Rodney Garvin, Thomson's defensive line coach for the past three seasons, is headed to Vidalia High School where he will become defensive coordinator. Coach Garvin will join new Vidalia head coach Lee Chomskis whom he previously worked under at Evans High School. Coach Chomskis has been on the offensive staff at Lincoln County High School for the past two seasons.
Coach Garvin's departure gave me a chance to pose a question to him that one does not often get to ask. I asked him to, without burning any bridges, comment on his perspective of the Thomson football program after having been in the middle of it. His answers were pretty much as expected and very insightful.
"Even if I wanted to burn bridges as I leave, I really couldn't think of anything bad to say," Coach Garvin said with a laugh.
He and I both agreed that leaving a coaching job without at least some hard feelings is a rarity these days. I've known Rodney since he was a teenager when I coached him at Jenkins County High School, and I know he does not know how to blow smoke in the way of empty accolades toward anyone. His move to Vidalia to be a defensive coordinator is being made with his ultimate goal of becoming a head coach in mind. He turned down the defensive coordinator's job at Statesboro High School the same year he came to Thomson.
"I have absolutely no complaints with the coaches or the kids I coached," he said. "I loved the kids on the defensive line, and the coaches are nothing but first class."
When I asked him about the long practices, he revealed that he never heard a player or coach really complain about it during his time here. The only negative that Coach Garvin could muster was to say that he felt that some Thomson kids might have started to take winning somewhat for granted.
"It is great that Thomson is confident in football and expects to win every Friday night, but when you play the Butlers it can hurt you later on," he said. "Coach Welsh does a great job in telling the kids that the true test of playing your best comes against playoff caliber teams."
Coach Garvin did make a couple of observations that he feels might take a slight edge away from Thomson. He pointed out that due to the high school's block scheduling where classes meet every other day, the football players only lift weights five days in a two-week period.
"Places where the kids have weight training daily actually can lift twice as often as Thomson," he offered. "They can workout five times a week while we're lifting five times in two weeks, which will add up against a team like Washington County."
That is quite an astute observation, especially when you consider the off-season aspect of the program when the players can make the biggest strength gains. He and I discussed that it is difficult to get the student-athletes in the weight room other than during the school day, but that's a different topic.
He also pointed out that Coach Welsh does not two platoon, electing to go with strictly separate offensive and defensive groups. Many coaches elect to play a handful of their best athletes on both sides of the ball, which may make the team stronger for the short haul but not in the long run.
"I can remember being in a tough game against Elbert County in the Granite Bowl when we won in the fourth quarter because it was hot and we were two platooning. Two platooning also helps you keep more guys out for football because they know there is a better chance of playing time," Coach Garvin said.
He acknowledged that at Vidalia the expectations to win are high, and their program has been a little down, so they will play their best players both ways in the beginning. Both Coach Garvin and Coach Chomskis are well aware that the honeymoon period in the land of the sweet onion will be short. They are also in the region with defending Class AA Co-champion Dublin.
Coach Garvin comes from a family of hard workers, and he loves the game of football. Those are just two of the ingredients that he will bring to the mix in Vidalia. I wish him well.