An early look at the “Relentless” Jackson Prep Patriots

After the news hit Flowood that Coach Tyler Turner had become the new head coach of the prestigious Jackson Prep varsity football team, quick action was taken to hold a press conference. On March 25th, just days after Turner was named the fourth head coach in the program’s history, many eager ears tuned in to hear his first appearance to the public.

Head of School Lawrence Coco opened up the press conference in saying “This is an exciting day for our institution… we had a tall task before us; we had and obviously have a strong tradition in our football program at Jackson Prep and we had to find the right person to build on that strong tradition and follow the legacy of people like Buddy Crosby, John McInnis, and obviously Coach Ricky Black… [The search committee] worked tirelessly over these last several weeks to make sure that we find the right person for our student-athletes, for our players, and for our institution… That hard work has been rewarded because we have found the right person to lead Jackson Prep Football into the next era.” 

This search committee consisted of Will Crosby, Gary Noble, Luke Nealy, Chan McLeod, Hastings Puckett, Trey Watkins, and Kelley Williams. Athletic Director Will Crosby followed Mr. Coco in welcoming Coach Turner. Crosby said “Today is an exciting day for Jackson Prep Football and it’s an exciting day for Jackson Prep athletics as we welcome our new head football coach, Coach Tyler Turner, to the Prep family… This process that we went through trying to find our new head coach was one that was very thorough and very deliberate… I’m very thankful to the committee members. They really gave a lot of their time and effort and commitment into finding our new coach… Really what stuck out to us in this process and as we got to know Tyler was his evident passion for the game, his real hunger to be a constant learner, a constant student of the game, but really most importantly was that certainly stood out in our minds was his sincere love and concern for his players. We are excited about this opportunity; we’re looking forward to having Coach Turner on campus permanently.”

Coach Crosby introduces Head Coach Tyler Turner to the media. Photo by Walker Poole.

Sporting his Patriot red tie and Jackson Prep mask, in COVID-19 fashion, the new face of the program made his way to the podium. Turner opened with “First off I want to start off by saying thank you to Mr. Coco, Mr. Crosby, and all our committee. It was definitely the most thorough process that I’ve ever been a part of. These guys did their homework… I am very, very pleased and very excited to be entrusted with carrying on such a legacy of excellence at Jackson Prep. This football program is the premier football program in the state and we’re going to keep it that way and we’re going to grow it… When you come to Jackson Prep you’re not making a decision for right now, you’re making a decision for 40 years down the road and that’s what I’m excited about… All athletics here at Jackson Prep are outstanding. The outstanding support that you get from the community… The hunger and the want to be the best at everything, not just athletics, not just academics, but arts, band, everything that we want to be the best at here at Prep, that’s something that I want to be a part of because that’s my goal every day to be the best I can possibly be.”

After Turner thanked those who have helped him along the way, he went on to discuss his play-style. He said, “We’re going to play a fast, physical brand of football, we’re going to keep building on top of the legacy of disciplined, high-class football, but we’re going to spread it out a little bit… A 53-yard wide field from our line of scrimmage to the end zone we’re going to be trying to use every yard we can. We want to play fast, up-tempo football, be completely no-huddle, and we’re going to be having a lot of fun.”

Turner’s aggressive coaching style seems as if it will be accompanied by the same coaching staff that has helped lead the Patriot football program in its dominance for the past decade. “I can’t wait to build a relationship with every coach and player that is a part of this program. We have a great coaching staff already in place here with our assistant coaches… we’re not going to miss a beat, we’re going to keep building. Those guys are eager and getting ready to get started just like our players are…” Turner went on to say that the most important thing to him is to build relationships with both the coaches and the players because “relationships and players build championships”. He continued by saying “We want to be elite at Jackson Prep, and that’s going to start in the 6th grade.”

Keeping tradition of Coach Black’s yearly mottos, Coach Turner revealed that the team’s new motto is “Relentless”. He said that the team is going to “relentlessly pursue excellence and be elite in all that we do. That’s in the classroom, that’s on the football field, or on the practice field, or in the weight room, and that’s also out in the community. We want to be known for doing a little more than what everybody else is willing to do. We want to work harder than everybody else is willing to work. We want to try to excel and be better every day; 1% better every day.”

Sentry sports editor Mason Nichols asked Turner if he identifies himself as more of an offensive or defensive head coach. He said “Both… The best thing that happened to me when I first got out of college is that I was a defensive coach which has made me a better offensive coach… When you know what gives you problems as a defensive coordinator, that’s what you implement into your offense and vice versa. I’m going to have my hand in everything; special teams, offense, and defense.” Turner did in fact emphasize that he will be calling the offense. This is the first noticeable change as Offensive Coordinator Marcus Thompson called the plays in recent seasons. 

Despite his aggressive and quick-paced play style, Turner said “We’re not going to be a showboating team. First off in an up-tempo no-huddle, the object is to get lined back up, so if you make a good play, let’s get lined back up and get ready to go again… When you think Jackson Prep, you think class, so we’re going to continue to play with that.”

When asked about his expectations for coaching in central Mississippi, he said “I’m excited, this is a great area… Football is football, and there is great football in this area and we’re really excited about being here and coaching against some very good football teams.” In Coach Turner’s final remarks he said, “We’ve got to create something at Jackson Prep that everybody wants to be a part of. That comes with relationships, what we do with the community, the investment into young people that are in the 3rd grade that are going to Jackson Prep, that’s what we’re going to do… The main thing is relationships build powerhouses and that’s what we’ve got to start doing. That starts out by our guys going out into the community and representing themselves in a Prep manner, which is elite character and elite attitude.”

Though football season is some time away, the Patriots varsity football team is looking forward to their first practice with Coach Turner as spring training is just a few months away. The Prep family is certainly looking forward to the upcoming season with high hopes of Coach Turner’s success. His aggressive, up-tempo play calling is sure to draw attention as everyone tunes into the “Relentless” Jackson Prep Patriots.