“The biggest improvement is that I want us to run to the football,” Wallace said. “From watching tape from last year that’s what I want to improve on. I want 11 bodies around the ball and I want people sticking at all times. It has been a while since I have been here -- 1995 was when I graduated and everybody used to fear us.
"We would come in and bring our helmets. We would wrap people up and put them on their backs all the time. That’s what I want to bring back to these guys. I want these guys to be physical.”
Wallace was hired in February after Ryan Herring left for Oxford. Wallace, who was defensive coordinator at powerhouse program Washington County in Georgia, hopes Lincoln is the place he can call home for the next two decades.
“I have told them that I am a Lincoln guy,” Wallace said. “I am here. This is my dream job. This is what you want to do, you want to come back home, and you want to take over the team. We want to win the state championship because we haven’t done that before at Lincoln. That is one of the big things that we want to produce at Lincoln before I am gone from there hopefully 17 years from now.”
With continuous coaching changes over the past four seasons, Wallace said it took the players a while to buy into his system.
“These guys have really stepped in and they understand what I want,” Wallace said. “It took them a couple of days. They thought I was as crazy as I could be. We picked it up day four of spring and they bought in to it. This summer we have worked on it and kept reping and reping. I tell you, I am real proud of the way these guys have come on. It has taken a while, but I know when they leave they have to say this guy is crazy. I am going to keep pushing them until we do the right thing on the field at all times.”
Last season, Lincoln recorded a 6-6 mark and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. Wallace said he can tell how bad his seniors want to succeed this season.
“These guys have already set the foundation,” Wallace said. “They have made it to the playoffs and they know what it is about in the first and second round. This is a guy looking in, I wasn’t here with these guys last year, but I see the hunger in these guys and how they want to get better. They want to do the right things. When something bad happens in practice, they pick it up. I have a senior leadership group I meet with every Monday and that’s all they talk about. They talk about winning ballgames."
Lincoln has a pair of lineman who have Division I offers in Shed Thomas and Jantavious Johnson. Thomas was an all-state lineman for the Golden Bears last season and he has an offer from Jacksonville State. Johnson was a sophomore last season, but he impressed scouts during the JSU and Auburn camps this summer. The 6-foot-4, 310 pound lineman has offers from Auburn and Jacksonville State, while Alabama and Ole Miss have shown interest. Wallace said he needs both players to help the line perform at a high level.
“I talk to them all the time, especially when we finish working out each day,” Wallace said. “I have looked them in the eyes and I have told them, ‘When I was here, I was 185, I think the guy next to me was 165 and I think the biggest guy that we had on the line was my right guard. He was 270.’ We got trees compared to what we used to be when I was here.
"I said ‘You got a lot of talent. We could go out and you could dominate the offensive line, but we can’t have it up and down-having one or two of you doing it and the other ones letting off on it.’ I don’t want to let any secrets out, but we are a power run game, these guys know it and that’s what we talk about all the times.”
Lincoln at a glance
Head coach: Brad Wallace (first high school football varsity head coaching job).
Last year's record: 6-6, including 5-2. Tied for second in Class 4A, Region 5. Advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
Outlook: Lincoln had a stellar offense a year ago, averaging 30.2 points a game. Defense was an issue, however, setting a school record by allowing 368 points. Even so, Lincoln won five of seven Region 5 games, and if the defense improves, that record could, too.
Aug. 30, at Leeds
Sept. 6, at Munford
Sept. 13, vs. Anniston
Sept. 20, at Hokes Bluff
Sept. 27, vs. Etowah
Oct. 4, vs. Cherokee County
Oct. 11, at Jacksonville
Oct. 17, vs. Alexandria
Oct. 25, vs. Cleburne County
Nov. 1, at Piedmont