Bulldogs To Spread Field,
Rely on Defense Early
plans to open up the offense this fall in an effort to bounce back
from last year's 4-7 record. But the Bulldog defense may have to
carry the load until the offense gains some experience.
Coach Pete Hurt has 50 lettermen returning, including 13 starters,
but the bulk of experience is on the defense, where the Bulldogs
have veterans at every position. Leaders are linebackers Clay Romano
(who led in tackles) and Matthew Forrester, tackle Demarius Newton,
safeties Jonathan Clark and Robert Evans, and cornerback Donta Garrett.
have experience and have gotten physically stronger on defense,"
said Hurt. "Plus, we plan to put more speed on the field."
Samford will try to get away from its run-oriented offense of the
past two seasons and spread the field. "Last season, we were
too one-dimensional," said Hurt. "We still want to run
the ball effectively, but a point of emphasis has been to find ways
to put our backs and receivers in the open field so they can make
Hurt hopes to get the ball to receiver Aryvia Holmes early and often.
The talented wideout caught 52 passes the past two seasons, despite
playing in an offense that rarely threw. Two-year starter Josh Kellett
returns at quarterback but could be pushed by sophomores Jeff Flannery
and Donald Baker. Plus, the Bulldogs recruited a talented freshman
quarterback, Ramon Nelson, who starred in this summerís Alabama-Mississippi
"Running back Gary Reed is the only other offensive player
with starting experience. All five interior line starters graduated,
necessitating a complete rebuilding job on the offensive front.
Hurt will fashion a new line with two converted tight ends, a transfer
and several experienced backups from last year.