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New era starts for Central football

POSTED: June 5, 2013 3:45 p.m.
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Forsyth Central rising senior quarterback Michael Branigan and the Bulldogs spent much of spring practice learning first-year coach Shane Williamson’s spread offense.

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Shane Williamson is ready to turn things around at Forsyth Central.

The Bulldogs finished the 2012 campaign in Region 7-5A with a 2-8 overall record and a 2-3 region record. They haven’t reached the playoffs or had a winning season since 2001, but the first-year head coach is ready to change that.

"Number one thing, the plate is wiped clean, Williamson said. "I don’t have any prejudgment concepts of any of [the players]. …We talked about just work ethic and the only way we can get better is if we come to work every day. We have to get in the mindset that we can compete and that we can win football games. And that’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to win some games."

The Central players bought into the winning mindset and really impressed the coaching staff with their desire to improve. Williamson admitted he was unsure of how the team would respond during the spring scrimmage, but said he was extremely proud of how far the Bulldogs have come in only 10 practices.

"I thought spring football was real good for us because we had a new staff coming in," Williamson said. "We were able to get to know the players and they were able to get to know us and kind of implement the offense and defense and the fundamentals. But the bottom line was for us to get the philosophy in of what we want to do and how we want to work – going full speed and just commitment, and they did that.

"I was very impressed with [the team’s] work ethic. We put them through a lot of things they probably weren’t used to and they kept coming back. I told them we’re going to find out who really wants to play football."

Williamson is in the process of installing the spread offense, a big change from last season’s Wing-T. Central lost eight seniors from last year’s offense, but returns quarterback Michael Branigan, running back C.J. Cochran, wide receiver Jeremiah Jones and center Dee Kelly.

"It’s [an offense that’s] real easy to sell because if you haven’t done it, then that’s what everyone wants to do," Williamson said. "That’s the selling point. The kids want to throw the football around, but we want to be able to run the football as well. We’re not just going to sell out and say we’re only going to throw the football. We’ll probably end up being 60-40 run, so we’re still going to be a run oriented football team, but we’re going to be able to throw the football."

Central at a glance

2012 record: 2-8, 2-3 Region 7-5A

Key losses: LB Kris Smith, WR Wes Hemer, NT Ruben Rubio, DB Griffin Powell

Key returners: QB Michael Branigan, WR Jeremiah Jones, C Dee Kelly, K Anel Ramic, DL Adam Maresco, DB Jack Longmore, RB C.J. Cochran, OL Victor Peppers, LB Jordan Schaller

Coach Shane Williamson says: "A lot of people say, ‘Coach, you don’t have anybody to throw it to. We only have one or two.’ And I say, ‘Well, you don’t know if you’ve never thrown the football.’"


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