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Low expectations fire up Tigers

July 21, 2007

Benedict returns 10 starters but is picked to finish next to last in SIAC

By CALLEB OBUMBA - Special to the State

ATLANTA - Coming off a 3-7 record last season, Benedict is hoping to turn things around under the direction of first-year coach Stan Conner.

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coaches don't see that happening. They picked Benedict to finish ninth in the 10-team league Friday at the SIAC Football Kickoff.

The prediction did not bother Conner, who replaces John Hendrick.

"I look at it as a challenge, and I hope we can use this prediction as motivation," the former Alabama A&M assistant said. "I feel pretty confident we are going to put out a good team this year. We have a great deal of talented guys that are starting to buy into our new system."

For the fifth consecutive year, despite having no players named to the all-conference first team, defending co-champion Albany State was selected to win the SIAC. Tuskegee, the other co-champion, was predicted to finish second, followed by Fort Valley State.

The Tigers, who return 10 starters and several other key contributors, , had four players named to the all-SIAC first team. Senior running back Elijah Clark, the conference's third-leading rusher last season, and junior offensive lineman Stanly Wright were selected on offense. On defense, senior Carl Spellman was named for the third consecutive year. He was joined by lineman Donnie Wilcher.

"One thing I can say about this team this year is that they have heart and we are not going to back down to anyone. Offensively, we plan to work hard and put points on the board, while our defense and special teams continue to be the strength of our team," Conner said. "My expectations are very high, and I feel that the sky is the limit for us."

Benedict, sporting new gold helmets this season, will open the 2007 season on the road against Morehouse College. The Maroon Tigers defeated Benedict 25-24 last season in Columbia.

SIAC Predicted Order of Finish Benedict Tiger 2007 Schedule

Albany State (7-4) Aug. 25 at Morehouse 7 p.m. Tuskegee (10-2) Sept. 1 vs. Livingstone 3 p.m. (Palmetto Capital City Classic) Fort Valley State (4-7) Sept. 8 vs. Miles College 6 p.m. Clark Atlanta (5-5) Sept. 15 vs. Tuskegee 6 p.m. Lane (8-3) Sept. 22 at Lenior-Rhyne 7 p.m. Kentucky State (7-4) Sept. 29 at Albany State 7 p.m. Stillman (6-4) Oct. 13 at Kentucky State 7 p.m. Miles (0-10) Oct. 20 vs. Fort Valley State 2 p.m. Benedict (3-7) Oct. 27 vs. Clark Atlanta 2 p.m. Morehouse (3-8) Nov. 3 vs. Lane College 2 p.m. Nov. 10 at Stillman College TBD.

Source: The State Newspaper

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