by Larry Ham
The Reedley College Tigers open the 2013 football season with a home game against College of the Sequoias on September 7, at 7 p.m.. The Tigers return several experienced players from last year’s squad and there are also some key new additions. Randy Whited enters his fifth season as Tiger head coach, and this could very well be the best team he’s had. I had the chance to ask him a few questions about the 2013 season.
Larry: First, tell us how the off season has gone. I doubt most fans realize the enormous amount of work the coaching staff does during this time.
Coach Whited: The off-season is a very important time relative to the maturation of our returners. We have so little time to spend with them in the fall, as we have to hit the ground running. In the spring we “workout” 5 days a week to improve their physical strength and mental toughness. More importantly, a lot more time is committed with them academically to improve study and organizational skills. The off-season is where we really begin to see them mature into young men.
Larry: How has practice gone so far?
Coach Whited: Practice has been very upbeat; the players have already begun to develop working relationships with each other. The squad is doing a very good job of morphing into the team we need to be this year. I am pleased at this point.
Larry: Last year’s team was very young. Are most of the guys back from last season?
Coach Whited: We will be experienced at the QB, WR, and LB positions with a sprinkling of returners in the secondary. We will be young at RB and upfront on both sides of the ball, but athletic.
Larry: The team last year seemed to blossom late and really played well during the second half of the season. Is it possible to carry that momentum into this season?
Coach Whited: Being a 2-year program, I believe every year you have to re-establish that momentum. The make-up of a JC team is very dynamic and changes each year. It is important that some key freshman acclimate quickly and play at a high level.
Larry: Who are some of the key players that you are looking for to make big contributions this year, on both sides of the ball?
Coach Whited: Obviously we are looking for our returning sophs that played extensively last year to play even better. I am looking for Josh Boulware and Raymond Pinkston (LB’s) to play much better this year and lead the defense. On offense, Terrence Tatume and William Hanford (WR’s) had very good seasons last year, but need to play better. At QB, Trey Mitchell is our guy. Although new to our program last spring he has experience at the college level and is big and athletic at 6’ 3 200lbs. He will be the key to our success on offense.
Larry: Will we see the same type of spread offense again this season?
Coach Whited: Yes, but at a higher tempo.
Larry: Would you care to make a prediction about this season?
Coach Whited: I constantly talk to our players about living in the moment–don’t swing for the fence, you will strikeout too often and hit a single on a daily basis and eventually you will score big. I cannot predict the future. Our only goal as a team and program at this moment is to win game 1; College of the Sequoias.
Larry: Compare Coach Whited of 2009 with Coach Whited of 2013. How have you changed or have you?
Coach Whited: I was a micro manager my first couple of years as the HFC. I have learned to delegate better and trust that my coaches will be professional in carrying out their daily duties. They want to win as bad as I do.
As a long time sports fan and sports reporter, one of my favorite things to see is a coach or a player succeed when there are a lot of detractors out there. In his first couple of seasons as head coach at Reedley College, Randy Whited had some pretty severe critics. He not only has persevered, in my opinion he has turned a corner and has proven that he is not only a fine defensive coach, who helped make the Tigers state and national champs in 2002, but also a fine head coach. He has a system, he has stuck to it and now it’s time to reap the benefits. I can’t wait to see the 2013 Tigers in action. You can also get a preview of the team at the annual Orange and Black Scrimmage on August 29th, at six PM at Reedley High Stadium. Admission is free.
Click here to see this year’s game schedule. Also, once the season begins watch for game recaps every week.