Give them time

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Well….it didn’t take long. We are three weeks into regular season play and the rumblings have already begun about our two new local football coaches.

I am of course referring to Willie Roberson at Bertie and Greg Watford at Hertford County.

For the first time in quite a while, the most exciting local football is not being played by Bears or Falcons.

Rather, it is being played by Red Barons, Warriors, and even the Rams!

Although this is viewed as a welcome change to the fans of those respective teams, many locals have already begun to approach me questioning whether these coaches have what it takes to get the job done.

Let me make my answer very clear to all of you, absolutely!

Take Bertie for example, the Falcons are 1-2 following a loss to defending state champs Greenville Rose.

Their other loss came on the road at the hands of a good Wilson Hunt team.

True, their lone win came against Goldsboro, a squad that will be competing with Washington in a race to see who can finish last in the Eastern Carolina 3A conference, but a win is a win and the Falcons showed a lot of promise in that game.

Irregardless of the success Bertie has had in the past, Coach Roberson did not inherit a state championship quality team.

What he inherited was a squad with only 11 letterman returning from a 5-6 season that is now led by a freshman quarterback.

It is a squad with a lot of potential, but it is going to take some time for this young group to get acclimated to his coaching style and system.

Give him some time and he is going to make a lot of Bertie faithful very happy.

Now let’s redirect our focus across county lines to the Bears.

I, along with many, had high expectations for this squad.

Coach Watford has 26 letterman returning from a 9-3 team.

He also has an undefeated JV team with which to pull new talent from.

I saw this and wrote them in as Northeastern-Coastal champs.

There was a lot I didn’t see though.

For example, although the Bears enjoyed a good season last year, this is still the third coach in three years to lead this team.

That lack of stability was bound to take its toll eventually.

I think it has.

Secondly, unlike Bertie where Coach Roberson has installed a slight variance of the system they have run for years, Coach Watford has this team running a triple option offense and a 5-3 defense.

When executed correctly, both are almost impossible to stop. May I remind everyone that this is the same system, run by the same man, that ended the Bears season in the first round of the playoffs last year.

The triple option, along with the 5-3, are complicated sets to run correctly, it is going to take some time for these young men to understand it well enough to execute it on the field.

These two schools have what I consider to be two of the best coaching staffs in the state, both staffs are led not only by excellent coaches, but great men.

These men need time to do their job and we need to give them our support, they have earned it.

I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is Thanks for reading.