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First-year Central High School head football coach Ryan Sulkowski Monday put the finishing touches on his staff for his first season, announcing the addition of Matt Mueller as the team’s new defensive coordinator.
“He certainly knows what he is doing and he knows how I like to do things,” said Sulkowski. “I hired him in 2011 and in the three years he was with me we had top 15 defenses.”
Mueller isn’t brand new to the area. He served as a defensive consultant during Red Raider spring practice and has been doing consulting work through the summer.
“I came in and did consulting work in the spring and was very impressed with the work ethic and the attitude of the players,” said Mueller, who will be teaching history at CHS next school year. “In that period I got to meet a few folks, talk with [CHS principal
Joey] Vaughn and decided this is where I really want to be.”
Sulkowski said he has already started installing the defensive scheme for the team’s first game, which is against BGA Aug. 22. He added that the game plan has already been devised for the next week’s game against Rhea County, too.
“We will base out of a 3-4 [defensive alignment],” explained Mueller, who started his coaching career in Kentucky and enters his 20th year as either an assistant or head coach. “It is a flexible scheme. It will allow us to adapt to what offenses want to do. I’ve seen other teams struggle and I think it is a lack of adjustment and flexibility that brings defenses down. We don’t want to confuse our players … but we will be able to look more complex than we are at times.”
Sulkowski seems confident in the team’s ability to handle more complex schemes.
“You can really see the football IQ starting to go up,” said Sulkowski.
Mueller puts the finishing touches on the football staff that also includes the return of former Red Raider standout Chris Elam to coach running backs.
Former CHS football and basketball assistant coach George Pearson will coach offensive linemen, newcomer Brad Weir will coach defensive backs, Brandon McWhorter will coach wide receivers and will serve as freshman team head coach, Randy Horn will be assistant head coach and inside linebackers, longtime assistant Roger Barlow and Kyle Kriz will coach defensive linemen and Sulkowski will coach quarterbacks and serve as the play caller.
“Matt not only knows how to relate my way of doing things to the players, but to the coaches too,” said Sulkowski. “He is a great addition and having him really helps bend the learning curve in our favor.”
The Raiders have been working out in helmets and shorts and will add shoulder pads next week. The team will begin practice in full pads Monday, July 28.
The Raiders will host White County in a scrimmage Aug. 8 and will face Richland in a jamboree-style game Aug. 15 at Marshall County. Times for those scrimmages have not yet been determined.
CHS opens the season Aug. 22 at BGA. The first home game is 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29 against Rhea County.