CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Eric Wolf didn't grow up through McCallie football, so he wasn't around for Ralph Potter's days in charge of the Blue Tornado.
However, the senior linebacker was still well aware of what type of coach he was getting when Potter returned to McCallie earlier this year.
"I had definitely heard about him and his reputation, which is just that he is tough," Wolf said. "He's definitely lived up to every bit of that. He's been real tough through camp and in practice.
"He's a fireball and we love it. That's exactly what we need."
After five years at Brentwood Academy, Potter is back for a second go-around at his alma mater. He may be the Blue Tornado's third head coach in as many seasons, but the transition has been pretty seamless with the previous coaches, Rick Whitt and Bubba Simmons, being longtime colleagues and current McCallie staff members.
"It's been fun to work with them again and see where they are scheme-wise and how they've changed," Potter said. "It's kind of like putting it all back together again."
With many of his schemes and styles being familiar to the program, Potter didn't waste time selling his brand of football to the team when he officially took over in March. He
"It was pretty surprising for most of us because he didn't talk too much about football," Wolf said of Potter's first team meeting. "He talked about becoming a man and making sure we knew it was about more than football.
"It's not just about wins and losses. It's about growing as a man and becoming mentally tough."
The latter will be the biggest challenge for the Blue Tornado with Potter's return bringing back memories of past success and new expectations for a struggling program.
Potter's record stands at 123-53 in 15 combined seasons at McCallie and Brentwood Academy, including one state championship (2001 at McCallie) and two state runner-up appearances.
But while many fans have big expectations for the future after thinking back on the glory days, Potter and his players are keeping a much simpler focus in the present.
"One of the big things he says all the time is process, not outcome. Process, not outcome. So we just try to take it day by day," said lineman Jack Harris.
"Coaches don't think in terms of expectations and things like that," Potter said. "I just think of it as we did some things wrong and we have to go correct them today. I don't think about how we're going to be or expectations or anything like that.
"I want us to pass protect better and get lined up on defense better. Those are our goals for today."
McCallie will open the season at McMinn County on Friday, August 24. Channel 3's award-winning Friday Night Football will debut this Friday, August 17, as dozens of teams in both Tennessee and North Carolina kick off Week 0 of the 2012 season.
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