Inside the Swarm – Dorman


By: Paul Davis

“Guys, when the announcement says to report to the chorus room, that’s what we mean,” began Coach Lipsey. “Don’t hang out. Be where you are supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Watch yourself this weekend. You have a lot to loose if you make a bad decision. We have had some bad decisions made this week. Always think about the consequences. Stop and Think. Stop and Think. How will this affect me, my family, my teammates?”

At that point, team chaplain Robert Emory introduced former Jacket coach and Broome State Champion coach, Billy Owens, who now is full time with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“Sit up,” began Owens, “feet flat on the floor, hands six inches apart. Are you ready for the game? Okay, I’m going to move my hands up and down. Clap each time my hands cross. I NEVER cross my hands the third time. Here we go. (At that point Owens moved his hands up and down, each time they crossed, the Jackets clapped and the third time he moved his hands they didn’t cross but the Jackets clapped anyhow).

“Guys, I told you I never cross my hands so don’t clap.” Owens repeated the drill several times before all the Jackets got it.

“Now I want to you listen for a few minutes because I want to talk to you about leadership. This is from the Book of Nehemiah. Read the story yourself. Guys, it is easy to lead when things in life are going your way. Can you, as a leader, do what you have to do when you don’t want to do it?

“Nehemiah was the cup bearer for the king which meant that he would taste the wine before the king drank it to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. He was a very important servant but he did his job the way it was supposed to be done.

“One day the king noticed Nehemiah was sad and asked him why. Nehemiah explained that he was sad because ‘…the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.’

“The king asks what he wants and Nehemiah tells him he wants to return to rebuild the city and the king grants his request. When he arrived at the city he found that people doubted it could be done. You need to understand that, as a leader, someone will always be against you. So what he did was to tell each person to rebuild the wall in front of his house but, to protect themselves, half worked with half providing protection with spears and swords.

“You are all well-coached. You need to be like Nehemiah’s people - take care of your position, not someone else’s. But, like the story, know that someone else has your back. The offensive linemen have to watch the man in front of them but also realize the linebacker my also come.

“Lead by example. You have been taught right. You are together. Leaders do the right thing even when they might not want to. But, the most important thing in life is not football but Jesus. If I died today without Jesus, I’m going to hell. I know God has a plan for my life and He has one for each of you.

“God wants a relationship with you and wants you to be the leader you want to be. You have to follow Jesus every day and when you do, you will begin a new life with new responsibilities.”

The Defense.  For the first part of the defense’s team meeting, Coach Jay Brannon covered several defensive plays asking players to describe their reaction to various Dorman offensive sets.

“Guys, I’m still working on your stats, “explained Brannon, “but I’ll tell you, stats don’t get you recruited. The tape of the game gets you recruited. Marcus Lott’s play last week gets you recruited. Lots of tackles can indicate a poor offensive team and stats can be inflated. Don’t worry about stats. The tape doesn’t lie and will show blown assignments and laying out.

“Dorman is better than Spartanburg and this will be a better test. Dorman thinks they can run the ball on you. After the win against Spartanburg we are ranked 7th in the state which means nothing. We loose, no ranking. The rank at the end of the season is what matters.

 “You need to do what Coach Owens talked about: play your position and don’t worry about someone else. We are not there yet and won’t be until we are the last team standing. My wish is that when our next opponent sees the tape of our game, they worry about not being able to move the football.”

Coach Jon Cudd told the defense that recruiters want to see how they played “against the big boys.”  He reminded them that we had not beaten Dorman often and asked it they were as mentally ready as last week.

 “You have not put any defensive points on the board yet,” challenged Coach Todd Davis. “Lay out the wood. Make it happen from the first play.”

In the Gym. Coach Lipsey challenged them to make their playing 100% for all four quarters their calling card. “Don’t give them anything,” he continued, “Play hard, smart, and fair. The best players we have will play. We need everyone pulling for those on the field.”

Just before kickoff. “Talk to each other,” reminded Lipsey, “talk to each other. Offense, don’t loaf, get to the ball and be ready. Play hard every snap. The big boys up front will rule tonight.”

At the half. There was little sign of panic as the coaches examined the first half and discussed several offensive plays which they thought the Jackets could run. Before returning to the field, Coach Lipsey challenged the team: “Good football teams handle adversity well and this is a test for you. This will also give a chance for some leaders to emerge.”

After. Continuing that theme, Lipsey again challenged the Jackets: “It’s important how you handle this loss. Dorman is a very good team and we play another good team next week. What are you goin’ to do? What are you goin’ to do? No one is going to feel sorry for you. You get better by working harder. Start right now. This will show how dedicated you are to the team and the goals you set. There shouldn’t be any finger pointing. Everyone needs to improve and that includes me.

“Nine A.M. Monday come ready to work to get better. We have to take care of us. We will get better. Believe in each other. Let’s go to work Monday. Believe.”

Quick hitters.  Prior to the team leaving the gym, defensive back Brian Gist asked to speak to the team, apologizing for being in ISS and having to sit out the first quarter… character… prior to the game, the Jackets met in the locker room for an athlete-led Lord’s Prayer… at the half, coaches commented on the good job running back Marcus Worthy was doing taking on charging defensive linemen… Keiston Stevens, who replaced injured quarterback Bo Whitney, took more snaps in just one quarter than he has all year in part for being out two weeks playing baseball in the play-offs…One of the coaches remarked that the first words out of Whitney’s mouth upon returning from seeing the doctor in Columbia was, “I feel I let the team down.”… “That says a lot about what kind of young man he is,” said the coach…character.

The journey continues. Gaffney. Away. It doesn’t get any easier. Be there.



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