Monday, March 31, 2014

Milchovich ready to lead Ringgold football program

I know Ringgold football fans wanted a big name to replace Matt Humbert as head football coach, but I believe Nick Milchovich is the right guy for the job. The former head coach at California, Charleroi and Peters Township was always hindered by taking over programs that needed a rebuilding effort.

That is not the case at Ringgold.

The Rams return quarterback Nico Law, junior running back Chacar Berry and an offensive line that will dominate the line of scrimmage. When I’ve asked about Milchovich around the area, the same response is floated around: great leader who will be able to attract a strong coaching staff. He is well-liked and knows the area like the back of his hand.

Those are traits that will pay dividends for Ringgold. His biggest challenge will be implementing an offense that suits the strengths of his football team and he’ll need to relate to the players the way Humbert did. His first task should be building a strong working relationship with Law, who saw Humbert as a mentor after spending countless hours watching game film with the former Rams’ coach.

It will be interesting to see if Ringgold can live up to the expectations that were built after last year’s team showed shades of brilliance during its playoff run. One thing is for certain: this team will score a lot of points on offense. Law will need to work with a new group of receivers and hopefully, won’t have to change the way he plays the game.

A new coach implementing a new offense can cause growing pains, which this Ringgold team cannot afford in a section that features Belle Vernon (coached by Humbert), Thomas Jefferson and a Trinity team that is set to improve on last year’s struggles.

I love where this program is heading. Ringgold athletic director Ron McMichael could have gone for a flashy hire, such as an assistant coach for a big time program, but chose a man that built Charleroi into a winner and who led Peters Township to the playoffs in his last season with the Indians.

Milchovich is no stranger when it comes to working with a strong quarterback. During his time with Peters Township, he helped developed Austin Hancock, who was a multi-dimensional threat for the Indians during his four years with the program. Running a multiple set offense, Milchovich has led a program to success in Quad-A’s toughest section.

During Milchovich’s time at Peters Township, it wasn’t the offense that was a cause for concern. It was a defense that missed assignments and had blown coverages against teams like Mt. Lebanon, which forced the coach to start running a 5-2 defense.

The Rams’ biggest goal over the next five months will be to become a stronger, faster football team with an emphasis in the weight room and on endurance drills. When I spoke to Milchovich just hours after he was offered the job, he pointed to strength as a key factor during his offseason conditioning program. In Class AAA, that hard work will need to pay off quickly.

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