The eighth annual Talladega County Coaches Association High School Football Media Day produced plenty of sound bites as head coaches and players addressed the media at First Bank of Talladega on Thursday afternoon.
Representatives from Talladega, Munford, Sylacauga, Lincoln, Winterboro, Childersburg, B.B. Comer, Fayetteville, Talladega County Central and the Alabama School for the Deaf made themselves available throughout the nearly five-hour event.
Here are three takeaways, some not necessarily football-related, from Thursday’s media day:
Fayetteville head coach John Limbaugh appeared to be in good spirits nearly two months removed from a serious accident.
“I had a very interesting summer,” he said. “There’s a lot of healing going on, but we’ve got a mighty God. He’s good. He’s held me up.”
Limbaugh was attacked by one of his cows on two occasions while he was performing routine duties on his farm June 1. He said he wasn’t able to remember the attack, but he was able to give a second-hand account.
“My wife said the cow turned, threw me up in the air and put her head down on mine,” he said. “She weighed about 1,400 pounds, so I couldn’t get her off.
“She pushed me on the ground for about 20 to 30 feet, then stopped. She tried to get out, but couldn’t … She came back over and got me again.”
The eighth-year Wolves head coach suffered several injuries to the face from the attack but avoided injury to his organs. Limbaugh underwent plastic surgery to repair the damage.
“I told (the surgeon) to make me look like Tom Cruise, but he said he didn’t have enough to work with,” Limbaugh said. “Why somebody would volunteer for plastic surgery, I’ll never know because that stuff hurts pretty bad, but anyway, they got me taken care of and I’m back.”
Limbaugh said he didn’t have to miss much time away from the football field, and in the instances where he couldn’t be there, his assistant coaches and players picked up the slack.
A week ago during the Alabama High School Athletic Association All-Star Week, Limbaugh received the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bubba Scott Lifetime Achievement Award.
Silent Warriors quarterback inspires
For the second straight season, the Alabama School for the Deaf will feature talent from the Alabama School for the Blind, and that will include quarterback Tanner Wood.
The senior signal-caller took the reins midway through the 2018 season and helped guide ASD to four wins in its last five games.
One of those wins determined which deaf school would take home the Mason-Dixon Championship. ASD routed the Florida School for the Deaf 42-8 to give the Silent Warriors the de facto crown.
While beating the rival Dragons gave ASD bragging rights, Wood carried himself with a modest demeanor when asked about the victory.
“It was very humbling to me to realize that just because I have a disability doesn’t mean I’m not a champion,” he said.
Timing is everything
New Munford head coach Michael Easley tackled a question regarding the AHSAA’s new 40-second play clock rule.
Easley said he didn’t anticipate the change affecting his strategy much other than having a heightened awareness of when the officials spot the ball and start the clock.
“As far as the flow of the game goes, if somebody’s running a fast-paced offense and the officials are doing a good job of spotting the ball and getting things going, that’s a game-changer because you can go a lot faster,” he said. “At the same time, you get to the end of the game where normally -- and I’m just going to be honest with you -- coaches with a 25-second play clock, if we’re up at the end of the game, we’re telling the running back to stay on the field, lay on the ground as long as you can, get up slow, hand the ball to the official slow and bleed a few extra seconds off the clock. Now, (the new rule) takes all that out.”
Easley said he’s curious as to how the change might affect both teams that prefer to run fast-paced offenses and teams that take a methodical, slow approach to pushing the ball down the field.
When asked which offensive shoe fits him, Easley took a page from the “Talladega Nights” playbook.
“I like to go fast,” Easley said. “But it depends on what the quarterback can do.”