4 Questions with Westlake head coach Bobby May

Westlake High School football team warms up before a semi-final high school football game against Roswell High School, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. (Branden Camp/For the AJC)
Westlake High School football team warms up before a semi-final high school football game against Roswell High School, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. (Branden Camp/For the AJC)

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Today’s interviewee is Westlake coach Bobby May, whose team will open its season Friday night against south Fulton County rival Creekside. Fulton County’s 16 teams delayed their season openers two weeks for COVID-19. Westlake, which had won six consecutive region titles in Class 7A, is playing in 6A this season and is ranked No. 5. This is May’s second season as Westlake’s head coach and third overall at the school. He coached several years prior in his native Florida.

Bobby May, Westlake head coach

1. What do you feel the impact of the two-week delay will be on your team, both in the short and long run? “It’s tough for the kids to stay focused when they’ve had a month and a half of practice with no game and no gratification for their work. I would be more worried if the opponent wasn’t in the same situation. If we were playing a team that had already played two games, then that would be tough. Not that Creekside isn’t tough, but that makes it more even. For the long term, it might be better as far as staying healthy. We got to stay in camp longer and lift and work on things you usually work on during the offseason, so hopefully we have fewer soft-tissue issues, ankle sprains and things like that.”

2. Westlake is ranked No. 5, so expectations are high. What are you expecting from your team this season? “For whatever reason, we seem to have a target on our back. We return a lot of talented players. I think if we show up and play to ability and match the intensity of everybody we play, we’ll be fine. It depends on the quarterback and offensive line play. We’ve got to be smart in those positions.” [The high expectations, and perhaps that target, are due to the move into Class 6A and the presence of several seniors who are Power 5 conference recruits, including cornerback Nathaniel Wiggins (LSU), d wide receiver Dacari Collins (Clemson), cornerback Demarko Williams (Ole Miss), tackle Jakiah Leftwich (Georgia Tech) and tight end Leo Blackburn (Georgia Tech). Of those elite players, May said, “They’re very talented, but the most important thing is that they ask the most questions in meetings and in position groups. They come mentally focused. They’re good in aspects besides just being good players.”]

3. How do you feel about moving into 6A? “The biggest thing with 7A was we were the smallest school, so we’d play a Grayson or a Lowndes, which had 1,300 more students. In 6A, the number for us is closer. We’re not playing schools with 3,500 students. I think 6A is still loaded with a ton of talent, but we’re happy to be where we’re supposed to be.” [Grayson and Lowndes are closer to 900-1,000 students larger, but it’s true that Westlake for years have been one of the smallest schools in the highest classification.]

4. After three-plus years in Georgia, how do you compare Georgia football to Florida football? “Resource-wise and coaching and all those things, it’s not even close. Georgia is way ahead. Florida has a ton of talent, especially at the skill positions, but top to bottom, Georgia is better. If you take the average team in Georgia vs. the average team in Florida, Georgia would win. When it’s the top-tier teams, it’s a good match. But the commitment to athletics in general – the facilities, the funding - is what sets Georgia apart.”

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