Texas College coaches needed to look no further than to Joseph Cook to tackle a key issue.
Cook, after rotating on the offensive and defensive line for two years, switched back to right tackle recently to help the Steers from the depth of despair.
Cook, one of less than a handful of fourth-year Steers, experienced the depth of defeat often during two winless seasons. Recently, a lack of depth up front forced Cook back to duty on the offensive line.
“It is a change,” said Cook, who registered three tackles before a permanent switch to right tackle. “On defense you can be more aggressive. On offense you have to be more protective and know when to be aggressive.”
An injury wiped out Cook’s first year on campus, leading to a medical redshirt. Cook lined up at defensive tackle as a freshman, where he notched 23 tackles and two sacks, then moved back to the offensive line as a sophomore. He figured to play on the defensive side before the Steers suffered several losses on the line, going from 15 blockers to six.
“It’s not hard,” Cook said of flipping sides. “Being a defensive lineman (before), I know what they like to do.”
The TC offense scored one touchdown total the last two weeks, negating solid defensive performances in losses to first-place Langston (14-7) and second-place Bacone (19-6).
The Steers suffered the loss of their starting quarterback (Vincent McNeil) and backup (Milton Harper) during a current three-game losing streak. The Steers struggled throwing the ball last week, finishing with 30 passing yards against Bacone.
“We need to go back to passing,” Cook said. “We’re better pass-blocking than run-blocking.”
Cook (6-3, 260) came to TC after being recruited by former coach Jay Brown, who led the Steers to conference titles in 2005 and 2006. Cook later played for Rickey Carson before current TC coach George Cumby took over.
The former Lewisville Farmer earned honorable mention all-conference honors last year, and gained a spot on the all-academic team.
Despite experiencing just two wins in four years at the school, Cook plans to stick with TC for the long haul. The Steers nearly upset reigning league champion Langston, which would have moved TC to the top of the Central States Football League standings.
“I feel like God called me to this school to help turn it around,” said Cook, a double major in English and education, who carries a 3.5 grade point average. “(We were a TD) away from being first in conference. The team is heading more in right direction. We’re in a transition process. The wins are coming.”
STEER SCOOP: Texas College (1-7) plays Concordia-Selma, an HBU located in Selma, Ala., on homecoming at 2 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Concordia-Selma improved to 5-2 after a 20-14 win over Southern Virginia last week. The Hornets endured a coaching change earlier in the season, with Don Lee stepping in for Sheppard Skanes. … TC junior quarterback Vincent McNeil returned to practice this week after missing two games with a head injury, and expects to play Saturday. The TC defense also added DT Luis Castro back to the mix after a one-game absence. … Several alumni visited the campus on Thursday, including former TC men’s basketball coach Kirk Patrick, who guided the Steers to consecutive national championships in 1992 and 1993.