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Pats find leadership on road to jamboree

LINDEN — The Patriots will wrap up their spring practice sessions Thursday in view of a Friday night Jamboree contest against Southern Choctaw and St. Jude’s. As the Pats began their 10 AHSAA-sanctioned days, head coach Andro Williams was enthusiastic about what Linden would be able to accomplish during the span.

“We’ve gotten more done in three days than we did in the whole spring last year,” Williams said.

The Patriots enter 2010 seeking replacements at wide receiver and offensive line after the losses of Larente Taylor and Terrance Lucas.

“We’re not going to replace a Larente Taylor or a Terrance Lucas,” Williams said. “But we’re going to have some other things that we’re going to look at that are going to help us.”

Defensively, Linden has holes to fill on the line, at weak side linebacker and at safety.

But the talent pool from which Williams has to select is a little deeper this year than in previous campaigns.

“I’ve got 40 (players) right now,” Williams said. Over the course of the last week and a half, the Pats have lost a player here and there, but still could turn out to have much more depth in 2010.

“We’re just trying to see who can handle going both ways,” Williams said of the team’s focus as a number of his new players are a season or two away from being regular contributors. Still, there are some that Williams believes will be able to play immediately.

“We’ve got a good group of younger guys that are strong, tough and mentally ready to fight,” Williams said.

Williams said that the biggest difference he has seen in his team over the course of the spring has been the emergence of veteran leadership. Just a freshman, Anthony Robinson, who started at quarterback and corner in 2009 while earning honorable mention all-state, has played an important role in the development of less experienced players.

“I know when we turn those lights on, Anthony Robinson is going to get the job done,” Williams said. “He’s also helping us coach now.”

According to Williams, another player taking over a leadership role is sophomore linebacker Terris Lewis.

“He’s making it happen,” Williams said of Lewis, a player who has become surprisingly vocal. “That’s another thing we want to come away with in the spring. We need to know who our leaders are and right now, Terris Lewis is leading our football team.”

Exactly how much progress has been made and how much still remains is a question that will be answered Friday night.

“We’re going to concern ourselves with Linden and see where we’ve advanced ourselves in 10 days,” Williams said.

The Pats will host Southern Choctaw and St. Jude’s beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.