Cottrell feels like he#039;s still playing catch-up

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2005

If there is anyone who can identify with Greenville coach Mike Williams when it comes to rebuilding a football program it would be Carroll-Ozark coach Ronnie Cottrell.

Cottrell was named the head coach at Carroll in May. In just a few months, he has since turned a struggling football team into a playoff contender.

Even with a 4-2 record and a 3-1 mark in Region 2, Class 5A, Cottrell said that he feels like he and his staff are still playing catch-up with what needs to be taught to his players in every phase of the game.

"Anytime you take a program over at any level, it takes time," he said. "I know what he has done at the college level at Southern Miss and Jacksonville State. He'll get that program where Greenville wants it to be."

The Tigers (0-6) are still looking for a win after suffering a 43-0 homecoming loss to Stanhope Elmore.

In addition to losing the game, Greenville also lost two quarterbacks to injury.

Starting quarterback Lynn Lewis was suffered a back injury in the second quarter, when the ball was knocked from his hands and he made an attempt to recover the loose ball.

Lewis said Monday that he was going to get his back treated and hoped he would be healthy enough to play Friday against the Eagles.

Backup quarterback Tom Powell also was knocked out the game after suffering a separated shoulder. Powell may be out for the remainder of the season, according to Williams.

"I don't really know Lynn's status right now," Williams said. "Hopefully a decision will be made (Tuesday afternoon)."

If the doctors clear Lewis, then he'll start Friday. If he's not then it's up in the air as to whom will be named the Tigers' starter.

So right now senior quarterback David Stephenson and sophomore wide receiver Marcus Mickles have been working taking an equal number of snaps with Lewis watching and giving pointers in shorts.

Even though the Tigers have had little to hang their hats on when it comes to wins versus loses, Cottrell said he is impressed with what he's seen of Greenville on film.

"I think they are a very talented group," he said. "I think they are very quick on defense and physical. I think the potential is there for a bright future."

For Cottrell and Carroll, the future is now.

The Eagles have 30 seniors on their squad with a veteran offensive line that helped pave the way for senior tailback Demorris Kilow to rush for 158 yards and four touchdowns in a 26-23 overtime victory over Wetumpka last Friday.

"That win would not have happened if it weren't for the play of our offensive line," Cottrell said.

Senior right tackle Charles Meade (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) anchors the line. Joining Meade is senior right guard Rico Snell (6-0, 240), senior tight end Victor McKenzie (6-3, 220), senior center Josh Robertson (5-11, 250), junior left guard Richard Harris (5-11, 240) and sophomore left tackle (6-0, 210).

"They are a good football team and very physical," Williams said. "This is another team that we face that has almost 30 seniors, so obviously they have the experience and the depth."

Defensively, the strength of the Eagles is in their defensive backfield since all four are seniors.

Buddy Kilow (6-0, 180) is one of Carroll's better cornerbacks, while Cottrell said that Cameron Beard (6-0, 175) is another leader at safety.

"These guys done everything we've asked of them," Cottrell said. "I can't say enough about the job they've done and buying into what we're trying to do."