PLAS football starts spring drills

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Sports Writer

A new era at Pike Liberal Arts will began on Monday afternoon when for the first time in 24 years DeWight Ward will not be on the sidelines when spring football drills begin Monday.

Mack Williams will take over the reigns as the new head coach replacing Ward, who is retiring after 23 successful years on the PLAS campus.

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Approximately 30 players were expected to dress when the Patriots kicked off the two week drills, hoping to improve on last year’s 3-7 mark. At least 15 seniors are expected to play significant roles for the Patriots this season as they attempt to return to the AISA state playoffs for the first time since 1997.

While understanding the importance of spring training at a first year school, Williams said he doesn’t put in much stock into the drills like most coaches do.

"I call it an in-house camp because we will not put on any pads and helmets," Williams said. "It’s a more instructional type thing than spring football drills. I’ve done it for 14 years because I’ve never been a spring training person."

Williams said he’s looking forward to challenge of showing the Patriots his winning ways from his days at Dixie Academy and Lowndes Academy.

"I’ve been in Troy twice and met with the kids twice over the last month," Williams said. "I’ve talked to a good many and I’m anxious to get started and see what we’re going to do. We want to get to know the players and see how they understand Coach Mack’s philosophies."

However, it will be the summer when Williams really challenges the players harder during offseason conditioning work.

The Patriots are scheduled to workout three nights per week beginning June 4 in the weight room leading up to the start of fall practice. in late July.

Williams, who will be calling the plays this fall, said he hopes to install a balanced multiple offense which will take advantage of the many quality skilled players PLAS will have against its opponents.

Defensively, Williams has hired Paul Kircharr to be the new defensive coordinator for the Patriots. Kircharr, who played on a state championship team at Wilcox Academy and served as a successful assistant in the 1990s as a assistant, is returning to coaching after serving as a youth director at a church in Tennessee. Williams said Kircharr will install a 4-4 defense which should help the Patriots emphasize stopping the run and the pass.