Video: 2018 Top 25 Early Contenders presented by Shock Doctor
The Folsom Bulldogs open the season No. 18 in the preseason rankings.
The Folsom (Calif.)
Bulldogs ran the table in 2017. They finished 16-0, won the California Interscholastic Federation Division 1-AA state title with a 49-42 victory over Helix and ended No. 8 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings.
Entering 2018, Richardson's Bulldogs are No. 19 in the national preseason rankings and open the year Aug. 17 against Northern California and national power De La Salle. Folsom is 131-13 over the last decade, having won an astonishing 91 percent of its games.
How has coach Richardson managed to lead his troops to this kind of record, losing an average of just 1.3 games per year?
Richardson has been at Folsom for the past 13 seasons, and the Bulldogs were 10-9-1 in the two seasons before he took over. He transitioned Folsom from a .500 program to one which has three state championships and is a perennial California power.
What does your football program do differently from other programs in your league, conference, state that helped you win a state title?
We have an amazing work ethic and "team-first" mentality in our program. This has been developed over many years and lots of hard work by our players and coaches. The consistency of our coaching staff, our approach to how we prepare our players, and the "buy-in" and trust our players have for our staff has led to a 111-9 record since 2010.What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your state championship?
Teamwork and Trust. Having your players buy into the "team-first" mentality and being able to put selfishness and ego aside for the good of the team. Trust in the coaching staff that we will prepare them to the best of our ability and trust in each player that they will execute their assignments to the best of their ability.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a coach wanting to win a state championship?
The road is long and hard. You must figure out a way to balance hard work and the fun and love for the game that your kids and coaches have. There is a fine line between working your players and coaches hard in an effort to win and overworking your team which could lead to losing the passion and love for the game that is needed to win.Do you incorporate some type of character development program within your football, and if so, what do you do?
We don't use a specific character development program. But it's something we talk about each day in our weight room or on the practice field. The value of being a good person, on and off the field, is very important to me. Being a good teammate and putting the team first. Honesty and integrity in the classroom is hit upon daily, as well as the value of being humble and hungry.What is the number one obstacle you face in building a championship caliber football program in your community?
For us, it comes down to fundraising; raising enough funds at a public school to run a hampionship program is our No. 1 obstacle.
Who do you consider to be your main mentor in this profession and what about that coach do you try to emulate in your program?
I have had many mentors over my 23 years of coaching high school football. But the coaches that motivated me to want to become a coach stand out are my junior college head coach Ed Hall and my JC offensive line coach Tim Rhyan at Diablo Valley College. They helped me develop as a player and a person in a way that motivated me to want to become a football coach.
Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.