By Harrison Kelly
This year, Springfield College football added a new face to their offense. After longtime coach Mike DeLong’s departure following the 2015 season, former offensive coordinator Mike Cerasuolo took the position as head coach, leaving a vacant spot for the offensive coordinator job.
Greg Webster was perfect for the job. During his tenure as a student-athlete, Webster was a two-time captain for the Pride. After graduating Springfield College in 2009 and receiving his graduate degree in 2011, he accepted a job offer with the University of Maine, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and back at his alma mater coaching multiple positions for their football teams.
Now, Webster is back for good, and has had a juggling act of a first year as offensive coordinator. Losing multiple quarterbacks in the first game of the season, having to start a wide receiver under center, and managing a revolving door that has been the fullback position, a crucial element of the Springfield triple-option. This is a great challenge for a coach in his first year, but you would never know talking to Webster.
Play sheets carefully organized on his desk, a simple play diagram on his laptop, and scattered whiteboards filled with play calls line his office. A relaxed demeanor and a welcoming greeting showed no signs of position changes or game plan tweaking in response to the injury bug that has hit the Pride early in the season.
The transition to Springfield has not been a problem for Coach Webster, noting that former coaches have been running their patented offense since the late 80s. DeLong and Cerasuolo have impacted Webster’s knowledge of the offense greatly, as he already knew the ins-and-outs while playing here. Webster said, “Having a coach from within who’s been here for a while has made it a pretty easy transition.”
Having an engrained offense has made Coach Webster’s preparation more simple. “The triple-option is a little bit different because the defense usually does only a couple of things and they scheme it up,” explained Webster. “So we’ll spend a couple hours on Monday watching triple-option film from the opponent this year or based off of previous years.”
Mondays are a game plan day, so after watching film, it is Webster’s job to select plays from the playbook that he wants to implement in the upcoming game, then set them in motion in practice in the coming days.
The offense and positional group meetings are just as important as practice. Webster knows how busy his student-athletes are with their academics, and needs to make sure his players are keeping up with their work. He says, “Once we get into our position groups, we ask them how classes are going, how’s everything else, how’s life going so it’s not always football, football, football. That’s what you’re in this for, it’s to work with the kids. Instead of sitting here in front of the computer, I’d rather be in a meeting room with those guys.”
Webster has a superb relationship with Cerasuolo. Both coaches communicate with each other over every major decision on the offensive side of the ball. Cerasuolo trusts Webster’s decisions, and mutual respect has been earned both ways. “Between me and him, there [aren’t any] egos,” said Webster. “We both get heated at times during the games, but there’s no time to have discussions.”
Taking over play calling for a coach who has done it for the last 15 years shows that Cerasuolo has ultimate trust in his decision making and knows he will have his guys prepared throughout the week.
Webster has settled into his role with the Pride, and has done an exceptional job so far leading the offense that has seen so much chance during the year. Knowledge and trust make an outstanding coach, and Webster seems to be on a path to excellent team success in the near future.