“I’m a coach’s son, and that’s what I was brought up on,” he said Thursday as he addressed the Jacksonville Exchange Club at the first meeting of the year.
“These guys are my family,” he said, pointing to the back corner of the Village Inn, where his assistant coaching staff filled tables.
Clark said his team’s mission is simple: “We want to do it better than it’s ever been done before.”
That means better practices, better weightlifting, better everything.
“Pressure to me is coming back home and wanting to perform for the people you grew up with,” Clark said.
“Our staff got into this for the right reason, and that is to mold young men,” he said.
Clark said he and his coaching staff have three main rules for their players.
The first is “always protect the team,” an idea that he said extends to how members of the team behave, even in situations like how they enter the cafeteria.
Clarks also permits “no whining, no complaining, no excuses” and requires his team to “be early, and let’s be ready to get it done.”
Clark, an Anniston native and JSU graduate, intends to build his program with quality high school recruits. “We’re going to flood the local schools,” he said. “I do think there is a place for a transfer, but that transfer does not have to be a guy that’s been arrested three times,” he said.
Clark said that he and his staff clearly want to win on the field, but they also want their team to win in life. So, they are teaching their players how to set goals—short and long-range, personal, spiritual and team-related—in order to more effectively work toward them. Clark said something as simple as calling a younger relative to offer encouragement is a step in the right direction.
For the JSU football family, he said, the goal is to win a national championship. “That’s our goal and we’re going to talk about it every day.”
On the field, Clark said his team’s approach is “all about the ball.”
He said he intends to run a high, up-tempo offense, which should help get people in the stands, and the Gamecock defense will be simply trying to get the ball.
“Everything counts,” he said. “It’s all about the little things.”