• Graham Knight

Coast Guard's C.C. Grant Reviews Week 1 Win Over New England

by Graham Knight

We promised you a Coast Guard bears' update in every one of our shows this season, and we're keeping that promise. We had the change to catch up with Head Coach C.C Grant to get his thoughts the Bears' victory over New England in Week 1 -- which is also his first win as a football head coach.

Coast Guard WR James Duren catches a pass in the Bears' season-opening match-up against Univ. of New England at Blue Storm Stadium in Biddeford, ME on Sept. 4, 2021

Graham Knight: Coach, I got to tell you, the headlines for this lend themselves to a little bit on the comical side, "Coach wins first game in two years," or "Coast Guard Bears come back to finally make it to five hundred after a year long struggle," something like that. I'm just curious, have you seen any headlines at play off, the fact that you only got that one game last year? And how do you feel about this victory?

Coach Grant: Not so much about the headlines. I haven't really been searching for them. As a matter of fact, before we started this interview, I just picked up the local paper, just looking at the picture on the front of the sports pages was the first time I saw it, so . . .

I feel good about the victory. One of the things that impressed upon our guys was that how young we were. On Friday I had everyone who had started a full season of college football stand up and had the oter guy's take a knee. And I had two guys stand up.

And I said, "The key to us winning this game is that we're going to make a lot of mistakes, and that we're going to have to be able to play through and compensate for those mistakes that we make. And we were actually able to do that.

Graham: Well, I don't know how much you want to spend time focusing on the mistakes, one way or the other. What I am curious about, though, is what do you make of your team after this first game? You come out with a 16 - 0 shutout. You had some nice moments. Talk to me a little bit about the game. What what stood out to you?

Coach Grant: Yeah, we did. Any time you shut anybody out, especially in modern day football, the first thing you look at is how well your defense played. With the way we practiced I thought we tackled extremely well. First of all, we didn't miss a lot of tackles. Guys were running, hustling to the ball. We made plays when there were plays to be made. Early on we got the feel . . . and third downs. So those things stuck out.

The other thing was, when you start a new quarterback, especially under these circumstances where the kid, [Tafari Wall] didn't really get to play at all last year, didn't play as a freshman -- he was at prep school for a year, so basically it's been three years since he started a football game -- for him to go 19 for 30, to get a touchdown, ran for another one, you got to tip your hat to him and you say, "You know what, he's going to get better." But the way he played on Saturday was was what I would say was more than good.

There are a lot of things that could have gone better, but there's a lot of things that could have been a lot worse, too. For him to have his first start and to play the way he did, I thought that very good for us. He did very well for us.

Graham: Yeah, very nice. What are we working on this week? Talk to me a little bit about where your focus is now and set up your game against the Curry Colonels.

Coach Grant: Well, once you look at the tape you realize -- even when you win -- you realize the good things that you did, but also those areas that you're lacking a little bit. We're just going to clean up our checks, some of those type of things.

I think, offensively, maybe go in with a little bit different game plan, as far as, we had this much in our game plan, and maybe shrink it down a little bit. Because you realize, now, the actual plays that you call versus everything that was on your call sheet.

Defensively, like I said, you clean up some of the mistakes that you made on the field on Saturday, and I just move on from there.

As far as Curry goes, they are big physical ball team. We have a history with them. We used to scrimmage them. Then back in 2006, and 2007 we played them for the for an NCAA berth. We lost both games by a total of ten points. And we played them off and on over over the last couple of years. We know they're a tough, physical bunch of kids. They'll be prepared to play and it'll be a sixty-minute ball game.

Graham: Very nice. Anything special we should be watching this coming weekend?

Coach Grant: I would say, to me, that the big thing is, what steps do we take to improve, especially from the quarterback standpoint? Does he hit some of those reads that maybe he missed on Saturday? Do we prolong, maybe have a drive or two that's prolonged like the one we had in the third quarter this past week, those type of things.

And defensively, do you maintain the intensity, do you attack as well? Or do you guys do the job as well as they did last week? And when we got and when we get a chance to make a play, do we have the ability to come through and make those plays?

Graham: Well, congratulations on your first career win as head coach at the Coast Guard. There's absolutely a pleasure talking to you. Can't wait to catch up with you next week and see how things are going. Thanks, Coach Grant.

Coach Grant: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

edited for web by Joe Harman