PIGEON FORGE, Tenn: (WATE)- New season, new start for the Tigers. After ending the last two seasons 1-9, Scott Meadows is back at the helm—starting with a clean slate.
After a one year stint at Carter, Meadows is “back home” at Pigeon Forge—rebuilding a program he used to find success with.
Even with experience on both sides of the ball returning, Meadows said that he opted not to watch any film from the past few years wanting to create an “equal playing field.” Encouraging players on both sides of the ball to compete for the starting role whether or not they had it last year.
“I’m going to play the guys that give me the most effort and does what we ask them to do,” said Meadows.
Returning seniors Mustafi Algarawi and Hussein Alsultani both noted how it’s a whole new team this season, excited to be paying under Meadows.
Algarawi a leader on both sides of the ball playing defensive tackle and offensive tackle says the team is buying in this season and trust the coaches more; making for a much better culture than years past.
Algarawi says the offensive line is looking strong, with younger guys stepping up—but the defense is “where it’s at”. Alsultani, playing at outside linebacker, notes their defense is tougher than years past.
“Last year we would have a guy make a tackle and everybody would just stand and look but now all we all tackle together as a team,” Alsultani explained.
Meadows is also revamping the offense, running a wing T formation that he has used for the past 31 years.
Rebuilding a team that went 1-9 the past couple of years can be challenging. Meadows knew coming in the team would have a long way to go, but so far, the head coach is very impressed with what he is seeing from his team.
“I ask them every single day to give me one thing and that’s their effort,” said Meadows.
While the team is very aggressive and giving the effort Coach Meadows is looking for, he notes the one obstacle the Tigers will have to overcome this season is mental; learning how to win.
“Right now, we’ve got 11 on offense and a different 11 on defense so we compete every day, so they know success just through practice. We talk to them every day about being successful and how were going to be successful we correct them every time they mess up,” said Meadows.
Aside from physicality, the Tigers find strength in their depth chart—stacked with guys that can play multiple roles efficiently, something that excites Meadows about this team as they “don’t have to depend on one guy.”
As of right now Mason Shultz will lead the offense, returning as starting quarterback from last year.
The Tigers are set to host Claiborne Friday, August 21. Kickoff is set for 7:30 P.M.