Calcote off to quick start with FC football

by Sean Dunlap

One of Franklin County’s newest assistant football coaches — Brad Calcote — has hit the ground running as the Bulldogs’ gridiron program has formally begun its summer conditioning efforts.
“While I’m not from here directly, my family has been here a long time and Franklin County football — in some form or fashion — has been front and center,” Calcote said.

“My dad, my brother and my uncles have been part of this and now I get to be part of it ... that’s really exciting to me at so many levels both personally and professionally.”

Calcote joins the FC coaching staff following the departure of previous assistants Steven Davis, who recently became the new head football coach at Natchez High School, and Phillip Poole, who had twice been with the Bulldogs on the sidelines through the years.

Calcote is a 2002 graduate of Stone High School in Wiggins and attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

His first assignment brought him home in 2007 to work for the Stone County School District.

“I started out coaching at Stone Middle School and was there for five years before moving to the high school for seven years,” he added.

“From there, the opportunity came along to go to Forrest County Agricultural High School as a head coach, and, after four years there, the chance came to work with Coach (B.J.) Smithhart at Franklin County.

“We met 16 years ago at Stone and stayed in contact with each other through the years, and things worked out to where I could come here to work alongside a long-time friend.”

At FC, Calcote will serve as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator, will oversee the offensive and defensive lines and spearhead work in the weight room.

“I really like our mix of kids, who have a lot of potential because of their willingness to work hard,” he continued.

“Right now, it comes down to working on a lot of little things that will hopefully get us ready to go in a couple of months.”

Preparation is the name of the game for Calcote, who said there’s no substitution for what can be accomplished during June and July.

“When it comes to summer workouts, each week grows in terms of importance,” he added. “The closer the actual season gets, the greater the sense of needing to refine what we hope to accomplish when it comes to game-time situations.

“For me, there’s a great deal of work on fundamentals because we’re stacking the skill sets these guys will need wherever they play on the field.”

For Calcote, football, in its most basic form, comes down to constructing a solid foundation that can mean the difference between wins and losses.

“Being here and being in the heat along with being in the weight room is part of building from the ground up,” Calcote went on to say.

“Every day during summer conditioning is part of an overall plan to build each player to reach his fullest potential. That’s why it is so important for the guys to be here and ready to go every day the fieldhouse is open for workouts.

“I guess I think of myself as a student of fundamentals from January to January because I believe little things come together to build bigger things.”

Calcote said his approach of stacking good, fundamental things in terms of knowledge and technique is key to having players who can enter the game and play at a higher level.

“Football will always be a game of inches, and, during the summer, we’re probably feet away from where we need to be,” he said.

“It comes down to fine tuning things like my hand is here when it should be here and my foot is there when it should be here. It will always be, where I’m concerned, about fundamentals and techniques.”

Calcote said two important traits he is seeking from those in his charge on the football field include dependability and selflessness.

“It comes down to being able to count on these guys to do what we expect of them at any given time,” he added.

“Another thing is toughness — both mentally and physically — whether that be in practice or in a game. The best football player is one that is ready to go any time or anywhere.”

With roughly two weeks under his belt as a Bulldogs assistant coach, Calcote said there will always be a sense of urgency in working to reach the goals he has set for the players and himself.

“There’s never enough hours in any practice session because you always want to get in things that you can build off of in the next practice,” Calcote said.

“I can’t think of a time where we will get to everything we need to do in a practice, but I would rather focus on quality than quantity when it comes to doing things right versus doing things because we’re focused on the clock.”

Calcote will be the first to admit there’s no crystal ball that can predict how Franklin County will fare during its upcoming football campaign, but he said the nucleus is present for something special during 2022.

“As a team, I think our strengths are the ability to work hard and to be tough, but our focus this summer is to clean things up in terms of overall execution to give ourselves the opportunity to not only be competitive, but to win,” he said.

“We’re going to hammer assignments and effort every step of the way — with the ultimate goal of getting our football IQ up and being sound with our techniques. Everyone being on the same page is one of the most important elements for what we hope to accomplish this summer and during the upcoming football season.”