NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - For 51 weeks of 2020, Colby Carthel and Jeff Traylor are the best of friends. For the third week of September the two are only focused on how to send the other one home with a loss.
On Saturday the SFA Lumberjacks will travel to San Antonio to take on UTSA. The game will kick off at 2 PM and will air on ESPN 3.
Last weekend, Traylor, formally a state championship coach from Gilmer, won his first college game with an overtime win at Texas State. Traylor is very familiar with SFA. After the school moved on from former head coach Clint Conque and his interim Jeff Byrd, Traylor initially applied for the job. Traylor also has two degrees from the university.
“My mother and my father both have a bachelor’s and a master’s from there," Traylor said. "My wife and I both have a bachelor’s and a master’s from there. I have a brother that graduated from there as well. Pretty much, when you are raised in East Texas and you want to be a ball coach, you go to SFA. I have so many coaching buddies that are instrumental in my life. We all went to school together back in the day. I interviewed for that job when it came open last time. Coach Carthel, I have tremendous respect for Coach Carthel, and Ryan Ivey, the athletic director. They are good now. They gave UTEP all they could handle. They are athletic. They are physical. They believe in their head coach and they played hard. It’s going to be a great game Saturday and you are going to be in for a barn burner.”
The relationship between Carthel and Traylor goes back years and the two have crossed path plenty of times.
“He recruited my school at Gilmer and he fell asleep in my office one time and I just let him sleep,” Traylor said. “I know how college coaches burn. He asked if I was ever going to get into this. I said, 'No. There is no way I am ever getting out of high school. I see how y’all burn.; He still teaches me. Now I am the one falling asleep and he text me and calls me. I am burning at both ends. He is a go getter. He recruits hard and coaches hard. His kids will show up and play Saturday. There is not a better coach then Carthel at my Alma mater.”
“I was covering some miles and who knows, maybe I did doze off there,” Carthel said. "He let me catch up on some z’s. I am not denying that. It probably did happen. He is a dandy and a good friend. Looking forward to coaching against him. "
The 'Jacks were off last Saturday. They lost opening week to UTEP 24-14. Carthel admits it will not be any easier this week in San Antonio.
“Knowing Coach Traylor and being a friend, the benefit of that is knowing that he will absolutely beat your butt,” Carthel said. “He is a great football coach. You better have your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed because that guy can coach some football. He has done it at a high level and he has been successful any time he has been in charge.”