Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson once said, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”
Second-year Tyler Lee head coach Kurt Traylor wants the Red Raiders to become one of the state’s great programs, and he talks about “pound the stone, effort and P.R.I.D.E.” as the building blocks to building that culture.
“When you look at Dave Campbell’s magazine and see the preseason top 10, there are teams like Katy and Allen who can have no returning starters or two returning starters on each side of the ball, and they’re going to be in the top five, because they are programs," Traylor said.
“That’s what we’re tying to establish here. We want to be great. We don’t want to be average.”
Traylor, who came to Lee from a great program in Gilmer, knows that you can’t just be great from the beginning.
It takes time.
He also knows that you have to reach players before they step on the high school campus. That’s why Traylor and his coaching staff hosted the three-day Red Raider Football Camp.
The varsity staff worked with incoming seventh- through ninth-grade students, and there were also stations for incoming kindergarten through sixth-grade students.
“For the little ones, we do a lot of fundamentals,” Traylor said. “We work on ball security, how to catch the ball, how to throw the ball and most importantly, how to listen.
“For the older kids, we’re trying to get them used to our culture. We talk a lot about effort. It takes no talent to play with effort. We also talk about our acronym P.R.I.D.E. — being positive, respect, integrity, discipline and every day, every play.”
The campers definitely soaked in what the Lee coaches were teaching.
“I learned that you have to have respect, be positive in yourself and teammates and have integrity,” said William “Red” Graham, who is entering the seventh grade.
“I want to be the greatest player I can be. That’s why I wanted to come out here,” eighth-grader Tyler Priest said.
For incoming freshmen, the camp was a chance to interact with their new coaches and their new teammates.
“Some of these kids were Gators and some were Huskies, but they’re all going to be Red Raiders,” Traylor said.
“The coaches have taught me a lot that I really didn’t know,” incoming freshman Jaylon Gray said. “I’ve learned that each play matters and every single yard counts. Your worst enemy is yourself. It’s been great meeting new teammates and pushing each other to do your best on the field each play.”
“It’s been good meeting new people that I’m going to be on the field with soon,” incoming freshman Jaylon Warren said. “We’re all going to be in one big high school now. It’s also been good talking to the coaches and learning from them.”
Lee freshmen will begin practice at 8 a.m. Aug. 6. The varsity can begin practice on Aug. 13.