Tyler Smith joins the Maroon Tide football coaching staff

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tyler Smith knew he wanted to get into coaching and after spending a year on the Maroon Tide’s staff he earned a position as the new defensive line coach.

Smith had to shadow a coach for a class assignment as part of his Coaching and Physical Education Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and having lived in Pearl River County contacted then Head Coach Dodd Lee to see if he could be a part of the program.

Lee agreed and Smith wound up spending the season assisting then Offensive Coordinator Cody Stogner in any way he could. 

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Smith’s responsibilities varied from helping coach the offensive line to assisting in game planning, all of which would then be used on Friday nights when the Maroon Tide faced an opponent.

The expertise of the coaching staff along with their experience helped educate the new assistant on how to best prepare a team for victory.

“Every time I turned around there was a seasoned coach that had been a head coach before, or had been coaching for 10 years. Anytime I needed advice and they spoke I listened,” Smith said.

Smith was part of a Maroon Tide program that went through last season undefeated and advanced to the 5A state title game before losing a heartbreaker 38-26 to West Point.

When it was all over Smith said he had a conversation with Stogner, who was named the new head coach after Lee stepped down. In that conversation, Stogner let him know if there was an available situation he could end up filling that role.

“I never expected them to hire me. I just wanted to do my best. I love the game so much that I really wanted to get into it and help anyway I could,” Smith said.

However, those talks led to Smith becoming the new defensive line coach for the Picayune Maroon Tide.

He’ll be taking over the position vacated by Lorenzo Breland who moved on to take the same position on the Pearl River Community College coaching staff.

“I have some big shoes to fill, but Coach Breland has helped me along the way and is somebody I can call up and get advice from,” Smith said.

Smith said coming into a new program usually comes with a learning curve, but that he has an advantage since he spent the last season with the team.

This means he already has relationships with the athletes he’s now in charge of and also understands how things are done at Picayune.

“For me, learning and getting out there, leading a position group might be a little tough when it comes to the start, but I feel like we’ll be able to hop into it because these are kids I know,” Smith said.

These are uncertain times and there’s no way of telling how the offseason will work for the Maroon Tide.

The MHSAA currently designated June 1 as the day athletic activities can resume, but Smith said no matter what the timeline ends up being he has faith the team will be ready to compete this season.

“We’ll be ready if you give us a month or two weeks. I feel like no matter what we’re going to be ready to compete to not only reach the state championship, but win it,” Smith said.