Coach Profile: Oscar Bonds, Tanner High School | Sports

Tanner High School football coach Oscar Bonds has a Rattlers team with deep junior class and senior leadership, as well as freshmen and sophomores who will contribute to the team’s success.

Bonds is one of the oldest school coaches in the county, alongside Michael Parker at Clements and Shelby Davis at West Limestone.

Bonds is a former player himself, doing well enough in Russellville High School to play college ball for Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State.

“I was lucky enough to earn a few rings and be an All-American my senior year,” he said.

He spent years in the coaching ranks at Piedmont High School under head coach Steve Smith.

He participated in several state championships with Piedmont.

Bonds uses a combination of coaching methods from his time at Jacksonville State and Piedmont, which had contrasting styles of football.

“Jack State, everything was physical. Be the baddest. When I arrived in Piedmont, it was more technical. Be where you are meant to be. I combined the two and tried to bring it to this program.

According to Bonds, the 2022 Rattlers will be a combination of talent and an understanding of the norm for the Tanner program.

This year’s team will also need to build on the success of 2021, where they were the farthest of any team in the Athens-Limestone region at playoff time.

Their numbers increased under Bonds’ watch. Now he has the culture and the expectations instilled in his players.

“Culture is really about responsibility. I’m really great with no excuses. Whether you have 50 players or 20 players, you are dedicated to getting in shape and getting stronger. (It’s) about being there and being a good teammate. I believe in sportsmanship, in class, in behaving properly and taking care of one’s studies. That was the biggest thing when I got here, and really stepping into the weight room and conditioning.

This culture is not for everyone, as he keeps his players at a high level and sees huge benefits with this group.

“I expect us to take the next step this season because I love their chemistry,” Bonds said. “We are (down) at about 24 kids. But I will still take these 24 children because I know what I have.

What Bonds has is a group of plenty of rising juniors who will return, seniors who will take on responsibility and a mix of youngsters who will make an impact.

“We have, at the moment, two seniors in attack and two seniors in defense. Basically, we have had the same team for two years. My offensive line this year is four juniors and a second, so next year it will be four seniors and a junior. We are starting three juniors on the D-Line.

Bonds says he “doesn’t want to leave anyone behind” and named every potential starter on the team and his high expectations for each one.

It details what fans will see from the Rattlers team.

The quarterback will be Karl Parham in another year at the helm of the offense, having already secured his starting role.

“He throws a really good deep ball and he’s the fastest player on the team.”

Junior class member Elinneaus Jackson will see many touches from the running back position.

“He was the slots catcher (last year). Now we move it to the tailback; you’ll see him touching himself,” Bonds said.

Another player to see some touches will be Nick Garth.

“Then we have the guy who will do the dirty work, and that’s Nick Garth. You always have to have that guy. He doesn’t mind blocking, (he’s) physical… whatever he can do , he will. (He will) throw the ball several times.

While Bonds looks forward to two seasons remaining with essentially the same group, he must also replace three starters on the offensive line.

However, players such as Jamari Malone are individuals who should make an impact on the line for 2022.

On defense, they’ll start a mix of mostly juniors at linebacker, with sophomores and seniors seeing the field as well.

On the line, defensive tackle Tre’juan Lett is described as having “some of the best assets” and “multi-talented.”

There will also be another player on the defensive end who will make an impact after last season was cut short due to injury: Malakye Jones, who suffered an open fracture last spring.

Bonds, making sure to credit everyone involved with the Rattler program, also said how happy he was with the coaching staff, saying they “all get along”.

Garland K. Long