Friday, September 24, 2004
Fast Grant issues boast
VMI junior cornerback Grant Harris was not surprised that he had enough speed to run down Tennessee Tech receiver Ryan Nichols and force a touchdown-saving fumble on Saturday.
"There's no guy I've played against in college that I think can beat me deep," Harris said.
Reminded that a statement like that might look nice on the wall of an opposing team's locker room, Harris stood his ground.
"I have to have confidence," Harris said. "If I don't, I shouldn't be out there."
Stay with what works
Linebacker Josh Huggard will stay at middle linebacker, though VMI coach Cal McCombs said he expected both Adam Brancamp (shoulder) and Cliff Schademan (concussion) to be able to play against William and Mary.
Huggard, who moved from the outside to middle, was named the Don Hansen's Football Gazette National I-AA Player of the Week and Big South Defensive Player of the Week. He had 13 tackles, an interception and a blocked kick.
McCombs said Mike Maleski will take over Huggard's vacated position on the outside.
McCombs also said he'll stick with the realigned offensive line that improved his team's running game and pass protection last Saturday.
Tribe senior quarterback Lang Campbell has never lost to VMI. William and Mary has won 18 straight against the Keydets.
Campbell has completed 53 percent of his passes for 470 yards and two touchdowns. He has not been intercepted.
"We saw him in the North Carolina game and he made a lot of plays for them," McCombs said. "He was scrambling around and improvising, so we'll have to find a way to get him hemmed in."
Campbell is second on the team in rushing with 77 yards and two touchdowns.
Campbell lost his top receiver when senior Josh Lustig broke his ankle against New Hampshire on Saturday, but he won't be without help.
Senior receiver Dominique Thompson has nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown and senior Jon Pitts will fill in for Lustig.
Jon Smith is William and Mary's top ground gainer with 85 yards and a touchdown.
McCombs said his team is working on performing better in pressure situations. The Keydets allowed too many third-down conversions in their loss to Tennessee Tech.
"In the first half they had seven third downs and they made six of them," McCombs said. "We're been working on getting [the defense] off the field and getting the ball back."
When the Keydets do get the ball, McCombs wants to do better on third-down conversions and close to the end zone.
McComb said the team is working on both rushing and play-action passing out of its power set.
"We moved the ball pretty well between the 30s," McCombs said. "When we get in the red zone, we have to find away to get points."