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QB Bostick leads SSU in spring game
Antonio Bostick thinks Savannah State’s football team can win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2013, and that’s exactly the attitude third-year coach Steve Davenport wants his players to have.
The Tigers concluded spring practice on Saturday with a controlled scrimmage and practice at T.A. Wright Stadium in front of a supportive crowd hungry for the taste of victory on Skidaway Road.
Davenport said Bostick established himself as the starting quarterback during spring practices, and the rising senior responded by completing 5 of 10 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown during the orchestrated offense vs. defense game on Saturday.
“Every coach in America is thinking they just want to get to the end of spring and be in good shape injury-wise, and I can do that,” said Davenport, who has a 2-20 record at Savannah State. “We have a lot of kids who have come to understand our mentality and our expectations. Now that the kids understand what we expect, I hate to say it this way but they’re understanding what I’ll call the Davenport way and that took time.
“Our No. 1 goal was to change the culture in terms of being in a place that hasn’t had a lot of success,” Davenport said.
Despite having more players on the roster and the magic Davenport has worked on the football program’s psyche, the Tigers are still faced with the reality that the team ranked near the bottom of the MEAC in nearly every offensive and defensive category last season. Most importantly, the Tigers scored only 13 points per game while allowing their opponents to score 40 points per game.
Last season started with a whirlwind of negative publicity following blowout losses to Oklahoma State and Florida State. The 2013 season will start in Paulson Stadium against Football Championship Subdivision national runner-up Georgia Southern, which just announced it will step up to play in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014.
“As a quarterback, I’m pretty pleased with how it went this spring for our offense, but there is always room for improvement,” said Bostick, who threw for more than 1,600 yards with eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season and may have to compete with incoming freshman Zach Hutcheson.
“But our overall performance as a team this spring looked pretty good, and last year I felt like we were a little behind. This year, I’m excited about the summer and getting back to work in fall camp.
“Our No. 1 goal is to win the MEAC, and I’m preaching that going into fall camp because I believe we can and will win the MEAC championship,” Bostick said.
Savannah State has more than 20 seniors on the team for the first time under Davenport. The Tigers also have plenty of talent at the skill positions with receivers like Beach High School product Simon Heyward, who scored the only touchdown on Saturday, and developing threat Kris Drummond.
The Tigers continue to suffer from scarcity on the offensive line, but Davenport says the seven offensive linemen who will arrive this summer should swell the ranks.
“Obviously, we’ve been struggling through some hard times at Savannah State,” Davenport said. “Our seniors have only won three games, but we we’ve got what we consider the foundation to turn the program around. Now we just have to get it done.”
By Elmo Weeks, Savannah Morning News