PERKINSTON -- Six weeks from the season opener, new Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College head football coach Chad Huff is concentrating on the here and now.
Many of the Bulldog players are in week three of summer school, and when not in class in the afternoon, they've been working on conditioning, running and lifting weights.
The Bulldogs, 8-2 a year ago, are opening the season at home on back-to-back Thursdays -- Aug. 28 with Northeast and Sept. 4 with Northwest.
"I'm fortunate to have been around some good head coaches -- Coach (Steve) Campbell, Paul Johnson, Charlie Weatherbie, Mark Hudspeth.
"One thing they had in the common was the 'Now.' Keep focus on the now and the process, and don't get caught up in the result.
"I believe in that as well. I can't control six, seven, eight weeks from now. What you can control is right now. If you worried about the future, you lose focus of where you are now.''
Huff, 38, coached as offen
sive coordinator at MGCCCC for 10 years under Campbell, including the national championship season of 2007. This is his first season in his new role as head coach.
"I inherited a great staff, guys I have been working with for 10 years -- Steve Davis, Stevon Moore, Dorsett Davis, and Neil Broussard,'' Huff said.
Huff hired a new offensive line coach in Les George from Belhaven and wide receivers coach Jason Phillips from Troy. Jonathan Johnson has also joined the coaching staff.
Since Campbell left MGCCC to become the Central Arkansas coach in December, Huff and his staff put together a good recruiting class. Then Huff went through his first spring as the head coach, which saw him in a little different role than in the past.
In the first junior college preseason poll by JCGridiron.com, MGCCC was ranked nationally at No. 9. The poll noted that MGCCC's success would be determined by quarterback play.
Jason Smith, who has committed to Auburn, played quarterback in the spring.
"We had a good spring,'' Huff said. "That's when you find out who your leaders are.
"Jason picked up the offense really well. Thad Miller and Tyler Allen (both freshmen) showed signs of being able to do the job (at quarterback) and are eager to learn.''
There is excitement at Perkinston with a lot of talented sophomores returning. Offensive lineman Martinas Rankin of Mendenhall is being recruited by Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri, Kentucky and Oklahoma among others. Smith and Tony Bridges have committed to Auburn. Former Stone High standout Justin Evans, a safety, has committed to Texas A&M.
And that's just naming a few of the top prospects.
The Bulldogs have been ranked in the national polls consistently since 2005.
And if Huff feels any pressure about maintaining the Bulldogs' lofty aspirations, he isn't showing it.
"If you take good talent and mesh that with humbleness, you have a chance to be successful,'' Huff said.