08/22/11 — FOOTBALL TAB -- New coach, same 'ole Saints in Dudley

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FOOTBALL TAB -- New coach, same 'ole Saints in Dudley

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 22, 2011 1:47 PM

The overall leadership role has changed in Dudley, but don't expect the dynamics in the Southern Wayne football program to undergo a conversion this season.

In fact, most everything will stay the same -- except the head coach. Long-time assistant David Lee takes over after Bob Warren, who retired last February, guided the Saints for 15 seasons.

So far, it's been a smooth transition.

"All the kids know me and have responded well (to the change)," said Lee. "I've had no problem getting the kids to work hard. I'm borrowing a whole lot from Coach Warren, but obviously there are going to be a few differences. We differ slightly on practice routines.

"As far as our offense (and) our defense, what we believe needs to take place for us to be a good football team is pretty similar."

Expect the Saints to run the misdirection wing-T scheme for the 14th season. Seven starters return on that side of the ball including quarterbacks Keith Jones and Sam Ferrell. Jones threw for 128 yards and one touchdown in the run-oriented offense, while Ferrell completed one pass in the regular-season finale.

The four down linemen are back -- right tackle Santo Saldivar, right guard Daquan Jones, left guard Timmy Sutton and left tackle Jamari Roberts. Colton Chrisman is the split end and Quintae Bradshaw returns to the backfield.

Bradshaw, who rushed for 453 yards and six TDs last season, wasn't expected to suit up this fall since his athletic eligibility had expired. He earned a reprieve when the N.C. High School Athletic Association changed its birth-date requirements.

"That bought him another year," said Lee.

The numbers are a little thinner on defense.

Taylor Brock, Timmy Sutton and Willie Sutton, who played linebacker last season, will handle blocking duties in the Saints' 3-5 defense. Lee opted for the switch to handle passing teams who like spread out their athletes over the field.

Bradshaw and Jeremy Outlaw return at cornerback and outside linebacker, respectively.

"Defense is not necessarily where we're going to be young, but inexperienced," said Lee. "If we're going to compete for a conference championship, or just compete within our conference for that matter, we're going to have to grow on defense, get better every week.

"What we're preaching in practice right now is that we have to be more aggressive, especially on defense. We have to step up in the hole, just can't sit there and wait."

Southern Wayne started 0-4 last season, but won six of its final nine games and advanced to the second round of N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

The Saints won their last league crown in 2007.

"We've got to play good defense and I don't think we can turn the ball over," said Lee. "The wing-T is not an explosive offense, so we've got to keep turnovers to a minimum. I really believe that. We have to improve our special teams from last year and if we can do that, we can compete in the top echelon (of the conference).

"We want to finish in the top three and see where that takes us."