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To be like Mike

August 30, 2000

To be like Mike



Devils starring more than Jemison in 2000

By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Mike JemisonGREENCASTLE, Pa. - The name of Mike Jemison sticks out like it's on a marquee, complete with floodlights into the sky. After all, you don't get a Division I player at a mid-size school like Greencastle-Antrim very often.

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"You don't go to Pitt because you stink," Greencastle head coach Chuck Tinninis said. "But we're a solid football team. You take Mike away, and we're still a pretty good football team."

Jemison - a two-time Herald-Mail All-Area pick - verbally committed to the Panthers over the summer, and he'll get the whole spotlight to show everyone why he's heading to the Big East next year. Over the last two seasons, he's simply been the much bigger half of a pair of 1,000-yard rushers for the Blue Devils, helping lead the team to the District 3 playoffs in 1998 and a 6-4 record last season.

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With Walt and Wayne Medina gone, he's the only one left.

That means everyone will focus on Jemison, leaving quarterback Joe Windle and a very experienced receiving corps to take advantage.

"Joe is the key. At the beginning of last year, we struggled because we couldn't throw the ball," Tinninis said. "We started rolling when we (threw the ball), and I don't see why we can't do that again. Everybody is a year bigger and year more experienced."

While that may be the case on offense with eight starters back, it's not the case on the defensive line, which will go with three new players - a converted linebacker (David Izer), a JV player that's gained almost 50 pounds in a year (Clint Rice) and a player coming back from ACL surgery (Derek Starliper).

"We've got big guys that used to be little guys, so they're quick," Tinninis said. "You've got to be fast on defense ... we just have to make sure we're smart in our rotations with them."

Just don't expect a lot of rotation from Jemison - he's not one for spin.

"If he can stay focused," Tinninis said. "It's all a matter of Mike keeping his feet on the ground and being a positive member of the team."

That, after all, is the goal. One the Blue Devils see way down the road.

"We're just going to take it one at a time. And I know everybody says that, but we really have to," Tinninis said. "Things here can change so quick - we had it happen last year.

"We'll roll with the punches, and hope to get in a few ourselves."

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