Panthers building depth in spring football practice

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looking ahead to the 2007 football season, Brookhaven head coachTucker Peavey believes his Panthers will have more depth at manypositions. However, experience will be at a premium in what isprojected to be a rebuilding campaign.

“Hopefully, we will have more depth,” said Peavey, scanning thelist of 104 hopefuls who are participating in spring practice. “Wedo have more bodies at linebacker and the defensive line. We needmore folks in the offensive line.”

Peavey has two of the best skill players in southwestMississippi returning. Quarterback Charles (Bobo) Rancifer and widereceiver Simmie Yarborough are rising seniors who are attractingmany college recruiters to King Field.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Rancifer, who accounted for 833 yards rushing and 1,466 yardspassing, gives the Panthers a big-play scoring threat. Yarborough,who caught 43 passes for 680 yards and 8 TDs, is the primaryreceiver.

Backing Rancifer is Bud Britt who also is seeing some action attight end. Yarborough is partnered with freshman Marcus McGee.Wideout Marcus Smith (442 yards, 3 TDs) graduated.

Missing from Ole Brook’s offensive backfield is Charles Wilsonwho amassed 1600 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior. Hewas named the All-Region 6-4A and The DAILY LEADER’s OffensivePlayer of the Year.

Expected to fill Wilson’s shoes is Semmie Smith who rushed for300 yards and 3 TDs last season as a freshman. Tailback should be astrength, with Kendrell Brown and Clayton Winston backingSmith.

At fullback, Brown and Chris Edwards are the leaders. Edwardsalso is working at tight end where Chase McIntyre graduated.

Tackle Grady Autman is the one of two starters returning inBrook’s offensive line. Rising senior Darion Smith has been movedfrom tackle to center to replace Taylor Newman.

Some new faces with potential in the offensive line are CortezLyons and Johnathan Buie at guard and rising sophomore DerrickHenderson at tackle. They’ll be counted on to replace Skyler Smith,Courtney Clark and Newman.

The kicking game is under reconstruction. All-divisionkicker/punter Will Thibodeaux was a 3-year starter. Chris Lowmanhas shown a lot of potential as a placekicker.

“We need at least two go-to receivers,” said Peavey. “Thecompetition will be good at tailback. A key ingredient to oursuccess will depend on how well our offensive line progresses.”

Peavey and his assistant coaches have been working with 104players in practice, including 43 incoming freshmen. Several upperclassmen were late arrivals from the track team.

On defense, starters Bryson Anderson and La’Terrius Williamsreturn at tackle and end respectively. Among the leaders up frontare Laramie Green at tackle and Keron White at end.

At linebacker, Anthony Thomas and Anthony Harris are risingseniors with experience. Sophomore Aaron Ayers started last season.Jarvis Wilbert and Chavon Middleton are juniors in the mix.

The secondary has two veterans back in Jewaun Washington andKeyondray Powell. Jake Williams has been moved from wide receiverto fill a cornerback spot. Washington has moved to safety.

Graduating from the defense were safety R.J. Jenkins, linebackerBart Sias, tackle Virgil Sanders and end Larry Winters.

According to Peavey, the punting job is wide open.

Scrimmage On Tap

After six days in full equipment, and five in shorts, thePanthers will practice in full gear Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdayin preparation for Thursday night’s controlled scrimmage againstPetal. Action starts at 6:30 on King Field and the price ofadmission is $3.

Peavey said the teams will alternate on offense and defense,starting with inside (between the tackles) rushing plays. He plansto have first and second team units on the field simultaneously,located at each hash mark.

Defensive backs and receivers will work on coverage and passpatterns on the other side of the 50-yard line. When the 11-on-11series begins, three different situations will be used: first and10, second and medium, and third and long.

Steve Buckley is the new head coach at Petal, replacing BubbaDavis who moved to New Albany.