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Gardner-Webb Spring Game Set
Gardner-Webb will host its annual Spring Football Game on Saturday, March 28, at 2 pm ET in Ernest W. Spangler Stadium. The Runnin’ Bulldogs will go through a controlled scrimmage as part of a day of festivities on campus. A drop in for Bulldog Club members is scheduled for 1:00 pm in the GWU Football Center, an hour prior to the scrimmage kickoff. Coach Steve Patton will speak briefly during that meeting. The Gardner-Webb school bookstore is also schedule to be open on Saturday from 1:00-3:00 pm.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs have been participating in a spirited spring practice season through the month of March, with as many as 19 returning starters on offense and defense polishing their skills in preparation for the 2009 season – which begins September 5 at home vs. Mars Hill (6:00 pm ET).
The return of two-time All-America linebacker Mario Brown has been a bright spot for what should be a seasoned defense. Brown, now listed at a lean 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, has been working as a linebacker and hybrid end so far during spring drills – and has been a force as expected. The Greenville, S.C., native missed the final 10 games of the 2008 season with an injury, but is fully recovered.
Brown is joined on defense by 2008 Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year and third-team All-America linebacker Jeffrey Williams (6-0, 227), 2007 All-America cornerback Ced McGowan (6-0, 193) and 2008 second-team All-Conference linebacker Marty Patterson (6-3, 220) and All-Conference end Jordan Woods (6-3, 230), among others.
Several players have made notable position switches during the offseason that should pay dividends when the 2009 season rolls around. Tight end Luke Stein (6-2, 230) has moved to the defensive front, receiver Darren Rogers (6-0, 205) has moved to safety and defensive back Brian Wittenberger (6-2, 215) has moved to linebacker. Speedy cornerback Ricky Rhodes (5-7, 175) is working as a slot receiver and running back effectively this spring according to the GWU coaching staff.
The Bulldogs’ offensive line will be younger in spots, but is noticeably larger, with returning starters Corey O’Daniel (6-7, 310) and Kyle Webber (6-4, 290) at tackle backed up by towering redshirt freshman Harrison Martin (6-6, 295) and Steve Demilio (6-5, 290). Redshirt tackle Patrick Wilson (6-4, 300) has been filling in nicely at guard so far during spring drills as well, after missing the 2008 season with an injury.
Quarterbacks Stan Doolittle (6-3, 215) and John Rock (6-2, 210) have gotten work under center and will have a veteran group of receivers to throw to in 2009. James Perry III (6-0, 180) will challenge for All-Big South honors again, as will rapidly improving Jamal Patmon (6-6, 200) and two-year starters Tyson Petty (5-11, 180) and Nick Melton (6-1, 190). All-Big South tight end Josh Miller (6-2, 230) also returns as a top-shelf receiving threat for the ‘Dogs.
Admission for Saturday’s scrimmage is free to the public.
By Gardner-Webb University Sports Information