Central Gwinnett’s new football coach greeted by 18 returning starters

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Central Gwinnett will debut the new offensive for the public this weekend. The Lawrenceville school will have its spring football game at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Black Knights have undergone many changes over the last couple months under first-year coach Todd Wofford, who was previously an assistant at Gainesville. Wofford has installed the Spread offense to replace the Wing-T.

“My biggest goal this bring has been to speed up the tempo of both the offense and defense,” Wofford said. “These kids have worked really hard in the weight room over the last two months and are hungry to show what they can do.”

Central, which had its last winning season in 2006, returns a staggering 18 starters. Offensive lineman Jonathan Crowder (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) is an All-State candidate, with above-average quickness and strength. Linebacker Cameron Olds (5-8, 172) is extremely physical, and the Black Knights are trying to figure out a way to use him on offense, too.

Team: Central Gwinnett Black Knights

Spring Game: 6 p.m. Saturday

Last year’s record: 2-8

Starters lost: 3

Head coach: Todd Wofford

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9 comments Add your comment

LQ

May 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

A.W.

May 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

Ocee

May 22nd, 2010
9:38 pm

SouthGARules

May 22nd, 2010
10:36 pm

This would mean something if Central was coming off a winning season, but 18 starters off of a 2-8 team doesn’t mean much. I still see South Gwinnett, Grayson, Dacula, Brookwood & Parkview ahead of Central & perhaps Shiloh as well. They are probably better than Berkmar & Archer, but thats not saying much.

????

May 22nd, 2010
11:25 pm

I know the Central faithful are excited, but making up stuff to put in the paper won’t help them in region 8. 18 returning starters only losing 3 starters Gay, Holder, Mays, Winters, Thompson, Brefro, Davis, Ross, Smith, Crawford, Bradley, Woniwalla all gone and some of them played both ways. I agree with SGARules Central is in a battle for the bottom half of the region.

TarHeelBred bleeds TarHeelBlue

May 23rd, 2010
2:20 am

I agree that Central Gwinnett has a ways to go to even think about moving up in the Region 8-AAAAA pecking order, but I wouldn’t sleep on them completely as they seemed to play defense a little better as the season went on, save for the 42-3 drubbing at the hands of region champion Grayson in the last game of the season. To their credit, they did shutout Berkmar and Meadowcreek and their defense gave Brookwood the fits as the Broncos were trying to make the playoffs.

TarHeelBred bleeds TarHeelBlue

May 23rd, 2010
2:52 am

Central’s biggest problem in the last few seasons was the lack of a creative offense, a problem that should be helped tremendously with the proper installation of the passing-oriented spread. The new coach is coming from an offensive system in Gainesville where the quarterback and offensive skill players often put up really big offensive numbers while lighting up the scoreboard each year. With an already decent defense with a nucleus of returning starters that were kind of young last year, but will be a year older this year, the potential is there for this team to be somewhat more competitive. Whether that potential translates into victories against the likes of Grayson, South Gwinnett, Brookwood, Parkview and Dacula remains to be seen.

I’ve mentioned this before, but will mention it again. A really interesting thing is the conversion from run and ground game offenses to spread passing offenses in Region 8-AAAAA. Not too long ago during the heyday of Parkview’s and Brookwood’s domination of the league, 8-AAAAA was a league dominated by physical teams with almost run-only offenses. Running the ball behind a big, bruising offensive line was pretty much the only way to slowly build a program into a winner in Region 8-AAAAA, but as changing demographics and continued new school openings throughout the county in recent years have diluted the talent pool of players to draw from (because 330-pound interior lineman don’t exactly grow on trees, you know) and with intense pressure from alumni, administrators and parents to win now and win creatively, many programs in the region have scrapped the old run-dominated approach that’s been historically favored by contenders and pretenders alike in the league and turned to the passing-oriented spread offensive attack and a quick-strike through the air approach, which is dramatic sea change to see coaches like Cecil Flowe and Mark Crews, who won really big by pounding the ball behind a really big and physical line, now winning with finesse passing games.

Dawg '94

May 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

The days of Tally Johnson & a winning Central team year in and year out are over. The spread offense is a defense KILLER. In Region 8AAAAA you need to run the ball & play good defense. An offense that goes out there & is 3 & out and eats up 30 seconds equals a very tired defense by the second half. I wish Central the best. I just am not a spread offense fan in high school ball.
Good luck Knights!

Coach T

May 25th, 2010
8:40 am

I’m hoping the Black Knights do well this year, especially after the way the old coach, who shall remain nameless trashed them after leaving. It would only go to show that a lot of the problems last year was due to unimaginative and timid play calling. They have a lot of talent at the JV and 9th grade level coming in, so the future looks bright at Central. If Central wins four games this year, I call it a big improvement looking into 2011 and 2012.