For the first time in eight years, a new head football coach will pace West Potomac’s sidelines this fall. Jeremiah Davis takes over for Eric Henderson, who parted ways with the school this spring.
Davis, an Annandale High School alum, played defensive end for head coach Joe Paterno at Penn State from 2000 to 2004 and has served as Annandale’s defensive coordinator the past seven seasons. Patch sat down with the 29-year-old head coach, husband and father of three to talk about the upcoming season.
What are some of the things that you have done in your short time at West Potomac to establish your coaching staff and to instill your new philosophy with your players?
The first thing we have done is to try to establish a culture of having good people. We want to make guys understand that they are going to be held accountable for their actions in school and at home. We want them to understand that while this is football, that’s not the be-all and end-all.
We need them to be role models in school, and we expect the same thing from our coaches. That’s the first thing that I talked to the parents and administration about.
What are some of the challenges and things that you are still getting used to this early in your tenure as a head coach?
Things are not the same everywhere. I’m getting used to how things are done at West Potomac. And, also, just making sure that we get everyone on the same page. We’re switching the offense offensive philosophy from what they were doing here last year, and we’re helping the guys understand that a little better. And just reaching out to the different players who want to be a part of the program.
Have you spoken with former head coach Eric Henderson? Has he reached out to you during the transition?
We spoke over email quite a bit when I first got the job. We spoke concerning some of the guys who are seniors and juniors who are being recruited and passed along information. He offered to give any help that I needed and to answer any questions that I had. He offered to chip in.
It’s been a pretty smooth transition, and I’m glad that it’s been like that for the sake of the whole program. It’s tough losing a head coach. He’s been really good, and we’ve both reached out to each other.
How has it been with balancing your new responsibilities and demands as head coach with your role as a father and a husband?
It’s tough. My wife and I dated in college, and twenty hours a week back then were dedicated to football. So she understands. With the kids during the summertime, because my wife is also a teacher, she’s able to help out with them and balance things out. She understands that this is a passion of mine. I thank her so much.
As far as being a head coach, I’ve really taken it on. I’ve taken a lot from my old head coach, Dick Adams, who was always at school. I understand that I have to be the first guy there and the last guy out and set an example for accountability.
As an opposing coach at Annandale, what was your impression of West Potomac’s football team over the past several seasons?
I think that it’s pretty much shared throughout the region that West Potomac is a really athletic team. I knew that they had guys who could run and catch, who were big and who were fast. But since I’ve been here, it’s like opening a new Christmas present every day.
Being a former player who has played at such a high level and who is not that far removed from playing the game, what separates you from your counterparts?
The ability to understand where the guys are coming from and teach them at their learning level. One of the things that I remember from being a player at Annandale and Penn State, which also gives me a fresh perspective on recruiting and with how the college game works, is what was important to me as a player. That is the atmosphere of competition and how to motivate guys.
I think that I have a really good pulse on that. And also, to be able to relate is a good thing. It all goes back to the mentoring aspect. First, we’re going to be good people. Then we’re going to be a good team.