Mark Edwards' In My Opinion: JSU staff knows how to coach, both in preps and college
by Mark Edwards
Aug 01, 2013 | 3279 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Head coach Bill Clark is working on his second recruiting class at Jacksonville State.
Head coach Bill Clark is working on his second recruiting class at Jacksonville State.
Football coaches seem to coach either high school or college, and they rarely do both. When they do, it seems it’s usually the young coach who spends a couple of seasons getting his feet wet in high schools or an older coach who goes back to preps and finishes out a long career.

That’s part of what’s so refreshing about Jacksonville State’s staff. About half the full-time on-field coaches have more seasons in the high school ranks than college. All of these former prep coaches are experienced, but still in their coaching prime. They’re older, but it’s clear they’re hungry and motivated.

That includes the head coach, Bill Clark, who spent his first 18 seasons in the business coaching high schools. Also, there’s offensive coordinator John Grass, a prep head coach during 1995-99 and 2003-12. Defensive coordinator Duwan Walker spent nine seasons as an assistant at Prattville High under Clark, who was the head coach.

In addition, offensive line coach Mike Bennefield and inside linebackers coach Chuck Dunn have plenty of high school experience on their résumés, including stretches on Clark’s Prattville staffs.

Can a guy with years of high school experience move to college and succeed? Why not? Seriously, why not?

Football is football, even if it’s a little more complicated in college. You’re still working to get the best out of your athletes. You also work to be a role model and positive influence to them off the field as well.

Recruiting is new to high school coaches moving up, but building relationships with athletes and their families isn’t, which is what recruiters do. The NCAA rule book is new, too, but have you seen the Alabama High School Athletic Association rule book these days?

Here’s hoping the JSU staff can show that what works at the high school level can work in college, too.

Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.
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