Benedict Ready To Kick Off Spring Game

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (BC SID) — The Benedict College football team will wrap up its spring workouts with the annual Purple-Gold Spring Gameon Saturday at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

The football team will begin with some drills at 2 p.m., with the spring game scheduled to start at 3 p.m. The format will be four 12-play quarters with a five-minute break between each period. The scrimmage will be offense, wearing white, against the defense, wearing purple. Admission is free.

“Spring practice has been going really good. I think we can see the flow of practices a lot better. We’re doing a lot better running the football,” said Benedict head coach Mike White. “We’ve still got some spots offensively we need to improve on, but overall, I’ve been pretty pleased with how we’re going and I’m pretty pleased we haven’t got anyone injured seriously out there. I’m pleased with it right now.”

Coming off an 0-10 season that saw the Tigers average just 61 yards rushing per game while giving up 214 yards on the ground per game, the focus this spring has been on the run game.

“Two things I’d like to measure is how well we run the ball and how good our rushing defense is,” White said. “That was the key and our goal this spring. In 2015, we were really bad, and we’re trying to get some consistency in the run game and do a better job of not allowing big plays and doing a better job against rushing defense. Those are our concentrations this spring, so I’d like to see how that plays out in this scrimmage Saturday.”

The Tigers have eight running backs on the spring roster, including their top three rushers from last season. Raheem Jennings was the team’s leading rusher with 211 yards on 52 carries. Macathy Brierefinished with 137 yards rushing. George Myers Jr. had 114 yards rushing.

“I think the running backs have done a good job. I think all three of the kids (Jennings, Myers and Briere) running the ball have done an outstanding job,” White said. “Anytime you have the season we had in ’15, you’re just trying to get your feet up under and get some consistency in what you’re doing and not try to do everything but work on a few things you can get better at, and rushing was the one thing we wanted to get better at.”

White said the Tigers will continue to use Myers in multiple positions. Last season he was used as a running back, kick returner, wide receiver, and even played quarterback one game.

“We’re going to put him in a lot of places,” White said. “He will have a lot more help around him. I think he was our main playmaker last year. The Jennings kid looks good and the Briere kid looks good. I just think with some pieces we have coming in this fall, we’ll do a better job offensively.”

The Tigers also have been focusing on stopping the run on defense.

“I think our line is improving,” White said. “I think Stephen Williams, a linebacker, is doing a good job. I’m excited about our secondary getting it all straightened out. Robert Cummings is a new kid that’s coming up. We’re real excited about him in the secondary. We’re a little bit better all-around at each position, but how much better, we’ll see. This gives us a good measure.”

The Tigers will also be looking for improved play at quarterback, after using five different players at the position last season. Mason Duckett, who threw for 322 yards and completed 64 percent of his passes, has been getting the majority of the quarterback work in the spring, with Charles Foster also seeing time behind center.

“It’s still is a sore spot,” White said about the quarterback situation. “It’s something we’re going to have to solve and that has something to do with us focusing on the running game so much.Okechi Ntiasagwe, George (Myers), Jevric Blocker, those guys are really good receivers. We have thrown the ball at spring and tried to execute. Maybe not that many passing plays, but the ones we have, we’ve really tried to execute them out of different formations and execute them better.”

The Tigers open the 2016 season on Sept. 3 against Livingstone College.

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