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Clay Tyler, left, and Lee Patterson run practice drills at Elkmont High football practice Tuesday. The Red Devils were 3-7 last year and were one win short of making the Class 3A playoffs.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Clay Tyler, left, and Lee Patterson run practice drills at Elkmont High football practice Tuesday. The Red Devils were 3-7 last year and were one win short of making the Class 3A playoffs.

Red Devils young
Former Tide quarterback
pushing team to 'win one more'

Third in a series.

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

ELKMONT — In the office of new Elkmont High coach Don Jacobs rests several reminders of his career accomplishments:

Words of encouragement from Paul W. Bryant, Jacobs' coach when he played quarterback Alabama. Action shots of Jacobs in his Crimson Tide uniform sitting on top of a piece of furniture.

Then Jacobs goes outside on the practice field and leads a team with just one senior returning.

He is not exactly the pied piper of Elkmont, but the Red Devils have put their trust in Jacobs, who has been offensive coordinator at stops such as Troy State and Alabama A&M, to turn around a team that was 3-7 last season.

Jacobs comes to Elkmont after serving as an assistant coach at Coosa-Central. Elkmont is his first head coaching job.

"With a new coach and a completely different offense, there is a lot to learn," said wide
receiver Joe Dowd, the lone senior.

"But he knows what he is talking about. Everybody is buying into what he is saying, and we should be alright."

Jacobs' rallying cry for the team throughout spring and summer workouts has been "win one more" seeing that the team finished one game out of a potential playoff berth a season ago.

Last season, the Red Devils lost three games by 10 points or less.

While Jacobs is leaning on his personal experience and the growing maturity of his players to try to get that extra win, he also has brought a philosophical shift to Elkmont.

Gone is the wing-T run-based offense employed by former coach Chad McGhee.

Jacobs has put in a version of the West Coast offense, which emphasizes the short pass.

A year ago, quarterback Jonathan Carter was making throws based on running out of the pocket. Now he needs to stay in the pocket in order to make plays.

"I feel good about the kids, about what they can do," Jacobs said.

“We need to go execute our plan, being in the right spot when they throw it.”

Also returning is running back Brandon Baker. A sophomore, the 5-foot-6, 180-pound Baker is described by his coach as a sturdy runner who can pound for yards.

Junior Lee Patterson leads the wide receiving corps and is “extremely smart and does everything you are supposed to do,” said Jacobs.

But if Elkmont is going to have any success with its new offense, it’s going to need some help on the offensive line, and Jacobs says that lineman Jordan Martin is the guy the team can lean on.

According to Jacobs, the 6-foot, 230-pound Martin ranked third on the team’s strength and conditioning test.

He benches about 290 pounds and will be counted on to anchor the offensive front.

“For us, he is the strongest that we got,” Jacobs said. “He has come a long way.”

After Elkmont’s first practice of the preseason Aug. 6, Jacobs was flustered.

The players had a myriad of dropped passes, blown coverages and at the end during conditioning drills, several doubled over.

But it is all part of Jacobs’ plan to get the players more football ready. He just hopes the experiences of the previous season can carry over into 2007.

“You need to make sure you have everything covered,” Jacobs said. “They were thrown out there and had everything last year. Hopefully their knowledge of the game is improved. But it’s still not exactly where we want it to be right now.”

Elkmont High at a glance

Last year: 3-7, no playoff bid

Head coach: Don Jacobs (0-0, first year as head coach)

Noteworthy: Elkmont brings back one senior in Joe Dowd, who will line up at wide receiver. He has played for the Red Devils since the ninth grade. ... Jacobs played quarterback for Alabama and lettered in 1979 and 1980. He was the team’s starter in 1980 when he threw for 531 yards and four touchdowns. ... Elkmont finished only one game out of the playoff picture last year.

Josh Cooper, Daily Sports Writer

Elkmont High schedule, results

2007 schedule

8-31 Ardmore

9-7 Clements (R)

9-14 at Lexington (R)

9-21 West Limestone (R)

9-28 at Madison Academy

10-5 at Lauderdale County (R)

10-12 at Colbert Heights (R)

10-19 Sheffield (R)

10-26 Colbert County (R)

11-2 at Tanner

(R)-Class 3A, Region 8

2006 results

at Ardmore L, 42-21

at Clements W, 27-21

vs. Lexington L, 22-14

at West Limestone W, 39-16

vs. Madison Academy L, 14-6

vs. Lauderdale Co. W, 23-13

vs. Colbert Heights L, 29-9

at Sheffield L, 48-7

at Colbert County L, 36-12

vs. Tanner L, 20-10

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