If you are familiar with the 2000 crime comedy-drama, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” a film set in rural Mississippi in the 1930s, you likely recall Governor Pappy O’Daniel telling Ulysses, Pete, and Delmar, that they would be his brain trust in his new administration.
Fast-forward 90 years and still in Mississippi, Deion Sanders, the new head football coach at Jackson State, has found his brain trusts going into his inaugural season leading the Tigers.
As Coach Prime continues putting together his staff, he will be leaning on two holdovers from the former staff of John Hendrick in TC Taylor and Otis Riddley. Sanders will heavily rely on the Mississippi natives as he figures out the lay of the land in Mississippi.
Taylor, who played for the Tigers as a quarterback and wide receiver, is the current quarterbacks coach. He is a native of McComb and former quarterbacks coach at North Carolina Central.
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Riddley, from Jackson, was the former head coach at Provine high school and offensive line coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Both were excited when Sanders was named head coach and they delighted in all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Prime coming to Jackson State.
“I looked at TC and was like, ‘For real?’ It was surreal,” Riddley told the Clarion-Ledger. “You go from being just an everyday football coach, and now, you’re working for one of the most known people in football, period.”
With the national attention the HBCU has generated since Sanders — an NFL Hall of Famer — was named head coach, it has made the duties of recruiting a little easier. Both coaches have received more messages than they can count from prospective recruits now interested in the Tigers. Of course, they must find the right prospects that will fit well within the program and culture that Sanders will be installing once he gets on campus on December 1.
The two coaches were excited when Sanders asked them to remain on the staff. They were initially unsure if they would be kept; however, they are not taking their positions for granted.
“You can’t just go to a guy like Deion Sanders and tell him how good of a football coach you are,” Taylor said. “You have to prove it to those types of guys. That’s what myself and Coach Otis talked about. We’re going to show our value.”
As they prepare to get the program ready for Sanders in making sure everything is in shipshape for his arrival, Riddley said, “it’s been a whirlwind.”