No. 19 Bobcats should be solid at linebacker
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2010-08-27 14:48:14
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – The 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats are expecting a big season from their linebacker corps.
“We have some experience there,” said defensive coordinator/defensive backs/linebackers coach Steve Boyd. “They have been doing a good job in practice so far.”
Leading the way at the “mike” linebacker slot is Heidelberg sophomore Santonio Jones (5-11, 215), while Oak Grove sophomore Kewon Hunter (6-1, 200) and Taylorsville sophomore LeRoyce Keyes (5-10, 195) are battling it out for the starting “will” linebacker position.
Wayne County freshman Jerrell Gandy (6-1, 215) backs up Jones, while Quitman freshman Greg Moore (6-2, 200) will also see action at the “will” slot.
“Santonio played last year and he will be a starter for us,” said Boyd. “He has been coming along in practice. We are expecting a lot from Gandy. Keyes and Hunter are both going to play a lot. They will see lots of snaps.
“Greg is coming along, but he is not where Keyes and Hunter are right now because they’ve been in the system longer.”
Keyes had a solid season at linebacker last year, while Hunter has been moved up from strong safety to the “will” position.
“LeRoyce kind of came out of nowhere last year,” said Boyd. “We had some injuries and had to throw him out there and he responded well. But he’s been battling an ankle injury in preseason and has been hobbling a little bit. We moved Kewon to linebacker and we think that’s where he needs to be.”
Boyd is pleased with the way the defense is shaping up. He said the Bobcats could end up starting eight sophomores.
“We’ve got three sophomores and one freshman starting in the line, we will start two sophomores at linebacker and three sophomores in the secondary,” he said. “It looks like we will start eight sophomores on defense, but some of them have just not played a lot.”
Boyd added that the Bobcats are trying to get their best 11 players on the field defensively and they would all have one thing in common – speed.
“We want speed on defense,” he said. “We want to be bigger, faster and stronger. Their hustle has been good, but we’ve got eliminate those mental mistakes and breakdowns.
“We just want them to be flying around on Sept. 2. It’s like we say, ‘A clear mind makes for fast legs and a cloudy mind makes for slow legs.’ If they know what they are supposed to do, then they will play a lot faster.”
The Bobcats will open the season at 6 p.m. on Sept. 2 at Mississippi Delta Community College. The game will air on WGDQ-FM, 93.1, and on www.jcjc.tv (audio only) with Lance Pittman on the call and Mark Easley providing commentary.
Airtime will be 5:30 p.m.