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VHS coach stresses work ethic

Jake Martin | The Natchez Democrat — Vidalia High School head coach Jeff Hancock speaks to parents at Vidalia.
Jake Martin | The Natchez Democrat — Vidalia High School head coach Jeff Hancock speaks to parents at Vidalia.

VIDALIA— New Vidalia head football coach Jeff Hancock stressed teamwork, academics and work ethic to an estimated 30 parents at Vidalia High School Wednesday evening.

Hancock met with the parents after meeting with approximately 60 high school players Wednesday morning and talking with junior high students interested in football in the afternoon,

“I have one rule and that’s to be a good teammate,” Hancock said. “What does that mean? Taking care of business, doing the little things correctly and picking up teammates.”

And if there are any players that are looking to hog the spotlight and ignore Hancock’s biggest rule, Hancock will lay out that player’s options. There will be no “I’s” in Hancock’s team.

“If a guy is an I-guy, he can go find a school with track,” Hancock said. “A guy that’s an individual can help you win games, but he’s also going to lose you some games down the road.”

Along with integrating his spread offense in the spring and weight system in the summer, Hancock wants to meet with his players individually to discuss grades and upcoming tests.

“I coached college for 20 years, and there are a lot of kids I wanted to give scholarships to that I couldn’t because of grades,” Hancock said. “The days of a guy just being good pen anymore. There are guys just as better at other schools with grades.”

Hancock is hopeful he can get the Vikings on the practice field to start spring training on April 28.

Known as a spread offense guy, Hancock wants his team to get adjusted to his playing style and practice system, which consists of five-minute rotation periods. If the practice runs smoothly, Hancock said his team wouldn’t practice longer than two hours. But if the team is dragging, they’ll practice much longer.

Though Hancock would like to spread the ball around, he wants to watch his kids move on the practice field before deciding what type of offense he will run, suiting the playing style to the personnel available.

“I don’t want to watch option or double-wing offenses, but if that’s what’s going to help us win a game, you can bet that’s what we’re going to run,” Hancock said.

VHS Principal Brown said he told players in the meeting they have an opportunity to join the rebuilding process.

“They can turn it around and be a part of the winning program or they can pay $6 and watch it,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a winning program under Coach Hancock, and I don’t have any doubts about that.”