CATEGORY: FOL High School Football
WAVE LEARNING HILL'S NEW SYSTEM
By Gene Phelps
Classes begin this week at Tupelo High School, but for the Golden Wave football team, classes actually began a week earlier.
The Golden Wave completed its first week of fall practice Friday under first-year head coach Johnny Hill.
"It's been pretty good," said Hill, who replaced James Sloan. "The kids have picked up the new offensive and defensive systems, but not as good as you would like. We would like them to know it all by the second day (laugh)."
Tupelo opens its season Aug. 30, hosting county rival Shannon.
Hill, who was head coach the last four seasons at Oxford, has been impressed with his new team.
"They want to learn," he said. "They are in good shape and they've given good effort."
Hill added two new members to the coaching staff to replace Bob Monroe and Lamar Aldridge. Former Ole Miss player Jeff Carter is the new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, and Charles Bradberry has been hired to coach running backs.
Hill coaches the quarterbacks, Fred Hadley wide receivers, Jamie Mitchell offensive line, Roger White interior defensive line, Danny Porter defensive ends and Larry Harmon defensive secondary.
Carter has one of the toughest jobs, replacing all 11 starters on defense.
"We've had to start from scratch," he said. "We've had to coach a lot harder with guys who are inexperienced. But we're excited. We've got a god bunch of players and a great staff to work with."
Carter has been pleased with the play of his ends Bershon Scott (6-0, 200) and Stephen Traylor (6-0, 244). Other players mentioned by Carter were noseguard Anthony Thomas (6-2, 285), linebackers Angelo Patton (6-0, 245), Michael Long (5-10, 180) and Jereamie Cook (5-11, 230), and cornerbacks Mario Gray and Kelly Shumpert.
"These guys are doing well," Carter said. "They're learning quicker than the other guys."
Offensively, senior tackle Mike Hamilton said the first week was a long one.
"The offensive linemen have got to make it through Coach Mitchell," he said. "He has put it to us. He was disappointed in our condition. The heat has been tough on the big guys. We're working extremely hard. We'll be in good shape."
Wave Notebook: The Golden Wave will have new uniforms this season. The blue home jerseys will have white numerals with gold trim. The road jerseys have blue numerals with gold trim. The pants will have blue and gold stripes down the side and the interlocking THS logo on the left front hip. ...
Tupelo's sidelines will have a new look this season. Blue artificial turf is being installed this week in the team bench area, which is 40 yards long between the 30s. ...
Season tickets are now on sale for the six-game home season. For more information go by the school office or call 841-8888.