Friday, October 31, 2014

GSU looking to solve Texas woes

GRAMBLING, Louisiana  --  Grambling wants to distance itself as far away from the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship title talk as possible, but if the Tigers even remotely want a chance to hoist the trophy come December they'll first need to learn how to win in Texas.

Grambling travels to Houston, the site of the 2014 SWAC Championship game, on Saturday to play Texas Southern at BBVA Compass Stadium, a place where the Tigers haven't won since 2008.

In fact, Grambling is 1-10 in the state of Texas dating back to 2009. The Tigers snapped a 10-game losing streak earlier this season when they pulled out a 26-20 win over Prairie View A&M in the State Fair Classic in Dallas.

"We're grateful and thankful we're in ...


DWIGHT FLOYD COMMENTARY -- FAMU Athletics: Creating Order Out of Chaos

TALLAHASSEE, Florida --  I remember 14 years ago when I was tasked with a project that was crumbling and about to fail. Things were chaotic and people were at odds with each other, mostly angry at leadership. There were also attempts by underlings to undermine persons in leadership and take the leadership role.

Over a short period of time I became that leader by circumstance, establishing a successful team by rebuilding the staff and developing a program that has surpassed the shared vision of 14 years ago. In the process I have made and continue to make some mistakes for which I own up to; and I continue to see many successes.

As I view the state of affairs within the athletic department at Florida A&M University, I see much of the chaos that I remember. Over the span of a period that has lasted more than 14 years, athletic directors have come and gone with little progress. Yes, there have been ...


NSU's Riddick draws notice from the NFL

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Norfolk State defensive lineman George Riddick opened a pre-practice interview this week by acknowledging the impact D-line coach Mark Thurston has had on his career.

It was a veteran move, as Riddick spotted Thurston lingering on the periphery. But it was hardly out of character for a player who routinely deflects any credit that comes his way despite standing out on a defense full of stars.

A 6-foot-3, 295-pound senior from Suffolk, Riddick has used his eye-popping explosiveness to pile up 45 tackles and a team-leading six sacks. His numbers, which include 7-1/2 tackles for loss, are especially impressive considering he has to share stats with tackle-hogging linebackers Marcell Coke, Deon King, Lynden Trail and Lamar Neal, who have combined for a staggering 242 stops in eight games.

Riddick serves as the first line of defense on a unit that is second in the MEAC in yardage and points allowed entering Saturday's game at Florida A&M. And thanks to NFL scouts' growing interest in Trail, Riddick is starting to get noticed, too.


Norfolk State's Lynden Trail getting NFL attention

NORFOLK, Virginia -- There are a number of great players in HBCU football. There’s no question about that. However, Norfolk State senior linebacker Lynden Trail has put himself in a very special category with his brilliant play the last two seasons.

Trail, a 6-foot-7, 250-pounder, can do it all. He has the size, speed and experience to play the pass as well as the run, and he knows how to pick his spots in terms of rushing the passer. These qualities have made him a candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive player at the FCS level.

In addition, NFL scouts have been coming out in droves to see the Spartans' talented defensive player. Trail has attracted nearly every NFL team to Norfolk to watch him play the game at an extremely high level. Some scouts have even come several times to see him..


Grambling gets back to work

GRAMBLING, Louisiana  --  Grambling’s football program has an unwritten rule inside its locker room — don’t look at the standings.

As far as the Tigers are concerned, they’re 0-0 despite their name atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference leaderboard with a 5-0 conference record.

Try telling that to the rapid fan base of Gramblinites who spent the last week congratulating players and coaches on their season so far.

Internally, they’ve accomplished nothing until a championship trophy sits in Grambling’s case next to the one from 2011.

“They understand it’s not over and it’s not going to be over until we’re standing there in Houston at the end of the season with the SWAC Championship trophy above our head,” Grambling cornerbacks coach Bryan Ware said.


ASU gives Reggie Barlow new contract, $32K raise

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Alabama State officials have rewarded football coach Reggie Barlow with a new contract, raising his salary while extending his contract through Dec. 31, 2017.

His old contract, which he signed when he became head coach in 2007, was extended once and due to run out Dec. 31. The new one, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Montgomery Advertiser, became effective on Sept. 9 and includes a $32,000 raise – his first since taking over the head coaching reins.

"The football program, over the last four years, has won 30-plus games," ASU athletic director Melvin Hines said. "So coach Barlow has proven himself on the field with four straight winning seasons. I believe that's the first time in more than 30 years that we've had four straight winning seasons.

"We felt as though Coach has the program headed in the right direction, so we rewarded him for that by extending his contract for another three years. That also helps him keep his program at that level by being able to recruit. Kids want to know they're playing for a coach at the institution."


Thursday, October 30, 2014

XU beats SUNO, clinches tie for GCAC championship

NEW ORLEANS -- Senior Chinedu Echebelem had nine kills and 17 digs Thursday, and an improved Xavier University of Louisiana defense keyed a 26-24, 25-12, 25-20 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's volleyball victory against SUNO at XU's Convocation Center.

The Gold Nuggets (16-4, 12-0) clinched a tie for their fourth consecutive GCAC regular-season championship. Xavier needs one victory in its final two conference matches to win the title outright. Xavier clinched the No. 1 seed for next month's GCAC Tournament.

Echebelem's kill after four XU digs ended the first set, and Echebelem and Jodi Hill ended the match with a block of a SUNO attack.

Xavier trailed 15-12 and 18-16 in the final set.

In the opening set, SUNO rallied from an 18-10 deficit to tie at 22 and 24. Jada Broussard had five kills in a 14-4 XU run to close the second set.

Xavier, outhit .202 to .144 in its five-set victory at SUNO on Oct. 1, outhit the Lady Knights .207 to .089 this time. SUNO (22-9, 11-2) entered the match ranked 13th in the NAIA with a .253 hitting percentage and was hitting .326 in GCAC matches.

Broussard and Claudia Haywood had seven kills apiece for Xavier. Darian Harris had 12 digs, and Hill had three blocks. Setter Franziska Pirkl had three kills, 26 assists, an ace and seven digs.

Xavier committed 19 total errors, and SUNO made 38.

"This past week we watched a lot of video and trained really hard," XU coach Hannah Lawing said. "Last time we played SUNO, we struggled with our hitting and could not find a way to put the ball down. We worked really hard on seeing where the open spots were on the other side of the court tonight. We had to stop being egotistical and trying to hit every ball as hard as we could. If we needed points on tip shots, we went for it."

Andrea Titonea had 11 kills and Christal Hollins nine for SUNO. Milica Golubovic and Ana Privat had 12 digs apiece.

The victory was the fifth in a row for the Gold Nuggets, who snapped SUNO's season-best six-game win streak. Xavier has won 55 consecutive matches against GCAC opponents -- 46 in the regular season -- and 53
straight against HBCUs.

Xavier will go for an outright GCAC championship in a noon match against Philander Smith at Little Rock, Ark. Xavier's next home match will start at 10 a.m. in the GCAC Tournament quarterfinals on Nov. 14.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director