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Monday, October 10, 2011
The Huddle: Composure and confidence

By Lem Satterfield

The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Junior quarterback Riley Ferguson of No. 36 FAB 50 team Butler (Matthews, N.C.) discusses maintaining composure, poise and humility as a team leader. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has scholarship offers from Clemson, Louisville, LSU, Michigan and Virginia Tech, and has drawn interest from Alabama, Arkansas, California, East Carolina, Miami, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Ferguson guided last year's Bulldogs through a Class 4AA state title-winning, 16-0 season, totaling nearly 3,000 yards in the air and passing for 24 touchdowns.

Already this year, Ferguson has tied last year's mark for touchdown passes with 24 to go with nearly 1,500 yards in the air and two rushing scores, pacing the Bulldogs to victories in their past five games after having lost their season-opener.

But even with those gaudy achievements on his resume, Ferguson realizes that his ability to deal with the pressures of being the focal point of the program are critical both to himself and his teammates.

"When it comes to leading the team, everybody needs somebody they can focus on and count on to remain under control," said Ferguson. "Your response has to be composed. Composure can be can be anything from throwing the big touchdown to staying calm under pressure to making sure that the team is under control in tough situations."

Ferguson's attitude was a critical component following the Bulldogs' loss in their first game of the year.

"When we lost our first game, everybody was hurt by that. I looked at it as a loss, accepted it, and then tried to get everyone ready for the next week. It's about being a good example when everybody else is looking at you," said Ferguson.

"So you can never get too down, too excited or too nervous," said Ferguson. "They need somebody to look up to. That's probably one of the biggest things that I try to represent to my team. I think that's what helped us to move on from that first loss."

ROLE MODEL: Brett Favre "I like everything about the way Brett Favre plays. I've watched him ever since I was like a 4-year-old. He extends plays and he's one of the toughest quarterbacks to every play the game."