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J.C. Smith looks to build consistency
Limiting mistakes key for Golden Bulls
Published Thursday, October 18, 2012 8:21 am
by Herbert L. White

One good play leads to another.

Johnson C. Smith receiver Fred Scott (2) pulls away from Winston-Salem State linebacker Carlos Fields for a touchdown in the Rams’ 63-7 win on Oct. 6. JCSU (3-4, 2-2 CIAA) will try to even its record on Saturday when the Golden Bulls travel to Durham to play Shaw in a CIAA game.

In snapping a two-game losing streak last week, Johnson C. Smith discovered execution. The Golden Bulls made big plays and cut down mistakes in a 35-18 win last against Fayetteville State that improved their record to 3-4, 2-2 in the CIAA.

“We still have a good football team here,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said. “We get into slumps and as many penalties as we’ve had the last few weeks has been a big part of our failures. We had ontly two penalties this past weekend and the defense played well.”

Offensively, JCSU and Fayetteville State were nearly even in total yards – 369 to 364. The difference was  Golden Bulls quarterback Keahn Wallace, who bounced back from a lackluster performance against Winston-Salem State. The sophomore connected on 21-of-28 passes for 226 yards and a pair of scores and one interception against. His progress in limited mistakes – complimented by tailback Dedrick Anderson’s 103 yards rushing – was key to the offense maintaining consistency.

“It was the same type of guy I’ve always seen play,” Aycock said of Wallace. “I was very excited to see him get into a rhythm and look forward to him being more consistent going forward.”

JCSU’s defense, which had been gashed for 118 points duing the two-game slide, showed major improvement against Fayetteville State. The Golden Bulls turned opportunistic with linebacker Darryl Rankin forcing an FSU fumble and returning it 95 yards for a score and picking off a pass in the JCSU end zone to kill a Broncos’ drive.

“We’ve got the capability, but we’d been playing with too many mistakes the last couple of weeks,” Aycock said. “When you play a good team like Winston or a team like Lincoln that can expose us with the mistakes we made, you look for your group to revamp and look at film more and cut back on mistakes.”

As impressive as Rankin’s big plays was the Golden Bulls’ emphasis on tackling. Aycock credited JCSU with doing a better job of moving to the ball and stopping runners from advancing after making contact.

“More important, they tackled as a team (last) week,” he said. “You can look at the film and see it was something we’ve been stressing the last couple of weeks. We need 11 people in the film. The camera travels where the ball goes. They did a great job tackling as a unit.”

JCSU will need a repeat against Shaw on Saturday in Durham. The Bears have gone 4-1 after starting the season 0-2 and are second in the South Division at 3-1. A Golden Bulls win would put them in second place.

“We’re going to do the same thing we did last week,” Aycock said. “We’re going to look to tackle as a group, play mistake-free football. (Shaw) had some bumps in the road and had to make some adjustments as a staff and as a team. They always bring a good team to the table.

“The southern part of this conference plays great football and I think it’s going to be a pretty good fight going forward.”

A win Saturday would put the Golden Bulls in the thick of that fight and  in contention for a winning season.

“We’re looking to take these next three games one game at a time,” Aycock said. “Of course, the kids always talk about the possibility of what’s going on with the Pioneer Bowl or how the championship is going. It’s still too early for that, but long term, we’re setting goals that we’re looking to win the day.”


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