Football preview: Greene Central
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 21, 2008 1:35 PM
Mix in a new head coach, an overhauled offense and a playoff team from a season ago and the end result is tempered expectations with an extended feeling out process.
Ken Grantham inherited the Greene Central football program from the departed Jim Bob Bryant in mid-May. Since then, he's spent the majority of his time since getting acclimated with his players while installing his triple-option offense.
Gone are standout quarterback William Brown (1,500 yards passing) and go-to receiver Curtis Braswell, who contributed over 900 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in the Rams' pass-happy offense. Familiarizing his squad with the intricacies of the triple option, and the blocking assignments necessary to execute it effectively, has been an ongoing effort for Grantham.
"We're installing the triple option, it's an offense I've run for years," he said. "The biggest transition in coming to a team that passed the ball a lot and going to a run-first mentality is teach them to make reads and the art of run blocking. I've been pleased with how they've made the transition as we've put the basics in."
Junior Ben Parrish, Brown's backup a season ago, and sophomore Brandon Suit will handle the quarterback duties. Greene Central has nine running backs on its roster. However, none received significant playing time in 2007. Reggie Sanders and Marquis Graham are the only seniors in the Rams' backfield.
The development of leaders in an offensive system known for taking time to grasp will be key to Greene Central's success this season.
"It's hard for the quarterback in the triple option," said Grantham. "It takes sometimes two or three years for a quarterback to learn the system. He has a decision to make every play and he has a lot on his shoulders. We felt like timing wise it was the right time to change our offense because of a large graduating class and we're doing it with young kids.
"I don't care what they did in the past, everybody has a clean slate and they're all on the same footing."
The Rams will also adapt to a new scheme defensively. Grantham has implemented a 4-3 formation, which is significantly different from the 3-5 system employed during Bryant's tenure. Defending the run while playing with intensity have been the focal points for Greene Central's defense during the preseason.
"I told the kids we want to play an aggressive, tough style of hard-nosed football," said Grantham. "We want to run the ball down people's throats and stop the run."
Greene Central finished second behind Goldsboro in the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference with a 4-1 record in league play in 2007. An 8-4 campaign came to an end with a 21-10 home loss to Bunn in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
That's all history to Grantham.
He quickly pointed out he'll measure his first season on the Rams sidelines by much more than final scores and postseason appearances.
"In a lot of ways success is counted in more than just wins and losses and points on the scoreboard," said Grantham. "It's also about getting it done in the classroom and having good kids."
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