|« North Dakota State opener could draw 17,000 fans next weekend||EKU's Pryor wants wins in his pocket »|
William & Mary's 'D' gets boost
Among the many people happy to see middle linebacker Jake Trantin return to the William and Mary football team this spring were Scott Boone and Dante Cook.
Boone is the Tribe’s new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Cook was the temp doing Trantin’s job.
Trantin, a second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association pick as a sophomore in 2009, figured to be an All-America candidate last year. He sat out the season because of family issues.
That necessitated moving Cook from outside linebacker. He emerged as quite an insider, earning second-team all-CAA honors, but the junior from Fredericksburg will be back at his natural spot when William and Mary opens its season next Saturday at Virginia.
“In the spring, once I looked out there and saw No. 32 [Trantin], I had a little better mental approach,” Boone said. “To be able to move Dante back to where he really belongs, as a linebacker coach I was really thrilled.”
William and Mary, the preseason favorite in the CAA, is replacing Wes Steinman and Evan Francks, a pair of solid starters on the outside. The linebacking corps seems to have more playmakers with Trantin, Cook and Jabrel Mines, a junior from Caroline who ranked fourth on the team with 65 tackles.
“Athletically, Dante is back where he needs to be to be a dominant-type player,” Boone said. “He’s a really instinctive player, a really hard-working film studier. He made himself into a good inside linebacker. … but that’s not his forte. His forte is out in space and running around and using his speed. He’s one of our faster kids and one of our stronger kids.”
The 5-foot-11, 213-pounder excels at rushing the passer and creating havoc. He led the Tribe with 111 tackles and had four sacks and two interceptions.
“Everybody is glad to have Jake back,” said Cook, who improved his strength this summer by weightlifting and lifting logs for a tree-removal company. “He has really good command of the defense. It kind of frees me up in terms of responsibility [with defensive calls] and in terms of space. I’m not dealing with 300-pounders on every single play.
“It’ll be good blitzing and doing different things to disrupt an offense.”
Cook was slated to be part of the Tribe’s linebacking rotation last season. He was recovering from knee and thumb surgery in the preseason when the coaching staff approached him about moving inside, a position he had not played collegiately.
He missed the first game and wasn’t at full speed until Game 3.
“That’s what was surprising to me,” Cook said with a laugh. “They asked the most crippled guy in the building to be the starter.”
By: Tim Pearrell, Richmond Times Dispatch