Independent: All Saints Going Old School in Their Approach Under New Coach
Thu. August 23, 2012 at 12:02 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
BACK TO BASICS: From left, Sam Mixon, Lance Hamic, Troy MacNeill and Will Clagett take charge for the Saints under new coach Gary Tufford. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THE LEDGER)
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
WINTER HAVEN | All Saints’ Academy has a new head coach and marching band taking the field for the first time this season, but the program is going with an old-school approach.
Gary Tufford, a former Canadian Football League wide receiver and Arena League head coach, takes over a team headed back to fundamentals.
“As much as everybody tries to change the game today and make it technically different, it always comes back to the basics,” Tufford said. “I’m an old-school guy, and I believe in the basics. I believe if you execute the basics, then the rest takes care of itself.”
The Saints’ players are not backing away from the idea. They realize the term “old school” isn’t just some marketing tool geared to sell jerseys and sneakers to a new generation of athletes.
“It’s not about all the fancy celebrations after making a tackle,” said Troy MacNeill, who will play running back and some quarterback this season. “It’s about making the play and getting the touchdown.”
All Saints returns 10 two-way starters off a 25-man roster that went winless last season. The Saints will play out of a pro-set offense while sprinkling in flashes of an old-school option attack and some shotgun snaps to returning quarterback Patrick Fox.
“We’re not going to run a million plays,” Tufford said. “We’re just going to run a few well. It’s going to come down to who executes the best. That’s what we are trying to hammer home.
“Patrick is a traditional type quarterback. We’ll run a lot of gun, and that should give him a lot more time. It’s a work in progress, but this is an adaptable team.”
After All Saints hosts Shorecrest Prep in the preseason classic, its first four games are on the road.
“It either gives us a chance to hone it or get beat up,” Tufford said.
All Saints At a Glance
Head Coach: Gary Tufford (1st season).
Coaching Staff: Melvin Jenkins LB, Ray Ryan DB, Finley Allen OL, Bud Thacker DL.
2011 Record: 0-10.
Last time in playoffs: 2008.
Home Field: Jahna Field, Winter Haven.
(All games begin at 7 p.m.)
Aug. 24 -- vs. Shorecrest Prep School (Preseason)
Sept. 7 -- at International Community
Sept. 14 -- at Vanguard
Sept. 28 -- at Community School of Naples
Oct. 5 vs. -- Cedar Creek
Oct. 12 vs. -- Temple Christian
Nov. 2 vs. -- Gateway High School
Nov. 9 -- at Mount Dora Bible School