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Co-Lin football coaches preparing for 2005 season

WESSON — Unusual quiet pervades the Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege campus. Sophomores graduated Saturday morning in StoneStadium and other students have gone home for the summer.

In Frank Pitts Field House, the Co-Lin football coaching staffis busy preparing for the 2005 campaign. The Wolfpack kicks off itsseason Sept. 1, hosting the Holmes Bulldogs.

Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis has realigned his staff, addingtwo new coaches. They are offensive line coach Carson Jeffers andrunning backs coach Dicenzo Miller. Former offensive backs coachShelton Gandy took a job with Louisiana Tech.

Davis is working hard to revive the Wolves. In his first year atthe helm, they finished 1-8. They’ve won 6 games in 3 years.

“We are excited about the prospects for this season,” saidDavis. “We finished spring (practice) much better talent-wise.”

Surviving and winning in the MACJC South Division is a difficultassignment. South Division foe Pearl River won the NJCAA nationalchampionship last December.

Davis said players will report Aug. 5 for preseason practice. Heanticipates as many as 80 players to compete for 55 spots on theroster. Twenty-four sophomores are expected to return for preseasondrills.

Asked about Co-Lin’s offense, Davis said linemen J.D. Hamiltonand Damien Jones are being counted on to fill the starting tacklepositions. “We must fill three more spots in the offensiveline.”

Antonio Davis saw playing time at guard last season. Davis saidZach Ray and Tyler Gatlin, both incoming freshmen; plus freshmenKyle Tutor of Franklin County and Scottie Glisson of Magee shouldprovide immediate help.

At wide receiver, Lee Evans returns. Damoyn Carroll ofHazlehurst and Bud Chatman of Brookhaven are bright prospects whohave signed with Co-Lin.

At tailback, Fred Williams of Hazlehurst returns. EmmanuelSinclair of Wesson is another veteran.

Newcomers Ronny McNulty of Brookhaven and Jason Anderson ofLucedale are expected to give the Wolves depth at running back.Matthew Delaughter of Brookhaven (Loyd Star) landed the startingfullback job during spring practice and has 2 seasons left atCo-Lin.

At tight end, Ivan Hilliard is the leading candidate. SigneesDeAndrea Davis of Franklin County and Thomas Skinner of Puckettshould see action, too.

At quarterback Beau Billeck returns experience after a difficultfreshman campaign. Davis said newcomer Cedric Johnson of Americus,Ga., has exceptional running and passing skills.

Defense Rebuilds

Co-Lin defensive coordinator Brett Shufelt hopes severalincoming freshmen can step up and claim starting jobs before theseason opener.

“We have had to work hard at recruiting to try and find somegood players,” said Shufelt. “Spring went a lot better this time,compared to last year. We competed.”

Shufelt has 3 starters returning in defensive tackle Rex Hill ofMarathon, Fla., cornerback Michael Blackwell of Bogue Chitto,defensive end Ryland Wilson of Williamsburg, Va.

During spring Shufelt shuffled sophomore players at differentpositions. He said converted running back Charles McCray ofHollywood, Fla. showed a lot of ability. “He has speed and he’s atenacious hitter.”

Hill (6-2, 307) lost 30 pounds so he could become more mobile.”Rex has really worked hard to lose weight and get his body inshape,” said Shufelt.

Schufelt moved Greg Porter of Hazlehurst from defensive end tolinebacker. “Greg’s a real hard-hitter who had a good spring.”We’ll have to see how he matures at that position, after playingin the line.

“We have a lot of new faces out there,” said Shufelt.

Blackwell has moved from cornerback to free safety. “Michael hadfour interceptions last season,” said Shufelt. “He must improve onrun support and stopping the run.”

Michael Davis (6-2, 318) of Jefferson County is showing promiseat nose guard. Davis lost 27 pounds and became much moremobile.

The kicking game should be stronger. Placekicker Chris Blackwellof Franklin County returns. Punter/placekicker. Nick Gunter ofWesson, recovering from a serious automobile accident last summer,has been released to play football.