With a new head coach and several new faces, Texas College embraces a fresh start with its 2011 football season under way.
First-year head coach George Cumby calls the shots now as Texas College comes in with the most buzz since starting the 2006 season nationally ranked following consecutive Central States Football League championships.
Cumby, who coached the past five years at Tyler Junior College and at Bishop T.K. Gorman High School, brought along his fair share of Apache connects, along with a talented recruiting class. Vincent McNeil, a highly touted dual-threat quarterback from Dallas who played two years at TJC and made second-team all-conference, headlines a big group of newcomers and new Steers with Apache ties.
Cumby also added two of his former TJC co-workers to the staff: Courtney Farrell (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator) and Adam Kirby (assistant offensive line coach/assistant recruiting). Other first-year Steer coaches include Randy Butler, a TC graduate serving as a volunteer running backs coach, and Kevin Griffin, the recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach who comes from Lane College (Tenn.).
Holdovers consist of Julian Keggins (defensive coordinator), Phillip Pratt (wide receiver coach) and X’Zavier Bloodsaw (quarterback coach).
Cumby compared the past five months as hitting the ground running while trying to revamp a program which has gone 1-20 the previous two seasons.
“It seems like since we’ve gotten there in February we hadn’t looked up, but the (transition’s) been really good,” said Cumby, a Brownsboro native, who played eight seasons in the National Football League at linebacker, all but two for Green Bay. “This seems like the first week we’ve looked up to see where we are. We’ve been hustling trying to get recruits. That’s what we’re dealing with now, trying to make sure everyone’s eligible to play.”
Cumby, who predicted 90 players to be on hand, estimated about 60 percent of the team to be newcomers. The returnees feature the likes of standout receivers Johnny Thomas and Joshua Isaac, who combined for 50 catches, more than 600 yards and six touchdowns a year ago.
On defense TC brings back all-conference players such as junior linebacker Dontay Livingston. The Steers plan to run out the spread offense and the 4-2-5 on defense.
“That’ll be pretty much what we can get in — teaching them the basics of our offense and our defense because it’s totally new,” Cumby said. “We’ll try to learn about five or six offensive and defensive formations. Hopefully we’ll get enough time to get in and get ready.”