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Patchwork crew
Lack of line depth has JCSU working on unknown
Published Saturday, April 5, 2014 8:42 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith football coach Steve Aycock isn’t looking for new stars in spring practice.

Johnson C. Smith running back Leander Barney (1) heads upfield during a scrimmage last week at McGirt Field. The Golden Bulls, 5-5 last season, took major losses on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation but return the core of skill position players.

His concern is getting everyone to summer drills healthy.

“We’re a long ways off,” he said. “We’ve got gaps up front on both sides of the ball and my main thing is just keeping guys healthy. That’s the key ingredient for our success going into the fall.”

The Golden Bulls are working with a patchwork of linemen on offense and defense, the result of massive losses to graduation. On offense, guard Courtney Hunter and tackle Jermaine Foster will most likely open fall drills as starters, but the other three positions are up for grabs. The defensive line is in a similar state, where end Jovontay Williams, who racked up 12.5 sacks last year, is the top returnee and Chris Randolph figures to get a long look on the opposite side.

“We’ve got a good bit of walk-ons right now trying to make the club,” Aycock said. “There’s really only about five I can hang my hat on with both sides of the ball right now.”

The skill positions are in better shape. Quarterback Keahn Wallace returns for his fourth season as the starter and he has experienced receivers in Fred Scott, Avius Capers and Chris Patterson to throw to. Tailback LeAnder Barney, last season’s top rusher, also returns.

“Keahn is going to give us what he can give us and we’re not going to try to put it all on his shoulders this year,” Aycock said. “I try to do that every year, bur somehow or other he always winds up being the go-to guy. We’ve just got to put some things around him from an offensive standpoint.”

The Golden Bulls’ annual spring scrimmage is April 7 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.



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