JUNE 27, 2014 - COVINGTON
Entering his eighth season as Buccaneer football coach, Dave Miller has established an identity for Covington football by changing the culture through very high expectations in attitude, effort, toughness, accountability and performance. His message is simple, "Max Out" in those areas and everything else will take care of itself.
Despite losing a special senior class from a year ago and seeing the numbers drop from from 47 to 35, Miller is seeing progress as evident by his team's performance in the annual Lift-A-Thon on Friday.
"I'm not concerned at all with our numbers," stressed Miller adamantly. "We've got quality, not quantity and I'm fine with that."
What Miller has is a group of kids who have bought in - a group of kids that has carried over the attitude established by last year's senior class.
"Here's the thing, Coleman Ryan told his mom I was tougher last year than this year and the freshman class said they thought our summer program would be harder," Miller explained. "These kids have challenged me to be tougher. I've never had that before. I don't think I've changed my approach at all, but what that tells me is these kids are embracing the challenge. When you get that, you have something special."
With a packed weight room where parents were invited to watch, the Buccaneers showcased the results of their hard work by breaking personal bests from top to bottom in the lift-a-thon.
Winning trophies were junior Ian Fries in the heavyweight class, senior Josh Earick in the middleweight class, while junior Shane Straw and sophomore Branden Robinson tied in the lightweight class. Straw also earned pound-for-pound recognition and freshman Bradley Wiggins was recognized for raising the most donations.
The trophies were earned, but those who didn't receive the hardware were just as deserving due to the drastic improvement shown from the entire team.
"Just about every player on the team set a personal record in at least one lift," Miller said. "Ninety percent of the team set at least two personal records, which shows how much these kids are improving every day."
The improvement is critical for a Buccaneer football team that has just four seniors on the roster and is the youngest team from top to bottom in Miller's tenure at Covington.
"This is the youngest team we've had here," said Miller. "It's pretty comparable to the 2011 team we had that had six seniors, so we are pretty young."
Still, youth doesn't mean Covington is lowering its expectations.
"Our expectations never change," stressed Miller. "Yes, we are young, but I have faith in these kids. It's still early, but so far they've bought in. As long as this group continues to max out every day, we'll be fine."
Maxing out is the expectation. It's the identity that has been established at Covington under Dave Miller.