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J.C. Smith football use drills to supplement depth
Published Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:29 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith returns a solid starting nucleus from a team that went 6-4 in 2012.

Johnson C. Smith football coach Steve Aycock (left) is looking to build the Golden Bulls’ depth during spring drills, which start April 11. No one is safe from competition, including starting quarterback Keahn Wallace, who dropped weight to fend off the challenge of DeAndre Townsend, a transfer from Atlanta Sports Academy, a prep school program.

Depth, however, is an unknown.

“It’s just like starting from scratch,” coach Steve Aycock said. “We’re young. Some guys who had some good playing hours and some didn’t. Hopefully this spring we’ll get an opportunity to see what they’re all about.”

The Golden Bulls, who open spring camp on April 11, have proven incumbents, especially on offense. The goal is figuring who can convert spring consistency into playing time in the fall.

“We always say we’re going back to the basics,” Aycock said. “We’re going to look for some guys to be consistent who played for us last year and hopefully we’ll get an opportunity to really get a good look at some of the young guys who played for us last year like (receiver) Fred Scott and now that (running back) Dedrick Anderson is gone Denzel Hartley is going to get a lot of reps this spring and (receiver) Terrell Hutchinson will probably take the snaps from Matthew Jeffries.”

The Golden Bulls are in better shape for the spring after an extended conditioning program. With physical fitness addressed, Aycock wants to get a long look at role players through the Gold-Blue intrasquad game on April 29.

 “We’re just trying to keep these guys focused and hopefully with their athletic ability and the way these guys have played for us, we’ll get a chance to see them and grade them …on how consistent they can be,” Aycock said.

The defensive line is the most experienced unit on defense despite the loss of all-CIAA end Derrick Johnson and tackle Rashad Dukes. Chris Randolph and Dylan Steele return at end and transfer Javonte Williams will push for playing time, but the Golden Bulls “will be pretty young in the middle,” Aycock said.

Linebacker, Anthony Allen, who played sparingly last season, will get a chance to prove his worth in the spring alongside incumbents Spencer Shine and Darius Wallace.

The secondary’s depth behind 2012 starters Damion Miles and Charles Frantz needs to be developed as underclassmen Brett Love and Michael Grant get a chance to earn starting jobs or time in the rotation.

“You know how this sport goes. You never know the minute or the hour (depth will be tested),” Aycock said. Hopefully, we’ll see some things we recruit that will be able to fit right in coming off what we do in spring ball.”

No one is safe from competition. Starting quarterback Keahn Wallace, who slimmed down to 210 pounds in the offseason after a record-breaking sophomore season, will get a challenge from freshman DeAndre Townsend, who played at Atlanta Sports Academy, a prep school program.

“I’m looking for him to play like a big-time junior,” Aycock said of Wallace. “The one thing about it is he will have some competition this spring. Keahn is going to be my trigger guy and it’s going to be his spot until he loses it, but I must take my hat off to Mr. Townsend based on his work ethic and being focused. I’m looking for him to challenge (Wallace) this spring.”

• Coaches added: Aycock has filled three open positions on his staff. James Lott moves from defensive backs coach/special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator. Marques Reese shifts from tight ends coach to offensive line coach and Pete Calin was named running backs/special teams coach.

“I didn’t have to do a whole lot of searching,” Aycock said. “We had pretty good coaches here already.”


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