Catching Up With Vardaman Head Coach Larry Gann
Larry Gann has been the head coach of the Vardaman Rams since 2013, but this is not his first stint in the Sweet Potato Capital. Gann began his coaching career at Chickasaw Academy in 1974 and would be at Vardaman from 1979—1985. His Rams are currently 4-2 and in prime position to compete for a postseason berth this season. SES recently had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Gann and get his thoughts on their upcoming opponent as well as moments from the past.
SES: First, let’s talk about what Ethel brings to the table. Who are some of the main guys you are watching and preparing for?
Gann: Numbers 3, 5, 1, 2, 53, and 61. They have some experience, and they play hard for four quarters.
SES: Okay so this is another region opponent that you guys aren’t familiar with. How have you guys overcome that uncertainty for this team and other teams this season?
Gann: Film and just concentrating on what we do and working at getting better doing it.
SES: Cool. So you guys are in a good position to compete for a playoff spot. What are you guys going to have to focus on down the stretch to make it to the postseason?
Gann: One game at a time. Simple, but that’s what we concentrate on. Get better at what we do; eliminate negative plays, penalties and free yards; and execute.
SES: Who, in your mind, has surprised you as a player on your team this year?
Gann: No real surprises. Just players working to improve and doing what’s best for the team. They understand the expectations and goals we have as a coaching staff and as a team and work to accomplish those.
SES: This senior class is big and has been through a lot. How important have they been to the revival of this program?
Gann: Last year’s group along with this group bought into our plan and worked to meet our expectations in regard to conditioning and weight room work. They have worked to make themselves better.
SES: Speaking of seniors, let’s talk about your quarterback. He’s had some playing time under center since his freshman year. What can you say about how he’s progressed these last few years?
Gann: Trae [Owen] has improved each year along with his leadership skills. He has a lot on him with kicking duties along with playing quarterback and has stepped up to get the job done.
SES: Talk about Patrick Pratt’s progression. How has he grown on both sides of the ball?
Gann: He has just continued to mature and get better each year. Works hard in the weight room and is a great practice player. [He's an] unselfish player, just wants to do what he can to help the team.
SES: Awesome. Bit of a shift here. What’s the favorite game you’ve coached at Vardaman? In both your first and second tenures here.
Gann: Man, I don’t know. Beating [Calhoun] City in ’84 was big. I guess that’s one of the big wins. 7-0, I think.
SES: What about your favorite win since you’ve been back?
Gann: Beating Houlka for the first win in two years and coming back to beat Thrasher for the first region win [in 2015].
Vardaman travels to Ethel tonight for another Region 3-1A game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.