Bill Clark has taken over as head football coach and his first team will make its debut on Aug 31 in Montgomery against Alabama State.
Clark was guest speaker at the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club last week and talked about getting his Gamecocks ready for his brand of football.
“What we did when we came into Jacksonville was have a team meeting right before school started in January,” he said. “It was interesting to watch 100 guys come in. Most had coats and ties on. They were dressed up. Clark said after the January meeting, the players assembled outside in 30-plus temperature and were divided into two groups. A rope was pleased between the groups for a tug-of-war.
“That first night we had a Powerpoint presentation concerning our expectations. We told them we had three basic rules for the team.
“Number one was always protect the team. What does that mean? It means doing what you are supposed to do when you’re away from the team and in the classroom. Everything you do, do it the right way.
“Second is there will be no whining, no complaining and no excuses. Society has taught us that it’s ‘me’ and that it’s ‘mine’. Here it’s going to be about team.
“Number three is to be ready.”
Clark said his philosophy is simple.
“On offense we protect the football,” he said. “On defense we get the ball back for our offense. I then hit them with this fact. In 46 of the last 47 Super Bowls, the winner of the turnover battle won the game.
“Everything counts – every little detail. So we want to do everything right. Another thing is that we respect everybody and our team and our fans are our family.”
Clark says he is a big believer in John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. Wooden was the longtime basketball coach at UCLA.
“As you ascend the pyramid you talk about competition. You learn how to compete. We want to learn how to enjoy the competition and embrace the competition. Practice is everything. This may sound arrogant but we want to have the best practices in the country. Practice brings about confidence, trust and focus. If you have all of those things you can win.
“Our big philosophy is that we want to do everything better than it has ever been done at Jacksonville State.”
Clark said he gave every player a card. It reads:
“This is the beginning of new day. God has given me this day to use as I will I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be a gain not a loss, good not evil, success not failure and shall not forget the price I pay for it.”
“We want them to know there are consequences to our actions and we expect them to be role models,” he said.
Clark said he expects Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois to be the teams to beat this year in the Ohio Valley Conference.