The Aberdeen football team will enter the 2019 season with a new coach, a new quarterback, and a new mentality.
Former player and assistant coach Alex Williams is now at the helm of the Bulldogs. Williams played at Aberdeen through 10th grade, then later was an assistant coach there for five years.
After Aberdeen, he went to West Point and served as the running backs coach for four years and won three state championships with the Green Wave. Now he’s back, and he’s brought that winning mentality back to the Bulldogs.
“We are starting to learn and mature a little bit,” Williams said. “We are putting more pressure on them to show up for workouts than what was on them in the past. We are expecting more out of them, and some of the guys are starting to rise to the occasion.”
Aberdeen went 5-7 last season and graduated star quarterback Fred Fields. The three-year starter accounted for 9,385 yards of total offense and 85 touchdowns.
As a senior, Fields was responsible for 3,427 yards, which was 71 percent of Aberdeen’s total yardage. He also had a hand in 32 of Aberdeen’s 41 offensive touchdowns.
“It’s never easy to replace a guy who gave that kind of production for you on the offensive side,” Williams said. “He had his fingerprints on everything. We just have to spread the ball out and give guys opportunities to make plays.”
Junior CJ Arnold has been the leading man at quarterback this summer. Arnold did not play offense last year and accumulated 10 tackles as a defensive back.
Last season’s backup, junior Johnathan Moore, will continue being one of the primary running backs and linebackers.
Williams said there have been some growing pains in Arnold’s transition to quarterback, but he has not missed a single workout all summer and has gotten better every day.
“CJ’s able to operate the run game part of the offense, and he can throw the ball well enough to keep people off of us,” Williams said. “He wants to get better, and he will show up and do the work to get better.”