Beginning to feel a different vibe at Chapel Hill, new head football coach Jeff Riordan has began the process of turning around a once very proud program.
The Bulldogs haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, and haven’t had a winning season since 2013.
But they have a pretty good athlete back in blue and gold, in Rice commit Khalan Griffin.
Wednesday, as the Dogs wrapped up summer conditioning, Riordan told his guys, “I need everybody on board. Every day all day all the way to the season gets here. When (it) gets here, it’s time to go show what work we’ve put in.”
“The biggest thing that I’ve liked is just the culture change. Just watching the kids get after it, and learn how to work. And to battle through adversity,” explains Riordan.
Chapel Hill has had a strong summer, going 18-7 in 7-on-7 action, and nearly qualifyied to the state tournament.
“Just watching the expectation go from expecting to compete and possibly lose to the expectation of winning every game when we get on the field. And being upset and disappointed when we lose,” said Riordan.
Riordan brings in an impressive resume, as well as a high octane fast-paced offense that helped Sulphur Springs win a state championship in 2008 when he was the offensive coordinator. He was 67-17 in the last seven seasons at Crosby, which marked his first head coaching job.
“We’re gonna try to snap the ball when the ref blows the whistle and gets the ball in play. That’s been our forte offensively from Sulphur Springs, and down in Crosby where we were top three offense regularly in the State of Texas. And then, you know, we’re gonna bring that down here in Chapel Hill. We got the playmakers in the right spots to do that,” said Riordan.
One of those playmakers is Griffin. Chapel Hill’s starting quarterback two years ago, who was at Brook Hill in 2018. He transferred back late in the spring.
“All my friends they were hitting me up and they were telling me, you know, come back to Chapel Hill. You know, we need you, we want to play with you. And I was like, I really want to play with you boys too. And you know I had fun my sophomore year playing with a bunch of my friends. And then when I heard the Coach Riordan got the job, and I seen his pedigree, and what he did at Crosby, I was like, it was just a no-brainer for me,” said Griffin.
The 3-Star prospect was 80-148 passing for 1,030-yards, and 8 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,495 yards on 191 carries and 23 TD’s in 2018. He helped the Guard to a 6-6 campaign, and a first round playoff appearance.
“Khalan is just an added dimension to a lot of pieces of the puzzle on offense. Khalan can do a lot of things, he can play quarterback, he can play running back. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s a good leader. He brings, you know, the right kind of energy to practices, and workouts,” said Riordan.
Griffin, enters his senior season, after giving his pledge to Rice in May. He should see some time behind center, but will focus on being a running back. Griffin will split quarterback duties with senior transfer Kobe Coker, who was the starting signal caller at Crosby last season.
“I’ve been recruited as a running back. So, it doesn’t really matter to me. That’s helping me prepare for the next level anyways. And then playing quarterback, that’s something I’ve been doing since my freshman year. So I like doing that too. So it’s gonna be fun,” said Griffin.
Chapel Hill opens the 2019 season on the road at Crandall on Friday August 30th.