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Southern Set to Hit Practice Fields
Southern University will start Camp Richardson XVI this afternoon.
“Pete’s going to be ready,” junior quarterback Bryant Lee said of Southern’s football coach, Pete Richardson, now entering his 16th season with the Jaguars.
And what about the players?
“We’ve been working hard in the offseason for this day,” said Lee, the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s preseason offensive player of the year. “So we’re ready.”
SU went 8-3 last season and is picked to finish second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Western Division. That’s where the Jaguars finished last season. SU last won the SWAC in 2003 and last won the Western Division in ’04.
“We have a lot of veterans on this team, and I think we can make things happen,” Lee said.
On offense, Southern will have to fill the voids of two playmakers, wide receiver Gerard Landry and running back Darren Coates, and senior tight end Evan Alexander’s availability is in question after knee surgery.
Huge pluses, though, will be Lee, a deep group of wide receivers seemingly with breakout potential and substantially improved depth across the line.
The defense has several holes: linebacker Brian Lewis, who left to pursue his engineering degree; defensive tackle Dwayne Charles, who is academically ineligible; and free safety Jarmaul George and cornerback Efe Osawemwenze, who concluded their careers last season.
However, defensive tackle Joseph Selders, defensive end Vince Lands, cornerback Michael Williams and strong safety Glenn Bell — along with improved depth in all areas — are pluses.
“We have a lot coming back on defense,” Williams said. “We’re a very experienced unit, and we’re ready to play.”
Southern had a lengthy spring practice that left Richardson confident.
“I’m just looking to see the retention rate from the kids who came out in the spring,” Richardson said of what he wants to see from his team today. “I know a lot of the young ones will be behind, but the older ones should be in good shape.”
Southern had a conditioning test scratched by strong afternoon thunderstorms Friday.
As players assembled to run on the track at A.W. Mumford Stadium, Friday’s deluge reached campus just after 3 p.m.
“The thing I liked about it is, they still wanted to run,” strength and conditioning coach Thomas Hall said.
SU will have to shoehorn the conditioning test into an already packed schedule. Players are scheduled for an academic orientation meeting set for 10 a.m.-noon today.
The test has more returning veterans participating than ever in Richardson’s 16 seasons because budget cuts meant fewer football players attended summer school. This season, only about 20 veterans took the conditioning test after completing voluntary summer conditioning.
“I know it’s going to be hot (today), but we just have to work through it,” Lee said. “We’ve been running in the heat (through the summer), so I think we’re going to be all right.”
Players checked in Thursday and then had meetings for academic compliance and academic orientation Friday.
SU is not scheduled to practice Monday morning and will go once per day in the morning until Friday, when the Jaguars will have their first two-practice day.
Richardson said he expects junior running back Brian Threat to arrive Monday. Threat has been excused while he completes coursework. He will first have to complete a physical exam before being cleared to practice.
SU set to hit practice fields
By Joseph Schiefelbein, The Advocate (LA)
Photo Credit: Travis Spradling/The Advocate