ASHLAND—Southern Oregon football has a coaching staff the size of a Division One operation.
There’s seven full-time coaches along with five graduate assistants. Two of them in Keegan Lawrence and Isiah Carter were four-year contributors and are now essentially taking a “reverse redshirt” season.
There’s unfinished business both in the classroom and on the field.
“There's so much unfinished business. Last season, it hurt so bad, just thinking about it now, it still hurts," Carter said.
The only difference is now they're coaches—graduate assistants in fact, as they finish up their degrees at SOU. Carter is with the linebackers, Lawrence is coaching up the safeties.
"What's better than being able to pass my knowledge that I have that I've gained through being here and pass that on to other people while I'm still around? Football is not only a sport, it's a platform and it's an opportunity to better the lives of others and to improve myself as well," Carter said.
“That's something that I grew up kind of seeing was just the impact that coaches have on young people's lives," Lawrence said.
The team is surely better off for it.
Lawrence comes from a family of coaches and was a four-year contributor at SOU. Carter was a four-year starter, and the heart and soul of the Raiders in his senior season.
Both, were national champions as freshman in 2014.
"The fact that they were highly successful gives them instant credibility with our players,” head coach Charlie Hall said. “They bring a great energy to practice because that's the way they played the game. One year removed they still have that high intensity, that great energy that picks up a practice and I'm just really grateful to have those guys."
It's a logical next step considering both still have aspirations of playing overseas.
"This is just like my reverse redshirt,” Carter said. “I played as a freshman, but now I get to sit out a year to let my body recover and grow physically and heal up."
SOU football likes to promise a ring on its players' finger and a diploma in hand.
Lawrence and Carter have the ring.
The pursuit of the diploma is what brought them on as coaches.
Finishing off what they couldn't last year would make them first-time graduates and two-time champions.
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