Smith names his captains

With just over three weeks remaining until John L. Smith makes his Spartan debut, he has selected his captains for the 2003 season. And unlike last year, he's looking for this year's foursome to take their job seriously.

The offensive captains are lineman Paul Harker and Joe Tate, while the defensive captains are linebacker Ronald Stanley and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney.

Smith said in a statement that he was looking for those who will go above and beyond the call of duty.

"We weren't interested in conducting a popularity contest," Smith said. "We tried to identify blue-collar guys that are committed to doing what's right both on and off the football field. ... I know it's an honor for a player to be elected captain by his peers, but I'm not sure it isn't a greater honor being selected by the coaching staff."

Harker, right guard, is entering his sixth season as a Spartan, thanks to NCAA clearance in the spring. Harker missed two seasons because of injuries. Tate, is a three-year starter and will play left guard.

Stanley and McKinney are both juniors and will represent the young Spartan defense. McKinney got significant playing time last season and has really impressed Smith thus far. Stanley has been a fixture in the defense ever since 2001.

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