With coaching changes and intense schedule, Mustangs prepare for season

Head football coach Alan Peacock talks to quarterback Preston Newson during practice Aug. 14.

Laine Crabb, Staff Writer

Friday night, the Center Hill Mustangs will kick off the 2019 campaign with their annual jamboree at Hernando. The following week will begin the regular season against bitter county rival Lewisburg. The team, which will be introduced Thursday at Meet the Mustangs, has big matchups and new opponents this year. Head football coach Alan Peacock said they will focus on one game at a time.

Q: How’s the team looking in the offseason?
A: We’ve had a good offseason with fairly good attendance this summer. The kids came in and worked hard. We had a good spring I felt like. We played a bunch of kids both ways in the spring so that we could build some depth on both sides of the ball. Hopefully that’s gonna help us. We’re gonna have to play some guys on offense and defense both ways.

Q: There were a few coaching changes this year. How do you build chemistry from coach to coach, and then from coach to player?
A: We lost some coaches that were really loved by a lot of our players. The new coaches that came in have done a good job of trying to build relationships. That’s the main thing in coaching. It’s kind of cliche, but you know a player doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I try to stress that with my coaches and make sure that we’re not only coaching them, but getting to know them.

Q: What position group would you say has improved the most?
A: Our offensive line has got a lot of returners back, two-three year starters, all seniors. Receivers we’ve got guys that played some last year but didn’t play a ton. They’ve done a really good job. At linebacker we’ve got a couple guys back, a couple guys new. DB’s we’ve got the same thing, kinda a couple guys back, and a couple new guys, but a lot of them got some playing time last year. As far as growth, it is what it is. They’ve either been there and done it, or they’re new and learning. Our strength needs to be in our offensive line. They’ve got to help us control the ball and control the clock and keep the other offense off the field.

Q: How do you prepare for powerhouse teams like West Point that are good on a yearly basis?
A: It’s the same week to week. We prepare to win. Obviously we know it’s gonna be tough. We don’t look at it as let’s keep the score close, we look at it as what are things we can do to give us a chance to win. In the past we’ve tried to onside kick to try and steal a couple of possessions here and there. One year we got the first two onside kicks. We’re gonna have the mindset of what are we gonna need to do to win this game? Is it keep the ball as long as possible? Is it kick it onside a couple times? The main thing is focusing on each game and each practice and getting each player better every chance we get.

Q: How much would a week one win against Lewisburg mean?
A: In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t mean anything, other than rivalry. Obviously we wanna win. It would be a big deal more so for the school than the football team. We wanna go out there and take care of business, but when it comes down to it, we can make the playoffs if we lose to Lewisburg, and we can make the playoffs if we beat Lewisburg.