McAlester head coach Forrest Mazey isn’t the only one who rolled into town this year from Poteau.
Mazey brought along running backs coach Cameron Grubb, his former assistant with the Pirates. Grubb is originally from Lavaca, Ark., where he played wide receiver in high school and graduated in 2013.
Grubb didn’t continue his playing career in college, but attended Northeastern State University — Mazey's alma mater — and graduated in May with a degree in organizational leadership.
McAlester is Grubb’s second coaching stop after Poteau. Both Grubb and Mazey were on the Pirates coaching staff 2015-2018. Grubb said he made the move from Poteau to McAlester sometime in March.
Mazey said Grubb reached out and met with him for a volunteer position with the Pirates. He added his running backs coach kept coming back and asking for more duties. The new head coach said Grubb stuck on as he was going to school and did a good job as he found his niche.
“He’s a loyal guy,” Mazey said of Grubb. “I will say that’s a big thing in this profession. If you have loyal people on your staff, then you’re going to be alright.”
Grubb is appreciative that Mazey gave him his start in the coaching business. He said he never envisioned himself doing anything else and wants to be a positive portion in his players’ days.
Poteau and McAlester may be in different classifications, but Grubb said there’s not much difference between the two. He said both programs have had a great coaching staff and young men of quality character.
“I think the kids really bought into us as new coaches being here, welcomed us with open arms,” Grubb said. “That’s been really good, really made the transition pretty easy.”
Going from coaching receivers to running backs wasn’t a difficult adjustment at all for Grubb. Poteau averaged 178.7 rushing yards per game in 2017, and 189 yards per game under Grubb’s watch in 2018, but didn’t want to take credit for that uptick.
He said there was a running back by committee at Poteau, which is what McAlester plans on doing this year. Grubb said there could have been three or four different players in the backfield, and there wouldn’t have been a lot of drop off.
His emphasis as a running backs coach is ball security, toughness and getting first downs. Grubb believes in holding the football high and tight when it comes to ball security.
Grubb said he wants to make things simple for his running backs when they set up for the Sept. 6 opener against Muskogee. He’s hoping to see toughness and that they don’t have to think a lot.
He said he’s at McAlester for the right reasons. Grubb wants his players to have success and ultimately help deliver McAlester its third state championship.
“We only get 10 guaranteed games a year,” Grubb said. “We have to make the most of those. We have to be able to make a run in November. Who knows how long that run may be? Hopefully we’re practicing on Thanksgiving, and maybe even the week after.”
Contact Corey Stolzenbach at email@example.com