|Golden Bulls aim for higher standard|
|JCSU closes drills with eye on boosting win total|
|Published Thursday, May 2, 2013 8:11 am|
Johnson C. Smith football has improved its offensive capability, but the defense has enough moving parts to be an unknown when fall practice opens.
|Johnson C. Smith receiver Terrell Hutchinson (81) pulls in a pass over defender Alan Carson (7) during the Gold-Blue game on April 27 at McGirt Field. The Gold squad won 42-18.|
JCSU, which wrapped up spring drills on Saturday with the Gold-Blue game April 27 at McGirt Field, return 15 starters from last year’ 6-4 team. The goal was to give last year’s backups and newcomers a chance to make an impression on coaches.
“We’re already short on numbers and we wanted to get some good film on these guys,” Golden Bulls head coach Steve Aycock said. “We’ve got a lot of returners (on offense), a lot of new guys that came out and a few walk-ons who came out. We got accomplished the things we wanted to get accomplished.”
JCSU showed off its firepower in the Gold-Blue game with incumbent quarterback Keahn Wallace and backup DeAndre Townsend making big plays and showing command of the offense. Wallace is the unquestioned leader, but Townsend has a similar skill set and appears capable of challenging for playing time should Wallace falter.
“All I want is to see our team flourish, see our team go to another level,” said Wallace, who threw for a pair of touchdowns in the scrimmage. “During the spring we were really inconsistent, so I want to see everybody on the same page, the (offensive) line in the right place, the receivers run the right routes and the quarterbacks making the right reads.”
The offense, which returns eight starters, has the potential to top last year’s average of 31.2 points per game. The receiving corps lost Matthew Jeffries to graduation but return Terrell Hutchinson, who was impressive in the Gold-Blue scrimmage with several long-distance catches and all-rookie pick Fred Scott. That group gets a boost in the fall when slot receiver Avius Capers (Independence High) returns after a year at UNC Charlotte.
“With (Hutchinson) and one or two other big receivers we have coming back they’ve got to make plays,” Aycock said. “You can’t teach 6-3 or 6-4 against 5-7, 5-8 corners. You’ve got to win that battle for the jump ball.”
Offensive coordinator Steve Shipp wants to balance the passing attack with the running game. The Bulls will likely go with a rotation that includes Denzel Hartley as the starting tailback.
Defensively, the Golden Bulls juggled lineups under new coordinator James Lott, who has to replace four starters and build depth at linebacker and in the secondary. Ends Chris Randolph and Dylan Steele, who were backups in last year’s rotation, are expected to challenge for starting jobs when fall drills open in August. The defense is also short on coaches, with Aycock in the market for replacements before the start of fall workouts.
“The defense had a great spring other than the (finale),” Aycock said. “The defense is going to be OK.”
After a pair of six-win seasons, JCSU has built a foundation of relative success. The goal now is to build a contender in the CIAA South, where Winston-Salem State is a national power in Division II.
“My expectations are high,” Aycock said. “With us going into our fifth year, we talk …about winning, we talk about adversity and we talk about championships. We’re looking to win two more than we did last year and if we’re blessed, we’re going to represent the university well and the city.”
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