Rams Football Under New Direction
From Issue: Volume XX - Number 18
By Aaron Ledesma
After coach Kirk Diego announced his retirement last year, the Millikan football program was passed onto an already well known authority on the team’s staff. While graduating as a Lancer in 1996, this year Lyn Perryman celebrates his eighth year as a Ram by taking on the role of head coach.
The former defensive line, linebacker and strength coach earned his credentials during his time as a New Mexico State defensive play-maker. With an NCAA Division 1 background, Perryman has big plans for the years to come. “I want to get Millikan back on the map,” the new coach shares. “I pretty much wanted to start fresh with everything.”
Small changes like removing bags from most drills to significant changes like hiring a designated strength and conditioning coach were strategies geared towards getting the athletes more game ready. “Game tempo. That’s huge for us.”
The work Millikan does also addresses an annual issue of depth at each position. Many of the Rams’ key players will be needed on both defensive and offense starting line-ups, including wide receiver, Ben Vaughn; senior quarterback Dean Duggan; and senior running backs, Gary Lee and Manny Robles. With a small team roster, down players often leave coaches scrambling for bodies. “Being real slim in our depth,” Perryman explains, “these kids have to be able to play four quarters.”
In addition to standard conditioning methods like sprints and bleachers, the new coach enjoys throwing different drills at his players constantly. The program incorporates everything from flipping tires to pro-agility and latter drills to keep athletes on their toes.
“This is probably the hardest Millikan has worked in a really long time,” tells Perryman.
Ultimately, Perryman has committed himself to “changing the whole Millikan mind-set” of the school having “just an average team.” In addition to their on-the-field efforts, the team is being held to a higher standard of leadership in their communities and their school. While school is in session, the team holds weekly study halls and grade checks. Players whose grades fall below a 2.5 average are assigned mandatory study hall sessions and have the option of additional tutoring made available to the team on Tuesdays.
On Thursdays, the Rams hold team dinners as a means to be more family-oriented. “They all stay together, they eat together,” explains Perryman. “They’re more connected as a team rather than individuals.”
The Rams go into the 2012 season with high expectations regardless a challenging schedule to include local powerhouses, Poly and Lakewood. Despite struggling last week in their season opener against Aliso Niguel, the team has intentions of making their presence more than felt this year. “People who play us are gonna understand,” Perryman shares, “we’re in a dogfight ... from the first whistle all the way to the last whistle.”