Exuberant Wells settling in as VHS’ coordinator | [8/19/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

If one looked closely at the Vicksburg High football team last season, it appeared at times as if the Gators had 12 men on the field.

Then another would run out, grab the 12th by the belt, and corral him back to the sideline.

The dance continued throughout the game with assistant coach Toriano Wells running onto the field and assistant Tim Hughes dragging him back to the sideline.

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It’s part of the package for the enthusiastic, 31-year-old Wells, promoted to defensive coordinator after the departure of David Tadlock. Wells has been running the defense for the past three weeks and will guide the Gators onto the field on Friday night for the Red Carpet Bowl.

&#8220I get pretty excited, caught up in the ballgame,” Wells said. &#8220Coach Hughes said he was going to tie a string around my hand to keep me from going out on the field so much. I will try to keep it a little more reserved this year, but I want our guys to play with that kind of energy.”

Hughes will be in the coaches’ booth this season, but said with a chuckle that he may have to get on the radio to get Wells off the field.

Wells was hit with a penalty during a game last season when one of his defensive backs intercepted a pass and headed for the end zone.

On the sideline, parallel to the runner, went Wells.

&#8220When I first started coaching, I would tell the defensive backs that if they returned an interception for a touchdown, I would be there to meet them in the end zone,” Wells said. &#8220Last year I did it and got penalized so I told Coach Stevens that I would try hard not to do it again.”

Wells played high school ball at McCall in Tallulah before earning a scholarship to Alcorn. He was recruited by his current boss, Alonzo Stevens.

&#8220He‘s a fiery guy,” Stevens said. &#8220He brings that youthful exuberance to our team.”

He began coaching soon after playing at Alcorn State, and has advanced through the Vicksburg High system to the top defensive coaching spot.

&#8220I’ve learned a lot of defense from Coach Tadlock, Coach (Robert) Erves and Coach (Mario) Kirksey when I was at Alcorn,” Wells said. &#8220So I’ve been around a lot of defense.

&#8220Working with those guys has made moving from a linebacker coach to a defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator real smooth.”

The Gators return only three starters from last season’s playoff team, but Wells said the talent is there for a breakout season by the defense.

&#8220We’re coming together really well,” Wells said. &#8220We have guys that swarm to the ball and are really agressive on defense. That’s how we want them on every play.”