60 SECONDS WITH: Head Coach Craig Barnes

Head Coach Craig Barnes knows what he’s doing when it comes to Britball. Extensive experience with the game and with the Cheetahs means he’s ready for the challenge as he prepares for his first season as Senior HC. We sat down with him for a brief interview…

Welcome back to the #CheetahPride! You’ve obviously been with the club previously as Defensive Coordinator, but tell us a little about yourself?

After a playing career back in the mists of time, I returned to football as a coach in 2012. I’ve served the Cheetahs as Junior DC, HC and now the senior team. In between I coached at the London Blitz juniors.

What kind of Defence are you looking to run in 2018?

Offensively we’re going to be different from last year, so the defence has to adapt. We have to complement our offence, so expect to see a more aggressive look next season. It’s going to be like our defence has an evil twin.

What are your thoughts on the Defence you have at the moment?

I was very pleased with how our D played last year. Until injuries to the team hit us, we were on course to break the club record for least points conceded. Obviously there are areas we can improve in, and we will, but I am confident the Cheetah defence will be thoroughly unpleasant to play against in 2018.

You’re now Head Coach too – why do you think you got it? 

Well I hope I got it because the club thinks I can coach! Seriously though, I’d like to think I have a clear vision for this team, based around good values and a competitive spirit. Players will want to play for us not just because it will be fun, but because they want to be part of something bigger.

How will you manage the dual responsibilities of being HC and DC?

Getting the right support staff will be vital. We have appointed a talented Offensive Coordinator in Will Sparke and we are filling the gaps in our positional coaching as a matter of urgency. The less things I have to worry about, the better!

Which NFL team do you support? 

The Oakland Raiders

How do you think they’ll do this season?

We’re still a young team, so consistency is going to be a priority. We have an explosive offence though, so anything is possible!

And there you have it. We’ll here much more from Craig and other members of the coaching staff as the season approaches so stay tuned!

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