Today, he’ll have on the head coach’s headset when Itawamba Community College hosts Hinds at 7 p.m. at Lambert Stadium in Fulton.
“The biggest difference is that I’m losing sleep over a whole team instead of one position,” Williams said, then laughed. “Really, it hasn’t been as much stress as I thought it would. Everything’s happening so fast.”
Williams, who was offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Indians and former head coach Jeff Terrill last season, also credits his assistants for making debut week less difficult.
“This coaching staff has done a phenomenal job,” he said.
Williams has a lot of the same opening day concerns as any other coach – getting people on and off the field on special teams, drive-stopping penalties and mistakes, and conditioning.
“The first game you always worry about conditioning,” he said. “We’ve really tried to improve our practice habits. We made a concerted effort to simulate the speed of the game in practice.
“We try to condition through practice. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue.”
ICC, 2-7 in 2009, will open the season with a new quarterback, freshman Andy Wilson from Spring, Texas. He won the job in fall camp over Canden Dallas, a freshman from Pontotoc.
Wilson “makes good decisions,” offensive coordinator Gabe Fertitta said on media day. “He understands you don’t have to make great, unbelievable plays.”
Defensively, sophomore Xavian Evans is expected to be a leader and force. He played tight end last season. Two others second-year players being counted on are linebacker Kelsey Stovall and DB Tevin Blanchard.
“Our goal is not to give up the big play,” defensive coordinator Sean Cannon said.
Hinds, 3-6 a year ago, is led by all-star defensive lineman Leon Mackey and wide receiver/quarterback Les Lemons.
Northeast’s 500th game
Northeast third-year head coach Ricky Smither takes his Tigers to Decatur to play East Central in what will mark the program’s 500th game.
The Tigers are 176-310-13 since football kicked off in 1949.
Northeast was 2-7 last season, but lost three of those in overtime.
“Although our record may not have reflected it, we were successful last year,” Smither said. “I think we accomplished a lot of good things and we are looking forward to building off those positives this year.”
Clint Wilson returns at quarterback to lead the offense. One of his top targets will be former Oklahoma and Troy wide receiver Josh Jarboe.