Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ammons, Taylor give FAMU Rattlers' fans jolt

If you did not get the opportunity to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend for the first "Sprite Queen City Battle of Bands," we have the entire FAMU Marching 100 show here for your viewing pleasure. Just my informed opinion, the Marching 100 is in mid-season shape both in their musicality and precision marching. Finally, football season is here again!

Tallahassee, FL - During a two-hour football kickoff, Florida A&M President James Ammons declared Saturday afternoon that the Rattlers will return to their title-winning ways. Ammons proclaimed South Carolina State's dominance of FAMU will end.

"They have been around here all summer, they've performed in the classroom, they are working out and they've done everything coach and his staff have told them to do," Ammons said. "Now it's time to shake, rattle and roll."

Through all of the celebration of another season being here, the crowd took 10 seconds to be silent in memory of former band director William P. Foster, who died earlier in the day.

Rutgers transfer Brooks carries on family tradition at Morgan‎

After three separate recruiting campaigns over the span of nearly five years, Morgan State football coach Donald Hill-Eley finally has his man. Now, running back Jourdan Brooks is out to prove the wait was worth it. Once considered by many to be Ray Rice's heir apparent at Rutgers, the redshirt junior transferred to Morgan during this past offseason in search of a starting job. Hill was happy to oblige.

"He finally came on the third try," said Hill-Eley, who twice recruited Brooks out of Seneca Valley High as a linebacker. Running back, however, is where Brooks made his mark with the Scarlet Knights, racking up nearly 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in his two seasons in the Big East, including three 100-yard games.


GSU Tigers opens with Port City Classic

Grambling's Rod Broadway seeks consistency from his team

GRAMBLING, LA — Although the Grambling State football team has survived fall practices in decent shape and is now headed into game-week preparations, coach Rod Broadway isn't convinced his team is ready for the 2010 season. "We've done a lot of things good, but not good enough," Broadway said on Saturday. "We need more consistency in the things we're doing. We'll be good for a series and not-so-good for a series."

Not that the veteran coach is worried that his Tigers will be ready to play when they open the season against Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Shreveport's Independence Stadium against.

History awaits GSU, Louisiana Tech

Louisiana Tech University is just a Terry Bradshaw Hail Mary pass away from Grambling State University. And it's a good bet if the Grambling Tiger Marching Band tried hard enough it could rattle the walls at Tech's Cottingham Hall with the rhythm of its thunderous bass and vibrant horns.

But in the football world, the 3 miles that separates these campuses might as well have been 3 million. The schools have chosen to stay clear of each other on the gridiron. History will be made Saturday in Shreveport as the Port City Classic at Independence Stadium features the first battle between "good friends and good partners."

WHAT: Port City Classic
WHO: Grambling vs. Louisiana Tech
WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Independence Stadium
TICKETS: $20-$32; $10 (Groups of 20 or more)

In the FCS Huddle: An uplifting return and a season in doubt

Amid the many wins and losses of a season - any season - we're so often reminded that the results take a bad seat to the people playing the game.

That has been demonstrated in the Football Championship Subdivision in recent days. Amid the many announcements of who's in at quarterback and who will or won't be available for the fast-approaching season-opening games came uplifting news from Princeton and sobering reality at Grambling State involving a pair of Tigers.


Justin Babb to Provide Offensive Spark for Savannah State

Savannah, GA - The Savannah State Tigers will rely on Senior Justin Babb to provide an offensive spark for the offense. Babb is back after leading the team in rushing a year ago. The Tigers open up the season September 4th at Georgia Southern.


Perennial small college power Tuskegee is loaded again

Tuskegee begins its 2010 season on the heels of unprecedented success. From 2000 to 2009, the Golden Tigers have won seven Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships, including the past four in a row. They have recorded two undefeated seasons and won two black college national championships.

Tuskegee has beaten its biggest rival, Alabama State, six straight times and 10 of the past 11 in the annual Turkey Day Classic. The Golden Tigers have won 23 straight games at home, the last home loss coming in 2004. The bad news for Tuskegee chasers is that this domination is expected to continue. Coach Willie Slater's 2010 squad returns 57 letter winners and is picked by coaches to win the SIAC for a fifth straight time.


S.C. State bringing big dogs to Ga. Tech

South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough and his football team have been in this situation before, looked upon as lambs about to be led in for slaughter. The Bulldogs, however, do not look the part. Georgia Tech’s season-opening opponent may be a Football Championship Series program, but the Bulldogs have a chip on their collective shoulders. Those are big, veteran shoulders.

Senior quarterback Malcolm Long is 6 feet 1 and weighs 262 pounds. His offensive line goes 310, 330, 280, 290 and 310. Just as importantly, that line includes two fifth-year seniors, a senior and two fourth-year juniors. The Bulldogs have won 19 straight conference games and back-to-back titles in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, were named black college champions last season and again rest atop that poll. They have big plans for Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“A whole lot of our fans go wherever we go...



Two District 5 employees among SC State Hall of Fame class

Getting to know SC State

SC State looks to continue its trend of success-

Southern to play on new turf in Orlando

Southern vs. Delaware State
WHEN: 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 5
WHERE: Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
RADIO: KQXL-FM, 106.5. (Baton Rouge)

Southern’s football season will begin Sunday in Orlando, Fla., against Delaware State at Citrus Bowl Stadium — the same place where LSU’s 2009 season ended. When the Jaguars arrive, however, they’ll find the playing conditions to be much, much nicer. LSU’s game, a 19-17 loss against Penn State in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, was best remembered for the sloppy, muddy field conditions, caused by heavy rain and freshly planted sod that didn’t have time to take hold.

On Sunday, Southern won’t have to worry about any of that. Thanks to newly installed artificial turf, the Jaguars will play on a clean, even, mud-free surface. During the offseason, the city of Orlando paid to remove natural grass from the stadium and replace it with GameDay Grass 3D, a modern version of plastic grass manufactured by AstroTurf.


Spirited Jaguars go through final tuneup
Countdown to Kickoff at Southern
‘Smart’ scrimmage on agenda
New faces abound in secondary
SU soccer kicks off against Colonels
Dog days winding down at SU camp
Super stopper
Southern D-line stresses effort

Monday, August 30, 2010

Florida A&M-Miami Hurricanes not on TV

It is only four days away, so if you don't have tickets (or aren't planning on getting them) for the Hurricanes' home opener Thursday against Florida A&M, make sure your computer is ready. The 7:30 p.m. game will not be televised, but will be carried on the Internet at ESPN3.com , formerly ESPN360.

The Hurricanes recently unveiled a new ticket package for the FAMU game, called the ``Michael Irvin 4-for-$47 Deal.'' Irvin wore No. 47 when he played for the Hurricanes. The four-ticket package is available online only at HurricaneSports.com or Ticketmaster.com . The offer is available through Wednesday. Fans need to enter the code `Irvin47' when prompted for the package. UM season tickets and individual game tickets are still available at HurricaneSports.com or by calling 1-800-GO-CANES.

FAMU Marching 100 at Charlotte, North Carolina's Sprite Battle of the Bands 8/28/2010.


The record shows Jones has been great for A&M Bulldogs

HUNTSVILLE, AL - Alabama A&M's football program was at a crossroads nine years ago. The athletics director at the time, the late Jim Martin, convinced that A&M had outgrown NCAA Division II and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, led the Bulldogs to NCAA Division I-AA in football and Division I-A in all other sports and into the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

He hired Ron Cooper, a local product who virtually grew up on campus, played at Jacksonville State and later coached at Notre Dame and Louisville, to put A&M's football program on the map. Cooper did a good job, but could have done better had it not been for all of his off-the-field projects. When he left after going 22-23 from 1998-2001 and leading A&M to a berth in the 2000 SWAC championship game, Martin needed someone that could improve what Cooper had built.



A&M student-athletes named to SWAC Commissioner's List

Starting points

Replacing Banks no easy task for Bulldogs

A&M's Okosun to miss first 2 games of the season

Around the MEAC and more

As promised folks, take a spin around Norfolk State’s schedule from Rutgers in Week 1 to Savannah State in the finale.

Rutgers primer Here’s a look at all you need to know about Rutgers heading into Thursday’s opener. In summary, the defense could be one of the best in Division I, they own an incredibly dangerous wide receiver (and a bunch of questionable ones) and the major question for their season seems to be how quarterback Tom Savage will operate without any training wheels. From the Newark Star-Ledger.http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2010/08/looking_ahead_to_the_2010_rutg.html

North Carolina A & T working through penalties Seems like none of the big-boy papers cover A&T, but this is a pretty nice job by the school’s student paper. The program is working through some limitations placed on its program through poor academic performance. Depth will be an issue, but likely not against the Spartans, who play A&T before the injuries should be a problem.http://www.ncatregister.com/mobile/aggie-football-moving-forward-from-penalty-1.2307661


Sunday, August 29, 2010

FAMU 'Marching 100' creator dies at age 91

Dr. William P. Foster arrived at Florida A&M University a year after World War II ended and spent the next half-century building the school's marching band into a world-famous phenomenon. Under his tutelage and baton, the Rattlers' "Marching 100" wowed crowds during hundreds of halftime shows, marched at President Clinton's inaugural parades and was the only American band invited for the French bicentennial celebration in 1989.

Foster, whose musical talent blossomed early, died Saturday in Tallahassee. He was 91.

"I can attest to the fact that what he created was magical," said FAMU President James H. Ammons. "It was the marching band, at an Orange Blossom Classic in Miami, that sparked my interest in attending FAMU. "The band was dynamic, larger than life and something that I wanted to have access to even though I was not a musician," Ammons said in a statement.

Anthony Foster said his father had his students memorize the music rather than read it off sheet music attached to their instruments. That freed them up to perform precise dance routines while they played or marched in elaborate formations.

The announcer is the late Mr. Charles S. Bing, Associate Director of Bands and my lower brasswinds professor of music at FAMU. I will share some of my experiences with Doc Foster and the Marching 100 next month. Take care Rattlers everywhere...


Turnovers loom large in Lane loss to Clark Atlanta

Jackson, TN - First-year Lane coach Derrick Burroughs said last week that if the players buy into the new system and attitude, the Dragons will have a chance in the fourth quarter. The Dragons appeared to buy in and had their chance in the final period, but an old bugaboo surfaced — turnovers.

Clark Atlanta score two defensive touchdowns in less than a minute, changing a 6-6 tie into a 20-6 lead, which was the final score of Burroughs' first game as a head coach Saturday night at Lane Field. Redshirt freshman quarterback Tahj Dent threw an interception to Michael Bradshaw, who returned the pick 51 yards for the score to give the Panthers a 13-6 lead with 10:34 remaining. Dent rebounded with a 28-yard run to place the Dragons in Panther territory at the 37-yard line. But a Panthers' defender blew up an attempted handoff, causing a fumble that Andre Wicker returned 63 yards for a touchdown and a 20-6 lead.


ECSU Vikings takes opener over JCSU 45-27

ELIZABETH CITY, NC- Elizabeth City State held off an upstart Johnson C. Smith football squad for a 45-27 win in their season opener at Roebuck Stadium Saturday evening.

After holding a 24-7 lead at the intermission, the Golden Bulls seized the momentum in the second half reeling off 14 unanswered points via two touchdown tosses from Golden Bull quarterback Ryan Carter. The Vikings got some much needed breathing room on the Golden Bulls' next drive when an errant Carter pass was picked off and returned 33 yards for a score by Devon Price with and 3:40 remaining in the third quarter the Vikings led by ten, 31-21.

ECSU extended their lead in the fourth quarter when Cedric Blacknall's first of two rushing scores capped an 11 play, 82 yard drive with 12:29 left in the contest. JCSU (0-1, CIAA 0-1) broke the scoring plane again on a 3-yard touchdown run by Archie Barrow at the 7:32 mark. However all hopes of a late comeback were dash when Billy Wiggins returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Golden Bull 30 yard line, setting up a 3 play drive which Blacknall finished with his second 3-yard TD of the evening for the final point spread.


Fort Valley State opens with win over Miles Golden Bears

FAIRFIELD, Ala. — With its starting quarterback, running back and left tackle all injured for the season opener against Miles, Fort Valley State knew its defense had to dominate. Miles quarterback Carlton Hill can attest that the Wildcats did just that.

A relentless Fort Valley State defensive front seven kept Hill under pressure all game and helped limit the Golden Bears to 141 yards of offense in a 24-3 road victory Saturday. “Offensively, we knew we were going to struggle,” Fort Valley State head coach Donald Pittman said. “Defensively, we knew we were going to control the game.”

Hill never could get comfortable in the pocket while completing 16-of-33 passes for 135 yards. The Wildcats entered halftime with only 36 yards passing, couldn’t sustain scoring drives in the final two quarters and finished the game with minus-3 rushing yards.

Chowan receives drubbing by Lenoir-Rhyne

HICKORY, N.C. -- If there was any question whether the Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears could score points, their season-opener on Saturday night put those concerns to rest. L-R scored the game’s first 28 points and cruised to a 59-10 win over the Chowan Hawks in the first meeting between the two teams at Moretz Stadium.

Quarterback Major Herron completed four of six passes for 69 yards with one interception to lead the Bears (1-0). Herron also had a hand in L-R’s ground attack, with 101 yards and three scores on 14 carries. “I thought Major played smart, made his reads and protected the ball well,” Bears head coach Fred Goldsmith said.

“I was pleased with how he ran the team.” Fullback Anthony Silvers added a touchdown and 101 yards on 11 rushes. Former Bandys High standout Le’Quan McCorkle ran 16 times for 84 of the Bears’ 513 rushing yards.


Albany State Rams open with rout of Kentucky State Thorobreds

FRANFORT, Ky. — Still looking for a quarterback at Albany State? Well, the Rams, who have been trying to decide for months who would be their starting QB, might have found the answer Saturday night — in of all places, Kentucky.

That’s where Stanley Jennings took over in the season and SIAC opener against Kentucky State. The Rams played both QBs but Jennings had the big night, completing 13-of-19 for 267 of Albany State’s 280 yards of passing offense, and he also threw three TD passes to help the Rams rip Kentucky State, 42-12.

“He made some good throws, and our offense had 418 yards of offense,’’ said Rams offensive coordinator Steve Smith, who was reached by phone after efforts to reach head coach Mike White were unsuccessful late Saturday night. “We (definitely looked) OK,’’ Smith said. “We started off slow and then we picked it up in the second half.’’


Check the CIAA/SIAC Score Card

Morehouse 34, Benedict 27 O.T.
Albany State (Ga.) 42, Kentucky State 12
Virginia State 30, Livingstone 6
Saint Paul's College 28, West Virginia Wesleyan 35
Bowie State 14, Seton Hill 20
Winston Salem State 47, Virginia Union 13
Clark Atlanta 20, Lane College 6
Elizabeth City State 45, Johnson C. Smith 27
Chowan 10, Lenoir-Rhyne 59
Fort Valley State 24, Miles College 3

Suprises of the Weekend: Bowie State falling to a cupcake -- Seton Hill and WSSU pounding VUU Panthers.

Mistakes cost Benedict; Maroon Tigers Roar to O.T. Win

Six turnovers are too much for Benedict to overcome in season opener

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Benedict’s dream of a storybook season began with a depressing opening chapter on Saturday at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium. The Tigers fell behind early, rallied to take the lead, then lost 34-27 in overtime to Morehouse in the ninth annual Palmetto Capital City Classic in front of 7,629 fans.

The loss ends Benedict’s five-game winning streak in the Palmetto Capital City Classic. More important, the loss quickly puts the Tigers in a precarious position in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — Benedict plays at defending conference champion Tuskegee next weekend. “We had took many turnovers, too many penalties at crucial times and too many breakdowns on both sides of the ball,” Benedict coach Stan Conner said.

“The only good thing was we had a lot of chances to quit, and didn’t. We kept playing hard and somehow forced the game into overtime. No doubt about it, this is a loss that is going to challenge the character of this football team.”


West Virginia Wesleyan tops Saint Paul's Tigers 35-28

BUCKHANNON, WV -- The Wesleyan football team picked up their first season opening victory since 2007 on Saturday afternoon, beating the St. Paul's (VA) Tigers 35-28. A packed house looked on as Wesleyan jumped out of the gates with a 21-0 lead. Running back Trey Massey (pictured) kicked off the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the game. Massey's run capped off a nine play 72-yard drive.

After the two teams traded possessions, Massey was back at it again, this time punching it in from the three-yard line to extend the lead to 14-0 with 1:36 remaining in the opening frame. The Bobcats appeared to be headed for a route early in the second quarter following an 18-yard Adam Neugebauer touchdown pass to Emmanuel Burrell that pushed the lead to 21-0.

That was hardly the case, however, as St. Paul's capitalized on two interceptions to cut the margin to 21-14 at half.

Bowie State has game of missed opportunities

The Bowie State University football team began its season by falling behind Seton Hill University early and failing to capitalize on multiple opportunities deep in Griffins' territory in a 20-14 loss on Saturday in Greensburg, Pa. The Bulldogs outgained Seton Hill, 313-242, but the Bulldogs were done in by their inability to score in the red zone.

Bowie State's first possession ended with a 30-yard loss on a fourth-down play from its own 37-yard line. Seton Hill quickly took advantage, using two plays to punch the ball into the end zone on a 4-yard run by R.J. Butler. On their second possession, the Bulldogs drove from their 41-yard line to the Seton Hill 2, but kicker Michael Gagne's 20-yard field goal attempt hit the right goalpost, keeping Bowie State scoreless.


VSU rolls but still sees room for improvement‎

ETTRICK, VA - Virginia State picked up where it left off last season, playing strong at both ends of the field, but it still wasn't enough to satisfy coach Andrew Faison in the Trojans' season opener. "We got the 'W,' that's the main thing," said Faison, after watching his Trojans whip Livingstone 30-6 last night before 2,577 at Rogers Stadium.

"I thought we had too many personal fouls. We played to the end and then we had a couple of letdowns, special teams-wise. A couple of big third-down plays [by Livingstone]. I'm real disappointed for us because we put the ball on the ground so many times [five fumbles]. "We got down in the red zone and couldn't punch it in." Indeed, as VSU linebacker Jeremy Pruitt put it, "I think we could have won by at least 50 points."


WSSU: 47-13 Winning Debut over VUU Panthers

HIGH POINT, N.C. - Winston-Salem State came home to the CIAA and looked quite comfortable, routing Virginia Union 47-13 last night in front of about 9,000 at Simeon Stadium.

Playing at their home away from home, the Rams (1-0, 1-0 CIAA) dominated in their first game as a Division II program since 2005. It was such a festive atmosphere that those four previous lost seasons in transition trying to go Division I seemed like a distant memory.

Coach Connell Maynor did something not even Bill Hayes had done. Hayes, the school's athletics director who hand-picked Maynor to replace Kermit Blount, lost his first game as head coach of the Rams in 1976. Maynor was all smiles after opening with an easy victory.

"We can't live in the past," Maynor said. "These are the 2010 Rams and we have a great defense with Coach (Kienus) Boulware and we just have to keep scoring points every week."


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Alcorn looks for improvement in run game

LORMAN, MS — Alcorn State head football coach Earnest Collins liked what he saw from running back Arnold Walker in last year’s Capital City Classic. But he’ll like it even better if Walker can have that kind of production over the entire 2010 season. Walker, then a true freshman, rushed for a career-high 120 yards in Alcorn’s 14-7 win over Jackson State and was the game’s offensive MVP.

“Arnold got a little taste last year in the Jackson State game of his role and what it has to be for us,” Collins said. “Basically in the second half we just handed the ball to him, and he was a workhorse for us in that game. We’re looking for him to do more of what he did in that game.”

Walker and fellow sophomore Gabriel Nash each bring something different to the table when they get the ball, Collins said.


Jerry Rice's Hall of Fame Career a Tale of Stolen Magnolias

Watching Jerry Rice's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame reminded me of a story about the fabled passing attack that enabled him to catch more passes, for more yards and more touchdowns, than any pass receiver in the history of the National Football League.

I heard it from W.C. Gorden, the retired Jackson State football coach who is, himself, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, while sitting in his kitchen in Jackson, Mississippi, late one afternoon in November, 2008.

I had driven from Ruston, Louisiana, arriving in a heavy thunderstorm as night descended on the evening rush hour. My purpose: to ask him about a comment he had made upon learning that Grambling legend Eddie Robinson, the most famous black football coach of all time, had died.


JSU's Hoskins aspires to be return man

JSU Tigers head football coach Rick Comegy

If Kerry Hoskins had something to say about it, the Jackson State safety would be the Tigers' starting punt and kickoff returner. He does, by the way, have something to say about it. "Being back there, if I get the ball," Hoskins said, "I know I can change the game and make big plays for my team and give them good field position or take it home to the end zone."

Hoskins is competing with a group of players to be JSU's returner. It's something he did in high school at South Panola. At Jackson State, though, he hasn't received much of a chance as a returner. "Being back there, if I get the ball," Hoskins said, "I know I can change the game and make big plays for my team and give them good field position or take it home to the end zone."


FAMU Rattlers looking for more NCAA success

Florida A&M volleyball coach Tony Trifonov doesn't want his team to be plagued by little mistakes any more than the one that prevented it from advancing in the NCAA Tournament last season. Thus the top-heavy schedule his team will begin playing tonight.

The Rattlers were up 2-1 against Jacksonville State in their opening-round playoff match when two unforced errors and a bad break ended their season with a five-set loss.

"It is so difficult making it to the tournament and we've made it nine times in a row," Trifonov said Thursday, as he prepared for his 14th season. "That's an achievement in itself. But then again you get tired of getting knocked out in the first round. You want to continue. You want to go to a different site. You want to go to the Sweet 16, so that's our goal."


Thomas is happy to be at A&M

HUNTSVILLE, AL - Demetrius Thomas could have gone to a number of different schools after he elected to leave Marshall. Southern Mississippi, South Alabama, Alabama State and Texas Southern pursued him. In the end, Thomas chose A&M and he couldn't be happier.

"A&M went to the SWAC championship game last year and I wanted to be a part of a winning program," said Thomas, a fleet-footed wide receiver from Theodore. It didn't hurt that the Bulldogs were in desperate need of some impact players after losing Thomas Harris, the school's all-time leading receiver.


New faces abound in Southern Jaguars secondary

On the football field, Demetric Rogers was accustomed to looking good. A versatile-but-undersized athlete, Rogers played offense and defense at Northeast High School. Then he walked on at Southern University last summer, and the coaching staff issued the 5-foot-10, 190-pound strong safety his gameday uniform. He got No. 45. Forty-five? Isn’t that for fullbacks? Linebackers? Kickers?

“I was upset, all the way to the (first) game,” Rogers said. “After a while, I figured I might as well make the best of this number. The number doesn’t make the person. It’s the other way around. So after that, I got my first start and made some plays, and before long, everybody knew there was a No. 45 out there.”

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Southern football team last season, Rogers played strong safety for the first time in his life and slowly worked his way up the depth chart during preseason camp, from fourth-string to second-string.


Orphans: Damaged floor leaves MVSU basketball without home court

As the countdown to practice draws near, Mississippi Valley State University’s Sean Woods is a Division I basketball coach with no court to practice on.

The floor in MVSU’s basketball gym, the Harrison HPER Complex, was seriously damaged because of a leak in the roof, so the playing surface must be replaced, Woods said. The school will have to fix the roof before a new surface goes down, and that apparently won’t happen before the Delta Devils begin practice Oct. 15.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Benedict Tigers Riley focuses on results

Columbia, S.C. --Pat Riley knows the deal. The talented Benedict College senior quarterback is aware of his importance to the Tigers’ hopes for challenging for the SIAC championship and a NCAA Division II playoff berth. Riley is the face of the team, the man in the spotlight and the guy on the hot seat. But what matters to the Attapulgus, Ga., native is the bottom line.

The Tigers broke through for an 8-3 record last season, Riley’s first in Columbia. The quest for greater glory begins with Saturday’s SIAC date against Morehouse in the 9th annual Palmetto Capital City Classic at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

“I’m a competitor and I know I get pulled out a lot because of my position, but in no way am I an ‘I’ player,” Riley said. “My success depends on the team’s success. It’s not about the offense or the defense or special teams this season. It’s about the Benedict Tigers as a group. There are no individual agendas on this team.”

Palmetto Capital City Classic
WHO: Benedict vs. Morehouse
WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Charlie W. Johnson Stadium
TICKETS: $10, $15, $20 depending on seating


Tennessee State turns to tradition‎

NASHVILLE, TN -- New head coach Rod Reed hopes to revive a proud tradition that he and his father helped establish in a golden age of Tennessee State football. Robert Reed Jr., Rod's father, was an All-America offensive lineman on iconic coach John Merritt's first two teams, in 1963 and 1964. Rod won four varsity letters at TSU from 1984-88 as a linebacker, and still holds the Tigers' season record for tackles (197 in 1987).

"It means the world to me to be the head coach here," Reed said as practices began in August. "I'm so excited just to be out here on the grass again."

Tigers defensive lineman Malcolm Crawford, a former Kingsbury standout, says of the new attitude, "everything around this team picked up." Last year, the Tigers went 4-7 under James Webster and 3-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. TSU lost four of its last five games. The Tigers led the league in total defense with Reed as coordinator, but their offense was last in the OVC in points scored.


NCCU Eagles ready to take flight

DURHAM, N.C. -- N.C. Central coach Mose Rison spoke succinctly about his football team's record the last two seasons, accepting any criticism thrown his way."We're not going to make any excuses: 4-7 has not been good enough," he said.

Heading into his fourth season at N.C. Central, Rison knows there's a hunger for more wins. He has been credited with guiding a proud football program through its transition from NCAA Division II to Division I, but ultimately he knows judgment comes on the field. With seven home games this season, starting with Thursday's opener against Johnson C. Smith, Rison's program has a great opportunity to prove it's headed in the right direction.

When N.C. Central left the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 2007 to begin playing as an independent in the NCAA's Football...


Murray will help build FAMU's program through recruiting

Coach LeDawn Gibson didn't have to look at Freddie Murray's complete resume to find out how much he could help the women's basketball program at Florida A&M. She only needed to look at his role at North Carolina A&T.

"It was a big factor but it was all of those things — the loyalty, maturity and all that played a part," Gibson said Wednesday. "I just knew how experienced he is and that can help me take this program up. We're looking to do better each year and I think his experience will help us out a lot."

Murray joined Gibson's staff as an assistant to replace Stephen Joyner, who left at the end of last season to take the head coaching job at Winston Salem State. One of the primary roles for Murray will be to help build FAMU's program through recruiting.


Ex-Rams hero Jones now coaching SU linebackers

For seven long seasons, Southern football coach Stump Mitchell ran on the rock-hard turf at Busch Stadium, earning his reputation as a fan favorite in St. Louis. But as former NFL players go, he’s not the most beloved in St. Louis history. In fact, Mitchell’s not even No. 1 on his own coaching staff. That honor belongs to his linebackers coach, Mike Jones.

Yes, that Mike Jones.

If you’ll recall, he’s the guy who made perhaps the most famous tackle in Super Bowl history — wrapping his arms around Kevin Dyson, dropping him 1 yard short of the goal line as time ran out in Super Bowl XXXIV, preserving a 23-16 win for the St. Louis Rams. “He told us about the stop. He said he missed the tackle, but he really made it,” strongside linebacker Gary Chatman said. “He’s a good linebacker coach and a cool, good guy.”


Lake Taylor's Sawyer is more than a head coach

NORFOLK, VA -- Gloria Johnson always knew her son had all the qualities to be a great coach. He’s humble, dedicated, loyal, caring, passionate and a leader. That’s why Johnson was a little troubled when her son, Hank Sawyer, asked her if coaching was the right job for him.

“He was talking to other people, and they were telling him that he wasn’t going to make any big money coaching, so he asked me what I think,” she said. “And I told him, 'There are a lot of people who go to work every day and work a job that they hate. If you have an opportunity to work a job that you love then you take it. Money is not everything. So he went on and coached football.”

Decades later, Sawyer has become one of the elder statesmen on South Hampton Roads’ sidelines. Sawyer, who turns 53 today , has compiled an 89-33 record over 11 seasons at Lake Taylor. He’s helped lead the Titans to seven Eastern District titles, including the last five. He’s helped produce 45 All-Tidewater players and sent more than 75 kids to college to play football at all different levels.


S.C. State looks to continue its trend of success

Most college coaches would consider this a rebuilding year. South Carolina State starts this season minus its all-time leading rusher and four other star players who have moved on to professional football. But head coach Buddy Pough isn't most coaches, and South Carolina State isn't most college football programs.

While there are still plenty of questions left to be answered by the two-time defending Mid-Eastern American Conference champions, Pough thinks like this might be the most talented bunch he's had since returning to his alma mater eight years ago.

Gone from last year's 10-2 team is running back Will Ford, who finished his career as the leading rusher at S.C. State and in the MEAC.


UMES Cohesion will set them apart‎

PRINCESS ANNE, MD -- For the past three years, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore volleyball team has been dominant in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Over that time, the Hawks have won 20 or more games each season and the MEAC North title thrice, sporting a 30-0 mark against divisional competition. During the streak, UMES has lost only one set.

Because of that success, the Hawks again have been named the preseason favorite in the division, but in order to reach the top, they will have overcome a large turnover on their roster.

"People have set expectations for us," UMES coach Don Metil said. "Our expectations are really just to get all these new girls to gel on the courts and to go into our first MEAC tournament as a very cohesive unit."


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cole driving Texas Southern on road to relevancy‎

His is a typical football coach's office. Awards and plaques all over the place. Photos of former players, like Texans wideout Jacoby Jones, on the wall. And of course, all the standard equipment for watching game highlights.

In the corner, to the right of Johnnie Cole's large desk at Texas Southern University, there is a bookshelf stocked with helmets from the stops along his college coaching career.

The headgear comes in an assortment of colors, a mixed bag of logo designs and school names spanning the alphabet from A to T (Alabama State to Tennessee State). Whether it was with the Jaguars, Tigers or Dragons, Cole has been successful at each stop along his coaching journey.

As he enters his third season at TSU with an overall losing record (10-13), Cole is working on a new success. Turning around a program takes time, and although TSU hasn't turned, it is turning with Cole, a former TSU quarterback, at the wheel.