Jon Clements / Braylun Smith

Corner head football coach Jon Clements (left) and senior center Braylun Smith (right) answer questions during media days at the Gardendale Civic Center. 

Jon Clements learned a lot in his first season as a head football coach last fall.

He became acutely aware of the strain such a job can put on one’s cellphone and later saw the importance of on-the-fly decisions. A few of the latter turned what looked like a Cornerless playoff picture into a strong finish and a launching point into Year 2 with the Jackets.

During his time at Jefferson-Shelby High School Football Media Days on Tuesday, Clements pointed out a couple midseason lineup changes that throttled a 3-1 finish to his first season at the wheel. First, he inserted then-freshman quarterback Colin Daniel into the starting lineup and later decided to feature then-junior Nick Brashear as his primary running back. Both actions spurred a critical turning point for his team and both are expected to carryover into 2019, although Brashear will likely accepting more defensive responsibilities this fall.

“Nick became our primary running back probably midway through the year last year when we made a few changes, all the way until about week 10,” said Clements on Tuesday. “We were at Oakman in a really tight game and we needed some help on defense and Nick was the first person to kind of step up and say ‘hey, I can be that guy.’ He goes out in the second half and has 12 tackles and we win the game, so he’s still going to play some running back but he’s going to play a lot of defense for us this year.”

The emergence of sophomore running back Brody Musgrove has helped make that a possibility.

“We really didn’t know what Brody could do until this spring,” said Clements. “We played a spring game at Jemison this year and I think he had about 165 yards rushing in two quarters, so we found us another running back, which is great because that frees up Nick [Brashear] to play a little more on defense.”

Along with Brashear, Clements chose tight end Daniel Knowlton and center Braylun Smith to represent Corner at media days. Collectively, the foursome elaborated on a change in expectations within the Yellow Jackets’ program.

“In the past, we all settled for making it into the playoffs… and now that’s what we’re suppose to do, that’s what we have to do, it’s a goal and the whole team has reached the mindset that that’s what we’re going to do,” said Brashear.

Corner kicks off the 2019 season at Northside on Aug. 23.

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at sports@njeffersonnews.com

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