Often times when a team brings aboard a new head coach, the successor will opt to make sweeping changes across the board—firmly placing his or her mark on the program right from the get-go.
Adam Clack, who took over West Forsyth football soon after Frank Hepler announced his resignation, is opting for a different approach.
Having served as a coach at West since the Wolverines began playing football in 2007, Clack will instead guide his team on the same path Hepler forged over the last seven years. And though Clack has spent a considerable amount of time planning for the challenge that lies ahead, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when was able to get players on the field, as the Wolverines held their annual spring practice from May 6-16.
Once everyone convened at Wolverine Stadium, Clack made his intentions clear.
“I’m not here to change West Forsyth football,” Clack said. “What we’ve done, and what Hepler laid the foundation for, is great. Whether it’s Frank or myself or another member of the staff, we’re going to try to improve every single day and every single year. That’s what I want (the players) to know.”
These informal sessions allowed Clack and his crew to get a head start on training camp, giving the new boss an opportunity to tell his team that, while there will be adjustments, the general philosophies that led them to a playoff berth in 2013 will remain intact.
“Honestly, I think we had an incredible spring,” Clack said. “A lot of guys were in new roles, and we felt our way through at times and leaned on each other to really make sure practice ran as smoothly as possible.
“At the end of the day, it came down to the effort the kids put forth, and it was tremendous.”
Though Clack isn’t deviating far from Hepler’s approach, he is looking to make revisions in 2014. Some players have been switched to new positions, and a greater sense of competition is being instilled up and down the depth chart.
Between one-on-one instruction, ample time to work out in full pads and a chance to experiment with new ideas and personnel, Clack believes he’s gained a strong understanding of where his team stands and what needs to be accomplished between now and Game 1 of the new season.
“We’re trying to elevate the intensity,” he explained. “I think without a doubt we were able to do that … the kids took to it, and it really helped us go.”
Clack gives a lot of credit to his assistants and coordinators in making this transition period as smooth as possible. Most of Hepler’s staff remained on board, providing Clack with a support system he knows well and can trust.
That familiarity, along with a buy-in mentality from the players, has Clack feeling optimistic about the future of West football.
“We’re really excited,” he said. “We have a better understanding of where we stand, so we can attack summer in a more efficient manner.
“Going in, (spring practice) was more of a ‘let’s see what they’re going to do with the challenge,’ and we feel like they responded really well to that.”