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Coaches converge for MAC sports clinic

>An overheard conversation between two high school footballcoaches at the 51st Annual Gatorade/Mississippi Association ofCoaches All-Sports Clinic in Jackson.

“Golly gee, coach. We’ll be lucky to score this year. We are solittle and so slow. I’ve got a three-legged Chihuahua who couldoutrun our fastest player.”

The response.

“Shoot. You talk about slow. My 300-pound tackle would starve todeath, if his mother didn’t work in the cafeteria. Last year one ofour basketball players tore his ACL. He could outrun my tackle tothe lunch room…on crutches.”

On and on and on it goes this week. Football coaches arenotorious moaners and complainers, especially during the preseason.Listening to them whine, you would think their football team hadfewer muscles than the chess team.

Although coach might have a muscular all-state linebacker whocan run through a brick wall, don’t ask him about his future NFLstar. “He’s got bad knees and a pulled hamstring, plus a brokenhand. Our manager has to tie his shoe laces before practice.”

Coaches love to down play their team’s potential. In reality,they all have serious designs on a district championship. A statechampionship is a definite possibility, too.

The annual MAC convention brings coaches of all sports togetherfor a few days of instructional clinics. Ole Miss head footballcoach Ed Orgeron and his staff are the featured speakers this year.Among the Rebel mentors are Tony Hughes, special teams; DavidSaunders, linebackers; and Dan Werner, offensive coordinator.

Other college head coaches on the agenda are Rick Comegy,Jackson State; Rick Rhoades, Delta State; and Steven Campbell, GulfCoast Community College.

High school coaches scheduled to speak are Willie Brown,Hazlehurst; Dennis Allen, West Point; Teddy Dyess, Lumberton; TonyHughes, Ray Brooks; and Ricky Woods, South Panola.

In case you missed it, all five prep coaches won statechampionships in 2005. Brown’s Indians captured the Class 3A titleand finished 13-0.

Brown’s subject matter this afternoon will be the Buck Sweep.His team was blessed with outstanding speed and the Indians wonseveral games with their swiftness. They were especially stout ondefense, too.

Other sports on the clinic agenda are track, cross country,soccer, powerlifting, tennis, volleyball, basketball, baseball, andsoftball. Additional subjects are athletic director guidelines,academic incentives and motivation.

For sure, those high school coaches will be rejuvenated andfired up after this week’s clinic. The football coaches will havethe first opportunity to apply what they learned, when preseasonpractice begins July 31.

Another highlight this week are a variety of all-star games,featuring tennis, volleyball, football and basketball. FranklinCounty basketball coaches Chris Jordan (boys) and Charles Moore(girls) are helping direct the South squads which play tonight atMississippi College in Clinton.

Since changing to the new format (rising seniors), interest hasincreased. Unfortunately, the old format of graduated seniors washurt in recent years by the number of no-shows. It was remarkablehow many athletes chose not to participate.

Judging from the latest all-star basketball rosters, it will bea weak year for basketball seniors in southwest Mississippi. Infact there are no players from this area in the game.

Hopefully, some good ones were overlooked.

The 57th Annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic willbe played Friday night at Robinson-Hale Stadium on the MC campus.Since departing Jackson’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadiumseveral years ago, it had been held at Madison Central’s footballfacility. MC’s artificial turf will make for a fast game.

Hazlehurst will have one representative on the South squad indefensive tackle Delvin Johnson (6-0, 235). Jefferson County willhave two positions in defensive tackle Jarvis Jackson (6-4, 285)and split end Kristopher Williams (5-9, 165).

Steve Jones of Ocean Springs is head coach for the South.Assistant coaches are Kelly Causey of Pass Christian, Walter Dentonof Tylertown, Michael Fields of Hinds AHS, Donald Nelson ofGautier, Scott Pierson of West Jones and Charles Sabbatini of OceanSprings.

The South holds a 25-22-4 advantage in the series. Last year theSouth prevailed 14-13.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com