Monday, March 31, 2008

Spartans hire Williams

Spartans hire Williams
Giles promotes familiar face Jeff Williams as the successor to football icon Steve Ragsdale.
By Ray Cox
Jeff Williams is a Giles High Spartan born and a Spartan bred and aside from a few seasons working on the football staff at archrival Narrows, he'll be a Spartan ...

But that's getting ahead of the story.

Williams -- a Giles assistant coach, graduate and former Spartans player -- has been appointed to succeed Steve Ragsdale as Giles' football coach.

"We offered Coach Williams the job and he most graciously has accepted," Giles athletic director Eric Widdoes said Tuesday.

Williams was a freshman member of Giles' first state championship team, the undefeated 1980 Group AA outfit. In subsequent years, he helped coach the 1993 and 2005 Group A Division 2 state champions and the 1996 and 2006 state runners-up.

"I feel like I've been given the keys to a Rolls Royce," said Williams, 43. "You have to take good care of it to keep it rolling."

In other words, look for no radical makeover. Same single-wing offense, same brutally efficient offensive line play, same relentless defense.

"Things won't change a lot," he said.

Williams studied to be a broadcaster at Virginia Tech, where he'd been a walk-on for the 1985, 1986, and 1987 Hokies, overlapping the administrations of Bill Dooley and Frank Beamer.

Williams did some radio and DJ work before following the advice of his parents, Phyllis and Jerry Williams -- his father is the recreation director in Pembroke.

"They always wanted me to coach," Williams said.

Williams was lifting weights at the high school after he'd finished at Tech when Ragsdale ran into him and struck up a conversation. At length, Ragsdale asked his former linebacker and all-purpose offensive back if he'd like to try some coaching.

Williams started with the JV in 1990 and found out he liked it.

He went back to school to earn a teaching certificate in health and physical education. Save for five years working for then-coach Don Lowe at Narrows, Williams has spent his career at Giles.

"Coach Beamer always used to tell us: 'Surround yourself with good people.'" Williams said. "I have."

Williams said he learned a lot of football and an equal amount of coaching from Ragsdale and long-time assistant coach Rusty Kelley. He also pick up a little from Lowe, now the Narrows athletic director, along with his top assistant Rick Franklin, who is no longer in coaching.

Williams is one of the last remaining members of what had been one of Timesland's most stable coaching staffs. Even before Ragsdale's retirement was made known, Kelley had already planned to retire. Another veteran, Jack Ellison, declared an intent to spend more time with family.

Williams also coaches track at Giles.

Ragsdale had been head coach for 29 years, winning three state titles and being runner-up twice more.

Giles has gone to the playoffs every year it's been in Group A. The Spartans are 68-8 in Three Rivers District competition.

"I didn't think this would happen so soon," Williams said. "I'm happy, but I'm sad, too. I'm sad to see Coach Ragsdale and Coach Kelley retire, Jack Ellison no longer be with us. It's going to be different."
The Roanoke Times

Ohio State Looking at a SW Package for Pryor

Ohio State football
Buckeyes look at ways to add spice to their spring
Sunday, March 30, 2008 3:40 AM
By Ken Gordon and Tim May


Jim Tressel met with reporters for a full hour on Wednesday, and pearls of wisdom fell like drops of rain.

OK, maybe that's a bit much, but the Ohio State coach had plenty to say about his team as it headed into the start of spring practice on Thursday. The Buckeyes are replacing only four starters from last season, so it's a much different feeling this spring compared with last year.

But there are still issues and agendas to discuss. And, of course, no story on Ohio State football can be complete these days without at least one Terrelle Pryor reference.

Dispatch beat reporters Ken Gordon and Tim May take a crack at sorting it all out:

GORDON: To me, Tim, one of the more interesting topics involved the spread offense -- on both sides of the ball. Tressel said they had done a self-study of their offense over the past three years and determined they were most effective in 2005 when they did the most spread. It sounds like they want to try to incorporate a bit more diversity in their offensive plans for this season. And then defensively, the coaching staff spent time visiting with schools who have effectively stopped the spread recently. So this is something paramount in Tressel's mind, as it should be.

MAY: Any modern-day coach had better become cozy with the shotgun spread option, because that's the offense more and more teams are running in high school. Heavy on aspects of the old-time single wing, its core concept is to create space by spreading out the defense, making the game more one on one, much like the NBA used to be when man-to-man defense was required. Plus don't forget, Pryor said Tressel and QB coach Joe Daniels talked to him about developing a package in which he could be used almost immediately to run the ball as a change of pace from the Todd Boeckman-led regular attack.

GORDON: I thought as the year went on last season, the Buckeyes almost seemed to narrow down their offensive options. Chris "Beanie" Wells was the first option, and rightfully so, but after that, it seemed to be either a slant to Brian Hartline or deep to Brian Robiskie. Inserting Pryor at times could add some real juice to the attack. I'd also vote for some creative uses of guys like Brandon Saine, Ray Small, and redshirt freshman back Boom Herron. Heck, just give me some headsets, will ya?

MAY: Coach Gordon, and your nickname could be "Flash" -- I like it. But all of those points you touched on are examples of why this is still an important spring for the Buckeyes. With so many starters back, there are plenty of knowns. At the same time, they want to figure out ways to get the ball to the speedy Saine and Small. Plus, last fall we heard repeatedly how Herron could play if needed and that he is going to be a force when he does. Well, if he is a tackle-breaking force in the mold of Beanie Wells, and the Buckeyes do spread the field more, he's going to see action.

GORDON: You mention logjam ... there are some serious logjams at many positions, including receiver, linebacker and maybe even defensive backfield. Defensively, it will be interesting to see if the coaches decide to rotate a bit more, or maybe substitute situationally more often, to try and involve some of those "veteran" backups at linebacker like Ross Homan, Austin Spitler or Tyler Moeller. In the secondary, Eugene Clifford might push for time. Devon Torrence is going to get a look there, a la Chris Gamble a few years ago. I wonder if the coaches aren't trying anything and everything to keep Torrence interested and prevent him from going to baseball full time. The starters are back, yes, but behind the scenes, there are some interesting issues.

MAY: Not the least of which is at quarterback. No matter what, Boeckman will be gone after the 2008 season, his decade at OSU a part of history. It is imperative for Antonio Henton and Joe Bauserman to have strong spring practices, because they aren't fools. They know Pryor is coming (he enrolls June 16). They know the coaches are intrigued by what Pryor brings to the attack. But while they might be able to give him a package of plays, they still need a full-time backup to Boeckman to begin the season.That's the job that is up for grabs, with major ramifications on spring a year from now.

GORDON: I caught that "decade at OSU," Tim. I'm sure Todd Boeckman and his grandkids appreciated that. The big question is whether winning the backup job is enough to keep Henton around, because he may view that as a three-year gig, sitting behind Boeckman this year and Pryor in 2009 and 2010. I can't end this discussion without at least mentioning the kicker position. I have a feeling Ryan Pretorius' job is tenuous. With Aaron Pettrey back healthy (and Ben Buchanan coming in the fall), this could be interesting to watch, as well.

MAY: I agree. We found that out last fall. Tressel is like most other football coaches, he goes with the man who has the hot foot, and that was Pretorius, who beat out 2006 starter Pettrey. But I thought some of the failings in the kicking game last year could be traced as much to protection as to low kicks. Like we said, though, this still promises to be an interesting spring for the team, even if it will be more about fine-tuning than major overhaul. The place is crawling with backups who also want to play.The intramural competition has rarely been higher.
The Columbus Dispatch