Bulldogs 'hoping for best' on Derek Douglas' knee
Spring practice for Citadel football has been about new ideas (shotgun formations, forward passes), new positions for familiar players, and some emerging new names.
But the last two days have introduced some new issues: All-Southern Conference defensive tackle Derek Douglas injured his knee Saturday, the day after defensive coordinator Josh Conklin was hired by Tennessee.
Douglas, a 6-1, 260-pound junior, was hurt near the end of Saturday morning's practice. He walked off the field with some assistance, and early tests indicated that he suffered, at the least, damage to a collateral ligament.
"We'll have to wait and see," coach Kevin Higgins said. "It's a knee, maybe a collateral ligament, but we're not sure. We're hoping for the best."
Further tests will reveal the extent of Douglas' injury, but he will not play in next Saturday's 2 p.m. spring game at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Douglas made 43 tackles last season, including a team-high 14.5 for loss, including 3 1/2 sacks. He also recovered a fumble and forced a fumble. Coping with the fallout of Douglas' injury will be the job of new defensive coordinator Denny Doornbos. He was promoted from assistant head coach/ defensive line coach to replace Conklin, hired Friday as the new safeties coach at Tennessee.
"Josh did a great job for us in his two years and we're going to miss him," Higgins said. "It's a great opportunity for him, and as a head coach you love when your guys get a chance to get in roles like that. Denny will step up and take his place, and he was instrumental in putting his package in along with Josh. I think the transition will be very smooth."
Conklin's departure, along with the resignation of assistant Raleigh Jackson, leaves the Bulldogs two coaches short on defense. Higgins said he will begin the hiring process after spring practice ends.
Ex-quarterback Matt Thompson has moved to wide receiver, where Higgins said he's been "more physical than we anticipated" … Keith Gamble has switched from cornerback to safety, and "looks more comfortable in the middle of the field," Higgins said … Slotback Jake Stenson made an impression early in camp, but has been slowed lately by a hamstring. Higgins hopes Stenson will be back for the spring game … TE Alex Glover and WR Brandon Eakins, a pair of second-year players from Wando, have also impressed, Higgins said.