Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

July 23, 2011

Compton to fulfill coaching dreams

BLUEFIELD, Va. — While Mike Compton's responsibilities have changed, his work remains the same.

Compton still gets the opportunity to work on a football field with young men and try to shape them into productive student-athletes both on and off the field.

After leaving the high school ranks behind in May, Compton is beginning to settle into his new position as offensive line coach for the newly resurrected Bluefield College football program.

“It's going pretty good,” Compton said of the transition. “It's a little bit different this time of year starting out from the bottom level and building a team. A lot of down time right now as far recruiting goes. We're just waiting on the guys to get here August 10th.”

With the start less than a month away, Compton is excited to begin working with head coach Mike Gravier, defensive coordinator Stacey Hairston and the challenges that come with teaching young men to play on the college level.

In the process of doing so, Compton will get to see his dream of being an offensive line coach come true.

“I always wanted to be in coaching,” he added.” I think my coaches at Richlands, head coach Billy Hahn and (line coach) Bruce Sizemore really made coaching appeal to me. It had an impact on me as a young man and a player.

“Later on at WVU, offensive line Coach Mike Jacobs taught me a lot about the game other than the basic running into people and being strong. It's something I always wanted to pursue. I've always been an offensive linemen and it's something I like doing.”

It is something he has done well for many years too.

Compton was a three-year starter for the Mountaineers from 1990 to 1992 before going on to play in the National Football League for 12 years with the Detroit Lions, the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a Patriot, Compton won two Super Bowl rings.

“I don't know all the answers,” Compton said of being an offensive line coach. “I'm sure there are a lot of offensive line coaches that know more than me. I'm going to bring my philosophy and my style to the table. I'm going to try to shape my guys on the o-line to fit my demeanor, philosophy and playing style.”

He will try to do just that with an inexperience group that is being put together from the ground up.

“I think it can be difficult with guys coming in who have never played with each other,” Compton said. “A lot have probably not played against each other. But, that's why you practice... It's a learning experience each day. You're teaching them how you want things done from terminology to calls to the way they get in their stance.

“Every year with recruiting, at some point a college is going to have two or three guys that are brand new. Unfortunately, we don't have that privilege yet. It'll be a big challenge. Fortunately, we have this year to scrimmage and practice.”

Compton is excited to begin molding and shaping those young men “into being good offensive linemen that can be productive and help us put points on the board.” He will have a wide range of sizes and talents to work with as well.

“From what I've seen on film, we've got a wide range of guys,” Compton said. “We've got big ole' tall heavy guys that will come off the ball and hit you in the mouth. On the other hand, we've got some guys that are more athletically sound — not as big — but move better.

“There going to be a good mesh. You're going to have a whole pot full of different types of talents. It's up to us as a staff to find out where each guy fits best.”

When they do get out on the field, Compton hopes to see a cohesive unit of five individuals working as one. Just like their coach did during his playing days, the Rams will be out there “playing low, hard, mean and nasty as the old saying goes,” according to Compton.

The Bluefield College football program has just three full-time staff members at the moment which Compton admits has its disadvantages, but they are making it work.

“Fortunately, Coach Gravier has been here a whole year,” he added. “He's done most of the work to get to this point. Stacy and I came on in May. Coach Gravier had pretty much the guys we were bringing in already mapped out and recruited.”

While Compton came late to recruiting this year, he has still shown players around campus during weekend visits to the college, but there is still work to be done.

“We're just trying to keep in touch with (the players),” he said. “Making sure they get all their paperwork done so when August 10th comes, they can focus on football. I'm looking forward to getting out and meeting some of the coaches and visiting the schools.

“And, just talking to young men and getting them interested in maybe considering Bluefield College as place to continue their football career and a place to get their education.”

Even though the recruiting will have to wait for Compton, he is closing in on Aug. 10 when he gets to teach young men the finer points of football and fulfill a dream.

— Contact Jonathan Greene


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