Beauregard Football Enters Year 2 Under Jones
BY WIL CREWS
Beauregard football head coach Justin Jones enters his second season with the Hornets attempting to lead the program back to the playoff for the first time since 2018.
In fact, the Hornets have failed to register a .500 season since the year before that, 2017, and Jones and company have determined how they aim to return Beauregard to the lofty standard upon which it once sat.
“At Beauregard, we live by a blueprint,” Jones said at the fifth annual High School Media Days in Opelika on Tuesday. “I think that is important to have … if you’re going to have a foundation, if you are going to establish yourself in anything … you have got to have a foundation. We live by three things: go hard, do right and expect to win. And it has got to be in that order.”
Through his blueprint of “go hard, do right and expect to win,” Jones has changed the culture at Beauregard in a short time.
“Before coach Jones, we had a good coach,” said one player. “But playing under him, it was good for a while, but then things started going downhill. We saw Beauregard needed new things to come in. When coach Jones came he changed the whole program around. We got a new locker room, new helmets, new jerseys, a whole new team. This year I think we can fight with anybody.”
The Hornets are coming off a 4-6 record in 2021, the same as 2020. However, Beauregard’s improvement as a program can be seen in their scoring and defense averages improving from 15.5 to 20.5, and 30.0 to 24.9 in 2021.
The team is well positioned for increased success this year, with the Hornets returning a good chunk of their offensive and defensive lines –– something Jones said is paramount.
“It’s always going to start up front,” Jones said. “We are a multiple spread offense. We try to put a lot of speed on the field defensively, but let’s be honest, it starts up front. So for us, having returners on the offensive line, and returners on the defensive line, to me that is a major component. In the trenches is where it is going to be won and lost. So for us to have that group of guys coming back, we feel very fortunate.”
While a noticeable difference could be seen in Beauregard’s play on the field last year, Jones the progress begins off the field.
“We want our young men to value hard work,” Jones said. “That means when they show up every day, we want to stretch them physically, mentally and even spiritually at times.
“We don’t expect our young men to be perfect, but we expect them to establish daily habits that will lead them to success. Success on Friday nights happens because of success on Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning and all-day Friday. We want to do the things that create daily habits that produce success.
“We want our young men to expect to win. It’s the third of the process and also the hardest. Its having the right mindset. There is a thing called life that hits you in the face sometimes; if our mindset isn’t right, then we are not going to be prepared for that obstacle.”
Beauregard is one of the many teams experiencing regional realignment in 2022. Jones and his players are looking forward to new competition.
“As far as region play, we are pretty much the same core of teams,” he said. “The stakes were already high; it just raises them even more.”
Offensively, the 2022 iteration of Beauregard football returns much of its offensive line, running backs and skill position players; defensively, The Hornets return seven or eight players.
Compared to the 2021 team which had only eight seniors on the roster, this year’s team is facing greater expectations.
“Our goals for this year right now are to just go in having a great mindset, play hard football and see if we can get back to the playoffs,” one player said.
“The standards are really high for us,” another player added. “A lot of players are coming back and we are expecting to go back to the playoff and have a great year overall.”
The returning depth and an action-packed offseason have The Hornets eager to start the season.
“For us a team, I know we had a great offseason –– probably the biggest offseason as a team since I have been here for sure,” one player said. “We expect to put what we have in the weight room on to Friday nights and just see where that takes us — playoff and even further.”
Jones isn’t as focused on the results as much as his players. More goes into a program than 60 minutes on Friday nights.
“It goes back to the understanding of what our foundation is,” Jones said. “Our fieldhouse lives off expectations. The first thing is, if you live by the blueprint, you have to understand it, you have to know it. Our expectation is always going to be the same. You got to know the blueprint, then you have to live it. That means showing up every day, bringing energy, excitement and effort to everything you do, and controlling the things you can control –– which is your effort, attitude and toughens. Then, the last thing is demanding the blueprint. That means from coach to kid, coach to player, player to player and player to coach, that’s demanding the blueprint. When we get to that point, and that is part of our process now, living it every day, and then starting the demanding process from each other, to me that is when success happens in a mighty way.”
Overall, the presence of Jones and his staff over the past two years has undoubtedly changed the outlook of the Beauregard football program for the better.
“One thing I learned about coach Jones the first time I met him is that he is very, very energetic,” one player said. “He brings a new energy to a team that needed an energy boost. But he’s not only a coach on the field, he’s a great coach off the field. He’s a great friend. As a team that needs a family connection like that, he’s definitely the guy for Beauregard.
Beauregard is set to open its season at home in a non-region game against Selma High School, Aug. 19. The two teams have never played.