Trojans find role players

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2000

early in spring practices


Sports Editor

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On scrimmages like T-Day you look for those certain players to stand out in the crowd and watch for those emerging as game breakers.

Saturday there were a number of big hits and a few big plays, but overall what stood out was the solid play by both sides in a very competitive contest. It was set up that way for a reason and for the coaches and players they got their money’s worth.

Some of those worthy of a mention were Auburn transfer running back Demontray Carter who caught the ball four times out of the backfield for 44 yards and ran it four times for 25. Afterwards Carter talked about his spring and said that he was pleasantly surprised with the amount of competition on the field Saturday.

"The competition is great," Carter said. "I didn’t know the competition at tailback was going to be like this, but it’s really good. We all complement each other very well and I feel we’ll be pretty good back there."

As far as some of the hits and defensive pressure he faced out there, the tailback graded out the defense very high.

"I thought the competition level might be on the down side when I got hear, but I didn’t know how fast these guys were going to be," Carter said. "They’ve got some real speed on the defensive line and there isn’t any difference really at all.

"From me being out of the game for a while I fell I was a little rusty," he said about his own performance. "After two-a-days come around and after a summer of working out I’ll be alright."

Carter stole a little bit of thunder from an injured LeBarron Black in the backfield who was on the Cardinal team, but did not play. TSU head coach Larry Blakeney felt Carter will breath life and big-play ability into the Troy State offense.

Another key performance came from Carter’s White Team teammate Rayshun Reed at defensive back. The sophomore had probably the biggest play on defense for the White team as he picked off a Derek Bynum pass an ran it back 55 yards for the score.

"The interception was a big play," Reed said. "It was a turnaround. I read the quarterback and picked it off and got my team into it a little bit. That’s really all I was trying to do, play my man and break up passes."

Blakeney hopes to play Reed on both sides of the ball with the 5-foot-10 sophomore seeing time at wide receiver as well.

"We’re probably going to play Rayshun Reed and Travis Bozeman on both sides of the ball," Blakeney said. "They will primarily be defensive players, but I think both of them had a catch in the game today on offense. They both played receiver in high school and they have big-play capabilities. They have the ability to break and separate from all this bump and run and press coverage we’re getting."

The true grit award has to go to the Cardinal Team’s Heyward Skipper however.

After dislocating a finger in an early TSU practice, the wide receiver showed Blakeney and the rest of the team how tough his resolve was coming right back to practice and making a difference. The receiver led everyone in catches with six for 50 yards and a touchdown.

"I feel Heyward Skipper has stepped up," Blakeney said. "This guy, his finger almost fell off on the ground the first day we practiced here. He tore it all the way out, dislocated it and only the skin kept it on, but his ligaments were intact when he got to Birmingham. They just slipped them back on there, stitched him back up and he wiggled it immediately after. He came back and caught the first pass that he practiced in after that. He won my respect because I ran the other way when I saw that hand coming at me."