After the bell rang to dismiss class for the day at Metter High School, Chris Johnson walked with a purpose Thursday afternoon as he trotted on the Tigers’ practice field.
Johnson moved with a purpose because he knew he had work to do. It was just three weeks ago he was named head coach of a team that finished the season 4-6 last year.
Metter's football program will have a new look in the 2015 season with Johnson leading the way. The Tigers have a new offensive scheme, a new defensive system and a new staff for the players to get adjusted to.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do my entire career,” said Johnson right before the start of practice Thursday. “Being from Statesboro made it even better. My parents still live here and my wife’s family lives in Effingham, so this just brought us closer to home.”
Johnson, a former Statesboro High School graduate, recently joined the Tigers as head coach of the football program after a 13-year stint at West Forsyth High School.
Johnson said he started his new job in early April. In just three weeks since his arrival, close to 70 students have participated in spring football.
“It’s been great. We’ve had a great turnout of kids,” Johnson said. “So far I’ve been able to spread the word and get kids excited to come out here and work hard in the weight room.”
The Tigers have about two weeks of spring practice left to familiarize themselves with the new system before the start of summer workouts. Johnson plans on implementing a zone-read option on offense and an attacking-style defense for his team.
“We’re still putting the staff together. Right now we’re trying to focus on the fundamentals and building a foundation for this team,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to get us back to the Georgia Dome. That’s where we want to be.”
Johnson said the team’s focus for the next few days of practice is to prepare for a scrimmage against Tattnall County. After the scrimmage, the Tigers’ first scheduled game is against Bryan County Aug. 21.
“We have a lot of improvement and a lot of work we need to get done over the summer. We have a great summer program put together for the kids and our goal is to progress day by day so hopefully by Game 1 our kids will be ready,” Johnson said.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.