by Larry Ham
Football season is almost here! For a sports fan like me, those are great words to hear. The Reedley College Tigers will begin their season at home September tenth, when they host Foothill College at seven p.m. Head Coach Randy Whited recently answered a few questions regarding the upcoming season.
Larry: This is your third season as Head Coach, how do you like being the head honcho?
Whited: The transition from Assistant to Head Coach is quite dynamic, particularly as it relates to staff management and all the administrative duties that go with the title. Not only was there an adjustment period for myself but also for my assistants as they now had to see me in a different light. The transition period is over! I embrace the responsibilities of being the Head Football Coach of the Tiger Football program and am very excited for the 2011 season to begin.
Larry: JC Football is a transitional experience by definition, with a completely new team every two seasons, but this year is really extreme. I can’t remember a Tiger squad with more freshmen than this year. Does this present any special challenges for you and the rest of the coaches?
Whited: All JC Football programs are “young” as we never have those “5th year seniors”; we approach each year like they all are freshman. Each year is a new year, the challenges do not change.
Larry: How is this year’s team shaping up?
Whited: This is going to be a very athletic football team with improved speed and size at all positions. So far this group of young men have shown a good football IQ, are willing to work, and are making good decisions academically, socially, and athletically. I like the chemistry of this group so far.
Larry: If you had to describe what we’ll see on offense, would it be a passing oriented attack, a running oriented attack, or a combination?
Whited: Offensively, we want to be balanced in the run and pass game but will take advantage of any weaknesses that our opponents have. The bottom line is that we will do what is necessary to win games. You can look for a physical, Tight End oriented power run game with the play-action pass off of it but will also see four wide receiver sets and the ability to spread the field.
Larry: I know we are still a couple of weeks away from the beginning of the season, but can you share with us a few players who you expect to make significant contributions this season?
Whited: We have moved Eric Sykes from the defensive line to linebacker this year and are very excited about his skill set and the leadership he is bringing to this team; look for Eric to have a very good year. Lucus Gingold (Buchanan High) is back at Fullback and is a big physical back, and is currently on the radar of some major four year programs. Luke Taylor (Immanuel High) is a returning ten game starter from last year and will anchor our offensive line unit; he has transitioned nicely to the center position. I am most impressed with Jamel Turner’s progress at tight end. He came to us last year as a receiver; we moved him to tight end about three games into the season and he struggled with the move. He has had a great spring and is currently having a very good camp; look for a break out year from Jamel.
Larry: We all know you as Head Coach of the Football team, but you are also an instructor in Health Sciences. What’s a typical day like for you on campus during football season?
Whited: My day mostly consists of administrative tasks related to managing the Health Science/ Physical Education Department as the Department Chair and the football program. I do teach a couple classes in the fall.
Larry: And finally – if you wouldn’t mind taking out the crystal ball – what kind of season will the Tigers have this year?
Whited: After last year’s atypical 3-7 season you can rest assured that you will see great improvement from this year’s squad. We WILL play fast and physical!!! We hope to see you all at our home opener against Foothill College on Saturday Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Reedley High School. GO TIGERS!!!!!!!
I will second that last statement by coach Whited. The Tigers have enjoyed a pretty loyal fan base over the years, but I think we can do better supporting this outstanding program. Let’s get out and support the Tigers in huge numbers this year! Both of the Tigers’ big rivalry games – Fresno City and COS – are home games this year, so c’mon out and enjoy some great football! And if you can’t make it to the five road games, remember that every Tiger game will be available on a live webcast, at reedleycollege.edu. See you at the games!
Watch for a Reedley Tigers Football game recap every Monday evening at 7 p.m. beginning September 12.