Returning to the Titans football program after 10 years, Head Coach Josh Ousley was excited for his first season back with a new generation of players.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting sports, he said the team was just as enthusiastic about the season as he was. So far, Ousley said he was satisfied with the players’ efforts and attitudes.
“I’m really happy with our kids’ efforts. And I’m really happy with our kids’ attitude. Everyone’s been very positive. Kids have been working really hard. With all this mess that we’ve had to deal with, they’ve come out and been really positive and really want to be there and want to work and get better. It’s been really refreshing,” Ousley said.
Although numbers have been down from when he was head coach previously from 2005 to 2010, Ousley said he expected the 2020 team to have 20 to 25 players.
Last year, the Titans went 1-9 under the direction of former Head Coach George Gilbert. This season, Ousley said his goals are to be competitive, regardless of what the scoreboard showed.
“The goals for this season are the same as they are any season. Number one, the first goal is to be competitive. I just want to compete. That doesn’t translate to the scoreboard or anything like that. I want our kids to be on the field and compete. The scoreboard will take care of itself. If you compete every play, you give your best effort every play, you don’t have to worry about the score,” Ousley said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic did not permit contact between coaches and student-athletes, this hindered Ousley’s plans to recruit and generate more interest in the football program. However, he said he will be working to accomplish this goal in the future.
“The second goal for me is to show that we can have a lot of fun here at Taylor. No matter whether we’re winning football games or not, we’re going to be competitive. We’re going to have fun (and) try to entice more people to get involved with football. There’s no reason there shouldn’t be 40 kids playing football at Taylor. I got to get to work, and I got to get to recruiting,” Ousley said.
Additionally, Ousley said he will be working to change the “mindset” that has seemed to linger in the Taylor football program for several years. According to him, at times the team has lacked resiliency when plays may not be in the Titans’ favor during a game.
Ousley dealt with the pessimistic mindset during his first round of coaching, he said, and the Titans “got out of the hump,” but somehow slipped back into it over the years. This was something Ousley wanted to work out of the Taylor system again.
“There’s a tendency around here sometimes when the first bad thing happens to kind of get your head down, kind of start moping around. We’ve got to get rid of that. That’s one thing that we got to change around here … That’s the most important thing to me. We work on it every day in practice. We’re trying to figure out ways where we can teach kids how to compete and to do their best all the time,” Ousley said.
The Titans will scrimmage at Northfield this Saturday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m.