New Jacksboro head football coach Brian Hodnett views every day as a building block towards a new foundation of winning.
The Tigers are coming off a 4-6 season overall, with a 2-3 record in district play. Jacksboro put up a ton of points, but came up on the wrong side of some high-scoring losses.
Hodnett, the team's offensive coordinator last season, and the rest of the Tigers' staff evaluated last year, and came to the conclusion that changes needed to be made.
"We've been talking about creating good habits when you're not in pads now - your steps, your pad levels, your hips, things like that - so when we go full pads, you don't have to think about those things," Hodnett said. "You can react. You can be full speed, and that's what we want."
The first week of Jacksboro's practices has been focusing on going back to the basics. Hodnett says if the fundamentals aren't strong, the team's scheme will not work. Last year, Jacksboro's theme on offense was to spread out and speed the game up. The coach says that will change as well, as he'll adjust the offense to fit the personnel he now has.
The main change of personnel will be at quarterback. Carson Earp, who threw for over 2,800 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, is now at Robinson high school, joining his father, who was the defensive coordinator on Tommy Allison's staff.
Hodnett says he expects both senior McCall Maddox and sophomore Kirk Weldon to take snaps at quarterback this season, but adds that each will be on the field, Maddox as a wide receiver and Weldon as a tight end, when the other is at QB. Maddox is the district's leading returning receiver. Both players will also be on field on the defensive side of the ball.
Like many other smaller schools, lots of kids will be lining up both ways during upcoming season. The unselfish attitude shared by the signal callers, as well as the rest of the team, has set the tone for the whole season.
"(Our) overall focus is just to work hard," senior lineman Austin Williamson said. "We're not looking for any stars. We're looking for a team effort. As soon as we get a team effort, we'll start winning some games."
Hodnett is also not shy about bulletin board material. Jacksboro was picked to finish fifth in District 3-2A-Div. II by Texas Football, a fact that he reminds his team of every day.
"We're out to prove people wrong," Hodnett said. "There's a great expectation of us today here on the field, but a lot of people don't expect much from us. I kind of like being in that position. We're just going to do our job everyday and try and be ready to be as competitive as we can be."
Jacksboro opens the season at Seymour on August 26th.