COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy football’s transformation took a couple of major steps forward late last week as new head coach Jason Dukes announced hires for offensive and defensive coordinators.
Cory Quinn, current offensive coordinator at Lake Cormorant High School in Lake Coromant, Mississippi was named as Alcovy’s new offensive coordinator, while Kevin Elion, comes over from Alpharetta — Dukes’ first Georgia high school head coaching stop — as defensive coordinator.
As for what Alcovy fans — and opponents — can expect from the Tigers offensively, Quinn gives a simple and succinct description.
“We’re going to play basketball on grass,” Quinn said. “We’re going to put our playmakers in the best positions to be successful. We’re going to get the ball into the hands of the guys who can score whenever they touch the ball. But also, we’re going to be a physical, downhill running offense. Our goal is going to be putting defenses in a bind by the amount of plays we run and by making them defend the whole field.”
The specifics of what that could look like as far as scheme and formation will soon start to take shape as Alcovy will start its spring football period in a couple of weeks, along with Newton County’s two other GHSA football playing schools.
The thought could be a welcome change for players and fans alike who slogged through what was a disastrous 2018 season offensively speaking for the Tigers.
Former head coach Chris Edgar began the season by promoting Damoio’n Wright from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator, but the fit never produced the desired results. Wright was relieved of his duties midway through the season, and the Tigers struggled to a 2-8 finish, complete with a winless Region 3-AAAAAA record and an offense that didn’t produce a single touchdown pass in the entire season.
Four passers combined for 13 interceptions and no passing scores in 2018. Two of those have graduated, and Quinn said he’ll begin his reconstruction of Alcovy’s offense by giving everyone returning to the team a clean slate.
“Every kid on that roster is going to get a fresh start,” Quinn said. “And from there, I’m just going to ask them to play hard, execute a few things at a high level. We’re not going to bog them down with a ton of scheme and a million plays. We’re going to be very sound in what we do. We’ll do what we do well and have a little tweak or two planned when we need to throw off a defense.”
Quinn has had several stops along the way on his coaching journey, including two college level jobs — one at Etowah Community College in 2013 and then a yearlong stint at the University of Arkansas-Monticello.
Lake Cormorant was the 28-year old coach’s first coordinator gig, and he took some fairly youthful rosters and helped mold them into playoff teams.
“We had a really good run there the last two years,” Quinn said. “Last year we had an extremely young team where we started six sophomores and two freshmen and we still make the playoffs.”
Now he's excited about diving into the Georgia high school football scene.
"When I first saw the job on footballscoop.com, the first thing I thought was I'd known how high school football is big time here, so I figured I'd send in my resume and see what happens," Quinn said.
"When I first met with coach Dukes, the first thing I noticed he had was a passion for kids and a passion for football. It got me excited about being in a place where football is the staple of what happens in a community on Friday night's, as well as being where I can help rebuild a program."
Quinn will have a little bit more seasoning on the offensive side of the ball at Alcovy than he did in his last season at Lake Cormorant.
With spring football starting on April 30, Quinn said he’ll try to be at spring practice “as much as I can” while still making the transition from Mississippi to Georgia.
“I told coach Dukes I’d try to be over there at least two to three days of each week of spring practice,” he said. “We’ll take that time to start kind of installing. The main point of this will be us trying to teach some fundamentals, but most importantly, just getting to know the kids. We’ll be really working on building relationships and showing things we can do to make them successful.”
Despite Alcovy’s 2018 results and coaching changes, Quinn won’t exactly be inheriting an empty cupboard, talent wise.
Quarterback will definitely be a question mark as both Nick Simmons and Jaelen Campbell — the two players who took the brunt of the snaps behind center — have graduated. The only returning passer with stats is Javari Smith, a rising senior who completed two of six passes for 20 yards — mostly entering games where Simmons and Campbell were sitting out due to injuries.
But whoever the new signal caller is will have some intriguing pieces around him, including talented tailbacks Natorian Holloway along with Andrae and Adrian Robinson. Holloway, the more traditional running back out of the group, led the Tigers with 648 yards and three touchdowns on 130 carries last season.
He could be the workhorse in 2019 as the Robinson twins have skillsets that could be used in various positions across the field. In the passing game, rising sophomore MJ Stroud will be a talent to watch. In the rare moments Alcovy made big plays in the passing game, Stroud was typically on the receiving end of it. The freshman caught a team-high 14 passes for 195 yards.
Javari Smith, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound target, was often used as a tight end. He caught five balls for 91 yards, averaging 18.2 yards per catch.
Personnel aside, Quinn said the most important thing he wants to instill into this offense is a sense of consistency.
“We’ve got to have an identity on offense,” Quinn said. “You can’t have an offense in a box where you’re pulling out new things every week. You’ve got to have an offense that says, ‘This is what we do and this is how we’ll do it.’ If the kids have that, then they’ll be more confident. And when they’re confident, they’ll play at a higher level and have fun doing it.”