By Gene Phelps
Oak Grove football coach Nevil Barr vividly recalls his conversation with Brett Favre the day he offered him the offensive coordinator’s job.
The future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback’s first concern was his pay.
“I told him, ‘Nothing,” Barr said, then smiled.
Favre’s other concern was whether he was going to have to join the staff on Sundays to break down game film.
“I told him, ‘Yes, that’s part of the job,” Barr said.
The former Southern Miss, Green Bay quarterback’s reply was, according to Barr: “Let’s see, you’re offering me a job with no pay and I’m going to have to come up here extra days. Sounds like fun. I’ll try it.”
Favre’s hire was really a natural fit, Barr figured. Plus, Oak Grove needed an offensive coordinator.
“My coordinator took a principal’s job two weeks before the (2012) season began,” Barr said.
Favre was familiar with the Hattiesburg-area high school’s program, having worked out during his NFL playing career at its facilities. He had even worked during his offseasons with Oak Grove’s skill position players.
“I saw how he handled the kids and worked with them,” Barr said. “He loves it; it’s in his blood. His dad was a coach, and I knew Brett would be a good coach.”
Oak Grove senior quarterback Kirk McCarty has benefited from his two seasons of working under Favre’s guidance. The young signal-caller has passed for 3,782 yards and 42 touchdowns in leading the Warriors to this week’s MHSAA Class 6A state championship game against Tupelo.
“It’s been exciting working with him,” McCarty said. “He’s taught me a tremendous amount … really anything and everything you can imagine about playing quarterback. My level of knowledge has grown each year.”
Favre’s tough-guy persona comes through in his instruction, too.
“He’s very, very tough,” McCarty said. “He expects you to make a play whenever there’s an opportunity. He’ll tell me, ‘Kirk, that guy was wide open. You’ve got to make that play!’’’
McCarty respects Favre’s knowledge and remains in awe of the former quarterback’s ability.
“My knowledge is like a dot on a basketball compared to his,” he said. “I’m the dot, Brett’s the basketball.”
As for Favre’s 40-something rocket arm … he’s still got, McCarty said. “I’ve seen him throw one 60 yards, without warming up, and hit the receiver in the shirt pocket.
“He can still sling it.”