|Keith, the Pirates' new coach, understands being selected
last, but he doesn't like it.
"Hopefully this is the first and last time I'll have to speak
last," Keith said, "but right now, I'm just proud to be in the
conference and have an opportunity to compete against the other teams
and improve ourselves."
Keith, who came to Independence after coaching at Tabor (Kan.)
College, has done things to try to put the past behind the Pirates.
"We've got brand new uniforms, we're changing the colors up a
little bit, a new logo," Keith said. "Just little things to let the
kids feel good about themselves."
There will be plenty of new players, with just seven returning
players on the roster, four of them starters. But talk about new. Of
those four, three will be playing different positions than they played a
Anthony Chambers (6-1, 200) has been moved from starting quarterback
to wide receiver, joining returner Steve Brown (6-4, 220). Last year's
starting tailback, Marcus Whitmore (6-1, 220), will move to linebacker,
while honorable mention all-conference nose guard Levangalis Beasley
(6-1, 265) has been switched to defensive end.
Sophomore Lucas Lanning will battle freshmen Caleb King (6-5, 200), who threw for over 1,700 yards as a senior, and Forrest Maize, a transfer from Panhandle State (Okla.).
Whoever gains the starting nod at QB had better have their arm warmed
"Independence traditionally has been an option-type team," Keith
said. "We're going to throw the football, try to make things
The lone running back is expected to be redshirt freshman Ray Pruitt
Defensively, the Pirates will line up in a 4-4 front. Whitmore and
Beasley, along with returning strong safety Reshawn Harvey (6-3, 215),
are expected to be the leaders on defense, while Keith is excited about
freshman cornerback Eric Fuller (6-1, 180) and redshirt freshman free
safety LeUndo Adams (6-2,
Everything's new at Independence this season. Keith is counting on
"We have a new philosophy at Independence. We're no longer going
to put up with thugs, so we laid down the law from the start," Keith
said. "Some of the kids didn't buy into what we're trying to do,
and that's fine because we're starting from scratch. We haven't
won a ballgame in two years. We're going to do it the right way, and
if it takes some time to build it, so be it."
Sept. 1 Hutchinson
JAYHAWK PREVIEW: Independence CC
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