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Durant: Season preview

Practice makes perfect  Durant offensive tackle Cole Gilliam, with Plant volleyball player/future media personality Danielle Erb at the Tampa Theatre, knows his performance on the field this season could serve as an interview for Division I-A programs.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Practice makes perfect Durant offensive tackle Cole Gilliam, with Plant volleyball player/future media personality Danielle Erb at the Tampa Theatre, knows his performance on the field this season could serve as an interview for Division I-A programs.

Coach: Mike Gottman (sixth season, 31-23) | Last season: 5-5 | Class: 6A, District 6 | Colors: Vegas gold and navy

A-listers Cole Gilliam

The senior offensive lineman went to camps, including FSU and Alabama, over the summer and dropped about 30 pounds. Gilliam, at 6-5, 325 pounds, will be closely watched by a number of Division I schools this fall.

Ryan Rice

Rice, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, is a good downhill runner with an elusive burst.

Marvin Dexter

Dexter's primary responsibility in Durant's cover-2 scheme is run support. He has a knack for reading the alley and delivering punishing hits.

Rising star Je'Twan Smith

Smith, a quarterback on junior varsity last season before a final game callup as a running back against Bloomingdale, will be the signal caller this year. In addition to a strong arm, Smith ran for more than 200 yards against the Bulls in his debut last season.

Stunt man John Hicks

Guy who does the dirty work

The bulk of Hicks' playing time will come at defensive back, but expect his impact to be felt on punt and kickoff returns.

Cutting-room floor

Three things the Cougars need to avoid

1. Injuries. As coach Mike Gottman said, "Like most teams, we're not deep. We only have one Ryan Rice and one Cole Gilliam."

2. Turnovers. "We have to be solid on offense and not put our defense in bad position. Just a good, solid offense will win us some games," Gottman said.

3. Controversy. Gottman was pleased with the team's offseason workouts, and chemistry should go a long way in preventing off-the-field distractions.

Review

"When you play Durant, you better bring your hard hat and be prepared to come to work. Cause they're going to hit you." — Riverview coach Bruce Gifford

Brandon Wright, Times correspondent

Durant: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:36pm]
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