Linebackers seeking out leaders
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 16:04
The linebacker unit is on the hunt for leaders this spring.
Middle linebacker Josh Linam is the lone returning starter from the Knights' 2010 season. The unit will likely be rounded out with new faces and some players that have switched positions.
"We need leadership. I can see it," Ray Cottman said. "We definitely need some guys to step up and I personally should step up myself. I feel like we have the camaraderie as a family, but we just need that leadership."
Cottman is one of three backs who could make an impact this fall. Cottman has played outside and inside linebacker and was a first All-WSFL (Western States Football League) NJCAA selection.
Converted running back Jonathan Davis brings some speed to the position. Davis saw action at the running back position last season and ran for 234 yards and one touchdown.
Florida transfer Ray Shipman has not only changed universities, he's completely changed sports. The former basketball player saw little action with the Knights last season and is using the spring season to learn the defensive schemes.
"The biggest adjustment is learning the schemes a little better because I can't use my athletic ability if I don't know what's going on out there," Shipman said. "First [thing is] learning the defense and once I learn the defense, I feel like I can help the team with my athletic abilities the best I can once I know what they want."
All three linebackers are being evaluated this spring. Cottman has been playing with the first and second string defense and the starting offense has been keeping him on his toes. Shipman is trying to make the most of his first spring football camp since his freshman year of high school.
"We have to not go backwards. We have our ups, we have our downs, but we have to keep going forward," Shipman said. "That's our main thing, sticking together. Some guys are going to mess up, some guys are further along, some guys have more experience. I feel like we have a long way to go, but we're making strides right now."
Said Davis: "I think we've just got to get better every day and come out here with a good attitude and good enthusiasm,"