Hook, line and sinker

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Concordia coaches feeling grind as signing day draws near

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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A whiteboard lined with more than 40 names hangs prominently in the Concordia College football coaches&8217; office.

Recruits from all over the Southeast are now just letters scribbled in ink, but hopefully will materialize into players that can become part of the Hornets&8217; growing football legacy.

Assistant coach Alex Baraka walks into the room and informs everyone that one of Concordia&8217;s biggest competitors for talent just cherry-picked southeast Tennessee.

Just like that, a fifth of the board is empty.

At the very same moment, defensive coordinator Corrie Dawson is holed up in his office making phone calls, and line coach Derreck Hodges is on his way to Birmingham.

National Signing Day is Wednesday, and Skanes and his staff have been on the road for months tracking down a crop of players that will make their team competitive on a national level in the NAIA.

When asked what positions are his biggest needs, Skanes blankly said: &8220;Every position.&8221;

The mission is not just to fill holes. It is to find guys who can play right away, if for no other reason than to make sure the veterans don&8217;t get too comfortable.

A coaching staff short eight bodies makes the job that much more difficult. The Hornets are making wholesale changes to ensure the team gets beyond the combined 4-17 record of the past two seasons.

The last time Baraka got a full night&8217;s sleep was Jan. 8, right before the start of the spring semester. That was only because he got sick while on a recruiting trip.

The team&8217;s highest priority is local recruiting. Skanes is convinced there is enough talent in Dallas County to put the Hornets on par with other small colleges in the state.

Like every other coach staff, they just have to sell their school. It&8217;s harder for a program that&8217;s just barely getting off the ground, but they see it going in the right direction.