BREMEN, Ala. – The Cold Springs Eagles have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming football season and senior quarterback Tucker Philbeck has already seen some positive momentum being to build within the team during the preseason.
“I thought it went great. It was a great opportunity for some of our underclassmen to gain varsity experience. We have a lot of ninth and 10th graders starting and that was the first time that most of them got to see live varsity action. I thought they handled it great, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them. We will clean up some mistakes that we made in the game, but it was a great night though and it pumped everyone up. The younger guys learned a lot. It was a physical game and they played great. Varsity and JV is a lot different. It’s a lot faster on varsity and the guys did a great job adapting to it. The biggest thing I think they learned was the mental part of it. You have to be very mentally tough to play varsity football. I told them that night to just go have fun, and they did.”
Cold Springs will have a new head coach this season in Brendan Voce and Tucker has already learned a lot from him in his short tenure with the Eagles.
“He’s awesome. His coaching style is a great combination of strategy and pure strength. During the spring, he preached three yards a play. If we could get just three yards a play, we couldn’t be beat. That simplified things for us, but it worked,” Philbeck said. “He coached his heart out during the spring game and he’s done a great job for us this summer, getting us stronger, faster, and ready for the season. He’s such a hard worker and there’s no doubt in my mind that he isn’t asking us to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself. I wholeheartedly believe that he’s a state-championship caliber coach.”
Tucker talked about the experience that will be coming back this season and he took away as much as he could the upperclassmen before him.
“We only have five seniors, but we have a pretty good amount of experience coming back, primarily in the backfield. We have five stellar running backs, four of which are upperclassmen, who I think could all go somewhere else and start. They’re going to be tough on defenses,” Philbeck said. “I’ve learned so much from the upperclassmen before me. The guys before me did such a good job setting an example for me. Watching Brodi Williams my 10th grade year and Seth Williams last year was so beneficial to me. Those guys taught me how to lead and be a voice in the locker room, while also being humble and treating other people right. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the upperclassmen that have come before me.”
Tucker soaked up so much last year under Head Coach Justin Cornelius, who is now going to be the defensive coordinator at West Point, and he knows that experience will help prepare this team for a bounce back season.
“I learned a lot from him. Coach Cornelius played a huge spot in shaping me into the player and person I am today. He taught me a lot last year about perseverance and how to bounce back from adversity. He fully wanted what’s best for me and I’m forever grateful for that and the lessons I learned from him. I wish him nothing but the best in the future,” Philbeck said. “We just want to win football games. I think we have all the talent and coaching we need to be a playoff team. Despite a lot of people doubting us, we believe in us and there’s a lot of energy and confidence in that locker room right now. I know coach Voce has a good shot to take this program somewhere it’s never been before and we as seniors just want to lay the foundation for what is to come in the future.
Tucker and his teammates are playing to win this fall, but he also has his mind on some even bigger goals for the Eagles.
“My biggest goal personally this year is to just set the example for the younger kids and share Jesus with my teammates. I want to use football as a platform to share my faith. If we don’t win a game this season, but somebody comes to know Christ, that’s a bigger victory than any scoreboard could show.”
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