AUGUSTA, Ga. – Paine College football head coach Greg Ruffin addressed members of the media and the community Oct. 8. The press conference was held inside of the Infiniti of Augusta Showroom as the dealership and Paine Athletics have formed a partnership for the coming season.
The Lions are set to play Georgia Prep Sports Academy on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at Laney Stadium. This game marks the college's first football game in over 50 years. Coach Ruffin began the press conference by introducing his coaching staff. He then gave a statement regarding the upcoming game and season and took questions from the audience, which included media, alumni and members of the community.
"We are thrilled to be here today, my staff and myself, to take on the task of restoring the roar to the gridiron," stated Ruffin.
Former Seahawk Edwin Bailey is serving as assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Bailey and Ruffin coached together in the past when Ruffin led the Shaw Bears to their first football season in 24 years in 2002. On the defensive side of the ball, Gerard Washington will serve as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Washington enters with coaching experience from his alma mater Benedict College where he was named to the All-Conference team three times.
Edgefield, S.C., native Cicory Hillary is coaching the wide receivers. Hillary was one of Appalachian State's stars in their iconic 2007 win over No. 5 Michigan. Anthony Young, former quarterback and wide receiver for Wake Forest, will coach the quarterbacks. Paine's running backs are coached by Demetris Williams who joins the staff with 14 years of experience. Williams spent last season coaching at Augusta Christian High School where the team won the 2012 State Championship. Patrick Steed has experience coaching middle school and high school teams in the area and will coach Paine's tight ends.
Charles Prescott II wears two hats at Paine College. Prescott coaches the defensive line and is the Assistant Chief of Police at Paine. Collegiately Prescott played at Valdosta State and Morehouse and is entering his first year as a coach. James Newsome is assisting Prescott as the assistant defensive line coach. Newsome has held positions at the college and high school level. He also completed a fellowship in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints as their defensive line coach.
Coaching the safeties and coordinating special teams is Jacob Mathis. Mathis most recently handled defensive quality control for Texas Tech and Georgia Southern and is a Clemson alum. Rounding out the staff is linebackers coach Marcus Jamison. Jamison played for Coach Ruffin at Jackson State and was one of the top linebackers in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) during his time there.
Paine takes the field Oct. 12 against Georgia Prep Sports Academy at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.paineathletics.com or by visiting the Paine College Business Office in Haygood-Holsey Hall.
Head Coach Greg Ruffin
On the biggest challenges of the upcoming season…
"The biggest challenge will be trying to achieve some level of continuity having not played a game. We scrimmaged last week and we are just trying to make sure we are staying consistent and disciplined. We want to make sure we have the least amount of penalties. A low amount of penalties is a direct reflection of how disciplined we are as a team. But, we do want to make sure that we understand that it is the first game. We have to get through the first game before we move on."
On the size of the team…
"When we had the initial try out we had 247 kids try out for football. We had approximately 161 to start off. We are now right around 131 kids in the program. We are going to dress 89 individuals on Saturday. We have kids that won't dress Saturday that could easily play for us. Knowing that you have kids that won't dress that are just as good as some of the kids that will dress is one of the hardest things."
On his outlook for the season…
"I expect to win them all really. I think we are that talented. I believe that if we play together and stick with our scheme, we can win."
On the reception from the community…
"It's twofold. When it first started out it was more of a ‘so Paine's going to start football'. Then when people saw the numbers at the tryout, that's when it took off. People saw that there was a genuine interest in Paine college football and not just for the Augusta community. We had kids from over six different states including Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas come just to try out. That showed people not only can it work but it will work."
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