The Jackson County Generals are ready to start the 2019 season after finishing last season 1-9.
New Generals Head Coach Travis McDaniel will bring 14 years of coaching experience to the field with the Generals as they Kick-Off the season with the Battle of Big Hill Bowl this Friday. While the team only has a few seniors this year, the Generals want to leave it all out on the field as they try and build a tradition to bring out more kids in the years to come.
“The number one thing I told them, whether they are a freshman or a senior is compete every day,” said newly hired head coach Travis McDaniel. “Let’s try to win everyday. Let’s try to be a better version of ourselves every day. I feel like if you take care of the little things like that as far as being a better version of yourself daily, then wins and losses will take care of itself.”
“We want to set a pace for the underclassmen and the kids coming out of middle school. We are trying to set things straight,” said senior Dylan Martin.
“Start a winning program, try and finish our season at least .500 or above, throw the ball around have fun but most likely compete,” said junior Nick Baldwin.
Jackson County enters the 2019 season with a new head coach, Travis McDaniel. McDaniel has been coaching for 15 seasons but is ready for his first head coaching job.
McDaniel spent the last five years with Whitley County and Jason Chappell. There the two helped rebuild the Colonels, something McDaniel will try to do with the Generals.
“One of the biggest things was when we got down there was trying to change the culture of the program,” said McDaniel. “The way he approached that and the way he dealt with the kids, the way he treated them was instrumental in us trying to build numbers and get some athletes out. You can talk x’s and o’s and all that, but I feel the way you treat kids, the way you discipline kids, you are preparing them for life is key in how you build a program.”
The Generals open the 2019 season with four home games, starting off with Berea on August 23.
Over his coaching career, Coach McDaniel has coached wide receivers and quarterbacks and served as the Offensive Coordinator at South Laurel High School for several years. He understands that Jackson County is still building a football program. However, he is no stranger to this situation. Coach McDaniel coached on a team that went from a record of “2-8” in 2002 to a record of “9-3” in 2005. He also coached at Whitley County High School (2014-2019) as Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach where he took over a team that had a record of 1-10 and had them compete for a District Championship in his first year with the program. Under Coach McDaniel’s guidance the Whitley County team played for 3 consecutive District Championships from 2016-2018. Coach McDaniel also coached at Middlesboro High School (2013) and saw his team secure a winning record of 9-3 with a District Championship.
Coach McDaniel views his personal coaching strengths as being positive, principled, passionate and driven to succeed. The mission statement for the Generals football program is: “The purpose of the Jackson County High School football program is to provide its players the tools, skills, and knowledge to assist them in being successful on the field, in the classroom, and in life through a competitive, goal-oriented team experience.”
This year’s team should be exciting to watch! Coach McDaniel wants the team to play at the highest level of execution with tremendous tempo, technique, effort, and discipline to dominate every defense they face and force them to submit mentally and physically. The Generals will have an offensive identity that will involve a multiple set spread offense that attacks and pressure the defense on every snap by 1) playing at a high speed the entire game to physically and mentally wear down the opponent’sdefense until they cannot or will not keep up; 2) being a balanced attack: rushing, passing, screen game; 3) using misdirection in running and passing game; 4) stretching the field vertically and horizontally; 5) throwing the book at defenses with special, tricks, and packages; and 6) presenting option in multiple ways: zone read, RPO, Zone/stretch screens. As an offensive unit Coach McDaniel feels that the Generals MUST be determined to dominate their opponent for the ENTIRE game. The way to accomplish this is to strive for perfect technique and concentrate on the details. The Generals will be conditioned to have a physical, hard edge at every position and play until the end of the whistle. He wants his team to show great discipline with no stupid penalties or busted assignments. The Generals will be disciplined to practice “extreme” ball security while being tremendous competitors, out-hitting, out-working, out-hustling their opponents.
Coach McDaniel’s approach to the game is one that young athletes love to play. The offense is exciting and draws a crowd. There will be no huddles. This just wastes time and allows defensive coaches and players time to regroup and think. “The goal is to play faster than the defense can react,” Coach McDaniel said. The system must be simple because the players must play fast and when they think too much it slows them down. By dictating the tempo of the game the Generals hope to control the outcome of the game. Playing fast on offense prevents the opponent’s defense from scheming or adjusting. It also gives the home team players a tremendous lift in the game when they see the opponent growing weary and tired. The goal will be to keep the defense off-balance with tempo changes while making the defense play with only their base personnel. There will be no time to argue with the referees cause the Generals will be interested in running the next play. Coach McDaniel’s wants the team to be unpredictable where in one game they may throw 70% and the next week they may run 70%. The key is to do what it takes to win whether that means the final score is 60-59 or 3-0. The fans may see the Generals go deep on short yardage looking for a chance for a big play. “We don’t care who scores because everyone on the team is a star. We don’t want any ego. Offensive stats can be misleading. The most important stat is whether we won or lost!” Coach McDaniel wants the General’s fans to never be alarmed when they find themselves down by 2 or 3 touchdowns because the goal is to have a team that can score quickly and in bunches. However, when his young team may come up short at the end of a game he wants the crowd to know that coaching matters and it is always the coaches fault.
On the defensive side of the ball the goal is to play 1 or 2 coverages/fronts well rather than have a larger number of coverages that are not played as well. The General’s defense should play with great effort, pride, and discipline. “We want to take away what the opponent does best. There will be a heavy emphasis on situational defense, scouting tendencies, and evaluating trend data. To win a championship we must be good on defense and sound in special teams. The special teams philosophy is often one one the most undercoached phases of the game. Coach McDaniels wants the General’s special teams to always be sound while looking for opportunities to exploit a weakness.
Coach McDaniels knows that parent support is vital. The football program will be a “player first” program. It will entail a comprehensive strength training program. The players will be encouraged to participate in multiple sports. Coach McDaniels will encourage this and will be a willing partner in it. The football program under Coach McDaniels will believe in the following, in this order: 1) faith, 2) family, 3) academics, 4) football, and 5) social life.
The other coaching staff will include: Will Baldwin, Ryan Brandenburg, Keith Clontz, Tyler Detherage, and Wes King. Good Luck this year to our new football head coach, Travis McDaniels and the 2019 JCHS Generals!