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Pough, SCSU Offense Changes to Suit Former Mr. Football
Malcolm Long stood straight and kept his chin high.
At South Carolina State’s media day early Friday, the sophomore was a popular topic of discussion and rightfully so. With Cleve McCoy graduated, it’s time for the former South Carolina “Mr. Football” to start living up to expectations.
“I’m nervous but excited and happy all at the same time,” Long said. “When it all comes out, I’m just going out and trying to have fun. I’m not going to try to impress anybody. I’m going to try to help my team win a MEAC Championship.”
He might not be trying, but Long has definitely impressed S.C. State head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough. If he succeeds in the new offensive schemes dreamed up by Pough and Howard Feggins, SCSU fans will join the ranks of the impressed soon enough.
“It better be, and the reason being is, we won’t be nearly as good run wise if Malcolm should be our guy,” Pough said when a reporter asked if the team’s passing game was looking good. “At least outside we want be. The runs we get with (Long) should be more inside-style runs. He is more of a fullback in the backfield as opposed to Cleve who was like a scatback. We really need to throw the heck out of the football to make the people get away from us a little bit and cover those wideouts. If not, they will really beat up our running game.”
Later when talking about the changes to his coaching staff, Pough went back to the plans for the offense.
“What it amounts to is I want to get people in here with a similar philosophy to what I had when I first got here,” he said. “I really want to spread out and be a fun attack to watch. I thought we got to the point where we were starting to pound people pretty good…but now, if I get bounced out of here some time it ain’t going to be because we weren’t entertaining.”
So, Long figures to get his fair shot at putting the ball in the air, and if he does take off, SCSU fans should expect him to plow straight ahead.
“Cleve McCoy had a lot more speed than I do,” Long said. “You know, I’m more of a hard-nosed runner. I want to get down hill, get 5 yards a push for the coaches and my team and set up a second-and-five or second-and-six situation.
“I’m more of a pocket-type passer,” he continued. “Passing has been my thing ever since I’ve been playing quarterback. I really like the scheme that they have going this year.”
The change in the aggressiveness of the Bulldogs downfield-passing attack wasn’t brought about by Long’s strong arm alone. Pough said the leadership of the former Gaffney High School star could make him one of the best in the MEAC.
“Malcolm not only can throw it, but he wants to run a football team,” Pough said. “I think his strong suit when it all sorts out is that he wants the responsibility of running things. That is sort of a kind of a pleasant sensation compared to people we had in the past who wanted us to run it and they just kind of…he wants to call plays, set protections, make sure everyone is lined up, all those kinds of things. As he gets more familiar with what we do, as he gets more comfortable, I think that is what is going to separate him from the rest of the guys in our league because of the fact that he wants to be a field general.”
A nervous, excited, happy field general? In fact, yes. Despite those emotions, Long sounded very much like a young man ready to prove the hype right.
“From the time I was a kid, I never liked losing,” Long said. “I want to bring that type of mentality to this team. All I can say is I’m going to shut up and play and have fun.”
Notes from SCSU Media Day
Freshmen on the field
Pough said several incoming freshman could see the field for the Bulldogs this year.
“You know, you never know,” he said. “I’d like to think you would get some play out of some of them, but also you hope you don’t need them to play as much as some people need freshmen to play. We have some good players though. (Lennel) Elmore has some ability. Derrick Wiley has really, really impressed us. We think that Randall Hawkins is a really good player, but he has had a bit of a medical condition that has kept him from doing anything for us.”
Pough said freshmen Yari King, who is second on the depth chart at left corner behind Terrance Smith, kickers Matthew Patterson and Blake Erickson, and defensive lineman Ronnell Ferguson all could see some playing time this year; tailback Chris Merrill is expected to redshirt.
Wiley, who chose SCSU over App. State, has impressed at quarterback behind Long and DeWain Clark.
“He is really a good player,” Pough said. “What really excites you about him is…he has a good presence about himself. He can really throw the football. He’s fast as all get out. We think he is special. He is one of those guys that, when the ball comes out of his hand it really has something on it. It has some juice behind it.”
Ford feeling good
Tailback Will Ford, a first team All-MEAC preseason selection, said he was recovered from the nicks that limited him in practices last season.
“This is the best I have felt since I came in…since my freshman year,” he said. “I feel pretty good. Hopefully, it will stay that way.”
Beefed Up Marshall
Marshall McFadden has moved up from bandit to middle linebacker this year, and Friday, McFadden’s added bulk was noticeable. Listed at 195 pounds on the SCSU preseason depth chart, McFadden said last week he was up to around 220 pounds.
One of the reason’s the SCSU coaches are experimenting with moving Terrance Smith to defense is the emergence of Tre Young at wide receiver. The former standout quarterback at Burke High School has put together an exceptional spring and summer.
“I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a little bit faster,” Young said. “I’ve just been working out and training hard. I’ve done a lot of speed training and upper and lower body work.
“I feel good,” he added. “I feel real good the coaches think I can produce like that. I won’t prove them wrong.”
“Right after that, we almost took the Patriots and the Green Bay Backers too. You know…really toughen up our schedule. But, we thought we would just play those guys,” Pough on playing Central Florida and adding Clemson late in the scheduling process.
“I told him make two or three more catches and we might make you a punter,” Pough on moving Terrance Smith to defensive back after asked about Smith, who made the famous “Centennial Catch” against Morgan State last season.
Long’s time coming: Pough, SCSU offense changes to suit former Mr. Football
By Brian Linder, The Orangeburg Times & Democrat (SC)
Photo Credit: Brian Linder/The Orangeburg Times & Democrat