William Blount Governors

During the off season longtime football coach Ron Phelps was coaxed out of retirement to take over the program at William Blount. The Governors have had successful seasons but have yet to get over the proverbial hump and challenge for postseason honors. That is job one for Coach Phelps.

"This community wants some tradition instilled in the football team and the only way you can do that is to win football games," said Coach Phelps. "These kids have always played with a lot of heart. They are real close and just need a big winning season to put us over the top. We are going to try and build a winning attitude around here," continued the Coach.

While the Governors have made appearances in the playoffs, they have yet to make a serious postseason run. "Our goal is to make the playoffs and win," said Coach Phelps. "We have great senior leadership. Our staff must build on what has happened in the past and not let the players get complacent and satisfied with a 5-5 season." The 2002 season was a case in point as William Blount finished 5-6 with a first round thumping at the hands of a strong Kingsport team.

Coach Phelps has brought a new ground oriented attack to the Governors in the form of the Wing-T offense. In seasons past, William Blount has been a passing team so this is a dramatic change in philosophy.

The Governors won't entirely junk the passing game because senior quarterback Craig Wojociehowski (5'11" 185) returns after throwing for over 1800 yards a year ago. "Wojo" has a strong accurate arm and is one of the best returning signal callers in East Tennessee. His understudy will be junior Andy Nick (5'9" 170) while talented sophomore Lucas Wall (5'11" 165) hopes to get some experience at quarterback this year.

Wojociehowski will look for senior wide receiver David Thomas (5'11" 170) in key passing situations. Fellow senior Dustin Anderson (5'8" 150) and sophomore Scotty Rhodes (5'9" 180) hope to make the highlight reel as well at split end. The tight end will be senior Alan Stewart (6'2" 215) and junior Andy Henry (5'10" 170). Senior Micah Wilson (6'0" 210) will get opportunities at tight end.

The running game will be the Governors bread and butter in 2003. Sophomore fullback Brad Walker (6'0" 190) is the fastest kid in Maryville according to Coach Phelps and is poised for a breakout type season. The right wingback will be sophomore Aaron Keener (6'0" 200) and the left wingback senior Josh Bird (5'10" 200). Junior Logan Elliott (5'9" 200) and sophomore transfer Ronald Osborne (6'0" 180) are looking for carries in a crowded backfield. William Blount has good size and speed at running back and should be able to move the chains with regularity this season.

The offensive line will be called upon to blast holes for the backs to roll through. The center will be junior Eric Hatcher (6'5" 315) who is an animal with great potential and a future division one college prospect according to Coach Phelps. The guards should be seniors Bobby Lynch (6'0" 215) and Andy Odell (6'3" 215). The tackles should be big and strong senior Dustin Rauhuff (6'0" 230) and rising sophomore Brian Wendell (5'10" 220). Junior Michael Malone (6'0" 210) and senior Brandon Morgan (6'1" 190) will also see action along what could be an excellent offensive line.

Four starters return to man William Blount's 4-3 defensive alignment. "Our defense is mostly seniors but not many of them have played a lot of football," said Coach Phelps. The line has solid potential with seniors Ryan Grubb (6'1" 200) and Odell at the ends. Grubb was a big timer a year ago as he earned All Region honors a year ago. The tackles feature All Region honoree Zach Dunn (5'10" 205) and fellow senior Andy Beal (5'9" 220) who is a sparkplug according to his coach.

The linebackers are all seniors. Morgan is the man in the middle while Wilson will line up on the weakside at linebacker. The strongside backer should be Stewart. These guys have size, speed and a penchant for arriving at the ball carrier in a nasty mood.

The secondary must be totally rebuilt before the opener. The corners will be senior Justin McBath (5'9" 160) and Anderson. Senior Gerime Studer (5'9" 190) will also get into the rotation at cornerback. The safeties will be Nick and Henry.

Ron Phelps' task is to rebuild the psyche of the William Blount Governors. While the team has been extremely competitive in the past there is potential for more. "Losing is not something I even want to think about," said Coach Phelps. "We want to instill that attitude into our players." The Governors are learning a new ground oriented offense that will be more balanced than in previous years. If the Governors can avoid turnovers or key mistakes that have been costly, their defense should be good enough to keep William Blount in most of their games. The schedule is fierce but look for the ‘Govs to earn another trip to the postseason.

TNPrepsports.com Prediction- 5-5

Playoff Contender- Yes

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