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Summer conditioning: Jefferson coach ready to get back into action
McFerrin working hard in anticipation for new season
First-year Jefferson coach T. McFerrin works with his team during a recent conditioning session. McFerrin has 301 wins and a state title over the span of his 30-year career.

JEFFERSONT. McFerrin has jumped head first into his job as Jefferson’s new football coach.

When he came out of retirement and accepted the position on March 12, it’s been a total whirlwind of activity. When he took the position, McFerrin — a 30-year coaching veteran — lived off a checklist with all the needs to be met, ranging from finalizing a coaching staff, equipment orders and keeping the players on a workout program.

"It’s a lot of work, I forgot how much work went into coaching," McFerrin said. "Hopefully it will translate into some wins once the season begins."

Of course, McFerrin’s work ethic and ability to put in a 14-hour day to get ready for the season are two of the reasons that Jefferson city schools superintendant Dr. John Jackson wanted to pull the veteran coach out of retirement. McFerrin was equally as eager to go to work again for Jackson, who hired McFerrin when he was Elbert County High’s principal in 1990.

McFerrin stepped into Jefferson with an impressive coaching resume. The Dragons’ new coach has a 301-93-4 career record, one state title, nine undefeated regular seasons and has won a region title at all seven schools he’s coached. This summer, using a challenging summer workout schedule consisting of passing leagues and a strength and agility program, McFerrin has tried to put the Dragons in the position to repeat as Region 8-AA champions.

Jefferson’s new coach credits his predecessor, Bill Navas, with instilling a solid strength and agility program that has carried over to a new staff.

"Coach McFerrin is very organized with the way he does things and expects us to do things the right way," Jefferson senior quarterback Darius Minor said. "I think he’s going to help us get further in the playoffs this season."

The biggest concern for McFerrin is a lack of depth, as he expects 66 players to dress in 2009. He doesn’t like the idea of having to play his best athletes on both sides of football, but understands many schools at the Class AA level are in the same boat.

Of course, having to be more flexible with players comes with playing at a smaller school like Jefferson, as opposed to his last position at South Gwinnett, where he retired following the 2004 season. McFerrin won the 1995 state title while coaching at Elbert County, and has 11 region titles under his belt. This year, McFerrin feels like he’s got a very talented coaching staff in house, including the addition of new offensive line coach Ben Hall, who coached at Flowery Branch High last season.

However, McFerrin feels like he has a solid nucleus of players to work with this season as the Dragons aim for their 10th consecutive trip to the playoffs.

"This is an enjoyable group of guys to work with," McFerrin said. "I’ve already seen that this group is willing to work very hard during the offseason."

Jefferson opens the season Aug. 28 against Commerce at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.

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