Justin Newman, Jordan
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “The difference in winning and losing in Georgia football as I have seen it, would be ranked as such: 1. Team chemistry (all players must buy in to the vision); 2. Weight room (this is a must in order to start to compete at a high level); 3. Coaching/administration (all must be working towards the vision of head coach); 4. Resources/facilities/community (these help to build pride and support). Although it is not on the list, talent is always a factor, but this changes all the time and something that as coaches we cannot control, but is a huge factor.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “Juan Pickett of Shaw High School. If this player was two inches taller, there is no doubt that he would be playing in the NFL. Juan was so good that teams would come to the line of scrimmage and check to the other side, as Juan was our strong defensive end. He was everything a coach would want in a student, first one there and last to leave, busted it in the weight room, never complained, never had to worry about grades, active in all things school such as student government, drama club, state wrestler, thrower for track and field, etc. Juan went on to star at West Georgia and is now coaching back at Shaw. I am very proud of the man he has become.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home?“I wouldn’t say that there is any particular place that is the best atmosphere, although having the semifinals in the Georgia Dome was great and more teams got to experience it. The best atmosphere is pretty much any place under the lights on a Friday in Georgia, in my opinion. It is even better when you go to a place and your team is the underdog and come away with a win. Nothing beats Friday Night Lights in Georgia.” [Newman was a member of Shaw’s 2000 state-championship team.]
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “The Northside-Columbus game last season. This could have been my first career victory, but as we are going in to score the go-ahead touchdown, our quarterback just drops the football, and they pick it up and secure the victory. It burns even more when not only their coaching staff and the other coaches scouting all know and say you were going to score, they couldn’t stop you, but you stopped yourself. It hurts. Although, I do believe this has helped to better prepare me for the future seasons, so you have to always take the bad with the good.”
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