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franklin county times

McCorkle stands tall with Tigers

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Aug. 4, 2004
LIVINGSTON, Ala. Sam McCorkle stood up for his team on Tuesday literally.
During a question-and-answer session with reporters at West Alabama's football media day, the Tigers head coach stepped up on a table when a journalist asked if his team could compete among the Gulf South Conference's elite.
McCorkle, who first coached West Alabama from 1985-1990, was the Tigers' outside linebackers coach during the 2003 campaign, when West Alabama went 2-9. When former head coach Randy Pippin stepped down after the season, McCorkle gladly stepped in.
Now, in his second tour of duty as head coach, McCorkle will have a far greater role in his team's score on Saturday afternoons. The starting center from the school's NAIA national championship team in 1971, McCorkle said he will bring a hard-nosed approach to both sides of the ball. The Tigers defense will play a much more aggressive style, McCorkle said, and the offense will rely less on passing than in recent years.
Senior linebacker Zeb Ellison, who led West Alabama with 79 tackles a year ago, said the new strategy is exciting.
Wide receiver Will Harter, another of West Alabama's 24 seniors and 15 returning starters, led the Tigers in 2003 with 48 catches and 687 yards. And though McCorkle seems determined to transform the pass-happy Tigers offense into a run-oriented team, Harter said the team will benefit in the end.
Who will be delivering those passes, though, remains a mystery. Juniors Josh Crouch and Jeff East and sophomore Jeremy New are still competing for the starting job, and McCorkle said Tuesday that he wants to proclaim a winner "as fast as we can."

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