Line in the sand

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

Offensive, defensive fronts concerns for Trojans

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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Rick Jackson isn’t so worried about who will be throwing the ball this fall.

He isn’t worried about who will be catching it.

Ditto as far who totes the mail in the backfield.

If he develops any gray hair, it will be over who handles the blocking and tackling.

“My big concern is the offensive line,” Jackson said. “I feel like I’ve got people in skill positions that can make plays. Zach Lawrence is a three-year player, and he’s a senior. He’s trying to be the anchor on the line.

“The offensive and defensive fronts are going to be the keys to our success. And if we stay healthy, of course. But we’ve got depth this year at certain areas.”

Senior running back Brett Collins is the first example of how one bad break can derail a season.

He’s working his way back after a fractured forearm put him out for what was at first believed to be midseason. But the bone didn’t heal properly, and Collins never played a down for the Trojans.

J.R. Lowe, a big target at receiver, is expected to be another key player.

As is junior quarterback Randal Hamilton, who is easing his way into the offense after transferring from Dallas County High.

Ninth grader Stone Jackson will push for playing time at quarterback, but it’s expected Hamilton will lock up the job by the start of the season.

“Mentally, (Stone) is way ahead of Randal right now,” Rick Jackson said. “He’s been in the offense a while, and he knows it. But I fully expect by week one, Randal should be there. It’s a new team with new looks and new reads.

“He’s a good kid. He asks all the right questions, and he’s just like a sponge taking everything in.”

Perhaps the best thing for the Trojans is very few players have a job locked up going into the season.

The Trojans have 40 players battling for jobs, but Jackson isn’t relishing in the numbers he has.

“We started with 42 guys last year, but then we went through two-a-days and put on the pads and kids started weeding themselves out,” Jackson said.

The Trojans don’t seem to be lacking for raw talent this year.

But getting ready for the season is going to take more than that.

“A lot of things have got to come together,” Jackson said. “I’m excited about things. There’s a lot of potential, but then again, potential is like height. Sometimes you’ve just got to make something happen.”