Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

April 24, 2014

Starting fresh

Lindsey opens first spring practice with Hornets

ADEL — Heading into his first spring as Cook High School’s football coach, Jon Lindsey promised a fresh start.

Installing a new offense and with a host of key Hornets playing pivotal roles on the baseball team, that should be easily accomplished as Cook opened its spring drills Wednesday.

“I was pleased,” Lindsey said after a first practice that left him excited about his new team. “It’s always been a good program, so the kids know a lot of football already. So that helped us, but it was just Day 1.

“It’s starting all over again. Starting from scratch and it’s just going to take us some time. This spring for me is going to be about the logistics and we have to go back and out and get things set up and organized a little bit better. This is as much for me and the other new coaches as it is the kids.”

But Lindsey’s excitement wasn’t limited just to the work he saw the shorthanded football team accomplish in the opening of the 10-practice spring slate. Rather, he’s excited about what those other Hornets are accomplishing on the diamond. And what Cook has done across the board in its athletic department this year.

“The AD (Paul Dobson) told me today that every sport made the playoffs this year, and that’s awesome,” the former Irwin County coach said. “Those baseball kids, man I’m pulling for them. I told them today they had a great win last night against Fitzgerald and I’m excited for them.

“I believe that winning breeds winning. When you get used to winning, it carries over, and carries over into the rest of your life.”

Those missing Hornets also means more reps for different players during the spring practice period. It also means old faces in new places such as junior Tavian Allen, a two-year starter at wide receiver, taking a bulk of the snaps at quarterback Wednesday.

That will allow Lindsey and the Cook coaching staff an opportunity to find more playmakers and build depth.

“We get a chance to look at some other kids, and that excites me,” Lindsey added.

Which in turn could lead to more success. But success isn’t new at Cook. The Hornets have made the playoffs each of the past 14 seasons and haven’t had a losing record since finishing 5-6 in 2006. A year later the Hornets advanced to the semifinal round, the final of three semifinal appearances since 2000, and Cook has also lost in the quarterfinal round four other times during that stretch.

Still, Lindsey is aware that there is still a long way for the Hornets to go to again reach that level of success. Or even take it further.

“We’ve got a long way to go, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But I like what I saw today.”

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