From the Sidelines: Uncertainty in the air

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2008

It remained unclear Friday what, if any, direction would be taken in Demopolis High&8217;s quest for a defensive coordinator. As of closing time at week&8217;s end, the position had been listed as vacant on the Alabama High School Athletic Association Web site. However, no posting of vacancies existed on Demopolis High School&8217;s Web page.

Word out of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers last week was that no positions would be advertised until the entity could determine the effects the state budget would have on the system. The budget passed through the legislature Saturday, May 31, giving the powers that be in Demopolis a week to make a determination in regards to how many teaching positions would be opened up in the city.

While there may not exist much cause for the system to rush to a decision on who will be manning the currently empty classrooms on various campuses around town, second-year head football coach Tom Causey, his staff, and most importantly, his players not only need but deserve to have the cloud of uncertainty hovering over the program removed sooner rather than later.

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The team kicked off summer workouts this week, drudging through team drills Tuesday while running a watered-down defensive scheme. The absence of a lead man on the defensive side of the ball forces the coaches to keep the defensive calls as vanilla as possible in an effort to not undermine the work of the man who will eventually fill that position.

The result of this, other than the obvious waste of valuable time, is a group of student-athletes who are currently unable to receive the coaching their investment of time merits. More importantly the inaction on the part of the board leaves players who are in dire need of stability with a handful of questions.

This collection of student-athletes has endured a 2007 coaching search, the well-publicized scandal of former assistant Nathan Hallman and the recent departure of former defensive coordinator Brian Seymore. Each of those occurrences has done something to take away from the experience of teenage boys who are just ready to play football.

Moreover, the longer the board drags its feet on allowing Causey to move forward with the search the more it clips the coach&8217;s wings, limiting his ability to find success on the field. And while the consensus is that there are things bigger than football hanging in the balance, such a stance has never prevented a coach from being fired due to a less-than-adequate win-loss record.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Times.