Terry Herrod says he has assembled a “solid” staff in his first season as the head coach at Riverdale. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
RIVERDALE — A few months ago, it appeared as if new Riverdale coach Terry Herrod would have to serve as his own offensive and defenise coordinator.
As Herrod waited on the hiring of his staff, the responsibilities began to mount. In addition to those duties, he still had the responsibilities of a head coach.
But lately, the coaching staff has come together.
“I have a full staff over here, which will free me up to do my head coaching responsibilities,” Herrod said.
A few weeks ago, Herrod was able to bring in his mentor as the Raiders defensive coordinator with the hiring of Allen Williams. The two served on the Dutchtown High staff together. Williams was the defensive coordinator, and Herrod was the defensive line coach.
Herrod took over the program just before spring practice after Olten Downs left for the Creekside High job earlier in the year. Herrod had served as the defensive coordinator at Dutchtown since the 2009 season.
He said it has been a smooth transition for Williams, who recently served as the defensive coordinator at Arabian Mountain High in DeKalb County. Williams left in 2008, prior to Dutchtown reaching the Class AAAA quarterfinals with one of the top defensive units in the state.
At Riverdale, he will inherit a defensive unit that boasts speed and athleticism.
“They are a very aggressive group that listens well,” Williams said. “They are willing to learn, and they have learned things very quickly. Coach Herrod already had things going. Since I’ve been here, I’ve installed a few new things that they have caught onto very quickly. We have good senior leadership.”
On the other side of the ball, Herrod hired Terrone Owens to run the offense, which features quarterback Greg Taylor and wide receiver Rashad Canty, who has committed to Appalachian State. Herrod was also able to hire Cecil Lester as his quarterbacks coach.
Lester is a former quarterback at Fort Valley State, an NCAA Div. II school. Last season, Lester was the offensive coordinator at Dooly County, which reached the Class A public school finals.
Taylor said that he has learned a lot from Lester in the short time they have worked together.
“Coach Owens and Lester have been great,” Taylor said. “We are learning a lot from them. It has been really helpful in having a quarterback coach to work with.”
Said Herrod: “I’ve been really blessed and fortunate to bring in some good people to work with. Several of our coaches have worked with each other on other staffs.”
Offensively, Owens didn’t change much, but just added an uptempo element. Players say the slight change has not been hard to grasp.
Riverdale will get its first live look at the scheme against some opposition when it scrimmages against Carver-Atlanta on Friday at Lakewood Stadium.
“The system is basically the same, but at a faster pace,” wide receiver Trey Sanders said. “I really love those coaches. We are really confident with this staff. We know every game is going to be a battle. We can’t rush things, and we have to stay humble.”