Gadsden City football coach Scott greets fans, media


Gadsden City High School's new football coach, Matt Scott, talks about his goals for the program Wednesday when he was introduced to the media, school officials and supporters. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)


Matt Scott finally stopped himself and smiled.

“I believe this: If you got a passion for something and you’re excited about something, you’re going to want to talk about it,” he said.

Two things never will be questioned about the new Gadsden City head football coach: His “passion” for the game and his willingness to talk about it.

Scott, who was hired as Gadsden City’s new coach last week, spoke with a small gathering of media and Titan supporters in the school’s auditorium Wednesday. Topics were wide-ranging, from his strength and conditioning program to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“I think we’re going to bring some things to the program that’s going to bring some excitement,” Scott said. “Hopefully at the end of the day, what we’re wanting to do is take this program to the next level. There’s no question about it, there’s been a great foundation laid here. What we’re wanting to do is take that foundation, pick the ball up and run with it from there.”

Scott was hired Jan. 14 to replace Joe Billingsley, who resigned in November. Billingsley, the only head coach Gadsden City’s ever known, took the Titans to seven straight playoff appearances and a 58-28 record.

Scott’s first head coaching job came at Hueytown, where he has spent the past four seasons. He also has spent time at Spain Park and Cullman, and during his more than two decades of coaching experience, Scott’s developed a system he believes can take Gadsden City to new heights.

“I think we’re bringing a lot of positive things to the program,” Scott said. “We feel like our strength and conditioning program is second to none. We’re going to bring a nutrition program in here that we’ve had some success with and that we’re learning more and more about each year. We’ve got an academic program as far as what we do to monitor the progress of these players academically. ... There’s a lot we’re bringing to the table.”

Scott’s strength and conditioning program already has started, but work is being done in the weight room to accommodate everything it requires.

“Basically, we do Alabama’s strength and conditioning program pretty much to a tee,” Scott said. “It’s a different deal than what people are used to.”

The Titans are in the strength stage of the process and doing nothing to burn calories, with Scott saying “it’s a huge focus on the weight room.”

Come March, Scott will shift gears to the “fourth-quarter program” where the Titans will be working on speed and agility. That begins about six weeks before spring practice opens.

“We’re going to be very organized and very detailed in everything we do,” Scott said.

Strength and conditioning is half the battle, though, and that’s where the nutrition program comes into place. Scott will have the football players in first period during the fall, and every morning they will eat breakfast together.

The players then will eat lunch before getting a snack at the beginning of practice: two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“They’re not going to go to practice hungry,” Scott said. “Some of these guys eat at 11 o’clock in the morning. At that age, burning so many calories a day, it’s tough to keep weight on them.”

There also will be a protein supplement program in place to help players — especially offensive and defensive lineman — keep on weight throughout the season.

Academically, Scott wants to be as proactive as possible. He spoke to all the teachers at a recent faculty meeting and let them know to make him aware of any academic or behavioral problems.

“The first day, I exchanged contact information with the players and ever since then I’ve been in constant contact with those guys,” Scott said. “Also, I got some people to run grades for me and checked grades. So I’m texting guys the next morning, ‘Hey, what about this 58 in math class?’ They know I’m going to be in constant communication with them and keeping up with everything they do.

“I feel like that if they leave here and we’ve not taught them what I call life skills — and I’m talking about being on time, responsibility, accountability, teamwork, all those type things — if we’ve not done that, then we’ve failed these guys.”

Scott believes the development of players from the youth leagues up is crucial to Gadsden City’s success. Before Wednesday’s meeting, Scott spoke with players at the three middle schools that feed Gadsden City — Gadsden,

Litchfield and Emma Sansom.

“That’s the lifeblood of the program,” he said. “You gotta get down there in those middle schools and get involved with those kids. We’re going to be involved with the football program top to bottom regardless of what grade those kids are in. We’re going to start developing those guys.”

Scott has met with the current Titan assistant coaching staff and said it’s an “ongoing process” to determine who will be in what position in the fall.

“Anybody that wants to be a part of this program and wants to do what we’re going to do and wants to get on the bandwagon, I’m for him,” Scott said. “Eventually, we will probably have a couple of guys (from Hueytown) join me at some point, but that’s kind of an ongoing process.”

Scott also talked Xs and Os with the crowd, and while his specialty is on the offensive side of the ball, the coach said he would be involved in every aspect of the game.

“We’re going to bring a wide-open offense in here,” Scott said. “I say that, but our philosophy offensively is we’re always going to play to our personnel, which means we don’t have a set system. We’re going to play to the strengths our players.”

Gadsden City lost a lot of talent off last season’s team with only a few starters expected back in the fall, and eight players will be signing scholarships on national signing day in two weeks.

That might lead some to suggest that 2013 will be a rebuilding year, but Scott’s not buying it.

“I’m not interested in that,” Scott said. “We’re going to approach this season just like we’re going to approach season four. We will not sit around and talk about what we don’t have. It’s more of an attitude of, how can we do what we need to do with the guys we got. As far as talent this year, to be honest with you, I don’t know. And it may sound crazy, (but) I’m not concerned about that. We’re going to do what we do and we’re going to take the guys that we have, put them in a position to be successful and go from there.”