4 Questions with Blessed Trinity head coach Tim McFarlin

Tim McFarlin has coached Blessed Trinity through three state titles in Class AAAA.
Tim McFarlin has coached Blessed Trinity through three state titles in Class AAAA.

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Today’s interviewee is Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin, whose team won its third consecutive state title in Class 4A last season. McFarlin reflected on the 2019 championship, which surprised some given the senior dominance of the 2018 team. He also made candid comments on what he believes the GHSA should consider in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tim McFarlin, Blessed Trinity coach

1. What was most memorable about Blessed Trinity’s 2019 season? “What made it special is that it was unexpected. We certainly had the advantage of having been in that position the previous two years, but I just don’t think anybody looked at it and thought we were going to play 15 ball games. We ran into adversity. We had two starters who decided not to play, a defensive end and offensive lineman. Then we lost our starting quarterback [to injury] at the scrimmage. So I just thought it was a very rewarding year because our young men never blinked. We had so many close ball games and had a loss early but were able to survive, and that made us better.”

2. How’s the 2020 team looking, and how do you feel about moving up to Class 5A? “We’re having to replace a good many people up front on both offensive and defense. That’s something we didn’t have to do last year. For us, that’s where everything starts, but from the lessons learned last year, I’m not going to underestimate them. Somebody’s going to step into those roles, and we look forward to it. Class 5A will be tough. We were in a really good region with Marist, Flowery Branch, Denmark and a lot of tough teams, and it doesn’t get any easier going over to the west side of the state and playing Cartersville and Calhoun and Hiram and those guys. We’ve developed quite a rivalry with Cartersville. It will be interesting.’' [Blessed Trinity beat Cartersville in the 2018 Class 4A championship game and the 2017 second round, the latter being former Cartersville quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s final high school game. Cartersville beat Blessed Trinity in a 2012 playoff game during McFarlin’s second season at Blessed Trinity.]

3. What’s the most challenging thing about preparing a football team in a pandemic? “The toughest part that most don’t see is that we lost a critical part of the year in the weight room – March, April, May. Weight room isn’t about catching up. It’s something that has to be built up over time. The greatest benefit of the weight room is injury prevention. It worries me that we haven’t had that cumulative time of building muscle endurance. I thought when I saw what colleges are doing, moving practice and games back, that we’d follow suit. If we hurry to start, we may be missing that needed time to get the boys ready to play. A lot of teams [including Blessed Trinity] have missed 14 days because of quarantine. I never understood backing up the season two weeks but having the same practice start date. I wish we had backed that up two weeks, then focused on lifting and conditioning during those two weeks [July 27-Aug. 7].”

4. What are your feelings on the plans for football this fall? “Once we start school, 10 to 12 days into it, I think we’re going to find out one way or other. I hope and pray that it’s good. Ultimately, I can understand Georgia High Schools’ position [on the schedule], that’s what they want. I just think it would’ve been nice to have heard collectively from the coaches and what they want, the people the closest to the players. Every coach I’ve talked to - and our phone has been buzzing today - if you told them right now they could get in six, seven games and get in the playoffs, they’d all take it. Remember, the numbers have leveled off but they’re still high. We’re starting at a time when the virus is still significant. At the end of the day, everything about me says we’re starting too soon and need more time to let this settle down. My main concern isn’t the start date, but the readiness of the players. That’s the critical question. Are these kids ready?”

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