08/16/12 — FOOTBALL TAB -- Princeton: Minor brings "fresh" attitude to Bulldogs' program

View Archive

FOOTBALL TAB -- Princeton: Minor brings "fresh" attitude to Bulldogs' program

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

A black metal lunch pail with spots of rust and worn-out clasps sits atop a shelf in the Princeton football fieldhouse.

"Win Today" is written in white letters and underlined on the front.

"Pride" emblazons the right side.

Inside are slips of paper submitted by the players, who expressed goals they'd like to achieve this season.

First-year Bulldogs head coach Derrick Minor smiles broadly each time he looks at the 1950s style pail -- a daily reminder of the mentality he's trying to change at the Carolina 1-A Conference school that was a powerhouse from the 1970s to mid-1980s, but has been stuck in a losing cycle for nearly two-plus decades.

Minor instilled a summer workout program that concentrated on weight-lifting and cardio training. When players reported for practice, they flipped big tractor tires and pushed trucks down the highway as part of their conditioning drills during the first week.

"They've seen over the summer how I'm committed (to the program)," Minor said. "I see it as a new day and I think that's how the kids are taking. We're learning to get that mentality that we're going to work hard and we haven't skipped a beat."

Underneath the shelf hangs a mallet (hammer) that Minor plans to give to any player on the team who "lays the wood" on an opponent during a game. The coaching staff will choose players of the week on offense, defense and special teams and present those players with a jersey that has the "No. 1" on it. They can wear it each day until the next game.

Minor, who had coaching stints at Graham and Southeast Guilford, stresses the importance of winning each day -- whether it's either in the classroom or accomplishing a feat on the field.

"If you put in the work right now, hopefully it's going to pay off into (late) August, September, October and hopefully November," Minor said. "They're a good of hard-working kids and they don't let each other slack up either, so that definitely helps."

A large class of freshmen and sophomores that won middle school championships in 2009 and 2010 are beginning to mesh with the upperclassmen. The Dogs return five starters on each side of the ball and Minor plans to stay with the spread scheme that's been in place since 2009.

Four quarterbacks -- Jamaal Allen, Tanner Woodard, Michael Paul Wooten and Jake Sullivan -- are battling for the starting job since Brad Williamson transferred to Wilson Hunt. Minor says all four are capable of playing at any time in the up-tempo style offense that can cause havoc against opposing defenses.

Sophomore Quinton Rhue and James Boring have emerged the defensive stalwarts in preseason workouts.

"We have trouble running our stuff against him," Minor said of Rhue. "If he plays that hard (in games) as he does against us (in practice), he's going to be exciting to watch. He has huge potential.

"Boring will hit anybody and he's got a big heart."

Princeton launches its 2012 campaign Friday at Hobbton.