takes pigskin reins
By BILL McLEOD Sports Writer
EATON RAPIDS - If a larger than usual turnout at football conditioning drills is an indication of increased enthusiasm, the Greyhound football team should be on the upswing this season.A new coach, Bob Ribby, is at the helm of a program that has struggled for several years.
The 'Hounds won one game last season - their first league win in four seasons.
"We've got 50 to 55 kids coming out for conditioning drills each night," Ribby
believes it is possible to change attitudes about the program.
While optimistic about the season, Ribby
is also aware of the stiff competition the Greyhounds face this season.He
is working on instilling a positive attitude in the team.
"We've got to be competitive, and we have to believe in ourselves," Ribby
...Ribby is a 1990 Eaton Rapids High School graduate who played varsity football for coach Bill Feraco, now the coach for East Lansing.
went to MSU
earned a spot on the Spartan football team as a walk-on.
After graduating from MSU, he
returned to Eaton Rapids as a physical education instructor.He
served as an assistant coach for Feraco for five years before he
left coaching to have more time with his
is also the girls cross country coach for the 'Hounds.
Feraco was quick to praise Ribby
for his skills as a player and a coach.
was back in action in the eighth game of the season.
has the formula.He
will take everything head on, just as he
did as a player.There will be successes this season, and he
will build on those successes."
This year, the Greyhounds leave the CAAC D-2 to compete in the realigned CAAC D-3 "Gold Division."The 'Hounds keep their long-standing rivalry with Charlotte and they will also play Ionia, two former CAAC D-2 teams that also moved to the D-3 league.
The new league realignment won't be easy for the Greyhounds and, while Ribby
is optimistic about the season, he
admits it will take time to develop a solid football program.
"Every team we are playing had a winning record or they beat us last year," Ribby
has about 15 seniors returning and is looking at several juniors to round out the team.He
hopes to leave younger players on the junior varsity squad, giving them time to develop against players with the same skill levels.Ribby
said, despite the loosing seasons, Eaton Rapids fans have filled the stadium every home game and are hungry to have a winning team.Ribby
will be stressing the fundamentals, making sure the players know how to block and tackle.
"Many returning players know where they want to play, but we are taking a good look at everyone," Ribby
said."Some will be playing the same positions, and others will be playing new positions."Ribby
said the team will be small up front in the trenches.
"We don't have a lot of size.I expect our line to average about 200 pounds. ...We are going to be in shape; you can make book on that.We're going to win by outworking them."
Several players made their presence felt on the Greyhound track team, so Ribby
expects to have adequate speed on the team.
Eaton Rapids hosts Williamston in the season opener Aug. 24.
...New Eaton Rapids varsity football coach Bob Ribby keeps a watchful eye on his players during recent conditioning drills.