Leaving a legacy

Terrance Williams has only been the coach at Leesville High School for two years, but he couldn't have made the move from Texas to Louisiana at a better time. The Wampus Cats' head coach had the luxury of coaching one of Louisiana's top running backs in Michael Ford, and the five-star back that is headed to LSU will certainly leave his mark on the Leesville program.

When Williams was preparing to leave Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas in the spring of 2007, he had already heard the comparisons that were being made.

Leesville was best known for producing former LSU running back Cecil Collins, who some were already proclaiming to be the best running back in LSU history after only four games of action. Those claims didn’t last long; however, as Collins’ career never materialized after a string of arrests, including one more in South Florida that ended his time with the Miami Dolphins and landed him a spot in the Florida Department of Corrections.

 

The No. 34 that Leesville fans cheered on in the 1990’s will always be remembered for what he accomplished on the field, but that will never overshadow the blunders he made outside the lines.

 

Collins shredded opposing defenses for 7,833 yards while at Leesville, but any comparison made between the former Wampus Cat and Michael Ford ends there.

 

“I tell you what the two years I got to spend with Michael has been a blessing,” Williams said. “He’s been a sponge and soaked everything I had to offer. Now, he’s able to give back to the guys that are still here in the program, because they understand the hard work, the extra hours and attention to detail that he put in.”

 

The qualities that Williams uses to describe Ford helped the standout back overcome his fair share of adversity the last couple of years.

 

Ford burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he took over the reigns and became Leesville’s No. 1 back midway through the season. He ended the year with 1,339 yards and 18 touchdowns, but that was only a prelude of things to come. Or so he thought.

 

Ford entered his junior campaign with high hopes, but a broken collarbone in week three dashed those expectations.

 

A broken collarbone on the second series would end the night for 99.9 percent of the players out there. However, Ford continued to play and toppled the 100-yard mark before his coach realized that he was injured, and pulled him out of the game in the second quarter.

 

On the year, Ford finished with 567 yards and four scores, but that was nowhere near the season that he and those close to him predicted.

 

That set the scene for what turned out to be a year to remember for Ford, who was ranked the third best back in the country by Scout.com.

 

Williams watched as Ford set record after record during his senior season, and brought home just about every award imaginable.

 

After rushing for 2,953 yards and 29 touchdowns, Ford was named a Parade All-American amongst all of the other honors and awards he pulled in.

 

With his senior year nearly complete and an expected arrival at LSU set for June 1, Ford has been working overtime on getting himself ready to play for the Tigers as a true freshman.

 

While other members of the 2009 signing class may still be trying to adapt to the rigorous workout plan that LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt is known for, Ford is not one of them.

 

“I’ve been doing his workout everywhere I’ve been since Coach Moffitt has been at LSU,” Williams said. “I learn from people that I call the best and I’ll give him that title of being one of, if not the, best strength coaches in college football.”

 

While Williams has incorporated Moffitt’s workout in his program, Ford has had to take it up several notches the past month.

 

“It’s hard work doing it, but I’m just trying to stay in shape so I don’t go to college blindfolded,” Ford said. “It’s a combination of speed, lifting heavy and a lot of reps.  It’s very intense, but I can’t do everything right now so I just do the basic stuff.”

 

Even though Ford will not be suiting up for the Wampus Cats next season, Williams still observes his workouts and makes sure that he remembers what got him to this point.


Michael Ford is a workout warrior

“He’s doing good and one thing he’s learned is that you have to continue to do the things that got you to where you are,” said Williams. “He’s in that elite group of 2,800 kids that signed Division I scholarships, so he knows that he’s got to continue to work.”

 

“I tease him all the time that if he’s not giving it all he’s got on a lift or a certain drill, I joke with him and tell him not to embarrass me when you get over there with Coach Moffitt,” Williams added with a laugh.

 

Williams doesn’t have to tease Ford much about not giving it his all, and the results are proof if there are still any doubters out there.

 

“I’ve really been working on my speed, strength and endurance,” said Ford, who now checks in at 5-foot-10 and 209 pounds. “I haven’t maxed out yet, but I was doing 405 and next week when I max out I should be doing 425 or 435. I haven’t really timed myself either, but I picked up a couple of pounds and I hope to run a 4.4-flat.”

 

Ford knows that he may be called upon quicker than he initially thought when he gets to LSU. The Tigers have signed only one true tailback in the last three years, and that one is no other than Ford himself after Dexter Pratt opted to sign with Oklahoma State.

 

“It speeds it up a little bit with me being the only one, but they’re going to recruit running backs for this new class,” said Ford. “I may get thrown in there a little earlier now, but that doesn’t affect me. I just need to pay attention to the coaches and the older players then everything should be alright.”

 

Before Ford can suit up for the Tigers there is still some unfinished business that he must tend to at Leesville. He has two months to go before he graduates and he is still working on getting academically qualified. Ford expects to receive the results from his latest attempt at the ACT next Monday, and he needs to improve his score from a 15 to a 16 according to Williams, along with maintaining his core grade point average.

 

“He’s still working to get everything in order, but he has time,” Williams said. “He’s real close with the sliding scale. His GPA has improved tremendously, and if everything ended today he would be around a 2.6 or 2.7. He needs one more point on the ACT, and he should get his new score next Monday.”

 

By the next time next Monday arrives Ford will have right at seven weeks to go until his time at Leesville officially comes to an end. That is a day that Williams is not looking forward to, because it will be one filled with mixed emotions.

 

However, Michael Ford’s impact will be felt for years to come, and people will finally be able to talk about another Leesville running back, but in a much different manner.

 

“You can hear it from our junior high kids saying they are going to be the next Michael Ford,” Williams explained. “They’re putting that effort in while they’re in the weight room. Sometime when they see Michael put 400 pounds on the bench press it will just get completely silent in the weight room. I’ll see them walk away and hear them saying that’s going to be them one day.”


Tiger Blitz Top Stories

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Leesville was best known for producing former LSU running back Cecil Collins, who some were already proclaiming to be the best running back in LSU history after only four games of action. Those claims didn’t last long; however, as Collins’ career never materialized after a string of arrests, including one more in South Florida that ended his time with the Miami Dolphins and landed him a spot in the Florida Department of Corrections.

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The No. 34 that Leesville fans cheered on in the 1990’s will always be remembered for what he accomplished on the field, but that will never overshadow the blunders he made outside the lines.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Collins shredded opposing defenses for 7,833 yards while at Leesville, but any comparison made between the former Wampus Cat and Michael Ford ends there.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“I tell you what the two years I got to spend with Michael has been a blessing,” Williams said. “He’s been a sponge and soaked everything I had to offer. Now, he’s able to give back to the guys that are still here in the program, because they understand the hard work, the extra hours and attention to detail that he put in.”

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The qualities that Williams uses to describe Ford helped the standout back overcome his fair share of adversity the last couple of years.

\r\n

 

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Ford burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he took over the reigns and became Leesville’s No. 1 back midway through the season. He ended the year with 1,339 yards and 18 touchdowns, but that was only a prelude of things to come. Or so he thought.

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Ford entered his junior campaign with high hopes, but a broken collarbone in week three dashed those expectations.

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A broken collarbone on the second series would end the night for 99.9 percent of the players out there. However, Ford continued to play and toppled the 100-yard mark before his coach realized that he was injured, and pulled him out of the game in the second quarter.

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On the year, Ford finished with 567 yards and four scores, but that was nowhere near the season that he and those close to him predicted.

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That set the scene for what turned out to be a year to remember for Ford, who was ranked the third best back in the country by Scout.com.

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Williams watched as Ford set record after record during his senior season, and brought home just about every award imaginable.

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After rushing for 2,953 yards and 29 touchdowns, Ford was named a Parade All-American amongst all of the other honors and awards he pulled in.

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With his senior year nearly complete and an expected arrival at LSU set for June 1, Ford has been working overtime on getting himself ready to play for the Tigers as a true freshman.

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While other members of the 2009 signing class may still be trying to adapt to the rigorous workout plan that LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt is known for, Ford is not one of them.

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“I’ve been doing his workout everywhere I’ve been since Coach Moffitt has been at LSU,” Williams said. “I learn from people that I call the best and I’ll give him that title of being one of, if not the, best strength coaches in college football.”

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While Williams has incorporated Moffitt’s workout in his program, Ford has had to take it up several notches the past month.

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“It’s hard work doing it, but I’m just trying to stay in shape so I don’t go to college blindfolded,” Ford said. “It’s a combination of speed, lifting heavy and a lot of reps.  It’s very intense, but I can’t do everything right now so I just do the basic stuff.”

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Even though Ford will not be suiting up for the Wampus Cats next season, Williams still observes his workouts and makes sure that he remembers what got him to this point.

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Michael Ford is a workout warrior\r\n\r\n
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“He’s doing good and one thing he’s learned is that you have to continue to do the things that got you to where you are,” said Williams. “He’s in that elite group of 2,800 kids that signed Division I scholarships, so he knows that he’s got to continue to work.”

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\r\n

“I tease him all the time that if he’s not giving it all he’s got on a lift or a certain drill, I joke with him and tell him not to embarrass me when you get over there with Coach Moffitt,” Williams added with a laugh.

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\r\n

Williams doesn’t have to tease Ford much about not giving it his all, and the results are proof if there are still any doubters out there.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“I’ve really been working on my speed, strength and endurance,” said Ford, who now checks in at 5-foot-10 and 209 pounds. “I haven’t maxed out yet, but I was doing 405 and next week when I max out I should be doing 425 or 435. I haven’t really timed myself either, but I picked up a couple of pounds and I hope to run a 4.4-flat.”

\r\n

 

\r\n

Ford knows that he may be called upon quicker than he initially thought when he gets to LSU. The Tigers have signed only one true tailback in the last three years, and that one is no other than Ford himself after Dexter Pratt opted to sign with Oklahoma State.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“It speeds it up a little bit with me being the only one, but they’re going to recruit running backs for this new class,” said Ford. “I may get thrown in there a little earlier now, but that doesn’t affect me. I just need to pay attention to the coaches and the older players then everything should be alright.”

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\r\n

Before Ford can suit up for the Tigers there is still some unfinished business that he must tend to at Leesville. He has two months to go before he graduates and he is still working on getting academically qualified. Ford expects to receive the results from his latest attempt at the ACT next Monday, and he needs to improve his score from a 15 to a 16 according to Williams, along with maintaining his core grade point average.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“He’s still working to get everything in order, but he has time,” Williams said. “He’s real close with the sliding scale. His GPA has improved tremendously, and if everything ended today he would be around a 2.6 or 2.7. He needs one more point on the ACT, and he should get his new score next Monday.”

\r\n

 

\r\n

By the next time next Monday arrives Ford will have right at seven weeks to go until his time at Leesville officially comes to an end. That is a day that Williams is not looking forward to, because it will be one filled with mixed emotions.

\r\n

 

\r\n

However, Michael Ford’s impact will be felt for years to come, and people will finally be able to talk about another Leesville running back, but in a much different manner.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“You can hear it from our junior high kids saying they are going to be the next Michael Ford,” Williams explained. “They’re putting that effort in while they’re in the weight room. Sometime when they see Michael put 400 pounds on the bench press it will just get completely silent in the weight room. I’ll see them walk away and hear them saying that’s going to be them one day.”

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