Jeff Woody played football in high school at Brookville, and in college at Hampden-Sydney. Then he went back to his alma mater and won a pair of state titles in eight seasons coaching the Bees.
But on Thursday, Woody sounded like a player who had just stepped on the field for the first time.
"I tell you what, as we approached this day the anxiety built up. You can imagine how hard it was to sleep last night. I couldn't eat this morning," he said after his first day of practice as the new head coach at Monticello High School.
"Just looking forward to it. And everything that I expected and more is what I've experienced today."
Woody's new players felt the same way.
"This day has been very, it's been on my calendar, and I've really been looking forward to it," said senior T.J. Tillery. "I've always looked forward to football season. But this season, there's something different about it, and I can feel it."
"I've been looking forward, ever since they said he was going to be our new coach," agreed senior lineman Adam Hill. "This first day has been very fun, very exciting."
The Mustangs opened camp with a pair of practices Thursday morning. The team spent much of the second practice working on its new no-huddle offense -- the same offense that averaged 42 points per game at Brookville last season.
Because of family reasons -- his wife works as a nurse at the UVa Medical Center -- Woody made the move from Brookville to Monticello in April. He went 81-22 at his alma mater, including a pair of 14-0 seasons that ended with Division 3 state titles in each of the past two years.
And Woody says he sees plenty that he likes about his new team.
"We've got a lot of work to do," he said. "But I like the effort. I like the coach-ability. I like the enthusiasm. And they've picked it up. They're sponges. They want to be a part of it. They want to figure things out."
The Mustangs still have more than a month before they kick off the season, at home against George Wythe on September 6. But after just one day of practice, Hill had a warning for the Mustangs' Jefferson District rivals.
"I mean, all the other teams are good, but I get to tell you," he said, "They've got something coming. Something different coming."
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