The past few days have been a whirlwind for Heath Webb.
Since being named the new head football coach for Winder-Barrow High School on Feb. 4, Webb has jumped into his new role with both feet.
Within minutes of being officially approved as the new coach by the Barrow County Board of Education, Webb attended a booster club meeting where approximately 80 were in attendance.
“You could see there was interest in the program,” Webb said. “You could see how much the community is excited about the program and its future.”
Later that week, Webb had the chance to meet his players. He talked with them about the plans for the program moving forward and how things will operate.
“The kids are really interested in being part of our brand of football,” Webb said. “You are always concerned if they are going to buy into what you’re selling, but they did in five minutes.”
Before the second winter storm closed down the school system for several days, the new Bulldogg football coach had the chance to meet some of his new co-workers at WBHS. He said he is going to stress relationship building and that includes building ties within the school building, the team and the community.
Webb understands some people may question why he would take on a program which has struggled the last two decades. The struggles have not been isolated to one coach or one group of players. It has been a long dry spell since the Bulldoggs have posted a postseason win. Webb knows it, but is not backing down from that challenge.
“People have asked, ‘Why do you want to take over a program that has won six games in the last six years?” and I tell them ‘Because the program has won six games in the last six years,’” Webb said. “I applied because of that. I believe everything is in place to be successful. I believe it is going to be a great ride getting back to where the program used to be.”
Webb is a graduate of Habersham Central High School and he said he still fondly remembers playing WBHS.
“I know what the WBHS program can be,” Webb said. “I know what it will take to get back to being successful. It will take some work, but I am willing to put in the work it is going to take. I’ve been in tougher situations before. When we started the program at North Paulding, we didn’t have a building or even a football. I have tackled tougher tasks than what we will face at Winder-Barrow.”
The offense Webb will install for the Bulldoggs has become extremely popular at the collegiate level. The fast-break offense, running as many plays as possible, has worked its way down the high school level as well in recent years.
While helping run the offense at Peachtree Ridge last season, Webb saw the team break numerous records, both team-wise and personal.
Currently, Webb is in the process of hiring his staff. He said he would like to have the assistants in place as soon as possible.
“There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle in getting coaches hired,” he said.
Webb will call the plays offensively, although he will have a coordinator.
Defensively, Webb said he will stress the team be multiple due to the number of different offenses used by members of 8-AAAAA. However, he said he will not micromanage the defense and will allow his coordinator to have a great deal of freedom of coaching that side of the football.
“I will have a say on both sides of the football and the coordinators will as well,” Webb said. “I know running the program as a whole is a very large task. The coordinators will be in charge of directing their sides of the football.”
The last week of April and the first week of May have been penciled in for spring practice. The Bulldoggs will open the 2014 season against Jefferson High School before embarking in their nine-game 8-AAAAA schedule beginning with Apalachee High School.
8-AAAAA FOOTBALL NOTES: There have been other football coaching changes in Region 8-AAAAA this offseason.
Cedar Shoals has hired former Jaguars head coach Scott Wilkins to try and turn around the recent misfortunes of the program. Since Wilkins was released a few years ago, the Cedar Shoals program has struggled.
Heritage has hired Wendell Early as its new head coach. He will be the program’s third head coach in as many seasons.
Early was the defensive coordinator at Shiloh and a former head coach at South Forsyth and Berkmar.
Loganville High School is still searching for a new head coach following the departure of Eric Godfree to Parkview.
Godfree was LHS coach since 2004 and was a former assistant at Parkview.