Steamwheelers hoping Hilliard’s return means fast offensive start


Quarterback E.J. Hilliard is taking on more responsibility in his second-year with the Steamwheelers and coach Cory Ross’ offense.

“He’s gonna expect a lot from me, from being a returner and knowing his offense and being able to be a coach,” said Hillard, who had a tryout with the Alliance of American Football this offseason. “One of my goals this year is to be another coach on the field, being able to think the same way he thinks, being in the same train of thought that he’s on. Like I said, just being the second coach on the field. Going to the sideline and knowing what you want to run in certain situations and certain scenarios and just being able to implement that mentality.”

Hillard returns to the Steamwheelers after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 48 touchdowns. That production is something Ross believes will help his team immediately this season.

“It’s actually going to be my first year having a quarterback that’s been in a system before…not a true rookie,” Ross said. “We definitely have some guys there that understand the game and they definitely understand the scheme. So we should be able to start fast. That’s the whole idea, start fast. We went last year 0-2 out of the gate, so it’s very, very important that we start fast against San Diego.”

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