GULFPORT – Shannon coach Chad Cook gets to experience something NFL defensive coordinators face on a weekly basis – facing a Favre.
Cook, who will coach the North secondary in today’s 61st annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic at Gulfport’s Milner Stadium, will send his defensive backs on the field against hot-handed South quarterback Dylan Favre.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound nephew of 40-year-old Minnesota Vikings hurler Brett Favre, passed for 5,589 yards and 63 touchdowns this season in leading St. Stanislaus to a Class 4A state championship.
“Yes, I get to coach the DBs,” Cook said, then laughed, prior to Wednesday’s practice session in Gulfport. “We’ve got to figure out a way to stop the Favre kid.”
To add to Cook’s misery, there are limits to the coverages allowed to be used in the game – three-deep or man-free schemes only.
“Favre is going to know where we are,” Cook said. “It’s going to boil down to the players. We’ll have to do a good job at limiting his plays.”
Aberdeen defensive back Mario Lucas is one of Cook’s pupils who will test the talented Favre. He is one of 11 Northeast Mississippi players participating in the game, which is being played in December for the first time in its history.
The last summer kickoff for the Mississippi Association of Coaches event was July 16 when the South defeated the North 30-14 at Mississippi College.
Cook believes the game’s move to the end of the season works better for all those involved.
“When you play in the summer, you’ve had a six-month layoff, and it’s 100 degrees,” he said. “A lot of these players were on teams in the playoffs, so football is still fresh on their minds.
“I like playing it now. I wanted them to move it.”
Two of Cook’s Red Raiders are joining him – fullback/H-back Derryan Ryce, who played offensive guard during the season, and defensive lineman Josh Jennings.
“Ryce was going to play fullback for us until one of our guards got hurt before spring practice,” Cook said. “He gives us an extra lineman for this game, and he can play fullback when we run the powers.”
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal