MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Soon, many coaches across the Palmetto State will be gearing up for start of the 2014 high school football season. And, while many will be focusing on technique and strategy between the lines, first year head coach at Carolina Forest, Marc Morris, preps his guys for life outside of them.
"We just got a firm belief that if we can make these guys better men, it's going to make them better football players," said Morris, Carolina Forest HS head football coach.
One of the major reasons Morris says he accepted the position at Carolina forest, was because of the surrounding community; a community he now feels a responsibility towards to return molded young men.
"He's worried about football but his biggest thing is to make us men," T.J. Hucks, Carolina Forest HS linebacker. "Yes, he worries about the score and everything but his biggest thing is to make sure we get everything right for life."
"Just getting the kids to once again, mature faster, understand what's important and get them to be better players, better people faster and it makes the program better faster," said Morris.
"Better" and "faster" could be two words used to describe the panthers' 2014 offensive game plan. Morris has switched the already productive unit to a new, up tempo style aimed at getting to snap off in 10 seconds and so far his guys are all in.
"We feel pretty good," said Victory Woods, Carolina Forest HS receiver. "We're actually doing way better than we were last year at this point. We're way faster, way harder, just higher tempo."
But the panthers need to see the most improvement defensively in 2014, after giving up 50 plus point per game last year.
"We're just focusing on getting everything right and on defense we're just trying to make sure we're not weak like we were and not scared to hit anybody," said Hucks. "Yes, he gets on us but that's what we need. We don't need any slackness."
Being a first year head coach at one of the biggest schools in the state, Morris has got a lot of work ahead of him but it's less about what they will accomplish on the field and more about who his players are off of it.
"One thing I've always told all my coaches is 'we ain't going to have a bunch of NFL players but we can sure develop great fathers and husbands and great men to contribute to society," said Morris. "We just feel like if we can accomplish that, the wins and losses will take care of itself."
Carolina Forest opens the season with Darlington on August 22. The Panthers will also face three area Class AAA teams (St. James, North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach), as well as Class AAAA teams Fort Dorchester and Lexington.