Mercer Football returns: Watch out for these Bears

Mercer Marketing and Communications

Nicholas Wooten, Managing Editor

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Head Football Coach Bobby Lamb and his Mercer Bears are optimistic as the program enters its third season.

After going an astounding 10-3 in their first season since 1941, Lamb and the Bears moved up to the Southern Conference and showed flashes of excellence, but failed to execute when it mattered most.

The Bears went 1-6 in conference play and 6-6 overall, losing 4 games by a touchdown or less to SOCON power players such as Samford and Chattanooga.

“You have to take baby steps,” Lamb said on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. “I felt like we took steps in the right direction.”

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Despite last year’s up-and-down campaign, Mercer’s offense and special teams performed well throughout.

John Russ, Junior., QB #7, 6’0, 199 lb.

Russ threw for over 2000 yards (2167) last season with 19 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and a 56.6 completion percentage. But it’s Russ’ legs that make him a threat. He has an uncanny ability to extend plays and evade defenders. Sometimes Russ is too confident in his legs. But when the ball is in his hands, Russ can electrify.

Alex Lakes, Sophomore, RB #27, 5’10, 205 lbs.

A stout and powerful north-south runner, Lakes will be the focal point of the Bear’s offensive game plan. In his freshman season, Lakes rushed for over 1,000 yards (1107) and scored 17 touchdowns on the ground, earning him preseason first team all-conference honors.

Chandler Curtis, Sophomore WR/PR/KR #13, 5’10, 186 lbs.

He’s lighting in a bottle. With one play, Curtis can change a game. Teams avoid kicking to him and rightfully so. Curtis accumulated 1,430 all-purpose yards last season, which included one kick return and three punt returns for touchdowns. He has garnered Football Championship Subdivision All-American honors from three publications and pre-season first team all-conference honors.

Alex Avant, Senior, DB #36, 5’8, 169 lbs.

Avant is tenacious and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. It’s not luck. Avant hauled in three interceptions last season and landed on the SoCon’s preseason second team.

According the SoCon coaches’ poll, the Bears are predicted to finish sixth in the eight team conference.

 

OTHER NOTEWORTHY PLAYERS:

Austin Barrett, DT #99

Tyler Ward, LB #37

 

KEY GAMES:

Oct. 3 vs. Wofford

Oct. 10 @ Western Carolina

Nov. 7 vs. Chattanooga

Nov. 14 @ Furman

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