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Yeast learning in first year at Harrodsburg

August 03, 2003|JILL ERWIN

HARRODSBURG - Now that the football season is drawing near, Terry Yeast can feel everything building up.

The excitement. The pressure. The fun. The hard work.

Yeast is preparing for his first season as the head coach at Harrodsburg, his alma mater.

"Something I probably did not realize is that when you go from college to high school, you have to be in charge of everything from cleaning the building to washing their practice equipment to making sure that everything gets done," Yeast said.

"Five of us (coaches) took three days and cleaned the fieldhouse. When I first got here, we sat down and the coaches just laughed at me. They said, 'You've been in college too dang long.'"

Yeast also said the difference in numbers is a big change. When he was an assistant at Kentucky State before taking the Pioneers' job, he had 90 players on the team. Harrodsburg had 24 at practice last week.

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That means many players will have to go both ways, but Yeast said that's nothing different for Harrodsburg. With an enrollment of fewer than 200 students, it's difficult to field a team that's capable of platooning.

Yeast said it's been difficult to keep players fresh through the early part of practice because of that lack of depth.

"There's not a whole lot of breaks," Yeast said. "It's a matter of us trying to organize the practice so that everybody's getting what they need both offensively and defensively. I'm used to being in the position where you only coach on one side of the ball and kids only play on one side of the ball.

"We've got kids that are not going to leave the field, but that's typical Harrodsburg. To be honest, it's not really the numbers, the quantity, it's more the quality. That's one thing God has always blessed this program with is good athletes."

Thrilled with his coaching staff

Yeast knows he has talent and versatility in players like Mark Dunn and Mariqus Brown, but he said he is also thrilled with his coaching staff.

Line coach Keith Brown is the lone holdover from Bill Baldridge's staff. Scott Bugg takes over the quarterbacks and defensive backs after coaching the middle school team last year. Yeast's uncle, Nick Yeast, is in charge of the running backs and linebackers, while newcomer Travis Johnson coaches the linebackers and receivers.

"I can't say enough about the staff," Yeast said. "It's not just what I'm doing, it's what you've got as support. These four guys have worked their tails off."

Yeast spent the summer teaching at Harlow Elementary, and that put a strain on him. Yeast would teach until 2 p.m., then have only one hour off until reporting to football practice.

Now he's getting ready to start his first year as a full-time teacher with Harrodsburg, and Yeast said hindsight tells him he should have spent his summer working toward this year.

"It's overwhelming, to be honest," Yeast said. "I had a super time working with the kids over at Harlow. But I think it would have been a lot smarter had I focused on getting ready for the first school year, both football-wise and teaching.

"It didn't give me near as much time as I know I needed to be in the classroom. Now I'm working overtime to try to get ready for that."

He's had plenty of time to get used to his team. Yeast was hired in February, and coached the Harrodsburg track team in the spring as well as running football practice.

Yeast said now that football is the only thing he has to worry about, things are much smoother.

"I was trying to rush from track to get to football," Yeast said. "I was out here for five hours each day between two sports. Now it's just football. When I lay down, I'm thinking about football and when I wake up, it's football.

"There are no butterflies yet, but I'm extremely, extremely excited. I wish Aug. 22 was here. I'm glad it's not because we've still got a ways to go. But I think the kids have been working hard.

"The more excited they get, the more excited I get. To be honest, I think that excitement's been gone for a little bit, both down here and within the community. We've got to get people more interested, and to do that, we've got to win football games."

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