History shows it. When Doug Williams win SWAC titles, he wins them in bunches.
After a 8-4 turnaround season in Williams’ second stint as the G-Men’s head coach, Williams and the Tigers are once again favored by the coaches and media representatives to repeat as the SWAC’s Western Division champs.
Winning SWAC titles is a norm for Williams.
As a player, Williams led the Tigers to three consecutive SWAC Titles through the years of 1975-78.
Prior to being crowned the 2012 SWAC champs, Williams won his first conference title as a coach in his first stint coaching the Tigers, two seasons succeeding the legendary and all-time winningest NCAA Division-I head coach Eddie Robinson in 2000.
The success of Williams and the Tigers did not stop there, for he led the G-Men to a second conference title the following year. And the year after that, you guessed it right; Williams and the Tigers won another SWAC title.
During the years of 2000-02, the Black and Gold Grambling Tigers were celebrating the impeccable accomplishment of completing a 3-peat.
The Tigers’ resilient 2011-12 season not only resulted in them being favored to finish number one in SWAC West, but they have also gained some national attention by being recognized as one of the top schools in the FCS. According to Phil Steele’s college football preview, the G-Men are ranked at No.28 of 40.
“If it was any other way, I’d be a little disappointed,” said Williams. “Grambling has always been one of the top football teams in the FCS. We’d certainly like to be in it.”
The only SWAC team that is in consideration of dethroning the G-Men in the upcoming season is the Alabama State Hornets.
The Hornets is ranked three spots higher than the Tigers on Steele’s leader board and they are the SWAC’s East favorites. ASU also gained some national attention during the offseason when they recently acquired the ex-Georgia Bulldog running back Isaiah Crowell, the 2011 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.
As far as the G-Men roster goes, the reining SWAC champs have a few key returners: D.J Williams, the Tigers clear-cut starting quarterback; Dawrence Roberts, the SWAC preseason Offensive Player of the Year; Sanford Banks, 1st team preseason offensive line man; Devon Carter, preseason 1st team defensive lineman; Jacarde Carter, preseason 1st team line backer; Clint Marsh, preseason 2nd team offensive lineman; Naquan Smith and Tyree Hollins, two preseason 2nd team defensive backs and Fabian Carter, preseason 2nd team specialist.
With that being said, the Tigers still have a few empty voids to fill on their roster.
Offensively, they need to make up for the loss of all-star wide-out “Super” Mario Louis, who is currently playing for the Houston Texans.
Louis was Williams’ main target and was responsible for 51 receptions for 1,129 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Defensively, the G-Men envisioned Jamarcus Savage being a huge help in replacing the void of former fierce linebacker Cliff Exama, who recorded 136 total tackles, and 19 tackles for loss, but Savage did not meet the student athlete academic requirement, leaving him academically eligible.
“He (Savage) was the one guy we counted on to be in our lineup,” said linebacker coach Ezil Bibbs. “He (Savage) was one of the older guys that we were looking forward to putting in there.”
Bibbs added, “His loss is going to hurt us, but at the same time I think we are going to have some people who are going to step up and play the position.”
Williams also spoke about the new young additions to the roster, “The overall young guys we’ve recruited have given us pretty good size and athleticism.”
Turnovers are still one of Williams’ major concerns, but the G-Men have been acclimated to the new offense after a full season. Williams now believes that his team giveaways will be at a minimum.
Last year around this time, Williams and his staff did not know what to expect going in to the season. Still the Tigers made their way to Birmingham and came out on top. Now they are expected to do it allover.