AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF Sports) — James Leonard has helped change the identity of Aquinas football since taking over as its head coach in 2013 and leading the Irish to a state championship that year.
But Aquinas is coming off a disappointing 6-5 season — by Leonard’s standards — and he’s made some off-season changes.
“We’ve changed the way we practice — much faster pace, lot more physical,” Leonard said. “[We] changed our offense to kind of fit the personnel we have, so when you lose five games in one season, it’s no one’s fault but the head coach’s.”
Speaking of coaches, Leonard has many new coaches on his staff this season, including former Georgia and Aquinas running back Brendan Douglas.
“Oh it’s weird, man,” Douglas said. “I just feel like yesterday I was playing out here and now I’m here coaching these guys trying to get them right. And I learned a lot at Georgia and here while I played here, so I’m just trying to teach them what I’ve learned.”
Douglas will help coach the running backs — including his younger brother Joseph — while he completes his final semester at UGA this fall.
Aquinas opens the season at home Friday night against 2nd ranked Prince Avenue Christian. Check out the highlights from that game and others around the CSRA at 11:35 p.m. on WJBF this Friday night.