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Rams prepare for unknown

September 15, 2000

Rams prepare for unknown



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Shepherd College football team is about to star in its own late summer horror flick.

It's a classic battle of the local hero against the unknown. It premieres today when the Rams have their home opener against St. Joseph's (Ind.).

Shepherd will be opening a newly refurbished Ram Stadium today at 1 p.m. when they play an opponent for the first time, complete with an offensive set it will not see for the rest of the season. Gasp, here.

"To me, everybody we play is scary," Shepherd coach Monte Cater said. "It's because of all the unknowns that are involved in it. I worry more about the defense more than our offense. (St. Joseph) is scary because they are so physical and unique."

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St. Joseph's record isn't scary. It enters the game with a 0-2 record.

Still the Pumas run a option-styled attack which changes the way Shepherd must defend ball carriers. There is a lot of deception in such offenses. In the Rams' favor, they had a bye week after scoring a season-opening win over Shippensburg.

So, the Rams starred in "I Know What You Did Last Week" and Scrim(mage) for the last two weeks trying to get ready for what they will see - a wide-open attack used to spread out defenses.

"No one we play is running the option as their main running game or using it for play-action passing," Cater said. "The week off was good to get some work against it, but we can't simulate the speed of it. Our 'look' team can look at cards and run it, but not that well because they don't practice it. We are just trying to get as many reps against it as possible and hope we run it well enough to be prepared."

The Pumas have averaged 233 yards of total offense in their first two games while allowing 405 yards. Freshman quarterback Lewis Scott leads St. Joseph's with 112 yards rushing while throwing for 131 yards. Senior fullback Desmond Fletcher has run for 67 yards.

"Their quarterback is a good athlete. In fact, they have a couple of good athletes," Cater said. "It's the type of offense that makes you slow to the ball. You just can't fly in there like you do against other teams."

Shepherd, on the other hand, is led by tailback Dalevon Smith, who had 224 yards rushing against Shippensburg to be named West Virginia Conference offensive player of the week. Quarterback Joel Gordon threw for 213 yards. Smith has been slowed by a toe injury.

Cater's worries remain with the defense, where injuries have moved players out of position and lef the Rams precariously thin in reserves.

Offensively, the Rams may be without running back Jerit Seidor, who is bothered by a rib injury, tight end Dan Woodard and offensive lineman Drake Shelton. Defensively, Nate Brooks could play in a limited role.

And from here on out, the Rams have no rest for the rest of the season.

"Now we play nine games in a row," Cater said. "Some guy have to be ready and we have to have some guys ready to play in places they normally don't play. We hope we can stay relatively healthy for the rest of the season, but this is football and we know that that isn't likely to happen."

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