Justin Fenton filling a big role at Hudson



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Mon. August 9, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

Hudson coach Justin Fenton wrapped up his first official preseason practice just before 7 p.m.

And he has a lot on his plate.

He is tackling his first head coaching job, replacing the most successful coach in Cobras history in Mark Nash (now at Nature Coast) and he's trying to handle the arrests of two standout players last month.

Monday was a chance to start fresh, leaving the summer conditioning and 7-on-7 competitions for a more meaningful goal - preparing for the start of the season.

The Cobras had about 30 varsity players show up for Day 1.

In terms of the arrests of quarterback Austin Smith and receiver Dontaie Collins (both charged with burglary), Fenton said he addressed the situation with the team last week. To this day, he has not spoken with those players and is uncertain of their future whether it be in the court system or at Hudson.

"Everyone keeps asking me if they're going to play," Fenton said. "Right now they have bigger concerns."

Fenton declined further comment regarding Smith and Collins.

Smith was competing for the starting quarterback spot while Collins was expected to be a go-to receiver. Fenton said he has three players competing at quarterback, and that Cody Beck is the front-runner.

"As of right now, the guy since the end of spring Cody Beck," Fenton said. "He sat out the spring game because he got hurt (with a knee injury). He had been our QB before that first week of 7-on-7 at Wiregrass Ranch. Jake Heintzleman's another kid that's busted his butt. He's going to play somewhere. And Josh Small is right there. I would have to say right now the nod is going to Cody."

Also of significance is the addition of Land O'Lakes transfer Gary Myrick. Fenton had been impressed since the day he began coaching him, but today just showed him how hard his motor works. Myrick will add tight end duties to his job as a defensive lineman.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder worked all summer on his catching skills. It's the first time he will play tight end, and he hopes to have a big season as he continues to receive letters from Division-I programs. He also attended Auburn's camp this summer, which Fenton said he regarded highly.

"He is unstoppable machine," Fenton said. "He's running around hooting and hollering. Most of the team is bent over because we're on our sixth wind sprint. I don't know if he gets tired."

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