coach

High School Football Coach Uses Zeke Suspension as Teachable Moment

On a rainy Friday evening, football players at Wilmer Hutchins High School hit the field for practice.

"My kids do have dreams and aspirations of playing professional," said Coach Elzie Barnett. 

Coach Barnett gathered his players for a talk before drills. His message was less about football, and more about life.

"It's a very unfortunate situation Ezekiel Elliott is dealing with, because he made a bad choice," Barnett told his players. "When those kinds of things happen, all we can do is use those as teachable moments and learn from that experience."

Barnett asked his players to imagine they had a six game suspension in their senior year.

"Your scholarship is on the line, your credibility is on the line," Barnett said. "There's no guarantee that game 7 is what you're going to need to propel you to the next level. So the choices that we make can impact our future."

Players said they look to the pros like Elliott.

"I'm looking at what they're doing so I know what do, and what not to do," said Freshman Bill Monroe. "

"Even when you think the cameras aren't on," Senior Devin Connor pointed out. "Everything counts."

Coach Barnett reminded the young athletes, unlike professionals with name recognition, they may not get a second or third chance at their dreams.

"So we have to get it right here," Barnett said. "So they don't make the mistakes there."

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