The history of the Columbus Aviators has been dubious at best in the 5 seasons that have transpired. Seeming to be a rudderless ship in an ocean full of fully armed battleships, they have failed to achieve any true measure of success. I had the pleasure to meet the new man with the plan in Columbus and his goal is to turn things around. Here is a transcript of that interview:
"Coach Back, first off, welcome to the RFL. The Columbus Aviators have had a long, difficult history in terms of success in the RFL. What compelled you to take on the mantle of head coach for this team?"
Coach Back: “I was constantly moving all over the country, yet I always find myself coming back to Columbus. So when the opportunity came up to coach the Aviators I jumped on it and I’m proud to represent my city. I Also studied the RFL and in the draft class I felt that QB Marquise Washington was the last piece needed to get the rebuild going in the correct direction and to help get all the final pieces in place.” Ben: "Your team was 1-11 last season and went 3-1 in this recent pre season. What is your realistic goal in terms of a win-loss record this year?" Coach Back: There is a 12 game RFL season and I feel like we can at least win a quarter of those this year. I hope obviously to win more but realistically we are aiming for the 4 to 6 game range. Ben: "That sounds very reasonable, but what would you say to people that say if your goal isn't to win it all every season, that you're not really setting yourself up for success?" Coach Back: “I would say in perhaps 1 to 2 years we want to win it all. I know everybody wants to win it all but when you’re a new coach coming into a new city with the team that you don’t know all that well everyone has to learn to work together. I can come out here and say, “Yeah we’re gonna win the Relobowl!” But, all you’re doing is setting everyone up for disappointment when you win 5 games. So, if you say, “Hey I think the team can legitimately win 4 to 6 games and get a good draft as well.” Then, I think that you’re good to go when you’re being honest with yourself, your city, and your fans. But, in all seriousness I think we can make the wild card.”
Ben: "I understand. You want to temper expectations with reality. If you reach your goal, you've fulfilled your promise. If you surpass it, even better. You mentioned QB Marquise Washington as a key player to help turn the team's fortune around. What other personnel moves have been made that you think will be vital to the turnaround? What changes; if you can share them and not give away too many industry secrets, have you made to your offensive and defensive schemes to best utilize the talent you've acquired?" Coach Back:
“Mainly; I think without giving too much away, that for the players to have decent success here they just needed a coach to run the correct schemes and play books in order for them to succeed. Now they have someone that believes in them and will help build them along with their careers. I think everyone will see a vast improvement over the last two or three seasons.” Ben: "Right Coach, I can't exactly expect you to give me your complete playbooks on how you plan to attack your competition this season! One last question if I may? You have some very good talent on this team; especially in the two headed monster running back attack of Kingston Kerry and Kadron Lusk, you have two star CBs in Lynn Mayberry and Daking Armstrong. There is also very good talent along the defensive line. Who, or which players do you think are set to have a break out season to make others in the RFL stand up and take notice?" Coach Back: “I think running the correct scheme on defense this year along with the guys being able to actually step in and play the roles will help the defensive line exceed expectations this year. Therefore, I think the defensive line is going to have a good season.” Ben:
"Alright Coach Back, I know you have places to be and things to do. Thanks for your time. Well, there you have it. Coach Back on Ben Vinew's Corner giving us a little insight on himself and his team. He is setting a reasonable bar of expectation and believes in his team. I've noticed that when a Coach really commits and sells out for his team heart and soul, the players recognize it and respond. I wouldn't be surprised to see this team go at least .500 this season."
So, Coach Back has come to the city he calls home. He has a plan in place that he feels he can implement to get the most out of the current talent and then to that he added the key pieces he felt could help compliment and further the success in that system. He cares about his city, his team, and his players. Will they all buy in? That remains to be seen and we will watch their story play out this season on the field of play. Good luck to Coach Back and the Aviators.
((Thanks to Coach Back for participating in this interview with me. The quotes used are directly from him in a collaboration effort we conducted on Discord. If you'd like some help with an interview or creating a story to help promote your player or coach, let me know on a Discord DM. I'd be happy to help.))