WEST POINT — A.J. Lamar hasn’t been with West Point High’s football program long. Just a few months.

Lamar went through spring training with West Point. That consisted of eight practices and a few scrimmages.

The first-year Warriors coach has also spent the entire offseason with his new team. But that’s it.

A few months. It’s not really that long if you think about it.

But apparently it was long enough for Blake Cobb. The rising junior running back has already caught Lamar’s eye.

“Blake Cobb is another player that I’m excited about,” Lamar said while discussing his new team’s strengths. “He’s a really tough kid … the type of running back that can do a lot out of the Wing-T. And I’m really excited about our running game.

“That’s good since we’re going to be the type of team that runs the football and plays hard-nosed defense.”

Cobb must be doing something right. After all, if anyone knows what a good running back looks like, it’s Lamar.

He’s one of the best running backs to come out of this part of the state.

Lamar enjoyed plenty of success during his prep career at Cullman High, earning All-State honors twice.

His success didn’t stop there. Lamar went on to play for Bobby Wallace at North Alabama, where the All-American fullback helped the Lions win three straight Division II national titles in the mid ’90s.

That’s quite the resume. So if Cobb wants to become one of the area’s top running backs, he quite possibly has one of the best teachers around.

And Cobb is going to get plenty of chances to carry the football. Same can be said about anyone else who lines up in West Point’s backfield.

At least that’s the way it’s going to be under Lamar. His teams are going to run the football.

A strong running game complemented by a stingy defense. Good ol’ fashioned smash-mouth football.

That’s A.J. Lamar. That’s the identity West Point will take on under its new coach.

And that just might be what the doctor ordered for this program.

West Point teams are rarely blessed with blazing speed. Amazing athletes are usually few and far between.

But big kids? There are plenty of those on that end of Cullman County, and most of them are on the football team.

The type of football Lamar wants to play fits West Point. It suits the program’s talent.

Now it’s just a matter of Lamar selling this old-school philosophy to the team. But according to the Warriors coach, that hasn’t been a problem.

“Overall, I can tell the players believe in what we’re doing,” Lamar said. “And in football, you can run anything and be successful as long as the players believe in it.”

That’s true. And part of believing in this system is taking on Lamar’s hard-nosed, gritty personality.

If West Point does what it’s new coach says — becomes the most physical team on the field — this brand of football will work.

Now, it won’t be flashy. Just three yards and a cloud of dust.

That style of football made A.J. Lamar a star on the field. It could also make West Point a winner in the future.

Just wait and see.

‰ Justin Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 257 or by e-mail at jgraves@cullmantimes.com.

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