Cramsey, his butterflies ready for debut

September 1, 2018

OXFORD, Ohio — Tim Cramsey is going to have butterflies.

He knows it.

But not because Cramsey will be making his offensive coordinator debut for Marshall University when the Thundering Herd takes on Miami (Ohio) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Yager Stadium.

And not because he never has set foot in Yager Stadium and experienced the ever so skinny sideline, which allows RedHawks’ fans literally to be in a coach’s ear.

That’s not why Cramsey will have butterflies.

So, what’s the reason?

It’s called being a competitor.

“That is what I love about this job,” said Cramsey. “I tell my wife that all the time. The day I stop getting butterflies is the day that I’m done with this game.

“When I stopped playing ball I went into the real world. I was doing finance and I was doing accounting and you just don’t have that feeling. When you make a sale, you don’t have that feeling.

“When the numbers finally match on the bottom, it’s still not the same as a Saturday afternoon when the butterflies come. Or when you make that call and there’s silence on the headsets and everyone is nervous and you say, ‘We’re going to be alright, man.’

“That feeling never leaves.”

That’s the feeling Cramey will experience Saturday on the Yager Field sideline. Yes, sideline. He is going to call plays from the field, not the press box.

“I’ve done both in this, year No. 10 as a coordinator,” said Cramsey. “I started my career up and, then, I came down. I was up at Nevada (2016) and, then, I came down last year. It depends how much you trust people in the booth. With (tight end coach Todd) Goebbel in the booth, I trust him with everything I’ve got.

“I like being on the sidelines. I like being able to look at the quarterback and look the kids in the eyes and really get a feel for where they’re at. The kids can say, ‘Yeah, I’m doing great,’ but their eyes will tell me exactly what is going on.”

That’s particularly important in this game because whether Isaiah Green or Alex Thomson is MU’s starting quarterback, he will be taking the first snap of his life at the FBS level of competition.

“To me, that’s the fun of coaching — especially coaching game one,” said Cramsey. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You put together a whole game plan and after the first half you might be saying, ‘Let’s change it to this.’ You have to change on the fly a lot.”

Except for the first 10 plays, that is.

They will be scripted.

“Yes,” confirmed Cramsey. “Really, the first two drives. I would say about 10 plays. It changes on a weekly basis. Game number one of the season, you always carry a little bit more because you have an idea of what they do from last year’s film. But you have to be ready for everything.”

Easier said than done for a first-year coordinator, who is coaching in a series that included a classless 66-6 win over the Young Thundering Herd in 1971.

“I would assume people don’t forget that,” said Cramsey.

He assumes correctly.

This game is a tossup, but I’ve never picked Miami over MU in my life and I’m not going to start now.

MU will win, 27-24.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.