PEARL RIVER – On his first official day as Pearl River’s new head coach, Mike Oliva hit the ground running with his team, quite literally.
The Pearl River football team works out during the first day of practice at Pearl River High School Aug. 18, 2014 .
While running a defensive drill, Oliva said to one of his defensive linesman, “You’re going to learn how to spill better than that. Watch me.” Oliva lined up, waited for the snap, got past the offensive linesman and speared the garbage can used for the drill.
Oliva, who took over for former coach Jeff Michael who stepped down for health reasons, will be tasked with turning around a Pirates program that went 2-7 last season. His plan is not a complex one. The former Irvington coach preached to his players to focus on their individual jobs, that all 11 players collectively executing their roles would lead to wins.
“It’s not a complicated game,” Oliva said after the team’s first session Monday. “You can make it very complicated, but if you do simplify it for the kids and teach correct technique and correct responsibilities and jobs … then you have a chance to be successful.”
Oliva said that he wants to “reflect the hardworking people” of Pearl River, adding, “this is a great little community that works hard and the football team should reflect that.”