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Fresh legs, attitude
Speed, depth are keywords for Tigers this season.
By BRETT KELMAN
Published August 25, 2006
DUNNELLON - They say you can't teach speed, but with twice the rest, the Dunnellon Tigers will be quicker than ever.
According to second-year coach Frank Beasley, the team has more depth and overall speed than last year. Only two players will start both ways, and no lineman has to double up.
Where did this newfound depth come from? Beasley attributes it to the team's experience.
"These kids already understand what I expect and they are more focused than last year," Beasley said. "All the groundwork has been set and now we can start perfecting it."
Dunnellon returns seven starters on offense and six on defense. Highlighting that group is 6-foot-1, 175-pound running back Juwan Franklin, who stiff-armed his way down the sidelines for 684 yards, catching the attention of University of Kentucky.
Getting through traffic will be easier with another Division I prospect, senior Josh Dodge, a 6-3, 280-pound offensive tackle who averaged four knockdowns a game last year. Derrick Parrea, a 6-2 220-pound tight end and defensive end, also will help open holes for Franklin. He averaged three knockdowns per game and had seven sacks last season.
"All three of those guys are very physically gifted athletes who play the game very hard," Beasley said. "It'd be hard to run without them."
Strong safety Marquis Browdy, whose energy helps solidify the Tigers secondary, had seven interceptions last year, "can strike you as good as anybody," Beasley said.
Like last year, Beasley plans to use a run-oriented offense, but hopes to become versatile with a more experienced team.
"Last year we had teams stacking eight guys in the box to stop our backs because our passing game was a little young," Beasley said. "We need efficient passing this year to help back them out."
Beasley is counting on junior quarterback Andrew Stichter to do just that. His ability to make quick decisions, coupled with a strong arm and speed (4.6 in the 40-yard dash) helped him excel on the baseball and football fields. Last year, he completed 6-of-15 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Look for newcomer Taiedo Smith, a speedy 6-foot transfer from Lake Weir, who plays both wide receiver and cornerback, to diversify the backfield along with former Lecanto running back/linebacker Dustin Young.
Young, voted the Panthers' most valuable player on defense by teammates the past two years, gained 442 yards and a touchdown while averaging 4.2 yards per carry.