Eagles answer some lineup questions

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2006

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Blaine Hathcock got plenty of things across during his initial spring training with the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football program a year ago, but most of those were an introductory period to his system.
Thanks to a year's experience at the helm, Hathcock felt he was able to expand things a lot more for this year's now concluded spring workouts.
Of course, that familiarity is a two-way street.
Rebuilding the offensive line where W.S. Neal lost four starters, the linebacking crew and the secondary were probably the three biggest areas Hathcock and his staff tried to address.
Senior quarterback Marquis Barksdale has been a fixture at that spot for a year and a half now, but his backup has been a much bigger mystery.
The Blue Eagles graduate their top two running backs from a year ago, Mario Daniel and Jake Bailey. Their projected replacements are two individuals who did not suit up this past fall, senior Justin Smith and junior Louis Ray Nelson.
W.S. Neal returns its top wide receiver, senior Jonathan Alexander, but is looking to fill in the gaps around him.
Senior left tackle Jared Cooper is W.S. Neal's lone starter back on the offensive line.
stepped in at left guard and (senior) Justin Ball has moved into the right guard spot. All that can change, but those are the players who have emerged for those spots at this point,” Hathcock said.
On the defensive front, senior Shaunathan Williams and Howard have taken over at end, while senior Jeremy Brazile, sophomore Jamar Travis and sophomore Derick Fantroy are in the rotation at tackle.
Linebacker may be the most uncertain position at this time.
In the secondary, Alexander has been a two-year starter and figures to make it three years next fall.
W.S. Neal had several key special teams spots to answer during the spring.
One item Hathcock is trying to eliminate is W.S. Neal's dependence on two-way players.

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