Head Coach Blake Anderson has talked at length this off-season about the wealth of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Red Wolves have playmakers as far as the eyes can see. Coach Luke Paschall is in charge of the playmakers residing in the wide receiver room. From returning players, like Dijon Paschal and Chris Murray, to eligible transfers Cam Echols-Luper and Kendall Sanders; the hardest part might be finding a way to spread the ball around enough to everybody. But nobody on the sidelines is worried about that because they are focused on team first. That’s not by accident either as their leader, Coach Paschall, has instilled the team-first mentality into their heads. His guys will have chances to help the team this year with explosive plays. AstateNation’s 5th Quarter Preseason series continues below with Coach Paschall.
1st Quarter: How do you think you’ve changed as a coach when you compare your first fall camp in Jonesboro to this season? – “I think the more experience you get as a coach the more you develop the ways in which you channel your intensity and how you react to your players. I’m still fired up and I’m running around getting my points across to the players. But I think you understand the kids more and more and don’t react to the little things that used to set you off because your grasp of the larger picture is better. You learn to remember that you’re their teacher and that can’t get lost in the emotions of what’s going on. So I think the mental side of how I relate and interact with my guys is an area I’ve gotten better at every season.”
2nd Quarter: What are the noticeable differences to you in how the program has changed since you guys arrived on campus? – “I think the talent level has continued to get better each and every year we’ve been here. I think our momentum in recruiting is good. The culture has completely changed around here. I think the kids here always expect to win, but now they’re working on and off the field at such a high level in everything they do in order to keep winning. Again, it goes back to these two things working hand in hand. The culture we’ve built demands excellence, which has helped us win. The winning and the culture we can show recruits on their visits have helped increase the talent level through recruiting. So I think the culture here now and the talent that has come from that culture is the major difference from when we first got here.”
3rd Quarter: Speaking of talent levels, is it harder, as a coach, to keep everybody happy when you have a loaded position group like yours? – “Well, it’s definitely harder when you don’t have a bunch of guys and you’re going into a game with 6 receivers. Those 6 guys are going to have to play and if they get hurt, you’re in trouble. That’s a scary feeling. I feel better having the number of guys we have here that can make plays for the team. As long as they understand their role in the offense and they’re doing what I ask them to do and what the other coaches ask them to do, it’s not hard for me at all to manage this group. When they already know how and why to be more competitive, and do so on a daily basis, my job is easy.”
4th Quarter: Which player or players have been pleasant surprises in their growth since you guys ended spring practice? – “Jaylon Marshall really stepped up his game. There has been a noticeable change in his performance level from the end of spring until now in fall camp. And then Kendall Sanders has been everything we hoped he would be. We knew he had talent coming in here from Texas. He’s just in a different gear right now. We’re happy with the plays he’s making in the passing game and I’m extremely pleased with the tenacity he brings to the run game with his blocking.”
Overtime: How would you describe your first summer as a new father? – “I would say, ‘What summer?’(laughing). When you have a child, everything changes. I knew people told us that, but until it happens you don’t fully grasp that. It’s been eye-opening and awesome all at the same time. We’re completely consumed by her and I loved just being able to be with her and my wife this summer. It wasn’t your typical summer but it was one I loved and will never forget.”
We would like to thank Coach Paschall for his time with the 5th Quarter. Look for more editions of the 5th Quarter with other staff members on AStateNation.