BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats are in the process of completing spring football practice.
Their spring showcase (game) is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Daytona Stadium.
B-CU has been practicing since March 26. In the end, they will have completed 15 practice sessions of spring football activities and a few scrimmages.
The Wildcats went 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 2018. The team finished in second place in the conference standings.
Why spring football?
The team is getting valuable work in that will help for the 2019 campaign.
“Things are going pretty well. The guys have a lot of energy. I think that most importantly that we are working hard and that we are getting better,” said Head Coach Terry Sims.
Sims has been head coach since 2015; he has been with the program since 2010. Sims was an assistant coach under Brian Jenkins tenure (2010-2014).
Spring football is about bringing the team together and implementing some things.
Sims responded, “Our No. 1 goal coming into spring practice is to get everyone on the same page and make sure everyone is doing their job.”
Although the season is far away and not all the incoming freshman are present, spring football is important for several reasons.
“Spring football gives you an opportunity to do a lot of things. A lot of guys who don’t get a lot of reps during the season get a lot more during spring. Also, a lot of players get to learn and get a feel for what the program has to offer,” expressed Sims.
Key players gone
There are a few unknown Wildcats that are turning heads like freshmen wide receiver Darryl Powell and transfer linebacker, Untareo Johnson from East Mississippi Junior College.
“They are both doing a great job! They didn’t get to play for us last year,” noted Sims.
Coming into spring practice BCU had a lot of question marks, including replacing key players such as cornerback, Elliott Miller, linebacker Kenny Ndwukwe, along with defensive linemen Kevin Thompson, and Todney Evans) on the defensive side of the ball.
They also must replace offensive lineman Dwayne Brown, who led them up front and playmaking wide receiver Kaveon Mitchell on the offensive side.
Sims stated, “We have to find a way to replace those guys. They provided a lot of production.”
They must also replace kicker Uriel Hernandez and punter Javaunie Francois.
Key returning players
Quarterback Akevious Williams, wide receivers Jonathan Thomas and Steffon Francois, running back are returning offensive playmakers.
On defense, returning players include linebacker Marquix Hendricks and defensive back Tydarius Peters.
With the conclusion of spring practice, Sims feels confident in his team heading into the fall when things get going for the 2019 season.
“I would feel good lining up and playing anyone if the season started tomorrow,” Sims shared.
First game in Atlanta
Bethune-Cookman opens the 2019 football season on Sunday, Sept. 1 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge against Jackson State University.
The game will be played at Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field) in Atlanta. It is presented by ESPN and will air live on one of the ESPN platforms.