One week from today, Arab’s Lee Ozmint will step on a high school football field as a head coach for the first time in nearly four years.
To say he’s excited is an understatement.
“I get excited when the wind blows, man,” he said Monday, smiling, after overseeing a vigorous weight room workout by his rising sophomore players.
Ozmint’s formal return to the field may be next Wednesday, when the high school Knights start spring practice, but he’s been busy, busy, busy since taking the Arab job in early January after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Oxford. He and his staff have done everything except install the offense and defense the team will run in the fall.
That, he said, will happen during spring drills and the off-season.
“The coaches have been meeting and working on that for weeks now, but not the players,” said Ozmint, who had a su.
What the players have been doing is working hard in the weight room and in on-field conditioning activities. Ozmint has been thrilled by what he’s seen.
“We’re a lot stronger than when we got here (in January),” he said. There’s an excitement in the weight room as the kids see themselves and each other getting stronger.
“I’m excited for the kids to try on their new muscles when spring practice begins.”
Ozmint went out of his way to not imply previous staffs did not work the players hard. They did. But the fact is, Arab played a bunch of young guys last season, most of whom hadn’t had time to fully develop.
That is changing, and quickly, Ozmint said.
“I love this group of kids,” he said. “For example, on Monday, after the Easter weekend, it’s just almost a given you’re going to have a bad day.
“But on Monday (in the weight room), we had 12 kids up their ‘maxes,’ and we weren’t even maxing out. They’ve just been great.
“They’re starting to get excited about the things they should be getting excited about. They’ve got to have faith in what we’re doing. Some would call it buying in.
“Now, all that can’t come in the weight room, but we’re taking steps in the right direction. I am so pleased with this group.”
Arab lost just a handful of seniors and already, some of the younger players are stepping up to become team leaders – and not just likely suspects.
“There are some guys who aren’t leaders or haven’t been and they’re stepping up and becoming leaders,” Ozmint said. “Some are vocal leaders. Some lead by example, doing the little things we have to do to be successful.
“We can’t take days off.”
Arab hosts Fairview in the spring game on May 17.