Lone Star Gridiron

Rusty Purser takes over Ducks

The Taylor football program and the athletic department will be under new direction beginning Monday, as former Borger head coach Rusty Purser accepted the head football coach and athletic director position left vacant when Rick Cobia left for the head coaching job in Cypress Springs.

Purser has led Borger High School to the past three district championships in district 1-3A, which is located in the Texas Panhandle. He has been successful in building a total athletic powerhouse, something he prides himself on as an athletic director.

“The overall athletic program should set a goal of success in every sport,” Purser said. “Winning breeds success in other areas such as academics and community, so it is important to have goals in mind. And that goal is we want to be successful in everything we do.”

As a football coach, Purser has a background on the offensive side of the ball. He was an offensive coordinator at Midland Lee High School in 2005 before receiving the head-coaching job at Floydada in 2006. He moved to Borger in 2009 and has been there until he accepted the job in Taylor.

Purser has also coached offensive line, receivers and defensive line in his 13-year coaching career.

“As a football coach, I want my teams to standout for the intensity we play with,” Purser said. “Our kids play as hard or harder than anyone on the schedule and all the local opposing coaches will tell you that. In the last few years, we have had the experience of coaching a few players that play college football, but for the most part, we coach hardworking kids that are tough and will play hard for 48 minutes of football.”

Offensively, Purser will bring a new-look to the Taylor football team. After running the Slot-T under Cobia for the past two years, Purser plans on running a combination of a Multiple-I and the Pistol formation.

“The offense will begin as a Multiple-I formation in seventh grade. We will run the power, the sweep, the counter and the iso,” Purser said. “After that, as we mature, it will adapt into a Pistol offense by the time the kids get to high school.”

The Pistol formation looks like a Shotgun Formation with the quarterback taking the snap four yards behind the center with a running back behind the quarterback. This allows the quarterback to get separation from the offensive line, be able to read defenses with more ease and still have a power running game that a traditional Shotgun formation does not allow.

“I’ve done some things in the Spread, but I really like the Pistol formation because of all the flexibility it allows our offense,” Purser said. “The blocking schemes stay the same from the Multiple-I base we run, but it allows our quarterback to spread out the field and use different formations to make the defense prepare for more things.”

Purser also says he will never have a starting 11 on offense. It all depends on the package of plays being called in a given set.

“We play a lot of kids in different personnel packages so each player is put in the best situation to succeed,” Purser said. “Playing a lot of kids allows more guys to get in the mix and keeps the kids interested in playing hard, but it also makes it tougher for defenses to prepare for us.”

Defensively, Purser is a believer in a four-man front. He has ran mostly a 4-3 in the past with four lineman, three linebackers and four secondary players, but has been using a 4-2-5 in recent years, which replaces a linebacker with a safety to get more speed on the field.

“My defensive philosophy is about not making mistakes and focusing on the fundamentals,” Purser said. “We want to teach the defense how to be successful, but we want them to not have to think as much as just react.

“We want them to know the schemes and keep things simple because that frees them up to play hard and smart. We want to be solid up front, so we like using four-down lineman, but the extra secondary player allows us to adjust to any type of offense we see.”

Purser will be at the All-Sports Banquet on Sunday to meet the players and the community before getting to work with the team and coaching staff Monday morning.

“We have a lot of catching up to do and that process will start immediately when I arrive to the job,” Purser said. “At Borger, we have been doing football two or three times a week for the last month, so I feel like we’re behind at Taylor.

“I was able to see the athletes on Friday and watch them go through some drills and it looks like the remaining staff has really done a great job keeping all the players in shape and focused, but I need to get to know the guys and get my scheme and philosophy in before the summer starts.”

As a coach at Borger, Purser has gone 20-14 overall, but 11-1 in district games over three years. Borger was 2-3 under Purser in the playoffs, getting beat by state runner-up, Graham High School, in 2009 and state-ranked Brownwood in 2010.

By Mike Craven
for Lone Star Gridiron
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