The Choctaw football team began spring practices earlier this semester and is already making adjustments. Athletic Director Mike Jones announced in January that both Paul Rasmussen and Tommy Laurendine would join the Choctaw coaching staff as the new defensive line coach and offensive coordinator. Along with additions to the roster and coaching staff, the Choctaws have also incorporated new schemes to the playbook. Head Coach John Bland said the majority of their spring practices are spent learning the new plays and adjusting to different coaching styles. He said the players have accepted the new coaches well and “We’re seeing some positive things out on the field.”
Until last Friday, all spring practices were in preparation for the annual Spring Game scrimmage where the Choctaw offense battled the defense. Now, Bland said their attention will turn to staying in shape and keeping grades up, because the main focus for Choctaw athletics has always been academics.
A large portion of the team roster consists of transfers from around the country, so there are always adjustments to be made both on the field and in the classroom. “We’re gonna really focus on academics and hopefully finish this semester strong, so these guys can continue to be here and play football for us,” said Bland.
Colton Magee and Tiberias Lampkin are two seniors on the Choctaw football team this season. Both athletes transferred to Mississippi College during the 2017 spring practice season. Filling the outside linebacker position, Magee said the Choctaws are working hard to “put the pieces together” on the team. Magee said that in his final season at Mississippi College he wants to finish strong. “The coaches have given us a new game plan, so we just want to keep getting better,” said Magee. He hopes that this season they will have a strong support system from the fans since the team has been working hard all spring. He said, “We’re gonna compete, and it’s gonna be a great time.”
For the senior running back Tiberias Lampkin, spring season practices are spent learning to adjust to the new offensive coordinator, Tommy Laurendine. Lampkin has enjoyed getting to work with Coach Laurendine this season at his new full back position. “He’s been really challenging me mentally by showing me a lot of things that I need to get better at,” said Lampkin. The senior full back believes the team is really “drawing together” this season by improving their game both physically and mentally. Looking forward to his senior year, Lampkin just wants some victories. “I can’t stress that enough because I know Clinton is tired of losing,” he said. He said a winning season for the Choctaws “would mean a lot to this community and a lot to me. I just want to win.”
The Choctaws will begin their fifth season under Head Coach John Bland this fall. With eleven total games during the 2018 season, the blue and gold will play six contests at home in Robinson-Hale Stadium. Their first game will be a non-conference matchup against the Clark Atlanta Panthers who defeated the Choctaws 32-29 last season in overtime. The Choctaws will face eight Gulf South Conference opponents and end the season in Cleveland, Miss., against longtime rival Delta State.