Managing the teamPublished 6:54pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Filling water bottles, making sure equipment is where it needs to be and getting drills ready for the football players are only but a few tasks Straughn senior managers Brian Barnes and Cole Grant perform on a daily basis.
The Tigers’ managers have been working for the team since before school started in August.
Barnes was asked by SHS defensive coordinator John Fussell, while Grant, a former player, got called at about the same time. Grant played football last year, but he injured his knee. When he did that, Grant said he felt that it would be best to stop playing.
“But, I told the coaches that I’d love to help out if there is anything I could do,” he said. “They called me before school started and told me I could do this.”
Barnes said he and Grant have a lot of control as managers.
“Everyday we have to make sure all of the equipment’s down there (at the practice field) — all of the footballs,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure all of the dummies are down.
“We set up some of the drills they do. They just kind of put us in control whether or not we get everything ready or not,” he said.
When Barnes was asked by Fussell about the job, the senior said he didn’t understand at first what the coach was asking.
“After I said yes, I figured out what it was,” he said. “He asked if I would help one day. I helped one day and it turned into the year.”
Now that they had passed the test, Barnes and Grant started attending practices in the hot August sun and even when it rained.
Barnes said it’s a pretty cool job to have.
“It’s kind of interesting because we’re both seniors, and all of our best friends are down there,” he said. “Whenever we win or lose a game, we go through the same thing. It’s kind of tough to watch our friends when they lose, like when we lost to Andy.”
Barnes even said that after the Andalusia loss, the mentality changed on the team.
When asked if it’s a little bit tougher being managers during the playoffs, both said it’s about the same, with an added element.
“The coaches make it seem more like to us that the pressure is on you now,” Barnes said. “They make sure we know what we’ve got to do. If we mess up, then it’s on us.”
In addition to his regular duties, Barnes also films games for the Tigers. He was proud to say he hadn’t missed a single play this year. Barnes said he came close to doing so, but luckily the play was captured.
Barnes films the play by play, all of the Tigers’ flags and other things for the coaches to study for the next week, etc.
During games when players are begging for water, it can get a bit hectic on the sideline, Grant said.
“It was rough on me,” Grant said. “We only carry two crates of water. That was crazy trying to get water every where. The sidelines were like as wide as this (holds hands two feet apart).”
Their pregame routine entails loading the trailer up with all of the equipment for away games, and then finding where Barnes can film the game.
After a few more little things to take care of, it’s game time for the seniors.
Barnes is the son of Russell Barnes and the late, Rhonda Barnes, of the Straughn Community. Grant is the son of Janna Grant, and the step son of Chris Hudson of Horn Hill.