Interview with Richard Oliver
by Alex Fliss
LAFM: How long have you coached high school football? And also how long have you been at Baker?
I have been coaching for 15 years, and I’m going into my 3rd year at Baker.
LAFM: What made you want to get into coaching?
When I was in high school I always looked up to my coaches. During that period, I decided I wanted to be both a coach and a teacher.
LAFM: What coaches had a major influence on you?
Of course Pete Richardson who coached me in college. Tank Jackson and also Howard Davis as well. I had a ton of coaches that had a huge influence on me, so I could just go on and on. Another two were Chris Scott and Billy Long.
LAFM: Where did you play football in college and also what position did you play?
I played at Southern University from 1991 to 1994. I played defensive tackle and I also played offensive guard. I played my first two years at offensive guard and then my last two years at defensive tackle.
LAFM: Who are some of the best players you’ve ever coached and why?
One of the better ones was Jamurus Stuart who played wide receiver at Southern. Another is Brandon Bolden who played running back at Ole Miss and now plays for the New England Patriots. Then there was Dallas Thomas who played for the University of Tennessee and later the Miami Dolphins. There are a ton of other talented kids who did an excellent job for me.
What are some of your expectations for the upcoming season?
Well, the expectation for us is basically to just get better. Just to improve and make it to the playoffs. We were right on the cusp of making the playoffs last year. I think we should be able to make the playoffs this year and be successful.
LAFM: Who are some of your current players that you believe are going to be breakout players this year?
Well I’m really expecting my quarterback Trayvon Anderson to do well this year. He’s been starting for four years and we are really expecting him to have a good year. Preston Bell is another kid we are expecting to have a really good year. He plays running back for us. I also have two really good offensive and defensive linemen in Deon Patterson and Chris Banks.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football player to watch and why?
Well this past season I was a huge fan of Johnny Manziel. I felt he played like a man on fire. I loved his playing style and also his tenacity. In the NFL I love watching my old player Brandon Bolton play. I also enjoy watching Drew Brees because it is just masterful what he does.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students regarding the recruiting process?
I tell my kids all the time that you have to keep up with you academics. You have to be a good student because that’s what all coaches look for. The colleges want to know if you can do the work and compete in the classrooms. I just preach to my kids that they have to take their schoolwork seriously if they want to be successful.
LAFM: What makes Baker a great school and also a great football program?
Well I think Baker is a sleeping giant. It has a long football history and is in a good area in north Baton Rouge. It’s a close-knit community and if we could get all of our kids to buy into what we are teaching, I believe we can be very successful. Things have been down the past couple years, but the sky is the limit. History does repeat itself. We believe we will return to the success we had back in the 70s and 80s.