• Aaron Simpson

Q&A with Northpoint head coach Tyler Gold

Gold, who is in is first season at Northpoint, took over a program that suffered through an 0-10 season last year and led them to an 3-7 record this year, which was good enough to help the Trojans to qualify for the playoffs in TSSAA Division II-AA. While Northpoint is a Tennessee school for competition, they are based in Southaven, Mississippi. I caught up with Coach Gold this week as he and the Trojans prepare to travel to Franklin Road Academy in Nashville.

Q: Northpoint went 0-10 last year, and you came from a school where you had success in Florida. What drew you to the job?

A: My wife and I felt God was telling us our time in Florida was over and that He would provide. I informed my previous school in November that I would not be back the next year. As the search for a new job started, I came across the advertisement on the TSSAA website for the opening at Northpoint. I watched their films, researched the history of the school, and prayed about it before applying. Once I applied, Mr. Ferguson called me a day later and we talked for nearly an hour. We didn't talk about football at all; instead we talked about relationships with students, teaching, and most importantly we discussed our relationship with God. I knew as soon as I talked to Mr. Ferguson that I wanted to pursue this job. My wife and I came up in January and interviewed. I knew as soon as I walked on campus that it felt like we were home. The school has a family atmosphere and again, Mr. Ferguson is the real deal as a head of school.

Q: So, going into the last game of the season, it was basically a play-in game on the road against Harding, which I know is tough place to play. How did you prepare? And how are you preparing for Franklin Road this upcoming week?

A. Our preparation for each week has stayed the same. We are trying to teach these guys how to practice hard, respect every opponent, and play fast. Inside each week we try to prepare the guys with the looks they will see on Friday night both offensively and defensively.

Q: I hear that. Now coming into this season, what were your goals, especially after last year when this school suffered an 0-10 season?

A: I know this sounds cliché, but I really wanted us to focus on ourselves week to week and not let a record dictate our success. Our main goal as a coaching staff has been to create a competitive environment in which our best players will stand out in their work ethic and skills Monday through Thursday. For the most part, the team has practiced well and remained excited to compete. My personal goals have been to build relationships and trust with the players. If the team believes in what we are doing and us as a staff, then they will play harder for us.

Q: So what have players like Senior Lance Saulsberry and Freshman Hudson Brown meant to the success of the team this year?

A: Lance Saulsberry is one of the most specials guys I have been around on and off the field. Lance is the most humble, selfless, team captain I've seen in quite some time. When you pair Lance's selfless team attitude with his work ethic, you make for a dynamic individual. Lance does everything with full effort and full speed. We have to tell him to take breaks and to slow down at times because Lance will go forever. It's been so good to have a guy like Lance to point to in the locker room and say that is what it's supposed to look like for our younger guys. From a football perspective, Lance is a guy that every team must game plan for. Each week, we sit around as coaches and try to invent ways for Lance to get the ball and be a decoy. Even with every team knowing Lance is our go to guy, he has still rushed for over 1200 yards. He is explosive

The best part of Hudson Brown is his competitive nature. It's hard for Hudson to be satisfied in his performance in practice and in games. He is always asking us questions on what he can change, what he can do better, and was that rep good enough. Hudson likes to master a play and get his timing right before we move on. I've only played a freshmen one other time at QB before in my 16 years. I think Hudson's ability to make every throw on the field at the age of 14-15 is crazy. I'm excited about not only his development this year but also his hunger to be better each week. He has made some mistakes that all QBs make, but Hudson wants to learn from them and not repeat the same mistake. For a freshman to lead the area in passing is cool, but whenever it's mentioned around Hudson, he constantly says he doesn't want to think about that stuff until after the season.

Follow Aaron on Twitter at @aaronsimpsonSES.

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