Archive | September, 2014

Breaking down TSU at SEMO

Breaking down TSU at SEMO

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen


#20 Tennessee State Tigers (4-1, 1-0 OVC) at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (3-2, 1-0 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 4 • 1:00 p.m. CT
Houck Stadium (10,000) • Cape Girardeau, Mo.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record:…………………. Tennessee State leads 12-10
Last Meeting:………… Tennessee State won 40-16 (10/5/13)
Tennessee State Last Week: W, 27-7 vs. Florida A&M
Southeast Missouri Last Week: W, 31-27 at UT Martin

GAME NOTES: Nationally-ranked Tennessee State will travel to Southeast Missouri for the 23rd all-time meeting between the schools on Saturday. It marks the annual Homecoming matchup for the Redhawks who topped No. 3 ranked Southeastern Louisiana in its last home game two weeks ago. This week marks the third nationally-ranked FCS opponent the Redhawks will have faced this season. Tennessee State has won the last three games in the series to grab a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series. A season ago the Tigers racked up 544 yards of total offense on its way to a 40-16 victory. TSU led 16-9 at halftime before scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to open up the margin. Telvin Hooks rushed for a game-high 159 yards and touchdown for Tennessee State while Michael German passed for 202 yard and two touchdowns.

Southeast Missouri was led by Lewis Washington who had a 99-yard touchdown run late in the game.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Tennessee State continued to be a defensive juggernaut, limiting Florida A&M to 224 yards of total offense in a 27-7 victory. TSU has allowed only two offensive touchdowns in its last 13 quarters of play and ranks first nationally in total defense (207.4 yards/game allowed), pass efficiency defense (67.79), sacks (5.0/game) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%) in addition to being second in passes intercepted (10), turnovers gained (15) and third down conversion defense (22.0%), third in pass defense (129.4 yards/game) and fourth in scoring defense (10.8 points/game), rushing defense (78.0 yards/game) and tackles-for-loss (10.0/game). The Tigers also returned an interception for a touchdown for the third-consecutive game as Terrell Bonds picked off a pass in the second quarter and raced 43 yards for a touchdown. Gabe Terry had three sacks in the game to earn OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors; he now ranks fourth nationally in sacks (1.4/game). Samquan Evans had a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter; he has 19 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks this season.

Offensively the team was without starting quarterback Michael German for the second-consecutive game, but in his place sophomore Ronald Butler passed for 151 yards. The rushing attack was led by Telvin Hooks who second on a 5-yard run in the second quarter, his first rushing touchdown since Nov. 9, 2013 (he suffered an injury in the FCS playoffs last year); Hooks finished the game with 54 yards on 10 carries.

SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI: Southeast Missouri won its second-straight game (the team’s first winning streak since 2010) and opened OVC play with a 31-27 victory over UT Martin on Saturday. It marked the team’s first road victory to open OVC play since the 2010 season and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Skyhawks. With wide receiver Paul McRoberts out with an injury for an extended period of time (McRoberts was leading the FCS with six touchdown catches after being hurt) junior Peter Lloyd stepped in to fill the void. Lloyd had nine catches for 111 total yards in the first four games of the year but exploded for 10 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns against UTM. He had a 65-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and caught a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter in what proved to be the game-winner. The 179 receiving yards are the most by an OVC player this season; his performance earned him OVC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. Quarterback Kyle Snyder finished the game with 269 passing yards and two touchdown passes while also rushing for two additional scores; Snyder ranks 11th nationally in points responsible for (16.8 points/game).

Kicker Ryan McCrum kicked a 47-yard field goal in the win, his fourth 40-plus yard field goal of the season; he is a perfect 5-of-5 in field goals this season.

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Richt talks Vanderbilt

Richt talks Vanderbilt

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen

Malcolm Mitchell Georgia

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s SEC East clash with Vanderbilt in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt
Opening statement…
“Alright, we’ve got Vanderbilt. And Coach (Derek) Mason is obviously in his first year (there) coming from Stanford. (He was) the defensive coordinator there. You can see a lot of the Stanford print on what’s going on there at Vanderbilt.”

On the Vanderbilt offense…
“I’ll talk a little bit about their offense. They do like some three tight end sets. I think their goal is going to be to really pound the ball, run the stretch and power and the boots off of it and try to reduce yardage on first down. Make their third downs more manageable-type philosophy is what it looks like to me.”

“At quarterback, I’m just really not quite sure who is going to be playing. I know they’ve had some issues with injuries. They’ve been rolling them around just a little bit. No. 4 (Patton) Robinette is a very athletic guy. (Wade) Freebeck is a guy that seems to be more of a pocket guy, more of a traditional passer.”

“Their leading receiver is not a receiver, their tight end, No. 81 (Steven Scheu) is their leading receiver right now, at least he was going into last game. They use him quite a bit. They like to use their tight ends as I said before.”

“They’ll put their tight ends in there but also put some sets in there that will look more like spread sets but with they’ll have big people in there. We’ll have some issues and probably have some linebackers out in space maybe a little bit more than normal but we’ll have to matchup the way they have their personnel in the game.”

“Offensive line, I think they’re the third most experienced group in the league in terms of starts. Their center, (Joe) Townsend, is the leader of that bunch and I think he does a great job from what I can see.”

On the Vanderbilt defense…
“On defense they have now become more of a 3-4 base. They do have some long guys at that outside position. (Stephen) Weatherly looks a lot like our young defensive ends. They have a kid named (Jonathan) Wynn who is just exactly what you’re looking for, the kind of Leonard Floyd looking guys and Lorenzo Carter types. They’re kind of changing their defensive personnel a little bit.”

“They have some very big defensive linemen. (Adam) Butler and (Vince) Taylor are some very big, physical men. The type you need in that kind of a scheme.”

“Middle linebacker Nigel Bowden is their leading tackler with 36 tackles. You can tell he’s the hub of that defense. In the perimeter (Andrew) Williamson leads their backend with 27 tackles. They have no returning starters in the backend so a little bit like us.”

“Darrius Sims they don’t list as a starter but he has an interception return for a touchdown and two kick returns for a touchdown. He’s the one that, against South Carolina, took two to the house. (He’s) very, very talented. Their special teams are outstanding. They’re very consistent.”

“They’re very tough on their coverage team. No hone has really broken anything big on them so that will be a big challenge for us there.”

“(Trey) Ellis is a guy, like ours, that’s pretty small but very dynamic. He’s a quick and fast guy with a lot of bravery back there so he’s going to be interesting to deal with. Their punt return team has scored a couple of touchdowns in this season.”

“Sims, their kick returner, is a special player and someone that we have to find an answer for.”

Closing remark…
“Looking forward to playing the game. Looking forward to being home between the hedges again, seeing that sea of red to help motivate our players.”

On the team’s defensive mindset against Tennessee last Saturday…
“I trust Jeremy Pruitt to do the right thing. Here’s what I would say to that, though. I think Tennessee is a pretty good football team. Freshmen or not, they’re a very good bunch and time is going to prove they’re a good football team. Other teams give scholarships and other teams have got good coaches so you can’t always just dominate everybody you play every down. It’s just not realistic right now, at least for us. We’ve got some warts, too, but I’m just pleased with how everybody battled and getting the victory was big.”

On whether or not they’re motivated to play Vanderbilt given last year’s loss and the new coaching regime…
“Yeah, we’re motivated. I can promise you I’m motivated. Hopefully the guys will see that (the new regime at Vanderbilt) and respond to that but I think they’re motivated, too. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

On the value of a Heisman campaign for TB Todd Gurley…
“Just living through that at Florida State, we never really had a campaign for (Charlie) Ward or (Chris) Weinke or even Casey Welton, who was the runner up to Desmond Howard. I don’t think you need one. If a guy plays well enough everybody is going to know it. If you’re playing on a team that’s winning I think you have a really good chance. The Heisman campaign is just watching him do his thing. He’s playing very well. He’s got a certain style about him that is attractive to me. Just watching the power and the speed and agility. It’s just that competitive fire. He’s a great competitor. That’s what separates him from most backs. There are a lot of really great backs out there, as we all know. There are a lot of great backs in high school as you’re recruiting, but every once in a while there’s one that’s different. He’s just one of those guys. So I think that’s enough of his campaign. Just let him do his thing.”

On what QB Hutson Mason needs to do for Georgia to be better in the passing game…
“We’ve got to do some things to help him. We’ve got to separate at the wide receiver position a little bit better. I think our protection overall has been pretty good. We’ve just got to connect on some. There’s been a lot of times where we’ve called some deep ball shots and they’ve been in coverages where you shouldn’t just launch it out there. There was one play in particular where Gurley ran out in the flat and had about an eight yard gain, the next play was a fullback in the flat for a first down, and we had a double post on that thing and it didn’t come open. They rolled their coverage on that particular look and if it was a different coverage we’d have taken a shot. There was a couple other times that we had called some plays that could have been deep ball shots that either a coverage kept us from launching it out there or the look for running the football was too good and we checked to the run game. I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that we’ll throw the ball better downfield and I do think that having Justin (Scott-Wesley) and Malcolm (Mitchell) is going to help. I think it’s going to help our current receivers with more depth in practice, they won’t have to run as many routes, and in the game they’ll be more apt to be fresher, too, so we’ll see.”

On Mason’s throwing…
“I think Hutson is probably trying to be perfect. There’s a couple times when you’ve just got to cut the ball loose. I think there’s been a couple times when he’s held the ball because it wasn’t maybe just quite as clean as he wanted it to be, but it’s not always clean. We want separation and we want the quarterback to see that it’s coming open and put it on him, but there are some times when you’ve got to throw it in tight windows or lay it out there deep. But give our guy the best shot at the ball, that’s all we’re asking, and a couple of times he has done that and a couple he hasn’t so that’s the big thing. When we do go deep we need to put it in a position where we can get it.”

On Georgia’s kicking philosophy on kickoffs…
“This game we’re about to play a guy who’s taken two to the house. Those are huge momentum plays. So do we want to kick it deep to a team that has proven that they can put a hat on everybody, create a seam, and let a guy in about eight seconds change the dynamic of the game? You have to make some of those decisions obviously going into the game but there are some times when the wind is at our back and we might try and knock it out, or the wind’s in our face and we might say, ‘Let’s not do this.’ Like before the half, we pooched it. So if you kick it deep with only 20 seconds left on the clock and they take it back for a touchdown it’s pretty foolish. But when you kick it short you’re usually kicking to a guy who’s not a very dynamic return guy. He’s usually a guy who’s more of a blocker, so the goal is to pooch it to a guy who, even if he fields it, isn’t going to go to the house. They may get it on the 35 or something but that’s a lot better than kicking it deep, letting them set it up, everybody knocks somebody down, and then all of the sudden in one play we’ve given away a lot of momentum.”

On whether a guy like Gurley alters his coaching philosophy on offensive balance…
“If we weren’t giving him and (Nick) Chubb and Sony (Michel) and (Keith) Marshall the ball a good bit, I think most people would be saying ‘why aren’t you giving those guys the ball?’ So we’re not going to have quite the same balance as we’ve had in the past because of the dynamics of that backfield right now. Should we have more deep ball opportunities because of the running game? Yes, we’ve got to get better at that.”

On whether or not Gurley understands who he is in the public eye…
“He definitely gets who he is in the public eye and I think he’s being responsible.”

On if he keeps his eye on other games in the SEC East…
“You have to because there’s a race to the Eastern division title and everyone is trying to figure out how they can get there. We lost our first one to South Carolina so basically we’re two games behind them. If you lose to them head to head they have to have two losses for us to have any control over our destiny so yea, it (South Carolina’s loss to Missouri) was important. It’s early and a lot of things can happen but I’m watching what everybody is doing and trying to gauge what it’s going to take to get back to Atlanta. ”

On whether or not he designates someone to monitor player injuries…
“That’s Ron Courson and his entire staff. If anybody shows any signs of anything Ron is right there and will make a determination of whether or not he thinks it’s safe for a guy to play. There’s probably a few times here and there where a guy doesn’t show any signs or there’s a big hit and he just pops up and runs back to the sideline and doesn’t show it, but it’s rare. If there’s something going on it’s hard to hide it or tough it out without someone seeing it. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but we’ve got a bunch of guys looking at that.”

On whether or not he will have guys returning from injury on a play count…
“I’m not sure on their stamina. Yesterday wasn’t a good gauge and I’ll know more after today’s practice, but the fact that it’s probably in the 70s, I’ve got a feeling that their stamina will be good handling the heat and the weather. The other thing is an injured body part when it’s coming back is going to tend to fatigue faster than the rest of your body so that’s what we’ve got to keep track of. But by Thursday I think we’ll have a really good idea of whether or not it’s just play ball or whether we’ve got to be strategic.”

On whether or not there is any scenario where Malcolm Mitchell will not suit up…
“He would have to have a setback to not play. The same with Justin (Scott-Wesley). (Jonathon) Rumph, I would say Rumph is not as far along as those guys. He’s probably doubtful right now.”

On if the fact that it is a religious holiday for Brandon Kublanow will affect his participation in Saturday’s game…
“I hadn’t sat down and said ‘hey this is what we’re going to do on Saturday,’ but he has the right to do what he wants to do. I think he wants to play, which will be great, but if he came to me and said, ‘Coach I don’t feel right playing today,” then we would honor that. Whatever he chooses.”

On if the team is preparing to play Brice Ramsey against Vanderbilt…
“A plan to? I don’t know. We are just practicing everybody as usual and we will figure that out Thursday night as we talk.”

On Kosta Vavlas’ value to the Georgia special teams unit…
“We love Kosta. Kosta is a great special teamer, a great Bulldog, and he’s a been a great leader for us. The guys really respect him and over the years he’s been a tremendous scout teamer for us. He’s played some snaps as well. Our staff has faith that he knows what to do and could go in and play if he needed to but he’s made his mark as a special teamer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up being a permanent captain in that role, but that’s for the players to vote for and decide, but he’d be one of the top candidates for that.”

On if the special teams has improved from years past…
“Yeah, I think we’re better. I’ll be honest, I’m learning a lot more about it, I’m understanding it better, I think I’m able to help our coaches prepare our guys better. We really try to get more guys on those teams that are starters, but you’ve just got to flat out study every snap and really, truly see who’s the very best for that job. Because, you know, sometimes Kosta may not be a starter on your defense, but it doesn’t mean he might not be the very best special teamer you’ve got. There’s just a little bit of a mindset and a knack that some of these guys have. Some of these guys can kind of break into the playing time that way. I think we’re doing a good job of evaluating hard on a daily basis our personnel. We haven’t been afraid to make some changes if we feel like a guy is struggling, and I think, overall, our coaching staff has bought in to how important it (special teams) is.”

On RB Sony Michel’s timetable for recovery…
“It’s hard to say when (he will return) but Ron (Courson) will keep a good eye on that.”

On TB Brendan Douglas’ ability to step into more playing time…
“He’s ready. He’s ready every week. He works hard and gets reps in practice. It’s not like all of the sudden we’ve got to get him reps at tailback. He’s been getting a bunch of reps and he’ll be ready. Obviously he’s played in a bunch of games in the past and he’ll be ready. We’ve got a lot of faith in him.”

On playing two quarterbacks at once…
“I’ve done it over the years. I was used to doing it at Florida State and then when I got here we did it with Shock (D.J. Shockley) because that’s kind of what I was used to doing. (David) Greene was playing and the second team guy was getting a little work, so I was kind of used to it but over time I don’t think Mike (Bobo) felt quite as strong about it so we kind of got away from it but it’s not a bad thing to do.”

On whether he has another player who can fill Sony’s role…
“I think everybody’s got their own style. We’re not going to try and change somebody’s style, but is anybody just like Sony? No, they’re not. And Sony, if you remember, has been one of our better special teams players. He’s been one of our better kick coverage guys and he’s been one of our better punt coverage guys. So we’ve got to try and find some more guys that can run down there and force fair catches and get guys on the ground on kickoffs. It’s a big void on the special teams as well.”

Senior Inside Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On avenging last year’s loss to Vanderbilt…

“Last year’s loss isn’t motivating me personally. I don’t know about everybody else, but we’re just trying to win this game. It’s this season. We can’t get stuck on last year. We are a new team.”

On the linebackers’ focus in practice this week…

​”We’re focused on getting people lined up and making sure we know the personnel that can affect us. We’ve definitely been improving, but we have to keep getting better and working harder each game, each practice.”

Senior Quarterback Hutson Mason

On improving his connection with the receivers…

“It just comes down to trusting your guys. Sometimes it may not be as open as you want it to be, but you still have to give them a chance. It may turn out for your favor or it may turn out to be a pick. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to give them a shot at making a play. I can do a better job of that.”

On preparing for Malcolm Mitchell’s return to the field…

“I am adjusting. It’s been a while since we’ve worked together, so we’re going to have to get quite a few extra routes in. I think the coaches are implementing some more periods in practice where we just throw more routes. That’s really the best way to get that connection back— just throw more routes. So we’ll do it.”

Senior Defensive Lineman Toby Johnson
On his improvement this season…
“Basically, it’s just getting back used to playing. That’s what it is. I haven’t been playing. You can’t go in the game for a couple plays and expect to be making something happen, other than Josh (Dawson) last weekend. You just have to get in your groove. Practice can get you ready for the game, but it’s not quite like the games.”

On Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt…
“I know they’re pretty old up front. They’ve got a lot of guys that have a lot of SEC game experience. They play hard, they play together, and they communicate well. I think they’re going to be ready to play us. They feel like they can beat us. They beat us last year so we have to come out and start early against these guys. We just need to do our job. We had a lot of mental errors (against Tennessee). We need to do a better job communicating this weekend.”

Senior Linebacker Kosta Vavlas
On the improvement of the special teams unit…
“The coaches are putting way more emphasis on the techniques and really stressing the fundamentals in each phase of the game. They’re really giving a lot of time to that. Before and after practice we are spending a lot of time on the techniques and the strategies that each phase of the game requires, and we’re getting more in depth.”

On the upcoming game against Vanderbilt…
“Vanderbilt has a history of fighting hard. They’re a good team, they’re a great football team. We’re going to attack it and work every day. We’re not going to look too much at the things that happened in the past, but just take it by the week. We’re going to work hard on the things we need to work on and improve in the areas we need to improve.”

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Arkansas announces 2015 Baseball Schedule

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Arkansas announces 2015 Baseball Schedule

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen


The University of Arkansas baseball team will play 22 games against teams that advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament and 35 games at Baum Stadium as head coach Dave Van Horn released the 2015 schedule Tuesday morning.

The Razorbacks will once again embark on one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2015, playing eight opponents that appeared in NCAA Regional finals in 2014, three that played in NCAA Super Regionals and two that advanced to the College World Series.

“Our schedule sets up once again to be one of the toughest in the country,” said Van Horn who enters his 13th year at the helm of the program. “With a compilation of challenging home and road games early on, we should be able to prepare ourselves for a loaded conference slate.”

Along with the 35 games inside Baum Stadium, Arkansas will also play in Central Arkansas for the sixth consecutive year as the Razorbacks face Memphis on Tuesday, March 24 at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The game is part of a two-game mid-week series against the Tigers with Arkansas traveling to Memphis the following evening to wrap up the series.

“Playing in Central Arkansas is a fun way for our players to see the passionate Razorback fans in a different part of the state,” said Van Horn. “The crowd is always great and playing Memphis at Dickey-Stephens Park should provide a fantastic atmosphere.”

The Razorbacks open the 2015 season at home on Feb. 13 against North Dakota in the first of a three-game series, before hitting the road the following weekend and traveling to Mobile, Alabama to take on UCF, South Alabama and NCAA Super Regional participant Maryland (Feb. 20-22).

Arkansas then returns to Baum Stadium for its longest homestand of the year, welcoming California (Feb. 26-March 1), Louisiana Tech (March 4), Loyola Marymount (March 6-8) and Gonzaga (March 10-11) to town.

The Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference action the following weekend, traveling to Vanderbilt (March 13-15) for a matchup with the defending National Champions in Nashville, Tenn. Arkansas then returns home for back-to-back SEC home series, welcoming two-time defending SEC Tournament champion LSU (March 20-22) and 2014 College World Series participant Ole Miss (March 27-29) to Baum Stadium for weekend series.

The remaining SEC Western Division slate has the Razorbacks hosting Mississippi State (April 24-26) and traveling to Auburn (April 3-5), Texas A&M (April 17-19) and Alabama (May 1-3) for a series that will be played in Hoover, Alabama due to stadium construction for the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas will venture into the SEC Eastern Division with weekend series at home against Kentucky (April 10-12) and Tennessee (May 8-10), while traveling to Georgia (May 14-16) to end the regular season.

The Razorbacks will also play nonconference mid-week games at home against Southeast Missouri State (March 17-18), Missouri State (March 31) and Stephen F. Austin (April 14-15), while traveling to Creighton (May 12) to cap the non-league portion of the schedule.

The 2015 SEC Baseball Tournament will be played May 19-24 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. NCAA Tournament play begins May 28-31 with the regional round, while Super Regionals will take place June 5-8. The College World Series will be played June 13-24 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Arkansas returns plenty of talent from the 2014 team, including six position starters and eight pitchers. Redshirt junior Tyler Spoon anchors an outfield that returns all three starters from a year ago, including senior Joe Serrano and sophomore Andrew Benintendi, who earned SEC All-Freshman honors last season.

Coming off the second lowest earned run average in program history in 2014, pitching coach Dave Jorn returns his Friday night starter in Trey Killian, who recorded a 2.30 ERA and added an SEC-leading four complete games before being added to the USA Collegiate National Team and making four appearances for the Red, White and Blue.

The backside of the bullpen returns right-hander Jacob Stone, who posted a 4-0 record and 0.94 ERA in 24 relief appearances. He became the late-season closer and finished the year with four saves, including three in postseason play. The pitching staff tossed 10 shutouts last year, becoming just the second team in program history to reach double-digit shutouts in a season.

Arkansas will also look to its 20 newcomers to make an impact as the recruiting class was ranked No. 16 in the country by Collegiate Baseball and features four MLB Draft selections, 14 freshmen and six junior college transfers.

The Razorbacks continue to be one of the most consistent baseball programs in the nation, advancing to their 13th straight NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 27th overall. Arkansas is one of just seven teams in the country to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 13 years.

Feb. 13-15 – North Dakota

Feb. 20 – Central Florida (Mobile, Alabama)

Feb. 21 – South Alabama (Mobile, Alabama)

Feb. 22 – Maryland (Mobile, Alabama)

Feb. 26-March 1 – California

March 4 – Louisiana Tech

March 6-8 – Loyola Marymount

March 10-11 – Gonzaga

March 13-15 – @Vanderbilt

March 17-18 – Southeast Missouri State

March 20-22 – LSU

March 24 – Memphis (North Little Rock)

March 25 – @Memphis

March 27-29 – Ole Miiss

March 31 – Missouri State

April 3-5 – @Auburn

April 7-8 – Mississippi Valley State

April 10-12 – Kentucky

April 14-15 – Stephen F. Austin

April 17-19 – @Texas A&M

April 24-26 – Mississippi State

May 1-3 – @Alabama

May 8-10 – Tennessee

May 12 – @Creighton

May 14-16 – @Georgia

May 19-24 – SEC Tournament

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Vols settle in as 2.5 point favorite over Gators

Vols settle in as 2.5 point favorite over Gators

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen

Butch Jones Vols

After almost upsetting Georgia in Athens Tennessee has become the favorite over Florida at home Saturday. The game opened up offshore as a pick ‘em but a lot of money has come in on the Vols moving the line to 2.5 points after it was announced that Justin Worley would be starting at QB for UT. The line could move a little either way depending on how much money comes in on either team.

Last year the Vols lost a sloppy game to the Gators in the Swamp 31-14. Florida has dominated the series, winning 9 straight. The last Tennessee win came in 2004.

Florida has been a little shaky this year. They are 2-1 with a blowout win over Eastern Michigan. They almost lost to Kentucky at home but survived in triple overtime. In their last game they put up a fight against Alabama but lost 42-21 on the road. The Gators had last week off to prepare for the game at Neyland Stadium.

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Bell honored for SEMO performance

Bell honored for SEMO performance

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen


University of Tennessee at Martin senior linebacker Tony Bell has been named as one of four College Football Performance Awards honorable mention linebackers for Week 5.

This marks the second time this season that a Skyhawk has been recognized by the CFPA, as Corey Jordan was named an honorable mention tight end after UT Martin’s season opener at Kentucky on Aug. 30.

Bell had his best statistical game of the season against Southeast Missouri last Saturday. The 6-1, 200-pound Memphis native made a game-high 11 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss – which doubled his season total heading into the contest. He was credited with a half-sack and also recovered a fumble while hurrying the quarterback twice.

Bell, who earned 2013 All-American honors and is on the Sports Network Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, ranks fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference with seven tackles for loss. He also leads the team with seven quarterback hurries while making 27 tackles and securing one interception on the season.

The Skyhawks return to action this Saturday, Oct. 3 when they travel to Jacksonville State for the ESPN3 OVC Game of the Week. Kickoff time is set for 3 p.m.

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Miller named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week

Miller named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen

ky wildcats hoops

After grading out at 89 percent in Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt, senior offensive tackle Darrian Miller has been tabbed Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week, it was announced by the league office on SEC Now on the SEC Network on Monday night.

A product of Lexington’s Bryan Station High School, Miller starred for the Wildcats on the offensive line in UK’s win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Miller didn’t allow any sacks or quarterback hurries, did not commit any penalties or have missed assignments, and was credited with four knockdown blocks.

A 6-foot-5, 292-pounder, Miller is the second UK player named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week in 2014, joining sophomore center Jon Toth, who was honored after UK’s season-opening win over UT Martin. Wide receiver Garrett Johnson was also named SEC Freshman of the Week following UK’s three-overtime thriller at Florida, after collecting a UK freshman record 154 receiving yards on six catches.

Miller has played in 39 games in his four-year career, the second-most on the club, making 29 starts on the offensive line.

Kentucky (3-1, 1-1 SEC) will return to action Saturday, playing host to South Carolina for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network and will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel calling the action.

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Reed Gurchiek

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Reed Gurchiek named MSC Player of the Week

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen

Reed Gurchiek

Cumberland quarterback Reed Gurchiek was named the Mid-South Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after posting 273 offensive yards and four touchdowns in CU’s 59-21 victory at Bluefield College.

The Mt. Juliet, Tenn., native completed 13-for-15 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, tossing TD throws of 47, 27 and 18 yards, all in the second quarter. He hit Mason Willis for a 47-yard catch-and-run and Michael Green on a 27-yard post pattern before finding Kentavious Eberhart for 18 yards just before intermission.

The senior QB also had a 10-yard TD run, as Cumberland scored 24 straight points in the second and third quarters to break open a seven-point game. He carried eight times for 89 yards and one score in the contest.

Gurchiek has completed 57 percent of his passes for 421 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception through four games this season as well as rushed for 181 yards and two scores.

Cumberland heads to the University of Pikeville this Saturday in the second of four straight road games for the club.

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EKU and Belmont battle to draw

EKU and Belmont battle to draw

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen


Freshman goalkeeper Anna Hall made a career-high 14 saves as the Eastern Kentucky University soccer team battled host Belmont to a scoreless draw on Sunday afternoon at Rose Park.

The gritty road result earns EKU (2-8-1, 0-1-1 OVC) its first point in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.

“Getting points on the road is always tough in conference,” head coach Melissa Barnes said. “I am very proud of our team for battling hard in a physical match on a warm Nashville day. We end three tough weeks on the road and earned a point against a good Belmont team.”

Hall’s 14 saves are the most by any keeper in the OVC this season. The Ross, Ohio native withstood 27 Belmont shots on the day to come away with her third clean sheet of the fall.

Senior Paige Larkin and junior Merrissa Vault played all 110 minutes of the double-overtime draw on EKU’s backline.

Senior Emily D’Italia came forward from her center back position to lead EKU with three shots in the game, one of which was on frame.

After four consecutive road games, Eastern returns home next weekend to host Tennessee Tech on Friday and Jacksonville State on Sunday.

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Bulldogs climb in polls

Bulldogs climb in polls

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen

 Broc Loveless Cumberland

Cumberland moved up four spots to No. 14 in this week’s NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday, after a 59-28 victory at Bluefield College.

The Bulldogs racked up 688 yards of total offense in the contest and scored on its first nine drives of the contest, including six touchdowns in the first half. Reed Gurchiek completed 13-of-15 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns and Broc Loveless was 4-for-5 throwing for 54 yards and another score.

Gurchiek also paced Cumberland on the ground, gaining 89 yards on eight carries and one TD. Blake DeBoard added 78 yards on 15 carries, Kentavious Eberhart scored on a 49-yard run and Brandon Mallory posted a pair of rushing touchdowns from two and 13 yards out. The Bulldogs gained 450 yards on the ground of 55 attempts.

Cumberland continued its ascent up the Top 25 poll, starting the preseason at No. 25 before moving to 21st in the first regular season poll and then No. 18 last week. The Bulldogs, 3-1 overall with their only loss to NCAA FCS member UT Martin, continue their current four-game road swing this week at the University of Pikeville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

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Bulldogs turn attention to Vandy

Bulldogs turn attention to Vandy

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen

UGA logo

UGA logo

The No. 13-ranked Georgia football team returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday with a 90-minute workout in shorts and shoulder pads.

Afterward, Coach Mark Richt provided updates on tailback Sony Michel and defensive back Sheldon Dawson.

Said Richt: “Sony’s got a left shoulder injury. It shouldn’t be anything that needs to be operated on. I would say he won’t play this week and we’ll just see how he goes from here. Sheldon Dawson is not a member of the team anymore. I can verify that.”

The Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) will continue conference play this week as they entertain Vanderbilt (1-4, 0-3 SEC) for Homecoming at Sanford Stadium. The game will kick off at 4 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network. Since 1922, Georgia is 73-17-2 in Homecoming contests and has posted seven consecutive wins. The Bulldogs hold a 53-19-2 advantage in the series with Vanderbilt, including 27-4 at Sanford Stadium.

Monday’s practice was held on the FieldTurf as a misty rain fell.

Richt announced the captains for the Vanderbilt game will be center David Andrews and tailback Todd Gurley on offense, linebacker Jordan Jenkins on defense, and cornerback Damian Swann on special teams.

“We got in some good teaching today,” Richt said. “We are continuing to clean up some things. We got the week off to a good start and we need to keep it going the next few days.”

CBS elected to use its six-day option for the SEC television selections for Saturday, Oct. 11, including Georgia’s game at Missouri. CBS has first selection for its 3:30 p.m. game, ESPN has the next two choices for its 6 and 9 p.m. contests, followed by CBS picking its noon game and the SEC Network getting its 7:30 p.m. game. Other contests in the mix are Auburn-Mississippi State, Ole Miss-Texas A&M, LSU-Florida and Alabama-Arkansas.

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Ray named SEC Lineman of the Week

Ray named SEC Lineman of the Week

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen

Shane Ray Mizzou

University of Missouri junior DE Shane Ray (Kansas City, Mo.) was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Line Player of the Week for his big game this past Saturday as he helped lead Mizzou to a thrilling 21-20 road comeback win at 13th-ranked South Carolina. Ray won the award, as announced tonight by the league office, after recording a career-high eight tackles (all solo stops), including 2.0 quarterback sacks, which ties his personal best.

This is the second weekly honor that Ray has garnered in what is quickly becoming an award-worthy season. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his 7-tackle performance in a win over UCF on Sept. 13th, which included four tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Through five games, Ray’s season totals of 8.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss are both tops in the nation. He’s had at least one sack in all five games this season, including a trio of two-sack outings against South Carolina, UCF and Toledo.

This past Saturday, Ray and his defensive mates held a dangerous Gamecock offense to season low totals in several categories, including points (20), yards (338), passing yards (219) and 1st downs (18). The defense was especially stout during crunch time, as the Tiger offense rallied in the final seven minutes of the game. After Carolina took a 20-7 lead with 7:25 to play, the Tiger defense allowed zero yards on the Gamecock’s last two series, which ended in a three-and-out punt, followed by a four-and-out series to end the game.

This marks the third time in 2014 a Tiger has won a weekly conference award. Prior to Ray’s pair of awards, sophomore QB Maty Mauk won the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on September 8th for his play in MU’s win at Toledo.

Ray and the 24th-ranked Tigers are off this weekend as they set their sights on the #13 Georgia Bulldogs, who come to Columbia, Mo. on Oct. 11th for an SEC Eastern Division showdown. Kick time for that game will not be announced until this Sunday, as it is one of five SEC games put on standby for a six-day selection window.

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2 Raiders honored after Old Dominion win

2 Raiders honored after Old Dominion win

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen

MTSU logo

Middle Tennessee safety Kevin Byard and quarterback Austin Grammer earned awards today following the Blue Raiders’ impressive road win against Old Dominion on Friday.

Byard was voted the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week, while Grammer was selected as a Manning Award Star of the Week.

Byard provided Middle Tennessee’s first touchdown against ODU with a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was the first punt return of Byard’s career. The 76-yarder was the longest in MT’s FBS era (since 1999) and was the ninth longest in school history. The punt return sparked a Blue Raider run that saw them go up 24 unanswered points in a 6:29 stretch of the second quarter. Defensively, Byard also recorded a forced fumble and an interception.

Grammer accounted for 326 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in Middle Tennessee’s 41-28 win against Old Dominion. The sophomore accounted for 61 percent of Middle Tennessee’s 539 yards and set a career high for completions with 25. He connected on 25-of-30 passes for 259 yards and his 83.3 completion percentage was fifth on the MT single-game list. He also rushed for 67 yards, including rushing touchdowns of 7 and 10 yards.

The Blue Raiders will return home this Saturday to face Southern Miss. Kickoff is set for 11 AM from Floyd Stadium.

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What is Rock Bottom for Derek Mason?

What is Rock Bottom for Derek Mason?

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen

derek mason vandy

Things are not going very well for first year head coach Derek Mason on West End right now.

Blown out by Temple at home? Check.
Getting thrashed by Ole Miss at LP Field? Check.
Barely surviving against UMass at home despite being a double digit favorite? Check.
Counting on special teams to keep you in the South Carolina game? Check.
Converting only 2 third downs against Kentucky? Check.

This week the team heads to Georgia as a 33 point underdog. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that it could be ugly in Athens Saturday. Todd Gurley has run all over every team he has played this year and last week the Dores made Kentucky running back Braylon Heard look like a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Vandy really has had no offense all year and the little they had is when sophomore QB Patton Robinette started. Unfortunately he has been injured for most of the year and the staff has thrown true freshman Wade Freebeck to the wolves as the starter. Last week Freebeck threw for 85 yards against Kentucky. He also had three interceptions. According to the coaching staff he is the best option the team has available. If that was my best option I would run the wildcat every play. James Franklin ran it often with Zac Stacy and Jerron Seymour and had a ton of success.

The Commodores aren’t going bowling. At 1-4 with Georgia, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi State, and Tennessee coming up those are all double digit losses. When you look at the schedule Charleston Southern and Old Dominion are the only games left that Vanderbilt realistically has a shot at winning. In case you haven’t noticed Charleston Southern is 5-0 and will be coming off a bye when they play Vandy. Granted the Citadel and Newberry aren’t juggernauts, but if the offense can’t move the ball that game the Dores might just lose to another cupcake at home. Old Dominion has wins over Rice and Eastern Michigan. They also almost beat NC State too. The Monarchs are ranked 22nd in passing offense and Mason’s secondary has been lit up every week.

What if Vandy does lose to Charleston Southern or Old Dominion? Surely they would win at least one of them but Las Vegas thought they would beat UMass by 17. The offense is terrible and the defense is almost as bad. The even crazier thing is if the Dores get smoked in Athens, how many people are going to show up against Charleston Southern? James Franklin scheduled them to get an easy win to get to a bowl but they will come to Nashville with a perfect records and could theoretically have more fans than Vanderbilt in the stands.

Some say that Vanderbilt fans were spoiled by James Franklin and his three years on West End. His last two season he beat Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee twice. Ten years ago that is unheard of. Franklin did raise the bar for Mason and the fan bases expect more. But in reality Bobby Johnson also had wins over South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky so for Mason to go 0-for his first season without even being competitive it says a lot about how bad this team really is and how bad of a coaching staff he has assembled.

But for where the program is and where it realistically will end up at the end of the year, where is rock bottom? Finishing 1-11, 2-10, or 3-9 is bad. What really is going to hurt is when UT comes to town at the end of the year and packs the place with orange. Sure, it happened all the time in previous years but Vanderbilt has won two straight and the fan base was supercharged. Now the fans are slowly losing interest and with each game lost there will be less and less at Dudley Field each week. But that’s not rock bottom.

Recruits could also lose interest. How sexy is a school that can barely beat UMass and loses at home to Temple? For all the steps backwards Vanderbilt is taking Tennessee is taking two forwards. James Franklin did really well recruiting against the Vols but now Butch Jones has taken the state back.

Vandy has some 4 star verbal commits like Donovan Sheffield and Josh Smith who also have offers from other SEC schools like Alabama and Ole Miss. Should the Dores finished with only one or two more wins those guys could decide they want to play for a winner. Right now Vanderbilt’s 2015 recruiting class is ranked #64 on Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State have a better class according to the site. What if a handful of our recruits decide to not anchor down and abandon ship? Still, that’s not rock bottom.

We’ve already seen signs of some football players that may be on their way out. Brian Kimbrow is suspended from the team and Jordan Cunningham has taken a leave of absence for person reasons. Both former 4 star recruits could leave the program and go elsewhere. There are schools that would love to have them. Kimbrow pretty much stays in the doghouse no matter who is the coach but because of his speed a lot of coaches would take him. If the team continues to falter who else will want to leave the program for greener pastures? Even with defections, that’s not rock bottom.

Suppose Mason finishes 3-9 in his first year with a loss to UT and loses several recruits to other SEC schools. David Williams isn’t going to fire him. He has too much pride. Williams made the call to hire him and he won’t be so quick to pull the plug. Best case scenario Mason fires his offensive coordinator and the team has to relearn a new offense in 2015. Also add a handful of defections with disgruntled players leaving the program. The Dores at best bring in a few two and three star kids for next year that does nothing to get fans excited about next year. But that’s not rock bottom.

The first game in 2015 is at MTSU in Murfreesboro. Longtime Vandy fans have been seething about the losses to Middle Tennessee during the Bobby Johnson era for years. In Cutler’s senior year the Dores almost beat them but a blocked field goal as time expired gave MTSU the win. A loss to MTSU kills the Vanderbilt football program. After all the progress the team made under Franklin a loss to the Blue Raiders is a death sentence. No one will show up to the games. Recruiting will be nonexistent and the program goes back to the Watson Brown stone age days. For everything that has gone wrong and potentially go wrong between now and then Vanderbilt cannot lose to MTSU. That’s rock bottom.

This article is pretty much a glass half empty. A lot of things could go right and Wade Freebeck could get better as the year goes on. Vandy could get on a winning streak and beat Missouri, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion, Florida and UT and wind up at 6-6 and go bowling. Hell, a win over Tennessee would likely get Mason a contract extension. But for all the things that could go right there are even more that could go wrong judging by the way the season has played out so far.

It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better but Mason has 11 months before he he drops the anchor on rock bottom.

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Georgia opens as 33 point favorite over Vandy

Georgia opens as 33 point favorite over Vandy

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Allen


After falling to Kentucky in Lexington Saturday Vanderbilt will head to Athens this weekend as a 33 point underdog to Georgia. The Bulldogs are coming off a close 35-32 win over Tennessee at home last week.

The line has dropped to 32.5 as some action has come in on the Commodores. After failing to score an offensive touchdown against the Wildcats it will be interesting to see if the Vandy offense can get anything going against Georgia.

The Dores will likely see a strong dose of Todd Gurley and their three headed monster at running back. Gurley rushed for 208 yards against the Vols. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are also option for Mark Richt at running back. Bulldog QB Hutson Mason has been a little shaky but Vanderbilt’s secondary hasn’t been very good either.

If Patton Robinette can get healthy and get back under center the Commodores could have a shot at keeping it close but if freshman Wade Freebeck gets the nod again, it could be ugly.

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Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24