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May 11, 2012

High school football: Helmets are crashing at 'Dog pound

Live Oak — After spending the first fews days of spring training without pads, the Bulldogs strapped on their gear and hit the gridiron with their new head coach Jamie Rodgers.

Based off the first days of spring training Rodgers said the team needs to be more physical.

“That means we have to hit harder, that comes with the weight room, that comes with confidence, that comes with being stronger, that comes with being faster. If we want to win we got to be physical, period,” Rodgers said. “If we get more physical we have a better chance to win more games next season.”

The Suwannee High School varsity football team is hitting it hard in the field preparing for its Green and White game, on May 18, at the Paul Langford Stadium in Live Oak, and its spring game against Dixie County for a half and Lafayette for a half, on May 25, in Mayo.

There are about 55-60 players out for varsity football which Rodgers said is a good number to start from and is up from last year’s numbers.

Rodgers is looking to his seniors for leadership next season.

If we don’t have leadership from them, we’re going to have a long year. If they lead us, we will be fine,” he said.

Rodgers is taking over the reigns for the 2012-13 season with his pillars of discipline, weight training and off-season training to “try to get us back to where we need to be”.

“You got to be disciplined the guys got to do what they are told to do on the field and off the field. If you practice it off the field it will be easy on the field because guys got to look at what you tell them to look at. They got to do exactly what you tell them to do or it won’t work. Everything fits like a puzzle,” Rodgers said. “Discipline is one, weight room is two, if you don’t win in the weight room, it’s hard to win in the football field. You got to be better physically in shape than the people you play against to have a chance.”

Rodgers graduated from Baker County in 1997 and went to Jacksonville University to pursue a baseball scholarship and a degree in business. He worked for four years as a manager for a distribution center but athletics stayed in his mind.

“Something inside of me always wanted to coach. I got into coaching with coach Johns, Bobby Johns was at Bluntstown and he came home to Baker County and when he got the job at Baker County, I called him to see if I could come coach with him and he made it happen. I got the defensive coordinators job,” Rodgers said.

So began his coaching journey where he stayed until 2009, went to Milton High School for a year, then went up to Bacon County High School in Georgia and then the opportunity at SHS opened. He said he was thankful that the positions he had been applying for did not happen.

“The tradition here is second to none,” Rodgers said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to come here. Growing up in Baker County you know about Suwannee, especially in the era I grew up in. Huge in tradition, it’s one of those places that you say ‘man if I could ever get the head coaching job there, I sure would like it’. It just happens to be my first head coaching job. I am very, very fortunate and thrilled to be here.”

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