After spending three years with the McIntosh Academy Buccaneers, Barry Hoover traded his eye patch for a set of cat claws when he became the new Bradwell Tigers running backs coach.
Hoover is tasked with getting new players ready to fill the voids left by twin brothers DeMario and DeAnte Day and Mike McGirt.
Hoover said his first job will be getting acquainted with the wing-T offense used by the Tigers. The Buccaneers ran primarily the I-formation.
"I had to learn a new offense, which is fun and different but it’s good and I like it," Hoover said. "The kids here are real coachable and have good work ethics and I’m looking forward to having a good year with these guys, especially the RBs. They are a little raw."
Hoover said the bright spot for the Tigers is the return of starting running back Sheldon Barnes.
"Obviously, there is some stuff that Sheldon can do that you just can’t coach," Hoover said. "That’s the stuff that God gave him, but we are working on him with ball security and holding onto the ball. As for the little things, we are working on blocking, moving his feet quicker to help him out at the college level. I think he is going to have a really big year, of course, and he’s gotten a lot better from last year. So maybe we will see a 2,000-yard season."
Barnes rushed for 1,649 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008.
Hoover played football at Taylor High School in Pierson, Fla., the home of Braves pitcher Chipper Jones. Hoover coached at Deerfield Beach High, Panama City and Gainesville, Fla., before moving to Georgia to work with the Buccaneers and now the Tigers.