Football Coach Gets Training from the NFL
James Colzie, the West Georgia Wolves’ assistant head coach and defensive secondary coach, started his third season off campus.
He was one of a select group of college coaches chosen to be part of the National Football League’s Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship Program for 2010.
In late June, Colzie left to work with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. He was on the practice field when the Chiefs began their training camp in St. Joseph’s, Mo. and stayed with the club through its first pre-season game in August, when they faced the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.
The concept of a minority coaching internship program began in 1987 when San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Bill Walsh brought a group of coaches to the team’s training camp. Later, every team in the NFL picked up the training program. Walsh, who was member of the NFL’s Hall of Fame class of 1993, died in 2007. The program was renamed in his honor in 2009.
When Colzie returned to West Georgia he was armed and ready.
“It was a great experience to find out what guys at the highest level are doing,” said Colzie, who was a star player with Florida State’s Seminoles. He was part of the Seminole’s 1993 national title team and of two Orange Bowl champs, one Sugar Bowl title team, and four Atlantic Coast Conference champions.
The Wolves were excited and eager to learn, Colzie said.
During this season’s training Colzie took his defensive backs through a series of drills designed to strengthen their motor skills, improve balance and sharpen their ability to anticipate moves.
“A lot of it was carry-over from what we did that last couple of years,” said Colzie, who is also the special teams coordinator.
The difference was learning from NFL coaches and combining the drills.
While on the fellowship Colzie worked with Emmitt Thomas, the secondary coach. Thomas was the Chief’s former corner back and is Hall of Fame member, class of 2008. Colzie also worked with Romeo Crennel, the Chief’s defensive coordinator, and Steve Hoffman, Kansas City’s special teams coach.
The Wolves finished 3-7 this season, an improvement over recent seasons.
“This season we played better,” Colzie said.
And there was good news as the season ended.
Offensive tackle Brandon White was named the Gulf South Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year — a first for a West Georgia player since 1999. White was selected for the honor in balloting conducted among the league’s head coaches.
Also honored were three senior defenders, who were named to the All-GSC Second Team: end Jeremy Cook, from Baton Rouge, La.; linebacker Travis Payton, Hattiesburg, Miss.; and cornerback Ken Hale, McDonough. Freshman Denarius Appling was chosen All-GSC Second Team as a return specialist.
Colzie holds a B.S. degree in international affairs from Florida State, with a minor in theater. He also earned a master’s degree in physical education and is working toward his PhD in leadership and higher education.
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