It took a little while for Scotty Pugh’s career as a head football coach to get off the ground.
In fact, it wasn’t until he got off the ground and into the press box that the Pirates won their first game with him at the helm.
That was late in the 2009 season after an 0-18 start to his career. The Pirates won 13-9 in Joshua.
Since he decided to do his coaching from the press box, the Pirates are 17-14. This includes back-to-back playoff appearances and an apparent third dead in their sights.
“I’d never been on the field as a coach before I became a head coach here,” said Pugh. “I’d always been an assistant up in the booth, and that’s where I’m more comfortable.
“I have a tendency to get too caught up in the game down on the field. If there’s a controversial call or a distraction, this allows me to kind of stay more calm, it gives me a second or two to think and react better.”
Pugh said he likes the view from the press box. He said it allows him to see more going on before him.
“The bottom line is I can see everything better,” he said. “I don’t know why others don’t do this, but I know why I do.”
He said it helps having a great rapport with his assistant coaches, whom he said he trusts completely in his absence on the sidelines.
“I think our assistant coaches do a better job of managing the game on the field than I do,” Pugh said.
“It’s unorthodox, sure, but I finally got to the point that unorthodoxed or not, it’s what works for us.
“I do miss being on the sidelines with the kids. But whatever gives us the best chance to win is what we’ll do, because I also like seeing how happy they are when we win.”
Through the first seven games sophomore kicker Jacob Rose was 27-for-27 on extra points and 4-for-4 on field goals with a long kick of 38.
But Pugh said Rose has kicked field goals from as far as 51 yards in practice.
“He has an incredible leg, and he’s as accurate as anyone around,” said Pugh. “He’s solid from 40 and beyond.”
Pugh also credited deep snapper Blake Wooten, a senior, and holder Daniel Arnett, a junior, for the kicking team’s success.
“Together they are all a wonderful weapon to have,” said Pugh.
Pugh said the ability to kick field goals consistently puts pressure on opposing defenses.
“It puts pressure on defenses to keep you a certain distance away,” he said.
The automatic points after touchdowns are also critical to pressuring defenses and reducing pressure on offenses.
“That alleviates a lot of pressure because you know if you don’t get that kick, you might have to go for two when you really don’t want to,” Pugh said.
Pugh said it also puts pressure on opposing kickers.
“If your guy is consistent, they have to be,” he said. “Those one and three points add up and can be important.”
Pugh said he expects Rose to be kicking in college.
“Jacob’s got a great future, without a doubt,” said Pugh. “If he continues on the path he is right now, he’s definitely a D-I (NCAA Division I) kicker.”
And even with a championship on the line, Pugh said he would gladly call on Rose for the big points.
“Not for one second would I hesitate,” Pugh said. “And I expect he would be just as he always is, accurate.”
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