STILLWATER, Okla. —
When Trent Worley was hired by the Stillwater Public School board earlier in the week, Stillwater High School and Tucker Barnard got much more than an assistant athletic director and a math teacher.
Barnard also got some much needed help on his football coaching staff.
Worley will take over the special teams and linebacker coaching duties when the Pioneers take the field this fall. Worley had previously coached special teams at Lincoln Christian High School in Tulsa.
“I think it will help a lot,” Barnard said. “Trent has some great experience. He was a special teams coordinator at Lincoln Christian and he has a lot of really good things that are going to help us improve in special teams. Not only will it be the technical aspects, but also the X’s and O’s and the practice scheduling.
“Special teams is an area where we weren’t great last year. We we’re OK, but we just tried to make sure that we weren’t going to lose in those areas. There were some times where we didn’t do as well as we needed to. Obviously, our kickers did a great job last year. With (Matheus) Barbosa and (Isaiah) Graves back, those guys can be weapons for us. But from the kick coverages to the blocks and return game, Trent is going to be a great help.”
Worley will also help out on defense with the young linebackers. Throughout spring practice, Barnard has been in charge of the linebackers, but the Stillwater coach said Worley’s addition will help free him up more to work with the entire team.
“With him on the defensive side, that’s going to allow me to float a little bit more defensively and work with both sides of the ball instead of being tied down to the linebackers like I have been in the past,” Barnard said. “It will be a great help. He’s got a lot of experience as a head coach and a defensive coordinator. So we’re really getting ourselves into a position on the staff where there’s a lot of experience and a lot of experience at the top in terms of leadership. It will help because I can back away a little bit. I’ll still be involved, obviously, with the entire defense. But it will give me an even better opportunity to be all over the field.”
As with most coaching changes, additions to the staff right before the season begins can sometimes force a coach to play catch-up as the season starts. Barnard said that isn’t the case with Worley.
“I’m not worried at all,” Barnard said. “In fact, we’ll start this Tuesday during our individual camp, we’ll start teaching some game skills to the kids — from blocking to returning kicks — just all the individual skills that we can put together, we’re going to start putting some time on those at the individual camp.
“I don’t feel like we’re behind at all in that area. I think we’re probably going to be ahead of where we we’re last year. We had to spend so much time on offense and defense last year that we will actually be way ahead of where we were last year. Trent’s got some great practice schedule ideas for us that he’s implemented before. He’s going to be real valuable to us.”