Former NFL QB and current Grambling State head coach Doug Williams will be here in a few minutes to take your questions!
Doug is here!
How often do you pull out your SB ring to show your Grambling players?
I never put it out for the players. Most of the time when I put it on, I'm going to a banquet for younger players. The rings to pull out for our players are the ones we got from the conference. Those are the ones they need to see!
How hard was it to follow in Coach Robinson's footsteps?
I think it all depends on how you look at it. It wasn't a matter of following his footsteps, it was putting him on a pedastal and put his legacy in its place. You wouldn't be able to follow him.
How do you feel knowing that you were able to start the process of changing peoples' minds about African-Americans being able to play QB?
The thing about it, I look at myself and say that I'm a pioneer. I am a fortunate one. Other guys didn't have the chance from Day 1. I think the Super Bowl gave me the opportunity to say that if you give a man a chance, anything can happen.
Do you think we do a good enough job of educating Black History beyond just one month per year?
I was just talking about that. When we look at this, we have to understand that Black History wasn't just done in one month. But we have to take advantage of the month we do have and educate our young people beyond just sports and the other things African-Americans have done.
Since you were a pioneer of sorts, who were your role models growing up?
I was fortunate, I had both parents at home. Robert Williams, my oldest brother was my role model. He was a high school coach. He was my first coach. That was my objective, to get a degree and coach. I tell people all the time, my claim to fame in high school was Peyton Manning played his last high school football game against a Doug Williams coached team.
Being at an HBCU school, do you try to incorporate Black History with your team?
My team is full of black history anyway. On our campus, we have so many guys who have gone on to do so many things. Grambling has NFL hall of famers and one NBA hall of famer. There's also myself. James Harris was the first African American MVP of the pro bowl. We try to incorporate the history of Grambling.
What role did playing for Eddie Robinson have not only on your NFL Career but also your Coaching Career
I can honestly say that if you didn't know Coach Robinson, it's hard to explain. Anyone who didn't get a chance to play for him got a treaat. It wasn't about X's and O's. It was about being a man, tradition, go to class, church, treating everybody like somebody. He instilled that in us to make us better men.
The NFL draft is coming up....what's your memories of draft day?
Back in 1970's the draft was a little bit different. I certainly wasn't in New York or threw a big party. I really didn't think I was going to go in the first round. Coach and I had a disagreement. I said that if I didn't go in the first three rounds, I was going to go coach high school. He said no, you'll play no matter what.
I feel like we've come a long way from your Super Bowl and being asked the infamous "how long have you been a black QB" question to this Super Bowl, where I didn't really hear much about Colin Kaepernick being a black QB in the Super Bowl. Have you seen a lot of change?
I feel the same way. I think we've gotten over a lot of hurdles, but there are a few more. But when you see articles about RGIII or Cam Newton or Kaepernick, they don't say anything about being a black QB. They don't put those stereotypes in it. I think we've come a long way.
Hi Doug, What has changed in the college game between your playing days and your coaching days?
What has changed is recruiting. High profile, TV, the Under Armour game, the 2 stars, 3 starts, 4 stars. It would be interesting to eee the guys with all of these stars after four years how many stars they'd be wearing. It's too high profile.
How much are you able to still follow the NFL?
Not as much as when I was working with the Buccaneers. When you're coaching, it's all about football. On Sundays, you try to get away from it. I'm a Monday morning newspaper reader. I'll turn on ESPN to just get the storyline. The only game I try to see now is with my friend Jon Gruden and his ESPN game.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
What it means is we have a month to really celebrate the history of so many great men and women. I wish it was 24/7, 12 months a year. The Joe Louis' of the world and others we get a month to rev it up and really celebrate. I think some schools don't really do as good a job as they should, like at the elementary levels, but even on college campuses.
what drew you back to Grambling?
I left Tampa and had a short stint in the UFL. I was headed back to Washington to work for the Redskins. The coach of Grambling left right after recruiting. I thought it was a chance to do something a lot of people don't get a chance to do, coach their son. My son had already signed to go there. I'm there to do the best job I can.
Where do you keep your ring?
I don't think I want to divulge where I keep it. I do wear it when I go to banquets and things.
What's your favorite memory of playing in college?
I can go back to so many. I have so many memories from college. The one that stands out is in 1977 I finished fourth in the Heisman voting. Back in the day they invited the top 3-4 guys to NYC, but I didn't get invited. We ended up playing Temple in Japan. We were trailing 32-28. We scored a late TD to win the game. Coach Robinson gave me the game ball and said he thought the Heisman trophy winner was in the room and it was me. I thought that was the highest complement a coach can give a player.
I would like to say that it's good to know that so many people can remember 25 years ago and understand what it meant and what it means today. Hopefully more of America will understand, black and white what African American's have done for this country.
Thanks for chatting Doug!