Snap­shot Of Mike Adams’ Coach­ing Ca­reer

200 WINS WITHIN REACH

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — In­ter­est­ingly Farm­ing­ton coach Mike Adams has ties to all three high school foot­ball games played Tues­day, Aug. 29.

Adams is cred­ited with turn­ing Charleston’s pro­gram around af­ter tak­ing over as head coach there in 1983. On Aug. 29, Charleston scored with 8 sec­onds left to steal a 29-23 vic­tory over Dar­danelle. The Tigers adapted af­ter the loss of eight starters on of­fense from last year’s team, forg­ing a 13-play, 79-yard game-win­ning drive.

One of Adams’ for­mer play­ers at Charleston, Doug Loughridge, earned his 100th ca­reer vic­tory as head coach of the Alma Airedales, one of Farm­ing­ton’s ri­vals among the 5A West. Loughridge led Alma past 7A Van Buren, 21-14, Aug. 29.

Al­though Farm­ing­ton lost their sea­son-opener, 36-13, to ri­val Prairie Grove in the an­nual ‘Bat­tle of 62’ Aug. 29, reach­ing the 200 ca­reer win plateau is still within reach for Adams (193-133-2).

Com­ing into the 2017 sea­son, Adams is third among ac­tive coaches. He trails only Mike Mal­ham Jr., of Cabot; and Van Paschal, of Bar­ton.

Pass­ing The Torch

Adams’ son, Spencer, is Farm­ing­ton’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and also head coach for the sev­enth grade. Now in his sev­enth sea­son, Adams thinks Spencer is a can­di­date to be­come a head coach in the fu­ture.

“It’s been cool to have Spencer here and have him grow as a coach,” Adams said. “He’s ap­proach­ing the point now where he’ll go some­where else. That’s good for him and sad for me.”

Spencer is a chip off the block, in­her­it­ing his fa­ther’s dili­gence and pas­sion for the game.

“His best as­set is he’s a tire­less worker,” Adams said. “He’s not afraid of work. He’ll do what’s nec­es­sary to get his guys go­ing.”

Pur­ple’ dog Vol­un­teer

Mid­way through col­lege Adams re­al­ized how much he en­joyed be­ing around foot­ball and changed ma­jors. That de­ci­sion was ac­com­pa­nied by an op­por­tu­nity to work as a vol­un­teer as­sis­tant with for­mer Fayet­teville coach Joe Fred Young, who later led Fort Smith North­side to a 1987 state cham­pi­onship. Har­vey Smith was de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and Adams learned ev­ery­thing he could from both men.

“I re­ally started out as a de­fen­sive coach,” Adams said. “That’s how I got the job at Charleston. That’s what I leaned on. We fo­cused on de­fense. I learned of­fense as I went along.”

Early in Adams’ ca­reer the Tigers used a split-back veer even­tu­ally evolv­ing into a Wing-T. Fayet­teville was still op­er­at­ing a Wing-T when Adams joined the Bull­dog staff where he later be­came head coach.

“It was at Fayet­teville where the coaches were the first big pro­po­nents of the zone of­fense that we use now,” Adams said.

De­fen­sively, Adams’ phi­los­o­phy re­mained un­changed em­ploy­ing a base 4-3 de­fense at each school.

“Through that, I’ve al­ways been a 4-3 guy, that’s been a foun­da­tion of what we’ve done,” Adams said.

Re­turn To Roots

Adams got away from the 4-3 two years ago switch­ing Farm­ing­ton to a 4-2-5 in an ef­fort to match up with spread of­fenses of the 5A West. Dur­ing this past off­sea­son, he made a strate­gic de­ci­sion to dis­con­tinue the 4-2-5, which, in his eval­u­a­tion, fre­quently put de­fend­ers out of po­si­tion and un­able to make a play while ex­e­cut­ing var­i­ous stunts and blitzes.

“I’ve just never been com­fort­able with it (the 4-2-5),” Adams said.

Adams be­lieves the foun­da­tion of a good de­fense starts with the tack­les and is op­ti­mistic as the Car­di­nals re­vert to a 4-3. Ac­cord­ing to Adams the 4-3 em­pow­ers con­cen­tra­tion on per­fect­ing ba­sic tech­nique and frees play­ers up to be faster to the foot­ball.

“The whole key is you’ve got to have two tech­nique peo­ple at de­fen­sive tackle,” Adams said. “I think we’ve got two good peo­ple, who can do that.”

New Foot­ball Fa­cil­i­ties

There is one ba­sic com­po­nent of foot­ball Adams zooms in on as Farm­ing­ton pre­pares to con­struct a brand new foot­ball sta­dium with coaches’ of­fices and in­door train­ing fa­cil­ity.

“We’ve got a plan now where ev­ery­thing is go­ing to be laid out,” Adams said. “The track is go­ing to be a separate fa­cil­ity from foot­ball, which I think is a good thing.”

Adams ea­gerly awaits the com­ple­tion of a new weight train­ing cen­ter for Car­di­nal foot­ball play­ers.

“The thing that most in­ter­ests me ob­vi­ously is the weight room. We have 70 guys in a weight room that’s de­signed to serve 30 so it has its lim­i­ta­tions right now. The weight room is prob­a­bly the thing I’m look­ing for­ward to right now more than any­thing.”

Spo­ken like a true foot­ball coach, al­ways look­ing at what prepa­ra­tions need to be made for fu­ture com­pe­ti­tion.

Farm­ing­ton hosts long­time ri­val Huntsville in non­con­fer­ence ac­tion Fri­day. Kick­off is at 7 p.m. at Allen Hol­land Field.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Foot­ball in­ten­sity runs in the fam­ily. Farm­ing­ton of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Spencer Adams, son of head foot­ball coach Mike Adams (right) asks an of­fi­cial why no flag was thrown af­ter a Car­di­nal ball car­rier was brought down by his face mask dur­ing a 5A West game.

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