good people. I think that's the biggest thing here now at Troup. You know, we've got 13 coaches at the varsity level, and we're surrounded with good people. So that's very important.
Jon Nelson: And at the same time, over the last handful of years, there's also been a capital investment by the Board of Education there to give you some top-notch facilities over the last couple of seasons, too.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah, it's amazing. You know, we have a brand-new athletic facility. You know, when we built it, it was $15.3 million. Today, it'd probably be twice that much. And so, it's really, really nice. My wife is the principal at our Feeder middle school, so we just have one Feeder middle school. And I have a kid now at all three schools. I have one at Long Cane Elementary, Long Cane Middle, and Troup high. And so, we're pretty invested. And so, the community has been great. It's a great football place. You know, you look at Troup, LaGrange, and Callaway, and those are three solid programs. It used to be when I first got here, whoever the weak dog was, you know, people kind of flocked away from you and went places where they thought they had a better chance to win. And now you had three very competitive teams. And LaGrange is a good talent pool, but I don't know if all three teams to win at a high, high level that there's that much talent. You know, it's kind of spread out between three of the schools here. And so all three schools do a really good job of coaching.
Jon Nelson: Last question for you, and thanks for hanging out.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah.
Jon Nelson: When it comes to mentors, this is a question that's kind of popped up in some of the other things that that I've come across this year. I know that we always have those folks who are on speed dial when you've got a question. You know, it's like either outside of maybe calculus or something when it comes to a coaching question, we all had those folks on speed dial. Who are those folks on speed dial for you when you've got a question that you know will pick up the phone when you reach out to them and why?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Well, you know, I'm getting a little trouble if I don't mention everybody. And, you know, obviously, I grew up in the Greg Oglesby always be Zeke Geer coaching tree, Tommy Parks who recently passed away and Jeremy Williams of down at Greenville, and a lead with Tommy. Those two guys. Chip Medders, who is assistant superintendent over here, was actually the principal that hired me here, and then Dale McGee was on that staff with us up at Greenville. And so, all of those are really good as far as current coaches. Chip Walker at Noonan and I talk a lot and are pretty good buddies with that. So, you know, those guys are all good, but there's a wealth of knowledge with Stephen Holmes back at Manchester, who is my assistant. He goes there and just, you know, I think that's one thing about this job that I really enjoy is that fraternity. You know, I've never created anything on my own. I've always stolen and borrowed from everybody. And I hope to do that and give back to other young coaches when I can.
Jon Nelson: All right. I fib—one more question. You say since you mentioned Tommy and Jeremy.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Yeah.
Jon Nelson: And they meant the world to both of us. I mean, I'll break the fourth wall and say that that's the easy rider. When I mention Tommy and Jeremy, what comes to mind is what we're missing with them not being with us?
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Oh, man. You know, those two guys were characters, and they were different. Tommy was tough, hard-nosed. I learned so much about the defensive line from Tommy, how to coach, how to work a defense- offensive group, you know. And he always gave me a lot of advice when I got into AAAA because none of those other guys had ever coached at the AAAA level. And Jeremy, Jeremy was my quarterback coach at Manchester, and I went with Jeremy at his first job to Greenville, and I still see Jennifer and Jacob and Jose all the time and get a little emotional when I start talking about those two guys because they were very dear friends and a lot of great memories. But I know they're proud, and you know, we work hard every day to make them proud.
Jon Nelson: Tanner, thanks for hanging out with us, and enjoy the bye week. We'll catch up with you on the flip side.
Tanner Glisson, Troup Head Coach: Thank you, Jon. I appreciate everything.
Jon Nelson: Batting second on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast of the "Hey You're 3 and 0" edition. Shannon Jarvis, the head coach of Elbert County in the Blue Devils. Shannon, thanks for hanging out on the show.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Thank you, Jon. Thank you so much.
Jon Nelson: Much. All right. So, can you go into summer workouts for me and what your general vibe was coming into this season? What were some of your takeaways leading into matt Game Week one?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Oh yeah. You know, we had a lot of returning starters back, and kids added play. You know, my first two years, we had a lot of freshman and sophomore starting, and so a lot of those kids were back, and we were we had, you know, behind closed doors. We had high hopes for this season for kids. And we started in January and February. It really started ramping up our off-season workouts more. We noticed these kids were, you know, I won't use the term they were boldly and a lot more, you know, surprisingly a little bit for us. And from that day, from January on, this has been one of the most enjoyable teams for me to coach day in and day out. They have a great spirit about them. We knew our first three games. When you play in Hart County to open, the year you know it's a huge rival. They've got a great team, you know, and you know, you've got a team that's right there on the bubble right there as far as their spirit. But they need you to know. You had to have something positive happen in that game. I don't know if I've coached a game, or I know I have, but I mean, this is one of those games when it was over, I was so proud of our kids, their resiliency. It was a heavyweight bout that night. It looked like a high-level playoff game, Hart County in momentum swing. And every time they scored; we would respond. And it was just a great night. And for our kids to make a fourth down stop to end the game, just our defenses, as every time we've had to have a stop, they rose and made a stop this year, so just so proud of the kids. I really am. You know, we can coach and scheme and this and that, but the reality is those kids have to go out there and play with a belief and love for each other. And that's what this team is showing that they've got a tremendous amount of that, both love and respect for each other, and just they've been a pleasure to coach so far.
Jon Nelson: And then you add to that the win in week two over Madison County and then another win over Harlem in week three. To get you to this point, how would you grade where you are after your first three games?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Well, you know, I was waiting for the letdown, you know, after the hard game, such an emotional win and played well, you know, when I challenged them that week getting ready for Madison, and you know, we got in the Madison game, they've got a tremendous offense. I think Madison's going to have a great year this year, but we end up getting in a little bit of a shootout and winning that game. And then you're getting ready for Harlem, and you put in the field, and they've got a great tailback. The coach has done a great job, Harlem. So, you look at it, and you say how, you know, looking back over these first three games, we have had to go these 12 quarters. And I mean, it's been mentally tough plays. Every single play has been mentally tough. And so, I'm proud of our kids' maturity. We call them the mental toughness that they've had. The how they're playing and being consistent last Friday probably was the sloppiest game that we played today. But that stuff, we can work and crank. We've got an open week this week, and so that's something we're looking forward to with the open week to be able to start really correcting some of the mistakes that we've had. But their resiliency, and mental toughness, has been something that my own biggest takeaway these first three weeks has been for this team.
Jon Nelson: And it seems like you're reading my notes because that was going to be my next question because you're at 3 and 0, and you're heading into a bye, you know, you're heading into a bye week. Do you want the bye when you got this momentum? Do you not want the bye or what?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: You know, Jon, that's a great question. There have been times we've had byes later in the year getting ready for playoffs. I didn't want it. I thought we lost a little momentum. But at this point where we're at, this is where we need to hit or break in just a little bit. Regroup, Regather with the games that we've been in, the mentally taxing games that we've had. This break is coming at a great time for us. I feel confident these kids will pick up where we left off as far as the momentum because, frankly, our execution has got to improve. Like I said this past Friday, we did not execute or play it at the level we had been at. So, we need to regroup. We got to do a better job of leading them. And I'm confident this team responded, though.
Jon Nelson: You've dropped after reclassification. You're now in region 8A, Division 1. So, 8-1 for those following along with their scorecards. And you're in one of those what I like to call, for lack of a better phrase, a mini region. M.I.N.I. Because you only have three region games, and it's a sprint going up against Rabun County, Commerce, and Athens Christian. But that's in the middle of October. You still have, after the bye week, four more non-region games. First and foremost, how difficult was it for you to schedule seven non-region games?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Jon, I've said this publicly privately scheduling this year is the toughest thing I've had to do as a head football coach in, I don't know, in my 18th, 19th year as head coach. This non-region schedule was absolutely a nightmare to put together, and it's really like what you just talked about it. It's not hard to get the weak one, two, and three games, but now you're getting into weeks five and six, and seven is finding people that don't have region games that are willing to play. When we were able to finally finalize the schedule, honestly, I was very proud of what we put together. We're playing very good teams. I mean, you know, Washington-Wilkes is ranked right now in A. We have Whitefield Academy coming up their ranked. So, what you have is a schedule that is going to be very taxing. And for our kids, it's a tough schedule. Obviously, I'm hoping to pay dividends when we get to that region because you got three region games, and as you said, no matter two and three weeks, I mean, your season turns upside down. And so, I'm proud of the schedule we got to put together. But it was a huge challenge.
Jon Nelson: And I want to kind of dove into that just a little bit more because I don't think that the average fan or the average follower of high school football understands. It's texting, emails, and pulling out what's left of your hair. It's its schedule, Jenga. Like, I don't think anyone can figure because, you know, for the next two seasons, first off, you had reclassification in the first place where folks had their idea put together, and then in some cases, it was torn asunder. And then you had to come up with a second plan. And then that second plan finally was your plan. And then you're sitting there going, Okay, now what do I do? I mean, how much effort with a capital E went into all of this? What was scheduling like in the 2022s?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: I know. And you know, I can tell you with you have the knowledge you have you talk to a lot of coaches, Jon, so you have a lot of information with that. The general fan has no idea. You know, you get the question, well, why don't you play in such and such? Well, we tried, you know, we tried with the coach. They have a region game that week. We don't, you know, is putting the puzzle together. It's also coaches who will put you on hold as they're trying to get another opponent. But your kind of set there on the warmer. And I know I am, you know, so I'm trying to get the coach to commit, and it was challenging it's like you said, we were nonstop texting. Lord, I signed up for coaching services in South Carolina and Alabama.
Jon Nelson: Really?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Village people were. Yeah, you know, we went to states just looking for teams in other states that may have possibly had openings and stuff like that. So, you just had to cast your net even water, you know, and here, Elbert, we're on the South Carolina border anyway. So, you know, Elbert has played South Carolina teams periodically at times. But even in Alabama and in all the states, we were just trying to find as many as we could. And, you know, as you said, you'd have the schedule set, and then all of a sudden, the classifications changed again. So, it just threw it all out. And it was a challenge, but it was nonstop. And, you know, our coaches and principal, they knew I was stressed as a very stressful time because you got to get ten games and you look at travel. But at some point, travel didn't even matter. You're just trying to get a game, especially in that week, seven and six, when everybody else in the state plays it. And so, you know, I'm speaking for a lot of coaches in the lower classifications that have a couple of these regions that are only four teams of big and all. It's a huge challenge.
Jon Nelson: Two more questions for you. And thanks for hanging out with your bye week here. And you know, you're at 3 and 0 as part of the theme here when it comes to going back home for you and being in that part of the state coaching at Elbert County. What's it like having yet another year under your belt, being back in that part of the state?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Yeah, you know, probably the thing I'm the proudest of right now is our kids are getting to experience what I did when I was a player. Now, where we, you know, we were able to compete, have big crowds, a lot of excitement. You know, our town is a football town. You know, I knew that as a grown-up there. I knew that playing there and now back there coaching. I'm just proud that our kids are getting the experiences, and they're worked so hard to make our town proud. They really have. And then that's something, you know, we have to focus on execution in football, but there is a layer of that that it matters. And it matters a lot to me that our kids represent whatever county is. I love my hometown. I love the people here. We're like any other home in a small town. We have our issues just like everybody else. But. But I wouldn't trade ours for it anywhere. And it's a great part of the state to live in. You know, we have the lakes here, hunting and fishing. You know, you can get to Athens in 30 minutes. So, it's a great area to live and raise a family, but it's also right here to get your football team to be successful and to let the whole town get excited about the success of the team.
Jon Nelson: And I know that Andy Dyer as soon as he heads immediately to the lake to get to the villa.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: I mean, it's got to be special to have some of your best friends there as a part of it, too.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: I tell you, our staff and Andy coming in has added so much to our staff as a person. You know, a lot of people in the way Andy reputationally in regard to his coaching ability, but he's an even better person and having him here, and just it's been one of the goals of what I said earlier is one of the most enjoyable years I've had getting ready for the season. And a lot of that's the confidence I have in Andy. Andy brought some new blood, some perspective that he was able to do things he did differently at Archer. And so, there's a lot of changes we made to and, but all of our staff is really joined together. I've got a coaching staff of mine, and a lot of all of us have been here these first two years that we built up to this. You know, we inserted Andy in, and he's just done nothing but bring unity to our staff, and that's the type of man he is.
Jon Nelson: Last question for you. At the end of Recruiting 2022, that is that airs right before our game of the week on Football Fridays. There's a segment that we have that's called Make That Kid an Offer.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Oh.
Jon Nelson: And what? And so, here's where you put your thinking cap on.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Oh.
Jon Nelson: When it comes to your roster right now, is there an athlete or are there a couple of athletes that, for whatever reason, they're under, you know, they're not tall enough? They're not big enough. There, you know, they're one they're overlooked because of geography. Whatever the is on the board, they're under whatever. And they're not getting the looks that you think they should be getting, or they have some offers, and you think that they should be getting a better offer. Is there an Elbert County Blue Devil that should be classified as Make that Kid an Offer or Make that Kid a Better Offer?
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Yeah. Jon, I may keep you a little while. You didn't want to open this can of worms. Well, we've got we got a few kids.
Jon Nelson: Keep it coming. That's what it's-.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: I know. First of all, our running back, Quan Moss, is one of the best players I've coached in my career. He has one offer from Reinhardt, but Quan rushed for 250 yards. Two weeks ago, he rushed over 150 yards. In the first two games, he's a workhorse, but Quan Moss, our running back, when this is said and done, he'll have bigger offers. I'm pretty confident with it. We've got a lot of kids are being successful right now that, you know, with recruiting has become so accelerated that if they didn't get into it their sophomore year, it's like too late a little bit. But I'm hoping these kids are gonna be getting the recognition they deserve. You know, we have a safety. L.J. Clark, I think, is under-recruited. He tackles and space plays great he's probably so improved from his sophomore year, and he's played a lot, but he's become a very, very good player. We have two receivers, Trustin Allen and Christian Harris. Christian has some offers, but both of those guys are explosive players, and I think we'll have a lot of opportunities. But you know, and then and then frankly, and I want to go through. We have seven sophomore starters that a lot of them started last year as freshmen. I think we got a sophomore class that has a chance to be very special. And a lot of those kids will be getting a lot of recognition coming up because they're putting some stars together right now. Our quarterback, Jayvyn Hickman, Brady Dickerson, and Ty'rikis Jones. I could rattle off a few of those sophomores, and we'll leave a few open, and I'm going to get in trouble for that. But I'm excited about recruiting. We had a lot of traffic last spring at Elbert County, you know, obviously a lot of connections I was able to make coached on that for so long. A lot of coaches are receptive, so we're working tirelessly to get film and communicate now. Andy has helped with this as well. You know, we've got a group of talented kids right now at Elbert County, and I'm excited about what they're going to be able to do with the opportunities with college.
Jon Nelson: Shannon Jarvis, head coach of the Elbert County Blue Devils, part of the "Hey, You're 3 and 0” Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Shannon, great to catch up with you, my friend. We'll catch up soon and keep an eye thanks for the Make those Kids an Offer.
Shannon Jarvis, Elbert County Head Coach: Yes, sir. Thank you, Jon.
Jon Nelson: And batting third. This week on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, we take a trip to Dahlonega and catch up with Heath Webb, the head coach of Lumpkin County. Coach, thanks for hanging out with us on the show.
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Thanks so much. Glad. Glad to be on. Thanks for having me.
Jon Nelson: All right. So, let's go back to the beginning. What attracted you to the job at Lumpkin County in the first place?
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: You know, it's kind of it's not my hometown, but it's kind of my adopted hometown. I was here in 2006 as an assistant under Tommy Jones and fell in love with the town and fell in love with the community. My wife is from here. My in-laws are here. My brothers-in-law are here, cousins, all that sort of thing. So, it's just kind of a yeah. So, this has kind of been my adopted hometown and a place where we spend a lot of time, even when we were working somewhere else, a place that my family and I just we love in this place where we spent a lot of time at. And, you know, when we left in 2006, I got the head coaching job at North Paulding and started that, started that program from scratch. And an opportunity like that was really the only thing that kind of pulled me away from this place, to begin with. And when we left, my wife and I were newlyweds, and we had no kids. And we said eventually that we would end up back here. And, you know, the stars aligned, and we got three kids in school now. And being in this school system was very important to us. And so, it just all that started this led it led me back to Lumpkin County. And, you know, as a family, we're so excited to be back in this community.
Jon Nelson: I was going to ask, do you consider yourself because coaches have different personalities? Have you thought of yourself as a builder when it comes to your personality?
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Yeah, absolutely. It's been kind of my niche, and I guess, you know, kind of within the coaching market, the coaching world, the administrators around the state would probably consider me that. And, you know, and I tend to, it probably started when leaving Dahlonega for the first time and going to North Paulding and building that program from scratch is probably where it all started and, you know, kind of did the same at other stops and, you know, taking jobs that were, you know, in bad places at the time and trying to make them better. And it's something that I really enjoy. You know, the win, my overall win-loss record probably takes a hit because of that, but the rewarding side of it, the back side of it went when the program is rebuilt, it's really rewarding. And so, I love that. And I love being considered a builder and, and love watching programs kind of take the flipping and watching the communities get excited and that sort of thing. So yeah, I think it's fair to say I'm a builder.
Jon Nelson: When it comes to your career, for those that don't know, there's the time at North Paulding you spent some time with the D.O. Double G's at Winder-Barrow. Then you go from Winder-Barrow to Gainesville, and now you're at Lumpkin County out of the blocks this season. They're at 3. and 0. What was the vibe coming into this year? What were summer workouts like? Did you have a feeling that this team could be doing this well out of the blocks? What was your general feeling from the summer heading into the year?
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: We were hungry from day one, and I was fortunate that I was able to get here for the first day of the semester back in January. And so, I was able to work with the kids starting back in January. And the first thing that I noticed and even from the community was hunger, just wanting really badly to be successful and, in the process of that, being coachable. Coach, just tell us what to do and tell us what it takes, show us what it takes. We'll do everything that we can. And really that goes into the community, and the booster club and all that kind of stuff too was—everybody buying into the vision that I brought. And because of that, we had everybody on the same page. And that helped tremendously. And we worked very hard. Our motto is Hard work pays off. There's no secret recipe, you know. There's no magic playbook. It's just working hard and watching the payoff take place. And so that's what we've done from, again, sponsors, community boosters, parents, players, coaches, you name it. And everybody working together is seeing that pay off now.
Jon Nelson: You mentioned the postseason, I guess, is one of the places that you'd like to be eventually when it comes to Lumpkin. The last playoff berth was in 2014. Before that, you had four playoff seasons in a row with Coach Hoblitzell all back from 2000, early 2000, 2000, and 2003. And you come out of the blocks this season, you put up a big number on Riverside going north of 60, and then you beat Union County at Union County, then you beat Franklin County at home. What are some of your takeaways here on the field in these first three games?
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: We keep getting better. I think that the biggest thing is that we're seeing small growth in every single thing that we do each week. We put up big points, you know, early on. But we make some mistakes, and we learn from those mistakes. And then you go to game two at Union County, who's got a good football team, by the way. It's a that was a high-quality road win. That was a great win for us where we had to fight for everything, and that won, you know—so watching our guys be able to play a good opponent, a very competitive ballgame, hard-fought to the end. We scored a touchdown late to make it 28 to 6, but it was a close ballgame up until that point, you know, and then to see kind of put it all together last week against Franklin County was good. So, we just see ourselves getting better in each phase each week, and you know, hopefully as we, you know, we still got one more non-region game, but by the time we get to region play, hopefully, we're clicking on all cylinders.
Jon Nelson: And so, since you mentioned it, I'll go ahead and go there this see this season and next year in region seven, AAA, you've got Wesleyan in there with Franklin Pridgen. Everybody knows his pedigree. Paul Standard has come to Gilmer County in the last couple of seasons from Saint Pius. Everybody knows what Coach Standard has been able to do. Gilmer is off to a hot start. You've got Dawson County with Sid Maxwell; there's there are some truly competitive coaches and programs here, and what I think is going to be one of the more even regions out there in AAA.
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Absolutely. Yeah, I completely agree. And when you talk to the coaches in this region as well, they're saying the same thing. They're saying what I'm saying, which is parity, and I think really well-coached football teams from top to bottom, everybody is going to be really well coached. I think our players are relatively evenly matched. You know, it is a mountain region minus Wesleyan, you know, so you have the mountain communities that that is going to make the rivalries fun. But I think I agree with you. I think that this will be one of the more competitive regions. And the difference between the first-place team and the last-place team is going to be pretty thin. And it could even come down to some tiebreakers because I think, well, if there's a chance that we can all beat up on each other and it could come down to who makes the playoffs, down to some tiebreaker scenarios.
Jon Nelson: To do, you know, the tiebreaker scenarios off the top of your head.
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Yeah. So no, not of my head, no, I haven't I haven't gotten that far yet, but so those things are put in place before I got hired. So, so I didn't have a say in what those were. But, but, but I certainly could see that happening yet.
Jon Nelson: You mentioned the mountain regions, and I want to get into that for my next question. And when it comes to these particular towns in the mountain region, I mean, it really does lend itself to some enthusiastic crowds, enthusiastic fan bases, and rivalries that, as the crow flies, they're not that far, even though it might take you a little while to get there, you know, from a transportation standpoint. But I think that these rivalries up in the northeast Georgia mountains really can be special in a lot of these communities.
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: No doubt. And it's something that we've needed. There have been outsiders, so to speak. You know, there's been, and I know Wesleyan is somewhat of an outsider, but. These communities have craved a region because we have it from kindergarten through eighth grade. We have local rivalries. And it's something that these communities have really craved that they want to be. They want a mountain region. They want to compete with communities that are like-minded and liked athletes if you will. And I think that's going to make it really special. So, some of the rivalries are already in place because they've grown up since they were six years old playing against each other. And so, to now kind of see that carry over to the varsity level is going to be a lot of fun for us.
Jon Nelson: The last question for you, and it's a question that I like to pose with coaches that has ties to our Recruiting 2022 show. And at the end of the show, every week, and on the website, we have a feature that we call Make that Kid an Offer. And it has to do with for whatever reason, you know, the individual, the student-athlete could be too small. And as you and I are staring at each other, doing it on Zoom, like, yes, I did just use air quotes. So, I'm going to air quotes that will exist in this question. They could be too small. They could be, you know, for whatever reason, the geography, they fall between the cracks, and its whatever classifications someone will come up with that will turn individuals in other directions when it comes to student-athletes. Is there anyone on your roster this year after these first couple of games that you've seen that you would sit there and wave your hand in the air and go Make this Kid an Offer or Make this Kid a Better Offer from what you're seeing from your squad?
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I think you guys have picked up one of our guys a little bit on that. That's Cooper Scott. Cooper is our quarterback. He's not too small. He's six feet. He's 210 pounds. And he's a tremendous athlete. He throws the ball well. For example, I mean, he's 80% completion on the season. He runs the ball well. He's averaging over seven yards a carry on the season. He can do it all. More importantly, Cooper Scott is for the college coaches that may want to give it a listen. He's the guy you want in your locker room. He's the guy that you want on your practice field. Tremendous competitor. Tremendous competitor. And such a great kid. He's a kid that is respected by everybody in this school building, from the custodians to the students to the teachers. Everybody loves Cooper Scott because he is got that infectious personality, and he makes people feel great about themselves. And he makes his teammates feel great about themselves. And he is our unquestioned leader. He's a fine, fine young man. And as a football coach, I know this. You want your locker room to be filled with great people, and you're not going to find a better person than Cooper Scott. Turn on the film. You're going to see a good football player, right? But then here to hear me say this. You're not going to find a better person to put in your locker room than Cooper Scott. He's the kind of guy that will show up on a college campus and be a captain by the time he's a sophomore. You know, I've been a head coach for 15 years. And then you don't see guys like this very often. The last guy that I felt this strongly about in this sense is Chris Connelly, who played for me at North Paulding, the guy that checks all the boxes and the guy that you want. Your locker room doesn't have a whole lot of attention because over the last three years as the quarterback, he's only been a part of three wins, you know, prior to this season. And in college, coaches don't really go knocking on the doors of the schools. That goes 3 and 27. And so it's our job to put the program on the map, which will help put Cooper on the map. But he definitely is a guy that needs an offer and needs an opportunity.
Jon Nelson: What he said, head coach of the Lumpkin County football team. It is Heath Webb. Coach, thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Thanks for letting everybody know what's going on up there in the mountains with your 3 and 0 starts, and we'll be keeping an eye. Thanks for hanging out.
Heath Webb, Lumpkin County Head Coach: Thanks, Jon. I appreciate you having me, man.
Jon Nelson: So once again, thanks to our friends at Troup, Elbert County, and Lumpkin County that are a part of, I guess, my series this week, where both the podcast and my weekly column are catching up with a handful of folks who are 3 and 0. And it's a couple of different stories in and around the coaches and their communities, and it's been really fun to catch up with everybody. For all the content that we have this week at Georgia Public Broadcasting, it's another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at GPB. Don't forget to follow like and be a part of the conversation on all of our social media platforms that include in addition to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. This year it includes both the TikToks and Twitch. So, follow along on all of those social media platforms to keep beat, to be kept up to date. If I could get my tongue to work, to be kept up to date on everything going on when it comes to high school football here in the state of Georgia. Remember that we have the web game going on, the multi-screen experience, in addition to our game of the week on Football Fridays, which is Parkview and North Gwinnett. That one is going to be a great one up at Tom Robinson Stadium. Kick-off a little after 7:30 recruiting 2022 with Matt, Hannah, and myself. We'll start your Friday evening off at seven and then at 730. Football Fridays in Georgia is on the air and is going to be Parkview in North Gwinnett with our multiscreen experience, our second screen experience, also available at GPB dot org all season long. And it's going to be fun to bring all of this stuff to you all season long, all season long, all season long. So once again, thanks to everybody here at Georgia Public Broadcasting, thanks to Commander Sandy, Jake the Snake, King James, and for Hannah and for me. So, for everybody here at GPB Sports that does everything on a weekly basis to give you all the best info that you need when it comes to high school football and high school sports, that's another week of the Football Fridays in Georgiapodcast for everybody here. Play it safe, everybody. Enjoy the game.