Thanks to The John Cooper School’s head football coach, Brent Landrum, for taking a few minutes to chat with me (both times).
Tony: Talk about the start of the John Cooper football program.
Coach Landrum: The school decided to play football in 2011. Our first varsity team was actually in 2014 but the first time we actually played upper school football was in 2012. The school at that point only had one sport in the fall for the boys to choose from. We wanted to have at least two choices in every season for the boys at middle school and upper school. So that was the impetus but also the school was growing and football was something that a lot of the SPC schools had and we didn’t. It was the next part in the process of building the great school do we have here.
Tony: I noticed in your practice a real emphasis on talking.
Coach Landrum: Definitely an emphasis on tackling. We have got to use as many apparatuses as are available to us. We are using the landing mats, the shadowman, the tackling rings. As many reps as we can get without tackling body-on-body is huge for us. With our numbers being at 32, we can’t sit here, especially in t-shirts, shorts, and helmets, and bang on each other. Defense wins championships and missed tackles hurt a defense big time. We put a huge emphasis on tackling using the rugby style tackling. We’re trying to make a game of collision as safe as we possibly can. We want our kids healthy on Friday nights are not going to beat them up in practice.
Tony: Goals for the year?
Coach Landrum: The first one I’ll tell you right now is win the SPC 3A Championship. This is year eight in the entirety of the program, 5th year we’ve had a varsity team playing a full varsity schedule. This group of seniors has been good at every level they played. They were undefeated at six graders and they have won games at every level. That’s the goal they’ve set and I’m right there with them – win the SPC 3A Championship.
But that’s a season goal. What we are trying to do is win every day. We’ve got to win every practice. Win every film session. And then on August 31st versus Frassati, hopefully win that one.
Tony: Who are a few players on your team that no one knows now, but will for sure know by the end of the year?
Coach Landrum: Well we have some transfers for sure but let’s talk about some of the kids that have been in the program that have really worked hard. Kase Harris is going to play left guard for us and Kase is about 6’3″ about 275 pounds. He’s worked really hard in the weight room and his footwork. I think he’ll really help us. We moved Joe Wilkins from running back down to our right tackle position. He’s 6’2″ about 210 and that’s going to be a huge help for us. Ben Deloit at running back is a sophomore that I think is going to do really well there. Then we have a couple transfers that are coming in. But those three kids – Kase Harris, Joe Wilkins, and Ben Deloit – I think are going to do great things for us that most people don’t know about them yet.