New Season, New Expectations for South Georgia Coaches

As August rolls around the corner, three new head coaches will patrol the sidelines at Tift County, Coffee County and Fitzgerald.

And as expected, the first step of their coaching game is to create a winning atmosphere.

"We got a lot of work to do as a team in getting those guys to believe and work hard and face adversity and hit it back in the mouth," Coffee Head Coach Robby Pruitt said.

Coach Pruitt has certainly earned some success in his time. In 11 seasons at Fitzgerald, Pruitt reached the state playoffs every year and led the Purple Hurricanes to the at least the state quarterfinal round three straight years.

As for Tift County, the Blue Devils have been searching for the postseason since 2008. New Blue Devil Coach John Reid has a detailed approach for his team's success.

"It (a winning mentality) is so multi-faceted. It's attention to detail. It's what you do in the weight room. When we started (preseason workouts) our motto was everything matters," Tift County Coach John Reid said.

New Fitzgerald coach, Jason Strickland, had a quick turnaround to open his tenure. The former Lamar County coach accepted the Purple Hurricane job in March and with it- many uncertainties.

"We felt very rushed. Not only did we not have anything like signing day and those types of things, but we didn't have an athletic director. We didn't have a principal. So there were a lot of things going on," Strickland said.

Replacing Pruitt at the home of the Purple Hurricanes is enough stress for any coach. But Strickland has adjusted quickly to his new home in Fitzgerald.

"There are very few places in the state of Georgia that I feel like can compare to what Fitzgerald has to offer. They (the community) is fanatical...there's no if's, and's or but's about it. Right now they're excitedâ|.but we're also undefeated," Strickland said.

That's the game of high school football in South Georgia. Coaches understand- it's expectations in August, results in November.

"We've got them (the players) to where they understand what to do. Now they're going to have to play. Like they's going to be their game to take over," Reid said.

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