New coach stresses Savannah State is on the rise

Coach Earnest Wilson wants fans of Savannah State to know one thing: “We are rising.”

“That’s what our first president Richard Wright said when he was here, and that’s what we’re going to say here at Savannah State,” said Wilson, who replaced Steve Davenport after a 1-10 season.

Wilson has coached virtually every position and in virtually every league known to man: Arena Football 2 league, Indoor Football league, and at the college level.

He said it has been the lesser-known coaches who have helped form his offensive-minded style.

“Even though I’ve worked with people like Joe Paterno and Dennis Green and Tony Dungy and a lot of great coaches, the coaches I really look at are my coaches back from Division III,” Wilson said. “When I first coached with Joe Philbin, the current coach of the Miami Dolphins, and guys like that, they really laid a great foundation that I’ve followed all these years.

“When I took this job, I knew we had a lot of weapons to work with. I’m looking for 90 leaders, not only on the football field, but in the classroom.”

Turning the program around has not been an easy task in Savannah. No head coach has lasted longer than three years.

Cornerback John Wilson said Wilson’s optimism and tenacity is apparent. “I can see his passion and knowledge for the game and how he is determined to turn this program around,” Wilson said.

The Tigers will run a version of the air-raid offense, similar to what West Virginia and Texas Tech currently use.

Simon Heyward is one of three senior receivers, and he said the competition he has seen so far in camp is promising.

“It’s going to be a good fight (among the receivers), but you want competition at every position,” Heyward said.

Heyward says the goal is “just to win,” and that Wilson is well-equipped to lead them. “He’s an offensive genius. It’s good to just sit down and learn from him.”