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Govs spring football practice kicks off

APSUs football team will open spring practice Tuesday, March 15, at Governors Stadium.

With a large senior class finishing their respective careers last fall, the Govs will enter spring practice with fewer than 45 players, meaning several starting positions are open.
APSU's football team will open spring practice Tuesday, March 15, at Governors Stadium.

With a large senior class finishing their respective careers last fall, the Govs will enter spring practice with fewer than 45 players, meaning several starting positions are open.

APSU Coach Carroll McCray begins his third Govs spring with a revamped coaching staff, since offensive coordinator/line coach Ken Jones elected to take a teaching position at Kenwood High School. Although Jones is still working with the Govs on a part-time basis, McCray elected to shift some of his staff around.

Steve Haywood was moved back to offensive line coaching with Bob Ateca, who handles quarterbacks and wide receivers, taking over as offensive coordinator. With Haywood moving to offensive line, secondary coach Granville Eastman was elevated to defensive coordinator.

McCray will take over the defensive-line coaching duties with help from student assistant Marcus Tucker, who completed his eligibility last fall as a Govs defensive lineman.

The Govs will build an offense around first-team All-Pioneer quarterback Jesse Kellogg and running backs Quea Williams and Chris Fletcher. Guard/center Wes Proctor, a three-year starter, will anchor the front.

Defensively, the Govs will return four players: defensive ends Steven Young, a sophomore, and Jordan Richardson, a junior, and tackles Matt Wade, a senior, and Drew Wilson, a junior.

With Earl Williams Jr., leaving school and Charlie Forte being held out of most of the drills because of academics, the linebacking corps—the Govs' strength a year ago—has some question marks.

The secondary also has questions, with strong safety Chase Mitchell the only starter returning at his position. R.J. Haskins, who started the 2004 season's final half at safety, has been returned to corner, meaning the Govs will attempt to find another corner and a free safety during spring drills.

“With so few numbers during our off-season program, we stopped talking about offense and team. Instead, we talked about team,” McCray says. “What we have right now is a bunch of guys pulling for each other with the idea of finding the best 11 on both sides of the football.”
—Brad Kirtley