Jefferson Preview 8/13/12

Rockford, Illinois-Jefferson hasn't had a winning season since 1993, but there is a sense of optimism at the school. The start of a winning culture was created last year when the J-Hawks went 4-5...their most wins in more than a decade.

"Believing you can win and actually being ready to win are two different things, but I think we've conquered the first hurdle," said new head coach Patrick Babock. "I think we believe we can win football games and play with teams in this conference."

Babcock takes over where former head coach Rick Schmitz left off. The former Illini and Stillman Valley All-State tackle is throwing a lot at his players. He'll have them playing multiple formations on both sides of the ball.

"We're putting a little bit of a learning curve on these guys," said Babcock. "It's going to come down to how fast we can learn it. How fast we can get good and solid at executing it."

"The schemes are completely different," said center Tyler Fowler. "There's some things that are similar, but a lot of its brand new. We're getting the hang of it."

"Babcock believes you have to be able to run the football to be successful. The J-Hawks were able to do that last year with Josh Woodford and Kenyatter Larkins. But they're both gone. This year Larry Barnes, Garrett Perry, Tim Willis and Tremayne Richardson will carry the ball.

Senior Kelly Ferguson, who transferred back from Minnesota last year, will most likely be the starting quarterback. Of course with Babcock being a former lineman he knows that the guys up front will be critical.

"That's one of the positions we're fairly strong at," said Babcock. "We return a group of seniors from last year. We're not 6'4 hulking guys that strike fear in anybody, but I think we've got the guys in place there to do whatever we want to do."

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