High praise for Gainesville’s Miller
Former NFL and college coach Chuck Clausen has become a big fan of Georgia high school football, especially Gainesville, since his last coaching gig in 1991. Clausen got a Super Bowl ring in 1980 when he was the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Before that, he coached with Woody Hayes at Ohio State.
“I live in Hall County, where I see as well-coached football as I ever have at any level,” Clausen told GHSF Daily. “The Gainesville football player gets the same demanding coaching in practice as the Ohio State player did under Woody at Ohio State.”
Not sure if Hayes ever had a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, Georgia’s all-time leader in passing yards. If he did, he didn’t let him pass nearly as much as Bruce Miller at Gainesville.
“Bruce Miller and his coaching remind me of the Woody Hayes staff I coached on for five seasons,” said Clausen, who watched the team practice from a hill overlooking the practice field. “His staff requires a championship execution every play, no exceptions. Bring your lunch.”
Cook coach has empathy for Creekside’s loss
Creekside coach Olten Downs hasn’t spoken publicly since the death of one of his players, DeAntre Turman, in a scrimmage game last Friday, instead referring questions to school system officials.
If there is another Georgia head coach that might know how he is feeling, it is Ken Cofer of Cook. In 2009, Cook High in South Georgia suffered a similar tragedy when junior Roy White died after a hard tackle in practice.
The deaths of Turman and White are the only ones in many years in Georgia that resulted from blunt-force trauma during a practice or game.
“It will be very emotional the rest of the season no doubt,” Cofer said. “There will be times when you wait for that young man to come walking through the door ready to practice. Somebody will say something, and it will sound just like your player who passed. Coaches will be driving down the road, or by themselves at some point during the day, and the realization of you losing a kid that you were close to will hit them like a ton of bricks.”
Cofer said he and those who remember White keep him in their memory.
“Bottom line is you can either let it beat you down and ruin everything around you, or either thank God for the time you got to spend with that young man and let your team honor him in every way they can,” Cofer said. “He is still part of that team at Creekside.”
Funeral services for Turman will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell.
Freeman reflects on Brooks County tragedy
Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman opened up to 247Sports’ Rusty Mansell in a good story this week on the tragic car accident that claimed the lives of three Brooks County football players last month. Freeman was following just minutes behind the car ridden by players Jicarre Watkins, Shawn Waters and Johnie Parkerand and saw the wreckage of the SUV after it slammed into a tree. Freeman, who grew up in Brooks County, thanked those who had sent words of support. “Calhoun, our nemesis, sent flowers, and their coach called,” Freeman said. “It really surprised me that somebody all the way from North Georgia would do that. Cook County sent flowers to every funeral. There have been many examples of things like that.” Brooks County is ranked No. 5 in Class AA.
Woodward’s knockout punch
Woodward Academy figures to have a pretty good backfield this season, especially with the addition of Elijah Holyfield, a transfer from Riverside Military Academy and a son of boxing champion Evander Holyfield. Elijah rushed for 965 yards as a freshman. “He’s a player and will be the next big-time prospect to come out of here,” said Woodward Academy defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Ryan Davis. Woodward, ranked No. 10 in Class AAA, also has RB Quincy Wolff, who has offers from UConn, Yale and others. The quarterback is all-stater Terry Googer.
TGIF: Richards back on sidelines
Friday Richards, the popular former Marietta head coach, is back on the sidelines this season at East Paulding. He’s an assistant under Chuck Goddard at East Paulding. Richards and Goddard go way back, as Goddard is former head coach at Wheeler and assistant at Walton, both in Marietta. Rus Rainey, a former assistant at Marietta, also is on East Paulding’s staff and talked Richards, 59, into coming back. Richards was 107-58 in his 15 seasons at his alma mater Marietta, where he starred as a running back 40 years ago.
Georgia teams on college fields
Playing in big neutral stadiums to open the season is becoming more popular. The second Erk Russell Classic will be played Saturday at Georgia Southern. It features Johnson County vs. Jenkins County at 5 p.m., followed by defending Class A public-school champion Emanuel County Institute vs. Metter in the 8 p.m. slot. At West Georgia in Carrollton, Bremen plays Alexander at 4 p.m. followed by Haralson County against Central of Carroll County.
Five random facts
North Cobb’s Tyler Queen is the only full-time starting quarterback from 2012 who returns among Class AAAAAA Top 10 teams. … Two of the past three state champions in AAAAAA were unranked in preseason – Norcross (2012) and Brookwood (2010). … Hillgrove, a Class AAAAAA school with four playoff victories in its first seven seasons, finally has visitors stands, which were installed near the end of last season. … McEachern and Lowndes are sporting great big new scoreboards this season. … Johns Creek head coach Mike Cloy, 64, and Calhoun head coach Hal Lamb, 49, celebrated birthdays Thursday.
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