KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It has been a summer of change for the Knoxville Catholic Fighting Irish, as the team continues to come together under first-year head coach Korey Mobbs.
Mobbs made the move to East Tennessee from Georgia in April and has settled in his new role with the Fighting Irish.
“I’ve really had time to dive in and get to know the kids,” said Mobbs. “And that’s what it’s all about, is getting to know the kids. I feel like I know the kids well and that will come with time. It’s all about trust.”
Senior linebacker and fullback Eli Jones said while the summer and spring have been an adjustment, Mobbs has done a great job of stepping in.
“It’s been going great,” said Jones. “He’s stepped in and filled the shoes he needed to, he’s got a great attitude towards things.”
Mobbs brought on Greenback’s Greg Ryan as their new offensive coordinator and promoted VFL and former NFL defensive end, Robert Ayers, as their defensive coordinator. With a new coaching staff comes new schemes and for rising senior and three-star wide receiver, Tommy Winton learning a new offense has been a welcomed refreshment.
“It’s a lot more movement receiver-wise. We go under center as well, which is unusual, we haven’t really done that but it’s new, and it’s good,” said Winton. “I like the way we run the offense, it’s fast-paced.”
Catholic returns around eight starters on both sides of the ball, however, there will be a new face under center this season after QB1 and son of VFL Tee Martin, Kaden Martin, transferred to a school in Maryland this offseason.
Mobbs said freshmen Jayden Neal and Quincy Pannell have been competing for the starting spot as Catholic’s signal-caller this season, and Neal has been impressing his peers early on.
“He’s surprised me a bit,” said Woods. “He does good decision making which is unusual for him to be so young. His arm is getting there, he’s learning to get the ball out quicker. He’s taking control as a young guy.”
Catholic is coming off of a 5-5 record and while Mobbs is taking a win-the-day approach, working on 1-0 every week the expectation remains the same amongst his players: states.
“We always expect to win state and play for state every year, so that’s really the expectation and I don’t expect anything less,” said Woods.
The Fighting Irish open their season on August 20, taking on Chuckey-Doak at 7 P.M.