After three straight losing seasons for Tift County football, change was needed at the top of the Blue Devil program. Former East Paulding Coach John Reid is taking a holistic approach to Tift County football constructing the program back together piece by piece.
Reid arrived in Tifton in January and immediately made changes, but that doesn't mean they were immediately received by the players.
"It doesn't really matter what plan you have, or whatever you come in with...right, wrong or indifferent...the kids were on a different plan. So you always have to change that mentality of this is how we're doing this now," Reid said.
The plan is to create a winning culture in Tifton. Reid has committed his players to building strength, fitness and football fundamentals. In return, the head coach has seen progress.
"I've seen from these boys, they will go all day- they love it. That's the kids we got out here with us right nowâ|the ones that truly love it," Reid said.
Anchored by an experienced offensive line, running the ball will be a priority for the Blue Devils this season. The base 4-3 defense is expected to come on strong by the end of the season.
The Blue Devils are considered an underdog to some in the vaunted 6A-region 1 spread, but not to the Tift County players.
"We've got to just win this year and go hard. They'll probably underestimate us, but we're going to get after it on defense," standout defensive back Gerald Pledger said.
Starving for football success, Tift County is placing its fate in a proven winner with Reid. At East Paulding, Reid finished with a 60-15 overall record along with a GHSA State semifinal appearance in 2006. However, no one's feeling more pressure than the new Blue Devil coach.
"I think we're (the coaches) under the biggest pressure. We expect and we demand perfection on this practice field, and so we pressure ourselves more than anybody that we expect to do well," Reid said.