Aldridge looks to prove he can win again at Hough
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Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014

Aldridge looks to prove he can win again at Hough

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/01/08/39/1b3R9T.Em.138.jpeg|178
    JASON E. MICZEK - WWW.MICZEKPHOTO.COM
    New head coach Miles Aldridge hopes to build on the success the young Hough football program has had.
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    - COURTESY OF MILES ALDRIDGE
    Miles Aldridge is the new head football coach at Hough High.

Miles Aldridge has proven he led a winning football program.

His resume includes stints as a Buffalo Bills assistant (linebackers/defensive backs’ coach 2001-02), the defensive coordinator at Arkansas, Clemson and South Carolina, and assistant coaching jobs at Duke, Ole Miss and N.C. State.

In late March, Aldridge took over the Hough High football program, months after guiding Spring Valley High (Columbia, S.C.) to a 12-1 record (including an 11-0 regular season) earning S.C. Coaches Association coach of the year honors.

Aldridge will replace Bobby Collins, who coached the Huskies program for the first four years of its existence and went 25-20, including 19-5 the past two seasons. Collins is the new head coach at Lancaster High.

Aldridge is looking forward to his latest challenge. He hopes to keep a young Hough program going in the right direction and help make it even stronger.

“We want to come in and help build a tradition at Hough, but sometimes that takes time,” said Aldridge, who played football at A.C. Flora High in Columbia, S.C., and college football at Gardner-Webb. “We want Hough to be one of the top programs in the state like the Butlers and the Mallard Creeks and the Independences.

“For me, winning is a plan that doesn’t happen by accident. That is an ‘Aldridgism.’ I’m going to take on this job with the same passion for the game that I’ve had for the last 30-plus years.”

Hough athletic director Masanori Toguchi is pleased to have landed Aldridge.

“Getting a coach like Coach Aldridge felt like having really good luck, because he was right here in our backyard, anyway,” said Toguchi. Aldridge lives in Huntersville and had been commuting to Spring Valley. “His wealth of knowledge and experience really brings something different to our program. For the success that we’ve had so quickly, it would be hard for the expectations not to be high.”

Aldridge inherits a team loaded with talent, led by four Division I commits in senior defensive backs/wide receivers Corey Bell (North Carolina) and Mark Fields II (South Carolina), wideout Carl Tucker (North Carolina) and West Mecklenburg transfer running back/safety Van Smith (Clemson).

Aldridge will have to find a new starting quarterback after the graduation of Josh Stilley (2,274 yards passing, 25 touchdowns passes last year), but has two strong contenders in senior Will Coleman and sophomore Jackson Gibbs.

Whoever wins the job will be triggering Aldridge’s fast-paced, no huddle offense designed to get the ball to the Huskies’ wealth of speed.

Bell, Fields, Marquill Osborne and Smith also make up one of the best defensive backfields in the state, according to Aldridge.

Aldridge has been impressed with what he’s seen this summer in 7-on-7s, where Hough finished as runner-up to Atlanta’s Mays High in the Cam Newton Foundation national championship July 11 at Nation Ford High. But he’s eager see the team in pads.

“I’ve really only seen these guys in helmets and shorts,” Aldridge said. “So, I’m looking forward to seeing all the one-on-one drills and the team drills in pads and seeing how tough we are.”

Aldridge and his Hough team will look to again contend for the MECKA conference title with 4A defending state champion Mallard Creek. The Huskies also want to get past the first round of the playoffs, where they have made hasty exits the past two years after going 9-2 in the 2012 regular season and 10-1 last season.

“We’ve definitely set the bar really high for a young program,” Toguchi said. “But I think we all want to win that first round game and then we can start talking about competing for championships.”

While there are a lot of new parts to the Hough football family that have to blend together, the new Husky coach believes it will inspire himself and his team

“I think change is good, because it makes you look at things differently,” Aldridge said. “We are all looking forward to all the new challenges ahead of us this season.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

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