Thanks to Centerville Head Coach Ron Ullery OhioPrepScene had a chance to sit down and talk about the 2003 season.
OPS: How have summer workouts been going?
Coach Ullery: Summer workouts always go good here. They always do. These kids work hard, we've finished up with one more week. We then will take a week off. Were a little different than other schools in that we take the week off before two or three a days start. We have done that for the 27 years I have been at Centerville. Were kind of in the middle of testing now but we work hard. The kids ran 44 40's today in a row and they have to run hard. If they don't run hard they have to go right back and do it again. That is kind of a tradition here in that we run the 44 40's. But summer workouts have been great this year. Out of 65 kids we only had 2 miss today, and both of them were on family vacations. We start our workouts at 5:00 a.m.
OPS: What's your outlook for the season?
Coach Ullery: I'm no perdiction guru but I feel confident about what we can do this season. We have some areas to fill in QB and we lost a couple of WR's from last season. But I feel good about were we sit this year.
OPS: Any players who are standing out as leaders or who your captions are.
Coach Ullery: We have named our captions before of passing league started. Were looking at the senior class as a whole to lead this team. I feel we have a great Sr. Class that will lead by example.
OPS: How many seniors on this years team?
Coach Ullery: We have 23 seniors this season.
OPS: Any team goals for this season?
Coach Ullery: Win the first game. I know its an old saying but we take one game at a time here. When we break down its 1,2,3 Elk Pride then 1,2,3 beat who were playing next. So now its Fairfield. So we go a week at a time here.
OPS: What players do you have that are DI recruits?
Coach Ullery: Eric Larrimer is a DI recruit. He stands 6'5 and is about 300 lbs. right now. He's a better lineman on film than what he is in drills. He comes off the ball better on Friday night than what it is in drills. His pass protection is better on Friday night that what it is in drills. I even called a few college coaches and told them this, he will get more offers but its going to be after they see game film for the first week. But he's going to make someone a great lineman.
OPS: What has it been like replacing Coach Gregg?
Coach Ullery: I don't feel like I have replaced Coach Gregg. I just steeped in and took over what he built. He is one of the most misunderstood men I know. But he allowed his coaches to coach and if you told him you could do it you better do it and do it right. He is the most influential man in my life other than my father. He was great to work for. He understood motivating the mind of young men and getting the most of them. He could get that extra from players.
OPS: What led you to coaching?
Coach Ullery: I grew up in Brookville and was always involved in sports. I went to Bowling Green and played baseball and just want to be involved with sports. I loved high school and having the chance to work in that environment is something I really enjoy.
OPS: What has changed since you started in coaching?
Coach Ullery: Well every thing trickles down from the pro's and college and many high school follow with the same. I know the numbers are down since I started. We would have 90-95 kids every year when I started and now with the demands that number is more like 65. I don't think the kids have changed that much. I think parents have changed and some don't ask more out of their children because they don't want to put to much on them. But kids will surprise you and handle more than you could ever think. Kids today know what we ask of them. We don't have to cut, those who play know what will be asked of them and are willing to work for it. High school football really hasn't changed, there is nothing better than a Friday night in the fall.
OPS: Explain Elk Pride to me?
Coach Ullery: I tell you, we have a tape that was made about 8-10 years ago. Herbstreit was the mc and it really tells you about Elk Pride. Its something within this school. When a sport team is not doing well the kids feel bad. They kind of feel like outcast. They want to do well. I see it in our band program and also in other sports. Our basketball program is playing very well and many of our other programs have been doing well. I know that during the season we have many of the alumni return for a football game and they still have Elk Pride. In fact they are the ones that can explain it better than me. I know that when we played in the state championship in 91 all of those guys took ownership in that game. They really felt they were playing in that game. So those guys live and die with what we do on Friday nights. I know they ask me all the time if I'm backing off them as compared it was for them. I don't think they really understand Elk Pride until they leave and have a chance to look back at what they did.
OPS: Everyone always talk about Wayne - Centerville what's your feeling about this game.
Coach Ullery: I think its a healthy thing. Wayne - Centerville is a really heated rivalry. I would like to think that they really like us, but they don't like us and we don't like them. I hope they respect us. I feel Jay has done a great job with that program and its a top program. I would hope that Jay feels the same about us as a program. Its kind of like the old Ohio State against Michigan. For years it was always those two teams fighting it out for a championship. That is the way Wayne - Centerville is, for years it was these two teams going for the championship. Now that has changed some with South and Xenia in the mix but that is what high school football is all about. Football is not like other sports. You can't play football like you do other sports like baseball or golf. When you go onto the field you must have a fever pitch, because if I don't kick your rear your going to kick mine. That is what Wayne - Centerville is all about. We know that a lot of people don't like us. If they like us that would mean were not winning.
I would like to Thank Coach Ullery for the time. We hope as OhioPrepScene grows you will see more stories about programs like Centerville and other top programs from across the state.