Co-Lin players report today

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 11, 2003

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College head football coachDavid Poinsett and his staff welcome 72 players to campus today aspreparations begin for the 2003 campaign. Practice starts Monday.Twice-daily sessions will run from 8:30-11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to5:30.

“We will throw the book at them the first week,” said Poinsett.”We will find out who can play for us and who can’t.”

Co-Lin’s roster must be trimmed to 55 players before the firstgame which is Sept. 4, at Mississippi Delta in Moorhead.

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“Our 17 sophomores have been through battles,” said Poinsett.”They have dealt with adversity and played through it. I expectsome strong leadership out of these guys.”

Quarterback is the main order of business as Co-Lin works toimprove on last year’s 3-6 record. Sophomore Ty Smith of Natchez isthe only returnee. Bruce Petty elected to transfer to SouthernUniversity in Baton Rouge after his freshman season.

Four players will compete for the starting quarterback job.Incoming freshmen are Brian Williams of Natchez, Johnathan Zacharieof New Iberia, La. and Brian Hayes of Magee.

“We need a good player to pull the trigger at quarterback,” saidPoinsett. “We are concerned about both lines. We hope they respondto the challenge.”

In Co-Lin’s backfield, sophomores Shermaine Vaughn and BobbySmith of Brookhaven (Enterprise) ranked 1-2 in the spring depthchart.

At wide receiver: Johnathan McLaurin, Johnathan Walker, and B.J.Womack, all from Mendenhall, return. Sophomore Billy Williams ofBrookhaven returns at tight end.

Poinsett said Co-Lin’s offensive line must be rebuilt. Returningstarters are Ernie Johnston of Bogue Chitto and James Dampeer ofMendenhall.

“We will be very young and inexperienced up front,” saidPoinsett. “We must make a lot of headway with that group if we areto be any good as an offensive unit.”

Asked about the defense, Poinsett said, “We have a bunch of guyswe will roll with.”

Sophomores Adam Speeg of Brookhaven (Loyd Star) and Dusty Shackof Mendenhall have experience on the defensive front. Speeg ismaking a comeback from knee surgery.

Tim Dobbins of Nashville, Tenn. and Billy Ray Williams of Wessonare two top prospects at linebacker. At cornerback, Howard Overbyof Mendenhall is a veteran. At free safety, Damien Gary ofHazlehurst is experienced.

This is Poinsett’s second year at the helm of Co-Lin footballfortunes. He replaced Dave Cross who resigned to enter privatebusiness Poinsett inherited the head job 12 days before preseasonpractice got under way.

“We have recruited some character kids who will do well in theclassroom,” said Poinsett. “We want academic responsibility.

“We are excited about that first week of camp,” Poinsettcontinued. “We are really looking for these freshmen to step up andsee who will play.”

At Southwest in Summit, the Bears startedpractice Friday under head coach Dom Green. They also finished 3-6last year, losing to Co-Lin and going 1-5 in the SouthDivision.

The Bears debut Thursday, Sept. 4, at Coahoma in Clarksdale.