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Prairie View looks to coordinator to revive offense
Prairie View A&M offensive coordinator Mark Orlando probably doesn’t expect Bethune-Cookman’s defensive coaches to be surprised by much of what they see from his playbook today at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
After all, Bethune-Cookman saw it firsthand last season when Orlando ran its offense.
However, it proved to be a short look. Orlando orchestrated the Wildcats’ quick transformation into one of the premier offenses in the Football Championship Subdivision in 2010 before leaving after just one season to join Heishma Northern’s first-year staff at Prairie View.
“It feels a little awkward because I was there for just one year,” Orlando, 58, said. “We had so much success that one year, and then to leave and all of a sudden open up against that team. … I don’t know too many coaches who have ever done that.”
Orlando hopes his spread offense will provide the same quick fix at Prairie View that it did at Bethune-Cookman a year ago.
A season before he arrived at Bethune-Cookman, the Wildcats were 101st in scoring offense (15.8 points per game). Bethune-Cookman went 10-2 under first-year coach Brian Jenkins in 2010 on the strength of an offense that was second in scoring (38.2 ppg).
Orlando will have to work with inexperienced players, particularly at quarterback, running back and offensive line. The Panthers, who return four offensive starters, plan to play two quarterbacks, with senior Jonathan Troast set as the starter and freshmen Jerry Lovelocke and Deauntre Smiley vying for the No. 2 spot.
Prairie View vs. Bethune-Cookman
When/where: 11 a.m.; Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
TV/radio: ESPN; 91.3 FM.
Records: Season opener for both teams.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Storyline: Bethune-Cookman is the defending black college national champion, but the Panthers, who won the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2009, are a formidable program in their own right.
By the numbers: Prairie View is playing on ESPN for the first time. … The Panthers are 4-4 all-time versus opponents from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
By RONNIE TURNER, Houston Chronicle