Working on the offensive and defensive lines, you need to have a sense of humor.
That’s how Brownstown Central assistant football coach Clark Smith sees it.
Smith always makes sure his big guys are having fun when they’re battling 250 to 300 pounds lineman in the trenches.
The fourth-year offensive/defensive line and special teams coach tries to lighten the mood during games and practices while still putting in hard work.
Story continues below gallery
“I think, that with them, you need to have a lineman’s attitude,” Smith said with a smile. “You have to want to play line. One thing that gets them motivated is food. Coach Trent Shelton always used to tell them he’d buy them biscuits and gravy if they got a sack.”
Smith knows that playing on the line isn’t a glamorous position.
“We just tell them keep working hard, maybe you’ll score one day,” Smith said. “They’re a fun group to work with. You have to have a certain sense of humor as a lineman. They’re not going to get all the glamour, you just kind of have to laugh it out. I think they get more fired up from putting someone on their butt then if they were to score.”
Following graduation from Brownstown Central, in 2006, Smith attended Indiana University.
Shortly after, he accepted a job as a seventh grade math teacher at the middle school and began working with his former head coach Reed May.
“West Washington’s asked me if i wanted to help, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into coaching and I figured I would give it a shot,” Smith said. “About a half hour later, Coach (Reed) May called and asked if I wanted help at Brownstown. I volunteered for a year and have kind of slowly worked my way up as guys have left.”
On the sidelines, Smith’s personality is felt throughout the program.
“Coach (Shane) Fallis is kind of down to earth, coach May is always screaming and yelling and I’m always the kind of guy that’s joking around,” Smith said. “I try to keep things kind of loose. I try to help pick the kids up. Our job is kind of to help reinforce what coach May is teaching with a little more compassion and care: not that coach May isn’t compassionate. We want the kids to know that we’re there for them and help them out.”
While his light-hearted is prominent, Smith has as much of drive to win as any of the players and coaches.
In high school, Smith played on the lines as an undersized lineman.
Smith said that, with some of this year’s roster, he tries to light a fire under his smaller guys and makes sure they play smart football.
“When I played, I was smart but a little bitty guy,” Smith said. “I had to kind of use my smarts to take on some of the guys who are bigger and faster than me. I thought that coaching would be like that, but it’s more about the other guys I coach with and the kids.”
While Smith has only coached for a short time, he said he owes everything to his former Braves coaches.
“Everything I’ve learned has been from coach May or the other coaches,” Smith said. “Its nice that they coached me as both as a player and as a coach. I get to use everything I learned from them.
“All of us coaches have played at some point. The kids know what we’re talking about. Everything just trickles down. I think it’s a testament to our program. They may see me, but more-so they see the program in our coaches.”
Smith also runs the third and fourth grade flag football program in Brownstown on Saturday mornings, outside of high school competition.
“I looked at (the flag football program) as a thing that will continue to help our program out,” Smith said. “I enjoy doing it. Our numbers in the 56ers (youth football program) are up so maybe it’s helping. If you want a great program, you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. We figured we tried it, and it will be interesting down the road to see what the results are at the high school level.”
Working with Coach May has taught Smith the ins-and-outs of the game.
Smith said that he couldn’t turn down working with the Braves when presented the opportunity.
“I wasn’t really sure about teaching or coaching,” Smith said. “When coach May called, I thought it was a great opportunity. The other week, I asked him if he wanted a ride after practice because he always walks. I thought, I have a future hall-of-famer in my truck — it puts it into perspective. You look at all these programs and towns that don’t have football, or who have football and don’t win, and you realize it’s great to be back home.”
What: Brownstown Central (4-0) at North Harrison (4-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: North Harrison field
Last outing: Brownstown Central defeated Salem 62-26, North Harrison defeated Charlestown 27-18
Most recent meeting: Brownstown Central won 35-13 on Sept. 19, 2014
Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 25-4
The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 62-26 win over Salem.
Earning honors are John McKinney, Offensive Back MVP; Clark Hauer, Offensive Line MVP; Trevor Colby, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Devin Stuckwisch, Defensive Back/Dime MVP; Derek Rieckers, Special Teams MVP; Kaleb Pearson, Scout Team MVP; Clay Wilkerson, Hauer, black jersey winners.