Troy Hoff, Eastside
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “The No. 1 factor is that you have to have talented players. It’s a player’s game, and there’s no substitute for the overall talent on the roster. From there, I believe it takes a great coaching staff to put the players in the right places to be successful. This includes strategy, but more importantly creating and maintaining a team culture necessary for success.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “Sheldon Rankins. Sheldon was and is the true epitome of a student-athlete. He has been a tremendous player at every level, but his character is what sets him apart. He is a genuine role model and sets a high standard for how young men conduct themselves in the classroom, in the community and on the field. NFL general managers labeled him as ‘Mr. Boring.’ This wasn’t a slight but a great compliment that played a role in his being a high-level first-round draft pick. He continues to stay in contact and comes back to EHS regularly to spend time working with and mentoring our players.” [Rankins, a 2016 first-round NFL Draft pick, played at Eastside and the University of Louisville.]
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “Peach County, 2009 semifinal game.” [Peach County beat Eastside 21-14.]
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “There’s definitely more than one, but I’d like to go back to a game from my freshman year of college. I played at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., NSIC Conference, and we were on the road in late November at the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a chance to win the conference championship. It’s the coldest day/game I’ve ever been associated with, but it didn’t seem to slow them down from taking care of us and winning the conference.”
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