James Carson, left, serves as Lovejoy's defensive coordinator while Craig Chatman makes all the offensive calls for the third-ranked Wildcats. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
When Riverdale coach Terry Herrod accepted the job earlier this spring, he made up his mind that he wanted to hire an offensive and defensive coordinator.
The former Dutchtown defensive coordinator figured his time would be consumed overseeing the team, that he would be stretched too thin to be the defensive chief.
“I figured I need to be free managing the game, and not take away from the other things that are going on,” Herrod said. “This being my first head coaching job, I wanted to make sure all bases were covered.”
But not all coaches buy into that perspective.
At Stockbridge, Kevin Whitley has always served as his own offensive coordinator. Although he played defense on the high school and college level, Whitley wanted to make the offensive calls. It has seemed to work for him with successful stops at North Springs, Creekside and now Stockbridge high schools.
“I figured its my job on the line, so I wanted to call my own plays,” Whitley said. “I feel my defense is in good hands, so I want to use my own offense.”
Strong Rock coach Mark Miller has similar approach. He has always called his own offensive plays.
“It’s just my way of staying involved in the game,” he said. “I don’t think it takes away from my other duties as a coach. I’ve always called my own plays on offense.”
Lovejoy coach Al Hughes falls into the category of game manager as his offensive and defensive coordinators make all their calls.
“I’ve been on both sides of the equation,” Hughes said. “As an assistant, I wanted to have the freedom of making my own calls. It helped me grow as a coach. I wanted to afford that same respect to my assistants.”
And they seem to appreciate the responsibility.
“I’ve been with coach Hughes for about 14 years,” said Lovejoy offensive coordinator Craig Chatman, a former quarterback for the Wildcats. “He gives you a lot of freedom. Coach Hughes taught me this offense, so I know what he expects.”
Eagle’s Landing coach Joe Teknipp tried to serve as his team’s coordinator one season, and said it was too time consuming.
“I miss some things that was going on the other side of the ball,” Teknipp said. “It got real frustrating, so in the middle of the game I hand my headset to my assistant and told him to make the calls. I felt I needed to be free to manage the game.”
Drew coach Jarrett Laws agrees.
Laws hired former Mundy’s Mill and Morrow coach Dorwyn Lyles to run his defense. The Titans offense is led by former Mount Zion coach Jamie Aull. It is Laws and Aull second stint of working together. Laws was head coach and Aull served as his offensive coordinator for the Bulldogs, who reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals once during his three-year tenure there.
“I have two guys that have been head coaches, and I trust their decisions,” Laws said. “It makes it so much easier on me. Both of these guys are capable of being head coaches, so they know what they are doing.”
Patrick Smith has the title of offensive coordinator at Mundy’s Mill, but head coach Greg Manior calls the plays based on Smith’s recommendations.
“It works good for us,” Manior said. “Coach Smith usually gives me a copy of plays based on what he sees from the booth.”