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Tigers hope for better chemistry in 2002

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Aug. 7, 2002
LIVINGSTON, Ala. A year together should help make the West Alabama Tigers a better football team in 2002.
The Tigers suffered through a rough 1-10 campaign under new head coach Randy Pippin in 2001. A solid spring practice along with a good recruiting class has boosted UWA's hopes for the upcoming season.
Newcomers and Tiger veterans officially report to campus on Friday to begin a week of two-a-day workouts. On Tuesday, Pippin and four returning veterans met with the media for the West Alabama Football Media Day at Lake LU.
Versatile slot back Michael Allen pretty much summed up the mood the veteran players are taking into the upcoming campaign which begins Aug. 31 with a road trip to Belhaven College in Jackson. Chemistry is key.
Kyle Henderson, the team's second leading receiver last season with 17 grabs for 196 yards and two TDs, agreed.
Pippin, who came to UWA after winning 51 games as a junior college head coach at Middle Georgia and Trinity (Texas) said the difference between this year and last is huge.
Pippin said two areas the Tigers will need to solidify in the first two weeks of practice is at quarterback and at defensive back.
The Tigers return junior Brett Gilliland from Pensacola, Fla., who made five starts at quarterback last year and played in all 11 games. Gilliland completed 44-of-95 passes for 429 yards.
The other concern is in the secondary.
The offensive line returns pretty much intact. The Tigers will also be sturdier on the defensive front seven.
Sims and fellow Middle Georgia recruit Johnny Randolph are the two most likely newcomers who will be counted on. Pippin said the freshman signee most likely to play this year was wide receiver Lance Hamilton.