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Grambling hopes the second Doug Williams era is as good as the first
If Doug Williams’ second time around as head coach at Grambling State is as successful as his first stint, the Tigers should be in good shape.
As the successor to Eddie Robinson, the Tigers’ All-America quarterback and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player helped his alma mater dominate the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with three league titles during that period.
After serving as a front office executive in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Williams is back at Grambling.
“There’s nothing like Grambling and I’m thrilled about being back home,” he said. “I enjoyed being in the NFL and working with some great people, but this is family. Hopefully, I can keep the family happy by winning.”
If the Tigers fulfill preseason predictions of winning a Western Division title in the SWAC, they’ll have to do so without the team’s top two rushers of the past four years.
Grambling also will have an untested quarterback.
During the offseason, 2010 starter Anthony Carrothers departed, leaving true freshman D.J. Williams (son of the head coach) and junior Frank Rivers as the leading candidates to take over behind center.
Doug Williams says the eventual starter will have to learn on the run.
“You know the other teams are going to keep the pressure on them because of their inexperience,” he said.
An even bigger challenge is at running back, where 2010 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Frank Warren is gone, along with No. 2 Tigers rusher Cornelius Walker.
“It’s no secret we have to find somebody who can tote the football,” the coach said.
Defensively, pass-rushing standout Jomarcus Savage could make the unit one of the toughest in the conference.
“Usually it’s this way, but the defense was far ahead of the offense in the spring,” Doug Williams said. “With the gaps we have to fill on offense, that’s got to continue once the season begins.”
Special teams should be another strength for Grambling, which has one of the SWAC’s top kickers in Zoltan Riazzo.