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Bailey joins Blue Eagles football staff

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Under normal circumstances, Tim Bailey might have his work cut out for him.
Bailey got a late start as a new assistant coach for the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football team when he joined head coach Shane Smothers' squad the second week of practice last week. He has also never coached before at the high school level.
"I'm a little behind and I've got quite a bit to learn in a short time," Bailey said. "I'm real excited at the opportunity to help out. I've wanted to coach at the high school level before, but an opportunity never presented itself until now."
Bailey has some things going for him. A 1997 graduate of W.S. Neal, Bailey knows the school. He also knows and has coached most of the players at the peewee level (age 11-12).
"I already know most of these guys since they played for me at that level, but they've changed quite a bit since then. They've gotten a lot bigger and stronger and they've matured quite a bit since I last coached them," Bailey said.
Bailey will assist Coy Campbell as wide receivers and secondary coach.
"When Coach (Butch) Hanks did not return this season, that left us a little shorthanded with four assistants and me. Tim helps get us back to where we need to me in terms of the number of coaches we have. I compare him a lot to linebackers/tight ends coach Marvell Davis. He is extremely eager to be a part of our staff and he is full of energy," Smothers said. "We probably have about 25 players in our secondary and receivers. We'll be able to give those players a lot more individual attention with Coach Bailey helping Coach Campbell," Smothers said.
In addition to learning Smothers' schemes, learning the work for secondary and receivers has also been an adjustment for Bailey.
"As a player, I was a running back and linebacker. I was a backup for receiver and secondary so I'm not totally foreign to those areas, but that's not where my experience lies," Bailey said.
Bailey said both wide receiver and secondary require similar skills.
"As a wide receiver, you like to have somebody with good hands and speed. Size and strength are also pluses. You also have to have somebody who can learn and pick up the routes quickly," Bailey said. "Speed and quickness are also essential to play in the secondary. You also want somebody who reads the ball well."
An interesting scenario for the 26-year-old Bailey is his brother, junior running back/linebacker, Jake Bailey, is on the current Blue Eagles sqaud.
"It feels a little strange to be a coach on Jake's team although I've done it before. I'm married and don't live at home anymore so it's not like we usually go to the same house when practice is done. The toughest thing about coaching Jake is being able to separate him from brother and player," Bailey said.
Bailey likes the talent he has seen in his early days with the Blue Eagles.
"We were 12-2 my last year in high school (1996) and got to the semifinals. Then the program slipped for a few years and the talent level dropped off. Talent will usually run in cycles
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in schools this size. The last few years the program has gotten back on the upswing. I think there is similar talent to that last team I played on," Bailey said.