|JCSU aims to make impression|
|Golden Bulls football picked fourth in CIAA South|
|Published Friday, July 25, 2014 11:34 am|
|FILE PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON|
|Johnson C. Smith defensive end Chris Randolph (52) returns to the Golden Bulls' line opposite all-America Jovontay Williams|
Johnson C. Smith football is motivated to be more than mediocre.
The Golden Bulls, picked by CIAA coaches to finish fourth in the South Division, see an opportunity to make waves after sputtering to a 5-5 record in 2013. Their objectives have expanding beyond playing for respect to contending for a league championship.
"The goal this year is to win 11 in row, one at a time," head coach Steve Aycock said. "It’s about our radical transformation. We’re moving in the direction of going from good to great. It is a necessary part of the championship process."
JCSU’s first chance to make an impression is the Sept. 6 season opener against the Division I Charlotte 49ers in the inaugural meeting between the programs. The Golden Bulls, who beat Division I Davidson last year, are eager to take on the 49ers, a second-year program that’s been marketed as Charlotte’s squad. Division II JCSU played in the first game between historically black colleges in 1892.
“There’s this buzz going around town that there’s only one college football team in Charlotte and I must agree,” Aycock said. “It’s gold and blue, and we’ve been around for a while and we plan on holding that.”
The Golden Bulls, who were picked behind Winston-Salem State, Fayetteville State and Shaw in the South, return 14 starters. After reeling of a 4-1 start, injuries to quarterback Keahn Wallace and the defensive line took the steam out of a promising campaign.
“We experienced some key injuries that set us back,” Aycock said, “Hopefully this year we’ll be healthy enough to finish it.”
Wallace, a senior who passed for 1,950 yards and 15 touchdowns last year, returns with tailback LeAnder Barney, who ran for 627 yards and seven scores in his debut season. JCSU is also stocked at receiver with Chris Patterson (team-high 54 receptions, 741 yards and five touchdowns), Avius Capers, Fred Scott and Terrell Hutchinson.
“The receiver corps is going to be very talented this year,” Aycock said.
The offensive line, however, returns one incumbent in guard Jermaine Foster, so its development is essential if the Golden Bulls are to match last year’s 30.1 points per game output.
Defensively, JCSU returns all-America end Jovontay Williams, who racked up 14.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks last season and Chris Randolph on the other side. Linebackers Austin Jacques and Jerel Miller were solid last year and the secondary returns all four starters.
“We’re going to be loaded,” Aycock said. “We’re going to practice hard, we’re going to practice smart, we’re going to play fast and be ready to play on Saturdays.”
Williams and sophomore punter Matias Lambrecht were named to the preseason all-CIAA team. Lambrecht averaged 43 yards per punt last season on 42 kicks, seventh best in Division II.
CIAA football coaches' predicted order of finish
Elizabeth City State
Johnson C. Smith
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