Reggie Barlow and players discuss expectations at Carver
New Carver football coach Reggie Barlow met with members of his new team on Tuesday in the school’s auditorium. In a short message to the 60-plus students and parents in attendance, he spoke about the things people can control.
They can’t control when they’re born, he said, or when they die. But it’s the time between — the dash — that he focused on and said he wanted his new players to focus on, as well.
The dash was an acronym: D.A.S.H.H. He claimed the extra ‘h’ was there because he was from Alabama, earning some laughter from the crowd. The acronym stands for discipline, attitude, sacrifice, habits and heart.
“I think all that’s important,” he said. “Coming in new, these kids don’t know you, the parents don’t know you. My history, the foundation of all the great coaches and players I’ve been around, there are those five core characteristics. … There’s a direct correlation between discipline on the field and discipline in the classroom. It was important for them to learn my expectations right away.”
Barlow mentioned some of those people he had been around. Not to brag, he said, but to show the unique perspective he has on how to lead Carver back to a championship level. The names included Tampa Bay Buccaneers legends Derrick Brooks and John Lynch, Jon Gruden and Warren Sapp. He played at a championship level in college and in the NFL, and was hungrier for it because of the three 2-8 records he suffered through in high school.
“That’s what you call consistency,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t have a program like you guys have.”
He stressed that Carver did have a program with a history of contending for championships and wasn’t shy about the fact that that’s what he would expect. To do that, though, he said the players would need to follow those five demands.
In addition to those characteristics, he expressed the desire for his players to be involved in the community. More than just a championship-caliber program, Carver is a community that encompasses locals beyond students, teachers and student-athletes.
“I love this community, everything I’ve seen and heard,” Barlow said. “It’s real similar to the community I grew up in. I want us to be active. I want us to not only play football together and travel and compete in 7-on-7 camps, but I want us to go to church together. I want us to go pump gas at the local gas station. I want us to bag groceries. That’s how you give back. It gives our student-athletes an opportunity to be seen and recognized.”
His message resonated with some of the players who were in attendance. Junior Cameron Jessie, who will be a senior during next year’s football season, said he’s excited about the attitude and approach of his new coach.
“He’s going to let us be ourselves, and that’s good for me,” he said, adding that his message of discipline was an important one. “We didn’t have a lot of discipline in the past. That cost us certain games. We need discipline on the team to help us go far and win a championship.”
Lineman Lyndon Johnson, also a rising senior, also noted his experience as an encouraging factor for him and his teammates.
“It can help us out a lot,” he said. “He knows a bunch of stuff that we don’t know yet. He can teach us, take us to another level.”
Barlow said his schedule between now and spring practice would be focused on getting to know his players, trying to convince more players to come out for the team and a lot of learning about the high school game. Defensive assistant Calvin Arnold has been a big help there, he said.
“Coming from college in Alabama, there are a lot of things I don’t know about the dates and when we can start practice and all that,” he said. “I’m just finishing a lot of paperwork and learning all about that right now.”