“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am,” said Phillips. “Don’t get me wrong now, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“We are going to do things the way Oneonta is supposed to do them and that means outwork the competition and compete at the state level. We expect our kids to act right and do things right on and off the field with class and there are consequences when they don’t.”
Phillips, who was named head coach last week by the Oneonta City Board of Education, is a novelty when it comes to football coaches for the Redskins. It is believed that he is the first graduate of Oneonta – or even Blount County High – to lead the Redskin program.
He is the third head coach in three years and he replaces Brandon Herring, who led the Redskins to a 3-7 mark in his only season.
“I believe there is talent here on the roster,” said Phillips. “Plus, I believe there are some kids that aren’t playing or haven’t been playing that can help us. We’ve got a lot of work to do, as I said, and that means we have to get better every day between now and August.”
Phillips has already begun the work of putting together his staff and he feels really proud of the commitments he’s gotten.
“First of all, J.D. Whited and David Elrod will be back working with football and that’s one of the best things I could do. They are great coaches and kids respond to them. I’ve got a couple of other slots to fill but I couldn’t be happier that those guys are back with me. We’re going to get good people and put them in position and let them coach.
“Don’t get me wrong, coaches will coach. I’m OCD about a lot of things and have a particular way of doing things or how I want them done but coaches that work for me will coach. I’m not a micromanager.”
While this will be Phillips’s first head coaching job, he’s had plenty of experience and he’s learned from some outstanding football coaches. Whether it was Marice Carkuff or Don Jacobs at Oneonta or Perry Swindall at Russellville, Phillips has been able to work under some very bright minds.
“I’ve learned enough to know that while we have a system on both sides of the ball, you have to be multiple and work what you do to fit your personnel. If I’ve got a ton of running backs and good linemen, I’m not going to try to sling the ball all over the place on every snap.
“By that same token on defense, we will build a system to fit what we have on the roster.
“I will tell you this…we will be aggressive on both sides of the ball and on defense we will run to the ball and tackle. Football has changed a lot but some things are the same and winning teams will take care of the ball, block and tackle and get lined up correctly.”
Expectations? Sure, he has them.
“Not so much from a win-loss standpoint but I have expectations about how we are going to do things between now and August. And that means everything from how the field house is going to look to what practice schedules will be and what the workout schedule will be.
“It’s no secret that I love Oneonta and I’m ready to lead this program.”