PIGSKIN PREVIEW: Wilson's first test
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Friday, August 23, 2019
For those around Greene Central it was no surprise to hear that Jay Wilson was named as the Rams next head coach. Former head coach Allen Wooten, who led the team to the postseason in each of his six seasons in charge, departed for perennial powerhouse Havelock, leaving the Rams with no leader mid-way through the offseason.
Rumors quickly flew as to who would get the nod, with Wilson being a popular choice once it was announced the search committee would look to hire from within the program. Those who guessed Wilson turned out to be correct, as the second-year junior varsity head coach and varsity defensive backs coach was announced as his former boss’ replacement.
The transition into his new role provided no issues for Wilson, who had the benefit of already being very familiar with the Rams roster.
“It’s been smooth,” Wilson said of the move. “Fortunately I had been here prior to it all, it was my second year, so it was real smooth. I knew the guys and they knew me. I had either been their junior varsity coach or their track coach, so I kind of flew in.”
Wilson will have no shortage of talent on this years roster, despite graduating standout running back and defensive back AJ Dupree, who is now a part of the North Carolina A&T program. Wilson is also a graduate of NC A&T.
Wilson will look to try to revamp the teams scheme, especially on offense.
“Things will be a little bit different,” Wilson said. “Delmus Willis will be the offensive coordinator. We sat down and talked, and our basic philosophy is that we’re going to do what it takes to win. So as a result we’re going to have the guys in a place where they can do multiple things. If it’s a phone booth type game where we’re going to get in this phone booth and slug it out then we’re going to be equipped for that. If it’s a wide open, lets throw the ball type game, then we’ll be prepared for that too.”
The Rams were just four points away from spoiling what would become an undefeated season for 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference champion South Central in week one of the 2018 season. The two will meet once again to open the 2019 season on Aug. 23 in Winterville. Wilson is eager to face the Falcons and earn revenge.
“They lost a lot of players from last year,” Wilson said. “They had a very talented senior class. If their philosophy stays the same as last year then we’ll do some of the same things we did last year. If they change then of course we have to change with them. Our mindset is to hopefully make teams adjust to us, rather than us having to adjust to them as much.”
Leading Wilson’s offense will be junior running back Knowledge Branch. Branch, who saw limited action behind Dupree, will now take over the difficult task of trying to maintain the high level of production set by Dupree. Leading Branch and the rest of the offense will be junior quarterback Cole Dawson.
Wilson said Dawson and Branch are working through becoming more vocal leaders, both on and off the field. Their leadership will prove crucial if the Rams hope to make it seven-straight playoff appearances.
The Falcons and Rams will square off in Winterville tonight. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.