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Checking in

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 5, 2001

Businessman and former Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries is making his first foray into coaching this year at Gaither. Each Wednesday, he will share his views on the season from his unique perspective. Gries and Gaither won their first game Friday 30-6 over Tampa Bay Tech.

* * *

TIMES: Do you feel like you surprised just about everyone by winning your first game as a head coach?

BG: I know we surprised at least seven sports writers who need to stick to writing stories as opposed to picking games. (No writers from the Times or the Tampa Tribune picked Gaither to beat Tampa Bay Tech).

TIMES: Can you put into perspective how much winning that first game meant to you and the team?

BG: The victory sure made that Saturday morning film session a lot more enjoyable. As for the players, yes, the victory had to give them confidence. Confidence in us and in themselves. We have told our players again and again that we don't want to hear any nonsense about this being a rebuilding year. We don't want them to listen to the sports writers saying how this year is going to be tough. We just want our players to go out there and play hard-nosed, tough football. Just go out and give it everything you possibly have and that's it.

TIMES: How did you struggle so much in the spring jamboree and the fall exhibition game and then come out in your first regular-season game and win so big?

BG: No. 1, in the spring (jamboree), we had an entirely new system that we were putting in. No. 2, we played that spring game without seven of our starters on defense. There were a lot of reasons those players weren't there in the spring, but the fact was we didn't have those players. No. 3, in the spring, we were trying a lot of people in a lot of different positions. As for the exhibition game in the fall, well, Sarasota Riverview was just a better team. Sarasota Riverview has a strong tradition and a great program. By the time we got to our first regular-season game we were a lot more prepared. We had more things in place.

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