Defense has been at the top of the list.
During the Bulldogs’ current 20-game losing streak, which has spanned the last two seasons, Carbon Hill has allowed a staggering 1,039 points, an average of 51.95 points per game. The total is the highest in the state by a wide margin.
New defensive coordinator Bryant Garrison looks to bring respectability back to the Carbon Hill defense. Garrison, who will face a more manageable schedule for the 2014 season, was brought in by new head coach Woody Smothers last month.
“When I came here, my first and foremost goal was to get a defensive coordinator,” Smothers said. “As a head coach, I was going to be doing the offense and it would be a disservice if I was going to do it all. I interviewed Bryant and talked with some people. I didn’t hear anything but positive remarks about him. He really impressed me in his interview. I think Bryant has the type of character that’s going to create a positive influence.”
Garrison will also serve as the school’s baseball coach. He takes over for Hunter Smothers, who coached the team last year.
On the football side, Garrison is part of a new staff at Carbon Hill. Smothers is the school’s third head coach in as many years. Two holdovers from last year remain on the staff, Ray Sherer and Les Stovall.
“I know they’ve had several coaches over the last few years” Garrison said. “It’s kind of hard for anybody, whether it’s coaches or players, when you are not having continuity year after year. It’s hard to get in the groove of things and know what to expect from your coaches. They had a rough draw last year. It’s going to be rough again this year, having to learn a new system. But the kids are really hungry. They are eager to work. They’ve done all we’ve asked them to do so far.”
Garrison comes to Carbon Hill after one year away from coaching.
He is a 2000 graduate of Marion County High School, where he was an honorable mention All-State quarterback during his senior season.
To start his coaching career, Garrison spent six years at the University of Alabama.
He was an equipment manager for three years and served as a graduate assistant working with defensive backs on Nick Saban’s staff for another three years.
“It was a lot of work. There was definitely a lot of time put into it. It was well worth it. I learned a lot of good working habits and a lot of information in general,” Garrison said.
Following his time at Alabama, Garrison worked one year at Lincoln High School in 2012-13.
Now he is back on the field after a one year hiatus.
“I’m really excited and kind of anxious at the same time. I’m getting my feet wet right now, meeting with all the coaches and also coach Smothers. He’s really on point with the direction he wants to go. He lets us know what he wants done and we do it,” Garrison said.
The new coach got some work in with his team at a passing camp last week at Sulligent.
“We only had one day with the defense, but the kids really picked it up fast. At a 7-on-7, it’s just playing ball. They hustled and they tried. The main thing is that they competed, had fun and got better,” Garrison said.
His defensive philosophy is simple.
“We are going to be very aggressive and attack. We’re going to fly to the football and have a lot of fun while we’re doing it,” Garrison added.