|OC ‘Family Guy’ Fowler is defensive guru |
|Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 5:19 pm |
Call him crazy, but Greg Fowler insists he’ll prefer living in rural Northwest Tennessee over the Florida beach.
And he has four good reasons to believe that.
“I’m a small-town guy. And I was just looking for a more community-minded place for my family than what I experienced in Florida,” said Fowler, a father of four and Obion County Central’s new defensive coordinator.
A 29-year-old dad to two boys and two girls, Fowler — a native of Hillsdale, Mich. (population under 10,000) — said the best interests of his family prompted him to migrate closer to his small-town roots after seven seasons coaching in the Sunshine State.
“I like the environment here,” he said. “My kids can go outside and ride their bikes. There seems to be a closeness and a sense of caring about the community.
“The programs in Florida are not like that. The towns are more transient-based and there’s not as much pride because nobody’s fully vested. Everybody seems to really care about their school and sports program here, and I like that it seems like a safe place to raise my kids.”
Fowler spent last season at New Smyrna Beach High School and had three two-year stints at other Florida schools before that. He said he became aware of the OC vacancy created when Kevin Goltra resigned to take a job in Kenwood through the Florida prep circuit of coaching assistants where both Rebel skipper Shawn Jackson and aide Chuck Foley previously served.
The new Rebel defensive coordinator said he’ll install a 3-5 alignment and will have a singular goal to “get off the field.”
“They had some good success offensively at Obion last year, and we’ll just try to get them the ball back as quickly as we can and let them do their thing,” Fowler stated. “About the only statistic I’ll be really concerned with is how many three-and-outs we have.
“The type of defense we’ll play will be totally different from what these young men at Obion Central have played in the past. They’ll be expected to be versatile and play multiple positions, and our biggest goal will be to give the ball back to our offense as many times as we can in a game.”
The Rebels showed marked improvement from the season before in Goltra’s only year in charge of the defense. They went from giving up more than 430 yards and 45 points-per-game in 2008, to 276 yards and just over 22 ppg last season.
The marked improvement on that side of the ball was critical to Central’s stunning turnaround that turned a two-year, 20-game losing streak into just the 10th winning season in the 49-year history of the program and the Rebels’ eighth-ever playoff berth.
Seven of the unit’s top eight tacklers from last season graduated, however, including linebacker Blake Boyd, who had 115 tackles his senior year and 205 total over his last two seasons.
The hiring of Fowler completes Jackson’s staff, entering his third season at OCCHS. Holdovers will include Foley (defensive backs), Adam Dowland (defensive line), Billy Windsor (offensive tackles) and Ronnie Fair (outside linebackers), the latter of whom joined the program late last season and whose son, LaDevin, transferred from Fulton County in the winter after starting two seasons as a starting running back for the Pilots.
Chris Smith (wide receivers) was a new hire in the spring, while former Rebel lineman Chase Roney will work with the team as a paraprofessional — like Fair.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.