TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI Sports) – Last season Tupelo High School went 4-7 and did not make the 6A playoffs.
“Everything’s still on my mind. Last season is a complete disappointment. Tupelo, playing 6A, should make the playoffs every year, and I think they’re bringing us back to that,” senior Aston Wedel said.
“It’s always on our minds. That’s what we use to get better everyday,” senior James Gilleylen said.
The new coaching staff in charge of bringing the Golden Wave back to its winning ways is led by former Amory head man Trent Hammond. He says there are 80 kids that want to be on the team, and even last year’s starters are competing for their spot.
“There are really no returning starters because this is our first year here and everything is up for grabs. It’s a new offense a new defense, totally new schemes so nobody can feel safe in where they’re at right now,” Hammond said.
We don’t even know who will play quarterback. We do know that Tupelo will transition from its two back set into a spread offense this season and switch from a four- to a three-man front on defense.
“[The defense] has looked good. We finished spring with kids being very physical, I think that’s what we wanted. I think we’ll have the opportunity to put 11 guys out there who all will hit you,” Hammond said.
The changes don’t stop there. The Golden Wave see a new practice style and coaching philosophy.
“We’ve bought into the collegiate style. We’ve got the PA system at practice. We’re pumping music 24/7 in the weight room, on the practice field when we practice. We’ve also brought in five new coaches,” Hammond said.
Hammond has a history of changing things up. In 2011 his Amory team was pass heavy but last season the team relied more on the run. This year’s Tupelo squad isn’t flashy, but Hammond has enjoyed the transition.
“We don’t have one single kid who’s got scholarship offers. So we’re a high school football team, meaning that we’ve got a lot of guys that are having to work, having to get after it. We’ve had great attitudes and the kids have accepted everything,” Hammond said.