MILTON, Ga. — The ‘Clack Era’ at Milton won’t officially begin until Aug. 18 when the Eagles host rival Alpharetta to kick off the 2017 season, but Clack and his football team have already been busy.
Clack, who was hired in March to replace former head coach Howie DeCristofaro who resigned, has hit the ground running at the helm of the Eagles, and he said he has been pleased with the transition.
“The players have responded well, and I’m extremely motivated by seeing their resilience and eagerness to put their best foot forward for a great 2017,” Clack said.
The community and parents have also made the transition successful, he said.
“I could not be more thrilled about the community. It’s a passionate base that really wants to rally behind this team. As a coach you can’t ask for more. That’s the essence of high school football,” Clack said.
And Clack isn’t the only coach to be making a transition to Milton. The Eagles have also brought in four new coaches, including defensive coordinator Alan Gordon, offensive coordinator Ben Reaves, offensive line coach Steven Stromie and Philip Duplantis as strength and conditioning coach.
Clack and the new coaches, two of whom came with Clack from West Forsyth, have begun to acclimate Milton players to Clack’s schemes, as well as getting accustomed to playing both sides of the ball.
“I employ a two-position philosophy to try and cross-train some guys at multiple spots to get a better evaluation,” he said.
Clack is also emphasizing urgency, rallying to the ball and ensuring his players hit the field as a true team.
“We’re trying to get our guys to realize football is the ultimate team game,” Clack said. “We have a great collection of talented individuals, but if they don’t play together, we’ll be just that — a bunch of talented individuals and not a talented team.”
And Milton certainly has talent, Clack said.
“We’re seeing three strong classes back to back,” he said. “To have three right behind one another you know you are going to have a nice pool of talent.”
Now that Clack has gotten beyond the “awkward, getting to know you” phase of the transition, he said the team is excited looking ahead to the 2017 season.
Just don’t call it a rebuild.
“We’re not rebuilding, we are refocusing,” he said. “The program that our other coaches and I want to establish is setting those expectations so we are all on the same page. They know how to play football, it’s about getting them to play as a team with one vision.”
And with full practices just a month away, Clack said he and his team are ready to put on the pads and prepare for “some really quality competition,” which not only includes a challenging Region 5-AAAAAAA schedule against five Forsyth County teams, but also a tough non-region schedule against local rivals.
“I hear about the crowds that are going to be there for Alpharetta, Roswell and Cambridge games,” Clack said. “While those games are only non-region games, I think you can’t overlook the community pride and history in [those games].”
Milton begins its season Aug. 18 against Alpharetta, the first of a five-game non-region schedule which includes North Gwinnett, Cambridge, Etowah and Roswell.
The Eagles then begin region games on the road against Clack’s former team, West Forsyth, Oct. 6.