Filling skill spots among top priorities for WSN
Published 5:51 am Monday, February 5, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
They lost their quarterback, their top two running backs, their tight end and their top wide receiver.
With that in mind, it is not hard to figure out what one of the top priorities will be for the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles during its upcoming three weeks of spring training.
W.S. Neal kicks off spring training Monday with five days of practice this week and next week. The Blue Eagles are tentatively scheduled to conclude their spring work the following week with an intrasquad game Feb. 22
Not only is graduation cleaning out W.S. Neal's skill spots, its taking skill players that helped W.S. Neal average just under 40 points a game this past season en route to a 10-2 record.
The situation the Blue Eagles face this offseason is almost reversed from a year ago. Last year W.S. Neal had just one returning starting offensive lineman albeit that one is soon-to-be Auburn University recruit Jared Cooper at left tackle. Although the Blue Eagles had to restock their running backs, they had quarterback Marquis Barksdale, wide receiver Jonathan Alexander and tight end Justin Howard to build around in the skill spots.
Most of the potential backfield replacements have some varsity experience although most of it came in mop-up duty with Taylor Cash at quarterback and running backs Louis Ray Nelson, Akeem Green, Nate Sheffield, Wayne Mitchell and Jason Bailey.
W.S. Neal also has plenty of spots to fill on defense.
both linebacker and in the
secondary before he went down. Karish Jones made a couple of starters at cornerback.
One area that should be more settled than in recent years is special teams.
Hathcock is anticipating between 50 and 60 players for spring training. That count will include about 15 to 20 incoming freshmen.