New FCS coaches to make debuts
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Fifteen of the 16 new head coaches in the Football Championship will debut this week.
The two who face off know each other quite well.
When Grambling State and Alcorn State meet Saturday night at the Port City Classic in Shreveport, La., Doug Williams will begin his second stint as Grambling State's head coach and Melvin Spears will lead Alcorn State into action. The two are first cousins and Spears was Williams' offensive coordinator during the former Super Bowl MVP's first turn with the Tigers, then replaced him after he departed from the post.
It's a family affair, with Grambling true freshman quarterback D.J. Williams making his first start for his father, but Doug Williams says it's a Southwestern Athletic Conference game above everything.
"Look, this is not Doug vs. Melvin," he said. "This is the Grambling Tigers against Alcorn State - a great natural rivalry. We're both trying to get to Birmingham (Ala., the site of the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game in December) and it starts with Grambling and Alcorn facing off in Shreveport. That's really what this game is all about."
Grambling won last year's game, 38-28, on its way to a 9-2 season. Alcorn State finished with a 5-6 record.
The only new FCS head coach making his debut Thursday night when the season kicks off is Henry Frazier III, who will lead North Carolina Central into action at Rutgers. Frazier was named the 2009 Eddie Robinson Award winner as national coach of the year at Prairie View A&M.
Four other new MEAC head coaches debut on Saturday: Delaware State's Kermit Blount at VMI; Howard's Gary Harrell at Eastern Michigan; North Carolina A&T's Rod Broadway against Virginia-Lynchburg; and Savannah State's Steve Davenport at Albany State in Macon, Ga.
Mike Kramer, the former head coach at Eastern Washington and Montana State, will coach his first game at Idaho State when the Bengals visit Washington State. Also in the Big Sky, Northern Colorado and new head coach Earnest Collins Jr. will face Division II Lindenwood.
Two new head coaches in the Southern Conference are ready for their openers: Elon's Jason Swepson at Vanderbilt and Furman's Bruce Fowler at Coastal Carolina
Richmond's Wayne Lineburg, named the interim head coach last week following the resignation of Latrell Scott, has a tough opening assignment at Duke. Lineburg will be busy, as he also remains the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011.
Texas State's Dennis Franchione will lead his squad into its final season opener on the FCS level as the Bobcats have an FBS assignment at Texas Tech. The Bobcats will rise to the FBS and join the Western Athletic Conference next year.
Garder-Webb's Ron Dickerson Jr. doesn't have the same type of difficult assignment as his Runnin' Bulldogs host Division II Brevard
On Sunday, Heishma Northern, Frazier's successor at Prairie View A&M, will lead the Panthers against Bethune-Cookman in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, Fla. Prairie View will try to cut into the MEAC's 4-2 series lead.
Texas Southern interim head coach Kevin Ramsey will take considerable interest in that game as he will make his debut against Prairie View on Sept. 10. Ramsey was the defensive coordinator for last year's SWAC championship club at Texas Southern.
08/31 15:04:22 ET