Loganville State of the Program

Editor's note: Now that the Georgia High School Association is allowing players to participate in preseason workouts, the prospect of a football season in the fall has improved greatly. As a result, area players are currently hard at work in the weight room and on the practice field preparing for the new year. Each week during the summer, The Walton Tribune will take an in depth look at the state of each local football program heading into the 2020 season.

Brad Smith can testify first hand about Loganville High School football.

The new Red Devils head coach is a former LHS player himself and understands the culture and what it takes to be successful at the school. Smith said he looks forward to making the program successful again and admits he now has his “dream job” after several years on the assistant coaching circuit across the state.

With this offseason being perhaps as chaotic as one could be, the new head coach said he still is confident about the direction of the program after several week of conditioning and preparation since the start of June.

“I have had several parents and booster club members tell me they were sorry about how the transition has gone this offseason,” Smith said. “With this being my first time leading a program it’s not that I had a set way of doing things for 20 years. Many of the coaches I have worked for did have a set way of doing things in the offseason. If you were going to have to adjust on the go then this is the time for it.”

Following a standout playing career at LHS, Smith, whose father was a long time Red Devil coach, was a four-year starter for Shorter University. He then worked two years as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia.

Coaching stops have taken Smith various places including Senoraville High School, Flowery Branch High School, Dalton High School, North Murray High School and Calhoun High School.

Smith said he has had the good fortune to learn from some quality coaches. One of those he learned a great deal from is the late Tommy Stringer, the long time LHS head football coach and athletic director.

“I am not comparing my coaching ability to his in any way but to even sit in the same chair he once occupied and have the same title is special,” Smith said.  “I have always held Coach Stringer in such high regard. I hope to implement some of the things I have learned from all the great coaches I have been associated with as well as some new things. I have learned under some good ones.”

Knowing the Red Devil culture is important for Smith as he has brought in former players like himself to work with the program. Storm Johnson is the team’s running backs coach while 2012 graduate Tony Wise is back with the program.

Smith and his coaching staff know there is still nothing guaranteed about the upcoming 2020 season.

“We are following all protocols to make sure we can have a season,” he said. “Football is important for all phases of an athletic department. For our seniors it will be their last opportunity. To not have a season would be completely devastating.”

Non-region games against Monroe Area, Forsyth Central and Parkview start the 2020 schedule. Region 8-AAAAA foes will include Greenbrier, Johnson-Gainesville, Jackson County, Eastside, Clarke Central, Apalachee and Walnut Grove.

Chris Bridges is a columnist and former sports editor for The Walton Tribune.

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