New cat on the block

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

If Southside has an intimidating presence at quarterback this year, it’s for a good reason.

The Panthers have been working former offensive lineman Orlando Brown at the position all summer.

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Coach Christopher Raymond had to audition players for the position and was most impressed with Brown’s work ethic.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, it looks like the new QB can take a hit. Only time will tell if he can lead the Panthers to the playoffs.

“He looks pretty good,” Raymond said. “I’m proud of where he’s come from to where he’s at right now. He’s stepped up and accepted the challenge. It’s going to limit some of what we’re trying to do offensively to begin with. But he’s working hard, and hopefully within the next two and a half weeks it won’t even be a factor.”

Raymond, a former quarterback at Alabama A&M, has taken to the idea of the senior as the team’s signal caller.

He said the most encouraging things about Brown are his work ethic and willingness to learn.

Even with a working knowledge of the offense, Brown will more than likely hit rough spots this season.

In light of that, returning All-Region Player of the Year Kevin Rowe at running back and five returning starting offensive linemen are nice safety nets to have.

Southside also returns all four of its defensive linemen, who average 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds across.

Generally, there’s experienced talent returning all over the field.

The biggest problem for the Panthers this summer has been a lack of depth.

Raymond says he has 15 to 20 players shy of what he’s used to having.

But that’s not an excuse to fall back on.

“Overall, they’re in pretty good shape,” Raymond said. “We haven’t had too many kids drop out of practice. We’re practicing our 30 or 40 kids as if we had 60 to 80 players. We’re going to have to play both sides of the ball with those numbers.

“Conditioning will play a vital part of the ball game.”