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2ND ANNIVERSARY ISSUE INSIDE: JEFF BOWER | DAN MULLEN | JERRELL POWE | DREW BREES | IS DSU TOPS IN MS?


808 Lake Harbour Drive Ridgeland, MS 601-856-0789

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Pomeranz takes Ferriss Award Junior left-hander Drew Pomeranz was named the 2010 recipient of the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy on May 24 by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University. The Cellular South Ferriss Trophy is presented annually to the top collegiate baseball player in the state of Mississippi and is named for “Boo” Ferriss (left),  former Delta State head coach and member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Delta State Hall of Fame and Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. Photo by Greg Pevey, Mississippi Sports Magazine 2 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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Snakes Gone Wild... Jimmie Nichols, Jr., with GrabUOne Outfitters of Simpson County, attempts to wrangle this Green Water Snake (commonly mistaken for the poisonous Cottonmouth) in Lake Washington in Greenville as Joey Rigby looks on. GrabUOne Outfitters has become very popular with their “Redneck Adventures� videos not only in Mississippi but across the South. GrabUOne also works closely with the MS Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Commission to collect snake species for research. No snakes were harmed during the snake hunt and most are released back into the wild after being caught. Photo by David Ruth, GrabUOne Outfitters 4 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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MISSISSIPPI SEEN

Are you ready for some Futbol? The World Cup only comes once every four years, so these futbol fans (we call it soccer here in America) are showing their love for Team USA at Buffalo Wild Wings in Ridgeland. Buffalo Wild Wings in Ridgeland has been named by GQ magazine as one of the Top 10 places in all of America for fans to gather and enjoy the world’s number one sport. A standing room only crowd turned out on June 26 to watch Team USA compete with Ghana in the Round of 16 proving that BWW is the place to be in Mississippi for some futbol. Photo by Greg Pevey, Mississippi Sports Magazine 6 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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MSM

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Welcome to year three of MSM and the 2010 College Football Preview

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ell, another year is behind us now with Mississippi Sports Magazine (MSM) and as we kick off year three, we want to thank everyone who has helped make this magazine so popular and special. The writers, advertisers and school adminis-

trators have been great in supporting what MSM is all about...Mississippi! We would not be where we are today without each of you. Our main goal has always been to keep the magazine as balanced and fair in coverage as we can make it. Which, believe me, is sometimes hard to do. But we feel throughout the course of a year we have managed to keep everyone happy. Some issues may have a story or two more on one school than another, but a lot of that depends on what stories we come up with and who is available at the time to interview. We do get calls or emails from time to time from readers who feel their school has been slighted, but we always talk with them and listen to their comments and ask them to look at every issue and the magazine as a whole and take it for what it is. We also encourage readers to call us with comments, story ideas and photo submissions. We want our readers to be involved with the magazine. So please contact us anytime with anything you’d like to share. MSM will always find the best stories and interviews and try to showcase athletics and outdoors in our great state in a positive light. We also strive to find stories about people from our state that many of you may have never heard of or did not realize they are from Mississippi to begin with. Educating our readers is something we take pride in doing. So many Mississippians have achieved so much that their story deserves to be told.

We promise to make each issue better than the last and we look forward to growing

MSM into a publication that will be enjoyed by every Mississippian. Lastly, we ask that all of you shop or do business with our advertisers. These businesses work very hard in providing quality products and services to the people of Mississippi. During these hard times we are going through they can all use your support. We hope you enjoy the 2010 College Football Preview as you prepare for the upcoming season. We wish success to all the football programs in the state and we look forward to covering all of them throughout the year.

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To Contact MSM > LETTERS, STORY IDEAS AND PHOTO SUBMISSIONS • Email MSM at publisher@mssportsmagazine.com or mail to Mississippi Sports Magazine, 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, Mississippi 39047. Letters should include writer’s full name, address and home phone number and may be edited for clarity and space.

Tell our advertisers you saw their ad in Mississippi Sports Magazine. 8 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Volume 3, Issue 1 July/August 2010

Published by Pevey Publishing, LLC Publishers Greg & Mendy Pevey Featured Columnists David Armstrong, Bo Bounds, Doug Colson, Steven Godfrey Contributing Writers Erik Bartlam, Tyler Cleveland, James O. Covington, David Culpper, Chad Eads, Steven Godfrey, Tonya M. Huffman, Paul Jones, Donell Maxie, Chuck Stinson Contributing Photographers Jonathan Bender, King Photography, Bobby McDuffie, New Orleans Saints, Greg Pevey, David Ruth, Sports Information offices of Alcorn State, Belhaven College, Jackson State, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Delta State, MS Valley St., The Bolivar Commercial Advertising Sales Greg Pevey, Jay Pevey Mississippi Sports Magazine™ is published bimonthly by Pevey Publishing, LLC to promote Mississippi’s sportsmen and women, colleges, universities, high schools, communities and citizens in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Mississippi Sports Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. Pevey Publishing, LLC is not affiliated with any institution, college, university, or other academic or athletic organization. Subscriptions are $24 (1 year, 6 issues). Make checks payable to Pevey Publishing, LLC and mail to: 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, MS 39047 or subscribe online at www.mssportsmagazine.com.

Pevey Publishing, LLC Mississippi Sports Magazine 405 Knights Cove West • Brandon, MS 39047 Phone: 601-503-7205 • Fax: 601-992-2885 email: publisher@mssportsmagazine.com www.mssportsmagazine.com


C O N TEN T S

MSM

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

10 Q&A - DREW BREES

38 JEFF BOWER

James Covington talks with the Super Bowl XLIV MVP

Steven Godfrey talks with the former Golden Eagle head man

12 GODFREY’S TAKE

42 GREEN MACHINE

Steven Godfrey - Cowbell Conspiracy?

14 OUT OF BOUNDS

Bo Bounds - The Summer That Was and looking ahead to 2010

Donell Maxie tells us why Delta State is tops in Mississippi

52 YEAR TWO

What does Mullen do for an encore?

16 YOU KNOW WHAT I’M

58 IT WAS WORTH IT

SAYING?

Doug Colson - Can the Saints Repeat?

20 HE BENDS, BUT

DOESN’T BREAK

Jonathan Bender steps up in time of need after Hurricane Katrina

26 ALL THAT JAZZ

Former JSU Head Coach and Hall of Famer W.C. Gordon

32 TYLERTOWN SAINT

In 29 years with the Saints, Kevin Mangum of Tylertown has seen it all

Jerrell Powe says the fight was worth the prize

Tylertown’s Biggest Saint: Kevin Mangum - pg. 32

88 college schedules & MORE

92 RECRUITING 101

David Armstrong of Southeastscout.com tells what really goes on in recruiting

93 THE “FABULOUS 15”

Mississippi’s top High School and Junior College Players for 2010

96 High School PICKS

Jeff Bower - pg. 38

We pick the Top 5 in each MSHAA Classification Mississippi Sports Magazine - 9


Q&A MSM

Q & A

DREW BREES

New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl XLIV MVP MSM’S James O. Covington recently sat down with New Orleans Saints Super Bowl MVP winning Quarterback Drew Brees for a chat covering everything from the big game to looking ahead to this season. Interview by James O. Covington

JAMES O. COVINGTON: So, I’ve got to ask, do you wear your Super Bowl ring very often? DREW BREES: Not much. I have it put away. I only wear it for special occasions. I want to try and win another one. JOC: Everyone is used to the Saints being the underdogs, now that you’re the team everyone in the NFL is gunning for, how does that make you feel? DB: We’re in uncharted waters. Every team will be coming at us with their full best effort every game this year. JOC: It was only a few years ago when you were coming off of an injury and searching for a team to give you a shot. Now you’re the Super Bowl MVP and the “Madden” cover guy. What has that ride been like? DB: It’s really crazy how it all played out, it really is. I just can’t tell you how excited I am about what we’ve been able to accomplish in New Orleans. When I was going through free agency, it came down to New Orleans and Miami, but New Orleans just instilled so much confidence in me. I remember how they told me that I could not only lead them to a championship but I could help rebuild this city and be a part of this community. That meant the world to me knowing that they had as much confidence in me as I had in myself. JOC: I’m sure as soon as you found out you were going to be on the cover of Madden ‘10, you heard all the talk about the Madden Curse. Do you think fans of rival teams in the NFC voted for you just so the Saints won’t repeat as champs? DB: The Madden Curse has really taken on a life of its own. People just love talking about it, and it is what it is, but I look at it as a challenge. I also feel like we’re still destined to do great things in New Orleans. Our work is not done, and we still have a lot to accomplish. Our time is now, and destiny 10 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

is still pulling on us, so I feel like destiny is stronger than any curse. JOC: Your pregame ritual of pumping up the team before the game. When did you realize that this chant had become an iconic NFL moment? DB: When that started, it was just for us, it was for our team. I don’t think we ever even fathomed how many people would take notice or take interest in what we were doing. But no matter where I am, the No. 1 question I got this offseason was, “What do you say in that huddle?” People tell me that it hypes them up because we’re getting hyped up, whether they’re watching from the stands or TV. It’s wild. On the night of our Super Bowl parade, I went with some of the offensive linemen and some of the guys for a last hurrah to celebrate the season. Everybody was like, “Hey, you gotta do the chant! Do the chant!” And all of our guys were like, “Yeah, do the chant!” So I went ahead and divulged what we said. I figured it was appropriate because the spot where we were was a really popular place among Saints fans and this was a way to bring our fans in to what we were doing. Obviously, they are such a big part of our success, so we were just sharing that time with the fans and letting them in on what we actually chant before the game. They deserved to hear it. JOC: Are you changing the chant for this season? DB: Absolutely, it’s a new season. Every year, I’m constantly thinking of motivational, inspirational type things that I can say to the team and how we can get in that mind-set for this year, so I’ll definitely be thinking of something else. But who knows, it might be somebody else doing the chant. It might be

something a little bit different. We need to change it because the fact is, it’s a new year. JOC: Last year’s ride was magical indeed, wasn’t it. DB: It was very magical. JOC: What steps do you guys need to do to win another championship? DB: We’re just going to have to re-establish focus and discipline this offseason. We have to understand the situation we’re in and the fact that as hard as it was to get there in the first place, it’s going to be even harder to stay on top. Everybody is gunning for us now. Every game is going to be the toughest game of the season, and we need to prepare ourselves for that. I feel like we have all the pieces in place to make another run, so I’m excited about the opportunity we have and the challenge, but it’s going to be one of our toughest seasons in terms of preparation and getting ready to succeed. It’s going to be tougher than anything we’ve ever had to experience. JOC: You guys can do it, I believe. DB: Thanks, and so do we… - MSM


Photo courtesy New Orleans Saints

SUPER SAINT: DREW BREES is on a mission to prove that the Saints Super Bowl XLIV victory was not a fluke. Bree’s and the Saints have a goal to repeat as Super Bowl Champions as they begin that campaign on ESPN Thursday, September 9, at 7:30 (CDT) against the Minnesota Vikings in the Superdome.

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G O D F R E Y ’ S TA K E

Rise up, valiant Bulldogs, and beware the Cowbell Conspiracy

F By Steven Godfrey Featured Columnist

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or the sake of everything that’s maroon, white and right in Mississippi State University Athletics, I hope this missive sees print. If you’re reading this I am very likely dead, or worse, being reprogrammed by the very organization I am now working so desperately to expose: The nefarious and seemingly omniscient Southeastern Conference Cabal. Some of you conspiracy theorists have pegged us from the beginning. You’ve likely been met with derision from “normal” people who don’t spend six hours a day on sports message boards devoted to a single athletic program. IGNORE THEM. What the “normal, rational” people don’t know is this: Once the noble, brave and almost God-like rookie head coach Dan Mullen led the Bulldogs to wildly successful 5-7 campaign in 2009, the Cabal knew immediately how grave the threat a marginally successful Bulldog squad could be to everything it held dear. If left unchecked, Mississippi State might have A WINNING FOOTBALL SEASON in 2010, reaching SIX or possibly SEVEN wins in one year. Obviously, the ramifications of MSU football achieving noticeable mediocrity would be devastating: Rivers would flow backwards, the New Madrid Fault would explode, a total collapse of the American economy would spur zombie uprisings and even the most unlikely of occurrences would be a reality - A surge of interest in and prices for Starkville condos. These doomsday scenarios were enough motivation for the Cabal to strike, and they elected to focus on removing the Samson’s mane of the MSU program: THE COWBELL. They are coming for your cowbells, Bulldogs. Never mind what seems to be a litany of far more pressing issues on the slate for the world’s most powerful college football conference (and also one of the world’s halfway respectable basketball conferences) – it’s the COWBELLS, man! The conference realignment drama of recent months? A GIANT RUSE, set in motion by bribing vacation-starved Nebraskans to jump to the Big 10 by offering time-shares in Orange Beach. Then the secret SEC conspiracy screwed the Huskers with oily waters and tar balls. Yes, the BP spill… us to. Why? Because watching snowbirds cry is perversely enjoyable. (Plus, Spurrier made us. ’96 Fiesta Bowl, ya’ll. The man can tote a grudge) While America bought into the travails of Colorado, Utah, Texas and the Big 12’s orchestrated mess, we’ve been at work eliminating the REAL threat by preventing the success of Mississippi State football. As of this printing, I can tell you the following: The conference has accepted a very tentative agreement with MSU fans that like any form of artificially generated noise at a college game, cowbells could only be legally rung during pre-game, half time, during television time outs and following scores. The compromise was brokered by new athletic director Scott Stricklin, who deftly (and moronically) told various media outlets that the cowbell falls in the same consideration as various other SEC traditions, including LSU’s white jerseys, Florida’s gator chomp and the hedges in Athens.


G O D F R E Y ’ S TA K E

Ignore the fact that none of those traditions mentioned can create a deafening amount of artificial noise, distract players, coaches and fans and have caused at least one recorded assault charge in the last year. Ignore the fact according to CFBStats.com, entering 2009 Mississippi State ranked ninth in the nation in opposing teams being penalized for illegal procedure, delay of game and false starts, despite the fact that Davis-Wade Stadium literally averaged thousands upon thousands less fans in attendance than the eight teams ranked above them (Texas, Mizzou, Miami (FL), Utah, Florida, Cal, Boise State, Virginia Tech). Ignore the fact that Stricklin was only bringing to light the true Civil Rights violation that is a cowbell ban largely for personal popularity issues. The fresh-faced AD is aiming to gain traction among MSU diehards in the wake of beloved predecessor Greg Byrne’s quick exit to the University of Arizona. Ignore the fact that asking a large mass of inebriated college-aged individuals to NOT do something has been all but scientifically proven to cause the opposite effect. Clearly, the instruction to fans to simply “ring responsibility” should curtail any issues. It’s a foolproof plan, so much so that MSU should create a “Social” Engineering department. Rock solid, gentlemen. Ignore that the overwhelming majority of

media, opposing fans and generally “rational” human beings agree in classifying a cowbell as an artificial noisemaker and therefore an unfair advantage for Mississippi State football. IGNORE BASIC LOGIC AND ESTABLISHED FACTS, MISSISSIPPI STATE FANS. IT’S A CONSPIRACY TO KEEP THE BULLDOGS DOWN. I would know - I’m writing these words from a secret bunker located three miles directly beneath the Sears Auto Care Center at Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Alabama. It’s the home of the Southeastern Conference Cabal. You can probably guess the leadership – it’s a co-chaired operation headed by Robert Khayat and Nick Saban, the two men in this world with the most to lose if State’s football could ever become nationally dominant. And you know, for a secret conspiracy bunker, it’s actually a pretty decent little joint. Not surprisingly, we’ve got all the Chick-Fil-A hospitality trays and Golden Flake you can eat (even shadow governments adhere to sponsorship guidelines), and we change the secret access codes every 20 minutes just to watch Bobby Lowder lock himself in the bathroom. (That guy has NO patience.) The only drawback is that all the TV monitors used to oversee the nefarious plots and things are all in standard definition. Everybody wants to complain, but you never say

MSM

anything. Those guys from Raycom are always loitering around - They’re Lord Saban’s hired security. Consider them the Hell’s Angels of telecommunications, and don’t cross them. At this point you’re probably wondering how I gained access to the conspiracy. I’m a media member, silly! We’ve been programming your political and economic viewpoints for years. Did you really think the sports page was any different? We meet here once a month to get our propaganda bulletins from the committee. How do you think softball gets so much national coverage? Oh, dear God, no. They’re here. It’s not long now, dear Bulldogs. The damn Clarion Ledger editorial staff must have ratted me out! THEY’VE ALWAYS HAD IT IN FOR STATE! Lords Saban and Khayat will surely kill me for exposing their plot against The People’s University! So ring, ring, ring those cowbells! Defy basic logic! Ignore a standard and accepted rule! Bring potential instruments of blunt force trauma into large public gatherings! Willingly encourage the stereotype that you’re a culturally vacant collection of rednecks! IGNORE BASIC LOGIC. THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR COWBELL NEXT. - MSM Steven Godfrey is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact him online at sgodjr@ gmail.com or on Twitter @TheGodfreyShow.

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MSM

OUT OF BOUNDS

What a Summer in the World of College Football...and a look at the 2010 season

By BO BOUNDS Host of Out of Bounds, 105.9FM ESPN Radio - Jackson

C

onference expansion rocked the world of college football this summer. Everything about conference expansion was driven by college football. College football is the driving force for The Out of Bounds show year around, and conference expansion was the driving force behind the show all summer. There is nothing quite like hosting a sports talk radio show in the heart of the SEC in the 21st century. Our team at ESPN 105.9 is amazed at the topics the SEC and college football produce on a weekly basis. Let’s talk some college football! Conference Expansion Wow! I’m not sure we expected all the drama and jockeying from the conferences so early in the process. I think most people in college football thought we were six months away from anything really big happening. Once Larry Scott, the new commissioner in the Pac-10, decided his conference would take an aggressive stance and invite Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Colorado – it was game on around the country. Can you imagine how many sleepless nights Dan Beebe, commissioner of the Big 12 (Lite), had wondering if the Big 12 would be raided by the Pac-10. Even though Larry Scott and the Pac-10 only ended up with Colorado and Utah, the Pac-10 made a bold statement – under Scott. The Pac-10 will market and brand their conference like never before. And

14 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

they should. The Pac-10 needs some creative and innovative thinking from the commissioner and member institutions to compete against the SEC, Big 10 and Big 12. Texas A&M missed out on their second golden opportunity in the last 20 years to join the SEC. Let me set this up for you. Texas A&M turning down the SEC is like you turning down going to work at Google, as a senior VP, with stock options a week before Google’s IPO is rolled out. In other words, you would be a fool not to except the offer, and jump on a plane to the West coast. I can’t imagine the political posturing that went down at the capital in Austin, TX and throughout the state, but A&M missed out on becoming a legitimate choice over Texas with Texas recruits. Joining the SEC was the only way a Texas A&M football or basketball coach could legitimately walk into a recruits house in Texas, and sell something better than Texas and the Big 12. I’m not saying they would have won every recruiting battle, but even 4050% of the recruiting wars would be a major upgrade from the way things are going now. Who knows if the second offer (Texas A&M turned down the SEC in the early 1990s) will be the last, but we know Aggie nation was irate with their President and athletic director after declining the invitation from the Southeastern Conference. Turning down the best league in the land, and a conference that fits everything about you culturally is a failure in leadership. Aggie fans got all dressed up, went to the prom and the principal didn’t let them in. The SEC is one of the few conferences in the catbird seat. Commissioner Mike Slive is lucky he inherited a cash-rich conference from Roy Kramer 8 yrs ago. Since that time, Slive’s team has continued to build the SEC brand nationally through multiple media platforms - including last year’s multi-billion dollar television contract with CBS and ESPN. Slive has been adamant that if the Big 10 goes to 16 teams, the SEC will not hesitate to strongly evaluate and move toward expanding. The arrogance at Texas stopped major expansion for now, but we know Big 10 commissioner Jim Deleaney still has his heart set on Notre Dame and several other teams. Conference expansion in the world of college football is far from over. Speaking of the Big 10, Nebraska led by

former national championship coach, and current athletic director, Tom Osborne bolted for the Big 10 as soon as they had an invitation. Dr. Tom Osborne has not been happy with Nebraska’s situation since going from the Big 8 to the Big 12. Osborne didn’t like the control and power Texas had built up the last 15 years. The move to the Big 10 makes sense academically and culturally for Nebraska, but don’t kid yourself - this was about winning football games and recruiting. On that front, I’m not sure Nebraska is any better off. They will not be able to go into Texas and sell Texas recruits on playing in Columbus, OH and Ann Arbor, MI. California probably isn’t much of an option, either. Selling a California recruit on the planes of Nebraska or playing in the rust belt over the Pac-10 and Big 12 is not enticing for a West coast kid. This could be a great move for Nebraska, but it’s by no means a slam dunk. The state of Nebraska doesn’t generate enough high school talent on an annual basis, so head coach Bo Pelini will need to find two or three areas in the far west and Midwest to recruit football players. Nebraska’s geographic location is not advantageous for college football supremacy in the 21st century. Jim Delaney still goes to sleep every night dreaming of the Fighting Irish playing in the Big 10. If Delaney is able to convince or coax Notre Dame into the Big 10 before he leaves the Big 10 commissioner’s office, Delaney will go down as the most successful conference commissioner in the history of NCAA athletics. Delaney not only knows that, it drives him on a daily basis. Delaney will have to force Notre Dame into joining the Big 10. Time and time again the Irish have told us they “cherish” their independence. I hope


OUT OF BOUNDS

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they “cherish” mediocrity in college football, too, because they haven’t scared anybody on the national scene in 15 years. Notre Dame’s last national championship was won in 1988. Notre Dame would be the equivalent of South Carolina if they were in the SEC. Just good enough to scare you in the pre-season every year, and just average enough to disappoint you by mid-October. The 1988 National Championship banner means nothing to a recruit that was born in 1994. The Irish hired an outstanding coach in Brian Kelly, but even Kelly will struggle to take Notre Dame to the National Championship game. As more and more people in this country realize the

and go 4-1. However, if Ole Miss wants to beat Bama, Arkansas, LSU or Auburn, they’ll need one of the three to step up, and make some big plays in October and November. College football is driven by quarterback play and putting pressure on the quarterback. The Rebels will need good play from under center to beat a good team. With Dexter McCluster graduating, it will be interesting to see who Houston Nutt can find to make 20+ yard plays for the Rebs by running or catching the football. The reason why Nutt attended his 13th SEC conference meeting in Sandestin last May is because he’s one of the best in the country at adapting and identifying talent on the offen-

Starkville from Sylvester Croom and Larry Templeton in 2009. Somehow, the MState offense was not only able to manufacture offense, but looked good doing it at times. Mullen’s quarterbacks this year, Chris Relf and Tyler Russell, give the MState offense 10 times more options than last year. Relf proved he can run the football on anybody - the question for Bulldog fans will be: How much can Relf improve throwing the football? By taking on a leadership role in the off-season, the offensive coaches are cautiously optimistic. Pushing Chris Relf in the back-up role is Tyler Russell, former Mississippi Player of the Year, and the future at quarterback for Mississippi

Sun Belt is cooler than the Rust Belt, and the Sun Belt continues to grow, Notre Dame will struggle to bring in the best of the best.

sive side of the football. This year’s Rebel team will challenge Nutt’s offensive mind as much or more than any team he’s coached. If the Rebels find solid to good quarterback play – there’s no reason why Ole Miss can’t win eight games with a #50 strength of schedule and missing Florida and Georgia. The front seven on defense should be stout and the d-line could be one of the best in the history of Ole Miss football if they can stay healthy. Ole Miss will extend their bowl streak to three in 2010. The magic number to catapult a program as a legitimate top-20 program is five straight bowl games in a row. Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss football program are well on their way. Dan Mullen inherited a train wreck in

State. With the 4th toughest schedule in the country in 2010, MState will struggle to win 6 games. The Auburn, Georgia and Arkansas games at home are huge. If Mullen wins 6 games, he should be coach of the year in the SEC. MState will have an outstanding defense led by Pernell McPhee. Look for the Bulldogs to wreak havoc on the defensive side of the football this year. - MSM

Big questions in Oxford, Starkville at the QB position There is one thing I can say for the Ole Miss and MState quarterback play in 2010. It should be interesting, and could be entertaining…or heart-breaking. Nathan Stanley, Raymond Cotton and Randall Mackey will try to replace Jevan Snead at the QB position in Oxford. With little to no playing time between the three, Ole Miss football will rely on good defense, and a cream-puff September schedule to start the year 5-0 or 4-1. I could probably play QB for the Rebels with that schedule

Bo Bounds is the host of The Out of Bounds Show on ESPN 105.9 The Zone in Jackson, MS. Bo runs the successful college football dashboard Yallsports. com. To contact Bo you can visit www.yallsports. com or email oob@thezone1059.com. The YallLifestyle continues to spread across the Southeast. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 15


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Y O U K N O W W H AT I ’ M S AY I N G ?

Can the Who Dat Two Dat?

I

By Doug Colson Co-Host of Mississippi Sports this Morning 620AM - Jackson

620 AM

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sat in stunned silence as Saints cornerback Tracy Porter picked off Peyton Manning and raced 74 yards to clinch the Saints first Super Bowl victory. Mouth agape as the Super Bowl party raged around me, I could not wrap my head around the fact that the team who had bungled through so many seasons was only a few ticks of the clock away from being Super Bowl Champs. Growing up as a life long fan of a team with a similar history of disappointments and heartbreak, I had a hard time seeing the Saints navigating their way through the playoffs unscathed. Boy was I wrong. The Saints broke out in a big way and are now sitting at the cool table. Leaving my pencil necked team and a few other dweeb teams wondering what we’re going to do without our Dungeon Master. Even though the euphoria of Super Bowl XLIV hasn’t worn off yet, we need to ask the question. “Were the 2009 Saints a one year wonder or are the 2010 version the National Football League’s next great dynasty?” Saints Head Coach Sean Payton AKA “the riverboat gambler”, whose reckless play calling in 2007 & 2008 reminded me of Art Schlichter chasing money on a losing streak, got on a heater in 2009 where everything he touched turned to gold. Which culminated in a career wagering successful onside kick that turned the tide in Super Bowl XLIV. Only time will tell if Sean Payton will carry over the Midas touch. What else can you say about Drew Brees that hasn’t already been said? The charismatic QB has worked himself into one of the NFL’s most feared signal callers. Possessing an extremely high football IQ and a hair trigger release, he is adept at using all of his available weapons which are: WR Marques Colston and TE Jeremy Shockey working the middle of the field, big play threats in WR Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson, and the dynamic backfield duo of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush all who compliment each other. Scoring 16 times and combining for over 1,800 yards from scrimmage, opposing coaches have a virtually impossible task of trying to slow down a team that averaged 31.9 points a game. Critical to the Saints success is the ability of the offensive line to keep Drew Brees upright and healthy. The strength of the Saints O-Line is up the middle. It is lead by the newly crowned “NFL’s highest paid guard” Jahri Evans and the mauling G Carl Nicks with Pro Bowl C Jonathan Goodwin. The talented trio creates a comfortable cocoon for Drew Brees. The Tackle position will be held down by late bloomer Jon Stinchcomb and the adequate Jermon Bushrod. The Saints have shown faith in Bushrod by trading former pro bowl T Jamal Brown to the

Redskins. With no turnover on offense, this unit should light up scoreboards again. Without a doubt, the Saints best acquisition last offseason was Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. The defensive guru fielded a truculent ball hawking unit which set records for takeaways and defensive touchdowns. On their way to befuddling the normally infallible machine like Manning in the Super Bowl. Coming in a close second for the best offseason pickup was FS Darren Sharper. His leadership and ability to frequently poach passes helped to give the Saints secondary an extreme makeover. Also contributing to the unit’s revival was the maturation of SS Roman Harper and playoff hero CB Tracy Porter. Throw in cover corner Jabari Greer and this year’s first round draft pick CB Patrick Robinson all leads me to believe the Secondary will continue to demoralize opponents. The Saints linebacking core go into the 2010 season with a little uncertainty at the linebacker position after allowing fan favorite Scott Fujita to leave in free agency. Third year player Jo-Lonn Dunbar will get first crack at filling in the void left by Fujita. The other OLB Scott Shanle is an overachiever who has become more dependable. MLB Jonathan Vilma turned in a strong effort last year making plays sideline to sideline, but the pressure will fall on Vilma to hold this unit together. The D-Line took Gregg Williams mantra of aggressiveness to heart and mercilessly terrorized quarterbacks. Leading the charge was DE Will Smith who had a monster bounce back season with 13 sacks. Free agent DE Alex Brown will take over for Charles Grant after the Saints cut ties with him. While not spectacular, the former Bear will bring consistency to that side of the line. The defensive tackle position still looks like a week point. Active DT Anthony Hargrove brings good inside pressure but is not an every down player. DT Sedrick Ellis has not yet lived up to his first round status. The Saints really need someone to step up and surprise. I still expect The Saints to bring the heat and force turnovers, but it is hard to believe they can repeat last year performance. So the time has come to answer the question. One and done or Dynasty? While I have a hard time seeing the 2010 New Orleans Saints repeating, I do see them as one of the top four teams in the NFC. If they can keep Drew Brees healthy, the Saints have a window where they can win another title. So Saints fans - kick back and enjoy the ride. - MSM


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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 11 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 17


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SPORTS EXTRA

Maximizing Your Athletic Facilities Getting the most out of what you have By COACH CHAD EADS Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine

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or many coaches and school districts across the country, today’s tough economic environment has caused many to postpone or cancel renovation or building projects. Although the expectations for athletic programs continue to increase, the facilities and equipment needed to remain successful are unable to keep the same pace. Coaches are expected to improve upon the past season’s successes and failures, but must do so in the same old gym, with the same rusty weights, and with the same locker room and storage problems as before. There is no money available for major improvements, so what can be done to stay up with the competition and provide students with safe and effective facilities? With some planning and effort, the following are a few things that can be done to enhance existing gymnasiums, stadiums, locker rooms and storage facilities. These small considerations will hopefully reflect the level of pride in the program and make a positive impression on athletes, their parents, the school district and the overall community. The athletic facilities are often the only impression that outsiders have of the quality of the athletic programs within the school. After all, we all want our athletic programs to be perceived as “top-notch” and as a safe environment for our athletes. Formally assess all existing facilities Conducting a formal assessment tour of the entire athletic complex will help identify safety concerns, unused or inefficiently-used space, and will create a prioritized list of improvement/enhancement projects. Get a notebook, a pen, a camera and start the tour. Prepare to be thorough and include other coaches or the athletic director so that they can provide meaningful input on the issues they believe need to be addressed. First and foremost, inspect both the interior and exterior of all buildings making sure they

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are clean and well-maintained. Take photos of problem areas and make a note about each item (i.e. peeling or faded paint, overgrown bushes and shrubs around the building, dirty exterior, missing floor tiles). Also, be certain to note if there are any safety hazards for athletes or spectators (i.e. holes in sidewalks, protruding objects, ant hills, worn playing surfaces). Take special note of these areas and inform the administration and maintenance department of these potential hazards. Second, review all gymnasiums, locker rooms, storage areas, bleachers, restrooms, concession stands, weight rooms, and practice/playing fields. Make a note of every aspect that is outdated, unorganized, unsanitary, or is no longer being used for its original purpose. Be sure to carefully walk and inspect the entire practice and playing surface. Any uneven, slippery, excessively hardened or potentially dangerous areas should be addressed before any athlete is allowed on the surface. A minor and less costly repair now will prevent the cost of total replacement at a later date or

the expense and embarrassment of a costly lawsuit. When reviewing storage areas, be aware of areas in need of organization. Extra storage can be found by utilizing all available area in the storage room. Use shelving or wall hooks to take advantage of the vertical space and to keep the floor area clean and the room accessible. Along with fellow coaches, organize the storage facilities in order to properly maintain and access equipment. A complete inventory should be done to avoid purchasing unnecessary equipment. When organizing the storage room, give special consideration to grouping similar pieces of equipment together and placing the most used equipment in the most easily accessible location. A sanitary and organized storage room, though seldom seen by outsiders, demonstrates to the athletes, the value the coaching staff places on every area of the program and the importance of their health and safety. When the assessment is complete, create a spreadsheet of all the findings categorized by


safety, maintenance or improvement. It is also helpful to predict the effort (low, medium, high) and potential cost (low, medium, high) so that priorities can be determined. Safety concerns should always be addressed immediately to avoid the potential lawsuits the district could face at any moment. Small-dollar, quick-hit improvements should be secondary.

planning, your current facility can be utilized to the fullest. By cleaning, organizing and updating the existing facility, a renewed sense of pride will be developed by the student/athletes, coaches and community. The athletes and community will see that each area of the program is given careful thought and is an important part of the overall success of the team and athletic program. - MSM

Involve your community Many of the minor, quick fix items found during the assessment tour can possibly be remedied by a few helpful parents in the booster club or community. Every booster club or community has parents who are willing to become involved in small projects and would welcome the opportunity to serve the school with their time, skills, and energy. A group of parents could assist with projects such as painting the locker room, weight room, or press box. Parents could help by organizing a storage facility or by adding additional storage shelves or cabinets to the equipment room or storage facility. By allowing a few good intentioned parents to become involved in helping in this manner, a sense of pride in the community towards your program begins to build. These parents will begin to see other opportunities in which to maximize the existing facilities with minor repairs and upgrades. Community spirit and pride also plays a key role in maximizing the impact of each individual athletic program. Begin to build community spirit by researching the history of the schools athletic teams, athletes and arenas/stadiums. Once the research of successful seasons and special players/coaches or incredible moments has been completed, highlight them with pictures, banners or plaques in prominent view for the community. Make use of blank walls in the gym, locker room, weight room or in the hallway leading to the locker room to display the team’s logo (painted by the art students), a key slogan or interesting piece of memorabilia. Former athletes will enjoy visiting their school and reliving the glory days, and the current athletes will develop a sense of pride for the history of their school and program. Begin a new tradition by involving each sports team and the community with its associated arena or stadium. Set a date each year to recognize a former player or team during a home game. Use the arena/stadium to hold special community events sponsored by the athletic program such as concerts, guest speakers or youth sports camps. The community will begin to see the arena/stadium as an integral feature of the community and as a gathering place for more than just sporting events. Athletic administrators and coaches will always be in search of more time and space. With some careful thought and imaginative

Sports Facility Coach has strong ties to Mississippi. Coach Pete Hurt is the current head football coach / asst athletic director at Center Hill High School in Olive Branch and was the head football coach / athletic director at Clinton High for 3 years. At Clinton, Coach

Hurt was instrumental in gaining approval for and designing a new multi-million dollar athletic complex. Coach Chad Eads was the offensive line coach / asst head football coach at Clinton High School from 2002 – 2007 and participated in the design process and worked with school administrators and architects throughout the project.  Jamie Lamb Eads is a graduate of Clinton High, a former Trustmark Bank associate and is the daughter of well-known Mississippi track coach, Billy Lamb. With 50 years of combined coaching experience, we know sports facilities like the back of our hand. Sports Facility Coach offers advice, insight and design consulting services to schools, architects and  recreation departments to help them create WINNING athletic programs. Check out www.sportsfacilitycoach.com for more information.

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M I S S I S S I P P I A N S : J O N AT H A N B E N D E R

He Bends, But Doesn’t Break

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n 1999 right out of high school, at age 18, Jonathan Bender was headed to the NBA. Seven years later at age 25, an injury forced his four year retirement and he became an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. And in 2009 at age 28, this savvy businessman and humanitarian made an NBA comeback, proving that when life happens, Jonathan Bender bends but he doesn’t break.

- BY TONYA M. HUFFMAN Before life circumstances made Jonathan bend or  bounce back, this country boy stood tall in his hometown of Mississippi.  Jonathan Rene Bender was born on January 30, 1981 in Picayune, Mississippi. His parents Donald and Willie Mae had a close knit family and enjoyed their family of three, their son Donnell, daughter Valerie, and their youngest  Jonathan. Jonathan literally had a ball taking  frequent trips to New Orleans with his father to visit family and he focused on AAU Basketball. This all ended the day Jonathan reached 12 when his father passed away. Along with the rest of the family, Jonathan had a difficult time adjusting. “It was tough. I didn’t know what was going on because I was so young,” said Jonathan. Although grieving Jonathan would never forget his dad, he knew that his father would not want him to forget about life, so Jonathan kept going and continued to focus on AAU basketball in New Orleans. Jonathan bonded with Harlem Globetrotter Billy Rae Hobley who became a father figure to the pre-teen. Jonathan not only grew past his hurt, but he also grew vertically. By the time he reached 13, he was unique with a height of 6’3”. Also unique was Jonathan hanging out with a Harlem Globetrotter, for the two were literally inseparable. “We hung out a lot. He taught me about competing, being strong, and being a man,” said Jonathan. Where a strong exists, growth flourishes, and Jonathan became a sponge, learning what the flamboyant personality and brilliant Harlem Globetrotter could teach 20 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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M I S S I S S I P P I A N S : J O N AT H A N B E N D E R

him on the basketball court and beyond. What Jonathan learned from him would definitely prove useful later in life.   By the time Jonathan reached Picayune Memorial High School in 1995, the Maroon Tide basketball roster bore his name and jersey #24 and over time, he played both center and forward. As he continued to grow, this lithe  athlete was well accustomed to staying in shape for basketball. Two or three  times a week during his junior season, and four to five times a week that following summer, Jonathan made the 50-minute drive to familiar territory, from Picayune to New Orleans to sweat through the arduous workouts of a famed fitness instructor. By his senior year in 1999, Jonathan stood 6’11” and weighed 210 pounds. This  senior forward averaged 23.1 points, 15.0 rebounds, 5.0 blocked shots, and  4.0 assists. At Magic Johnson’s Roundball Classic, Jonathan scored 11 points along with  7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 24 minutes. At the 1999 McDonald’s AllAmerica, the marquee event for America’s most talented prep players, Jonathan electrified the crowd during the slam-dunk contest with a  take-off-from the foul-line jam. But perhaps his most impressive accolade at the event was when in 31 minutes, Jonathan grabbed 10 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and scored a record 31 points for the West, breaking the previous mark of 30 set by Michael Jordan in 1981. Jonathan felt like he accomplished a great feat. “I felt like I was  doing something  great. I didn’t know what it would lead to”, said Jonathan. What this accolade did lead to is people talking about Jonathan’s future in basketball. With graduating from high school at the top of his game and breaking an MJ record, many considered JB NBA material, and yet others saw him getting prerequisite NBA training, blocking layups and slam dunking on a college court. Jonathan was inundated with visits and offers from college recruiters. And of course, NBA scouts noticed Jonathan’s game. NBA scouts guaranteed Jonathan the opportunity of a lifetime, to do something he loved and get paid for it, whereas colleges even with great connections could only guarantee to prepare him for it. So it was a no brainer for Jonathan - to keep it moving, bypass college, and accept a  dream NBA  opportunity. Jonathan was selected with the 5th pick by the 22 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Toronto Raptors in the 1999 NBA Draft, right out of Picayune Memorial High School. Jonathan was happy to be going pro. “It was cool making it in the NBA”, said Jonathan. And the cool, calm, and  collected Jonathan truly did keep it moving, for almost immediately, he  was traded to the Indiana Pacers for veteran forward Antonio Davis. Then CEO and President of the Indiana Pacers Donnie Walsh signed Jonathan, and  he was content. Jonathan was hyped for this size, athleticism, and all around skill which garnered him a great shooting range, skilled shot blocking, and a quick jumping ability. In the fall of his draft year, he was given a chance to play in the NBA to prove if his game would match his hype. Jonathan signed a three-year $7 million contract with the Indiana Pacers and this #24 forward was on his way to the basketball court.   On December 10, 1999 in his debut game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in 13 minutes,

3.3 points for a season total 193. The 20012002 season was Jonathan’s best season yet. During  a January 21, 2002 game against the Chicago Bulls, Jonathan posted his first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. In a career high 78 games played, he started 17 and finished the season averaging 3.1 rebounds, 21.1 minutes, and a career high 7.4 points for a season total 581. Success meant negotiations for a new contract. Following the 2001-2002 season,  Jonathan signed a lucrative contract extension for four years at $28.5 million.   Jonathan’s first three NBA seasons were productive, for he worked diligently to establish himself and continue building the Indiana Pacers. But his game was plagued by serious injuries, bending his potential to fully perform up to his hype. Given his circumstances, Jonathan stood tall and played to the best of his ability. During the 2002-2003

We hung out a lot. He (Billy Rae Hobley) taught me about competing, being strong, and being a man. Jonathan had 2 blocks and scored 10 points in a 13688 win over Cleveland, the first high school draftee to score double figures in his NBA debut. The legendary NBA player and Hall of Famer Larry Bird who coached for the Indiana Pacers were among many who noticed Jonathan’s potential.  Throughout  his rookie season, even though he missed 18 games due to a broken left wrist bone,  Jonathan played in 24 games  total and started  1. During the 1999-2000 season, he averaged 0.9 rebounds, 5.4 minutes, and 2.7 points for a season total 64. During the 2000-2001 season, Jonathan played in 59 games and started 7. He recorded 22 DNP-CD’s and missed  1 game due to a sprained left ankle. One of Jonathan’s early career highlights came on Christmas Day, December 25, 2000 when he scored 20 points for the Indiana Pacers against the Orlando Magic and had 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. In 2001, Jonathan also participated in the  Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend where left-handed, he executed a Julius Erving-style  tomahawk jam from the free throw line.  He finished his second season averaging 1.3 rebounds, 9.7 minutes and

season, on March 14, 2003, Jonathan scored a career high 22 points for the Indiana Pacers versus the Utah Jazz, and during the playoffs, he averaged 2.3 rebounds, 11.3 minutes, and 5.7 points in three first round games versus the Boston Celtics. He missed 36 regular season games with a  torn left calf muscle that resulted in three stints on the injured list. He started 2 games out of 46 played and averaged 2.9 rebounds, 17.8 minutes, and 6.6 points for a season total 303. The 2003-2004 season brought highs and lows. Jonathan played in 21 regular season games and in 8 of them, he scored double figures. On March 12, 2004, he scored a season high 16 points for the Indiana Pacers versus the Boston Celtics. He had the best shooting season of his career, setting season career highs in three shooting categories; he shot 50106 (.472) FGs, 9-22 (.409) 3-pt FGs, and 3947 (.830) FTs. During the playoffs, in game 2 versus the Celtics, Jonathan set personal playoff bests with 7 rebounds and 11 points in 28 minutes played as the Pacers won 103-90. In game 3 versus the Celtics, he scored a career high 19 points in 19 minutes, leading the Pacers to a 108-85 first round victory. In 6 games, he averaged 2.7 rebounds and 9 .3 points during the conference finals versus the Detroit Pistons. His 2003-2004 overall playoff game


M I S S I S S I P P I A N S : J O N AT H A N B E N D E R

average was 1.8 rebounds, 12.6 minutes, and 4.8 points for a total of 77. In 21 regular season games he played, his season average was 1.9 rebounds, 12.9 minutes, and 7.0 points for a season total 148. During this season, Jonathan missed the first 39 games while recovering from off-season left knee surgery. In January during the season, he was placed on the injured list and missed 7 games with post operative left knee soreness. Still on the injured list, he missed 9 games with a sprained right shoulder. And things didn’t get any better the following two seasons. During the 2004-2005 season, a persistent sore right knee limited him to just 7 games and forced him to two extensive stays on the injured list. When he resumed playing, he tallied a season high 11 points at the Pacers’ season opener versus the Cavaliers on November 3, 2004. Just 17 days later on November 20, he was placed back on the injured list and missed 25 games. On January 15, 2005, he was activated again and scored 8 points for the Pacers versus the Magic. Twenty-one days later on February 4, he was placed back on the injured list where he remained for the duration of the season. In the  7 games he played during  the season, he averaged 2.0 rebounds, 13.3 minutes, and 5.1 points for a season total 36. During the 2005-2006 season, Jonathan saw action in 2 of the first 3 games of the season, averaging 2.0 rebounds, 10.5 minutes, and 5.0 points for a season total 10. On November 5, 2005, in his final game with the Pacers, he scored 8 points

(3-4FG) and had 2 rebounds in 13 minutes versus the Philadelphia 76ers. Again Jonathan was placed on the injured list and missed the next 41 games before announcing  news  that came as no surprise, but at the same time, was no less sad in its finality. “Due to a medical condition in my knees, I will not be able to continue playing basketball,” Jonathan said on February 4, 2006 as the 25-year old announced his retirement. “I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to spend six seasons with the Indiana Pacers and I want to thank the organization for their support and encouragement. I learned how to be a professional from the best GM in the business, Donnie Walsh, and one of the alltime greatest basketball players, Hall of Famer Larry Bird. The Pacers gave me a chance to play with -- and against -- the best basketball players in the world. That is an experience I will cherish forever.” Jonathan also thanked Indiana Pacers fans. “Pacers fans are the best in the league and I will never forget their loyalty and the way they embraced me when I came to this city as a young man. As difficult as it is for me right now not to be playing basketball, I know that I will always have the memories of my teammates, the fans, and Pacers management. For that, I am grateful,” Jonathan said. Jonathan’s basketball career was finalized when the Indiana Pacers waived him on June 14, 2006. Upon retiring, Jonathan  lost most of his cartilage in both knees and could

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hardly walk a flight of stairs without intense pain.  Many, from Donnie Walsh, to Indiana Pacers coaches, teammates, and even fans were sad to hear the news about Jonathan, a promising player with much potential and a person with character. To cushion the tough blow of Jonathan’s bend, he received much love from supporters,  receiving soothing words, emails, letters, and even gifts. But unfortunately, negative always surfaces. In February 2005, Sports Illustrated rated Jonathan  #11 on the list of the 20 biggest busts in modern NBA draft history and this was played up following his retirement. Several people in addition to Donnie Walsh felt that including Jonathan in this article was unfair because  they didn’t take into account just how  bad  his knees were. Even though Jonathan reached the nadir of his professional basketball career with this injury that forced him to retire, he was still optimistic to one day make a comeback. “As soon as I stopped, I knew I was going to try to make one comeback before I got closer to 30,” Jonathan said. But before looking ahead, Jonathan had to consider the reason behind his retirement and had to take pressure off his knees and heal. As Jonathan got off his knees, he got on other career venues outside the NBA, for what he learned from Harlem Globetrotter Billy Rae Hobley did prove useful later in life. Three virtues he learned was to have skills in more than one area, not to squander funds, and to pay it forward; he just needed the right Mississippi Sports Magazine - 23


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impetus to guide him to these career venues. One day in 2005, Jonathan left his house in New Orleans and was headed for a 30 minute drive to his grandmother’s  house to attend her 70th birthday party. He left everything on, from the television, to the lights because he planned to be back soon. As Jonathan got closer to her house, he began seeing police cars at the exit and no drivers were allowed to turn around. This was the beginning of Hurricane Katrina. Jonathan never thought he’d leave his house just for half an hour and not be able to return for the next few weeks. “It looked like Bigfoot had just come through and kicked down the stores,” Jonathan recalled of that frightful day in 2005. “I got to my subdivision in Kenner, Louisiana, and it was like being on  a set in a Western movie. Roofs were gone, the streets were deserted. It was completely devastating,” Jonathan said. Something tugged at Jonathan, for he had a fierce longing to make a difference, a need to strengthen and empower his homeland as Picayune is a dab of a town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina was his impetus, and he developed at an early age a love for what he calls “social entrepreneurship”, a compelling fixation for a 25 year old who just happened to be blessed with a talent for sports. So Hurricane Katrina’s destruction triggered Jonathan’s business acumen, and this was an interesting path to follow and leave footprints, considering he was just a high school graduate. But Jonathan knew he could be a skilled entrepreneur, invest funds correctly, and pay it forward. “I always wanted to learn about real estate, so I jumped in headfirst,” Jonathan said. He acquired his business skills solely through hands on work and an inquisitive mind. He read books and sought out mentor figures. He met with bank presidents and asked a lot of questions. “Before long, I was employing numerous amounts of people, many of them from underprivileged backgrounds. I was able to make housing available for at least 35 or 36 families who lost their homes in the hurricane,” Jonathan said. With this, Jonathan founded the for-profit Jonathan Bender Enterprises which is  his real estate empire. The organization takes on real estate ventures, offering finance  classes for some of New Orleans poorest residents, and runs basketball clinics. In wake of Hurricane Katrina, Jonathan also established the Jonathan Bender Foundation, a non-profit charitable corporation which strives to empower children in his community by providing them with tools to obtain life skills that address their educational, health, and social needs. Jonathan continues to adopt schools and 24 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

not only  is the physical environment safe and clean for these children, but they have plenty equipment that can satisfy their thirst for knowledge, including computers, books, and other materials that promote literacy. There are after school literacy programs, fresh basketball rims, and  a flat screen television. Jonathan frequently visits his foundation sites for the schools he has adopted and has even provided Christmas presents to children and an Easter egg hunt activity. Jonathan plans to build a 24 hour recreation center and to adopt more schools in efforts of continuing to pay it forward, and he hopes others will follow in his footsteps. “I’m not saying I went to New Orleans and made a miracle happen. But I definitely laid a footprint to move forward,” Jonathan said. “Everything is done with the intention that if you affect one person, they can influence someone else and pay it forward. You change generations by changing one person,” Jonathan said. Jonathan has also invested in several high-end commercial and resort vacation properties, including the Caribbean. And Jonathan invented his own resistance training device, Bender Bands for leg strengthening and balance. This invention is now under development at Purdue University. So this savvy entrepreneur has truly proven himself off of the court. But of course, hoops are his heart, and he would have felt heartless if he hadn’t listened to those who encouraged him to make an NBA comeback. Besides being internally motivated, among those who encouraged him were his friends and his cousin Morris Peterson who plays for the New Orleans Hornets.   Jonathan diligently worked on his knees, training with former Olympic high jumper Charles Austin who overcame his own knee problems to win the gold medal in 1996. Jonathan knew that he compensated for the lack of cartilage with an abundance of muscle, and so used all of his strengths to his advantage in getting back in shape. Finally back in shape and ready to play, on December 13, 2009, current New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh signed the 28-year-old Jonathan to a minimum contract based on his recovery and familiarity with the kind of person Jonathan was from their days together in Indiana. Jonathan finally bounced back, as he was adament about this comeback, and also did it to prove himself and to children that “nothing is impossible” no matter how bad one’s injuries are. “I didn’t want the windows to close on me. I wanted the opportunity to fight off the demons inside my head ... I read these articles that say, ‘He’s the top bust’ or ‘He’s one of the guys who didn’t live up to their potential.’ I don’t want to be 38 or 40 looking back thinking, ‘I should’ve done


It looked like Bigfoot had just come through and kicked down the stores. I got to my subdivision in Kenner, Louisiana, and it was like being on a set in a Western movie. Roofs were gone, the streets were deserted. It was completely devastating.

this’,” Jonathan said. On December 18, 2009 with his #9 jersey, Jonathan appeared in his first NBA game in over 1,500 days. In this game against the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 9 points in 14 minutes helping the Knicks win 95-91. In his total 24 game appearances with the Knicks during the 2009-2010 season, Jonathan averaged 2.1 rebounds, 11.8 minutes, and 4.8 points for a season total 114. Jonathan considers his return to professional basketball “a dream come true.” and in making a comeback, he believes he has accomplished a great feat. “I reached my goal just getting back on the court,” he said.     And with Jonathan’s push and drive, accomplishing this goal was a reality. Jonathan gets much of his drive from his mother. Willie Mae Bender raised all of her children alone once Jonathan’s father died. She worked at  Wal-Mart at night and attended college during the day, earning her Bachelor’s Degree at age 44 in community health education. Even though college was right for her, she raised her children to know that they had choices, and to make the right ones.  Jonathan’s grandmother remembered the time he made the right choice to turn his back away from one of his childhood friends who began using drugs. Jonathan  rose  up from a town of 10,633, from a place indigenous to pessimistic thinking and outcomes, from an area that values partying and underachievement, from vices that keep so many from making it. In spite of the town’s culture, Jonathan has maintained his focus, positive attitude, honed in on his natural skills and abilities, and got out Picayune, never losing his mannerisms of respect as he adds “ma’am” and “sir” to his yes’s and no’s. As a businessman, Jonathan physically fixed up the dwellings in his hometown, but hopes it will extend to a mental fix up where more residents will avoid a downhill lifestyle stay focused, do something positive with their lives, and pay it forward to others, just as he has done.   Exceptional ballers have graced the NBA court, and Jonathan is a prime example that one can be a great basketball player and still stay on top. His talent took him to the NBA, but his character has kept him there and has opened up other doors of opportunity. Jonathan seems to accomplish anything he puts his mind to, and as time elapses, he hopes to continue building his empire and whether he is playing pro, or coaching, he enjoys being involved with hoops in some facet. Jonathan proves it’s not how life handles one, but rather how one handles life that counts. And it’s obvious that this good hearted country boy from Mississippi counts his blessings, but can’t count the number of times he’s been a blessing to others. And when one can do this, one has truly paid it forward. “Yes ma’am,” Jonathan concurred. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 25


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F E AT U R E

All That

JAZZ

W.C. Gordon is a jazz man. He loves the sound and the feel of it, the pure emotional aspects of the music. How life itself can change a song from one time it’s played to the next. - BY CHUCK STINSON

“I

love the improvisation and the creativity. When Miles Davis gets up and is playing Stardust and he and his woman had a conflict you can hear the pain and the confrontation in the music. But the next week if he is having a good relationship you can hear the compassion expressed in the same song.” His love for jazz and the philosophy he has about his beloved music seems to mirror his time as a coach and as a man who thrives on making adjustments. Adjustments that led him to become Jackson State’s most successful football coach on the field. The son of a Methodist minister, Gordon is a Nashville native who graduated from Tennessee State University. His first love was athletics but baseball was the one he enjoyed the most. That was not unusual back in the 40’s and 50’s because most kids growing up during that time thought of baseball as their first sport. “Back in the 40’s baseball was the number one sport in the South.  I kept up with the Nashville Vols in the Southern Association and then the Negro Leagues would play games in Nashville.  It was a dream of youngsters then to be baseball players.” After graduation, Gordon served a stint in the Army and had a brief tour of the Korean War. Following his Army days he came to Mississippi while working on his Master’s Degree through the G.I. Bill. A friend from home offered him a job at Pike County Agricultural School in Magnolia. It was to be the head football coach. “I had to come to Mississippi. My purpose was to chronicle my years experience and get back into a larger system in Nashville”.  

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Photo courtesy Jackson State University

W.C. Gordon (right) with Bob Hill.


Photo by Greg Pevey, Mississippi Sports Magazine

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 27


Then the improvisation that he so loves in jazz started to influence his own life. He met his wife and got married and stayed in Magnolia for nine years. He coached all sports and even started a baseball and a golf team. “He also started to realize that coaching football in Mississippi may be the way to go. “Football was a dominating sport on a local level.” Always seeking knowledge he sought to learn from what he considered the best. “One of my mentors was Paul “Bear” Bryant. I read his book on championship football. Bud Wilkerson at the University of Oklahoma was my idol. I studied the Sooners because they were a very successful football team and of course Woody Hayes at Ohio State.”   Gordon eventually worked his way to Vicksburg, winning the Negro Big Eight Conference and a State Championship in 1966.   He was offered a spot on the Jackson State staff and was mentored by maybe the biggest influence in his coaching career, Joe Gilliam, Sr. who was the defensive coordinator for the Tigers under head coach Rod Paige.  “I learned a lot under coach Gilliam. He was brilliant. He studied football. He innovated at that time a lot of stack defenses and things that later became popular in college and professional football.” In 1976 Gordon took over as the head coach of the Tigers with two games remaining and unprecedented success for the Tigers followed after he took over the program.  Success that would lead him into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the National College Football Hall of Fame where he was inducted in 2008. JSU won eight of 15 SWAC titles and made nine playoff appearances in Division 1-AA under Gordon.  From 1985 to 1989 his Tigers won 28 straight conference games. His success was not because of a huge recruiting budget or big fancy facilities. He and his coaches sought out players they thought would were good kids with good work ethic. “Back then the weight programs were not what they are now. Mississippi being a blue collar state, we picked youngsters that picked cotton, hauled pulpwood. If they lived on the coast they worked on shrimp boats. They had natural strength.” Gordon and his staff were also intent on graduating the players that came to JSU. They recruited players that were going to give their best on and off the field. “We emphasized academics. When you have intelligent kids playing football they can make adjustments. They are right there on the firing line and sometimes the game plan needs to be adjusted and they need to come back and tell you that. In the 80’s, when the NCAA began keeping 1-AA graduation stats, we lead all schools in the SWAC in graduating our athletes. Several of those years we led the state of Mississippi. I’m prouder of that than anything else. We had a recent reunion and over 100 players came back from Texas and Georgia and all over. They said they came back because “You coaches made us successful.”   28 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

MOST PROUD: (Above) Coach Gordon’s proudest moment was not on the field but in the classroom as his Tigers, along with Ole Miss, were rated with the highest graduation rates in Mississippi. Gordon was also blessed with a staff that was, in his words, ‘committed.’ “I had excellent coaches. About five of them became head coaches. Not only did they talk blocking and tackling. They talked about the emotional part of the game, the passion of the game. The pleasure you get out of making contact.” The formula was perfect. The league was talented. The Tigers were good. The stands were full, evident by the fact that they led Division 1-AA in attendance for seven years during Gordon’s tenure. The atmosphere was electric on Saturday afternoons. “I remembered one year Ole Miss played Arkansas at Memorial Stadium. They had about 45,000 people. We played Southern and had 55,000 fans. That was because we had a 28 game SWAC winning streak. We won four consecutive championships.” Fast forward to 2010, 19 years after he retired and Gordon sees a different team and a different SWAC. So what has happened?  Gordon says just like the formula was perfect in 1980’s, it’s just the reverse now. The league is suffering through a drought on many different levels. Talent, coaching, fan support and


a lack of alumni dollars are all eroding away the tradition of the Tigers and the SWAC as a whole.  Gordon says that players now have more opportunities to choose from when it comes to where they play but it’s up to the school or league to keep up with the others. Coaches and

Administrators need to push the rich tradition to the recruits and sell the importance of JSU football to the alumni, the fans and the businesses in the community. “This is America. It’s all about the money now. You’ve got to encourage guys (business and community leaders) to come. I think African-American coaches need to learn these skills of public relations. They aren’t developing relationships with the Mayors and business people in the community. It’s more than just blocking and tackling out there to have a successful football program.” His days on the sidelines long gone, Gordon says that he has learned a lot about public relations and politics and knows that revitalizing the JSU program will need a little of both. He also feels that there needs to an arm of the University that reaches out to potential corporate sponsors that can help the program secure what it needs financially and by restoring the fan base. “We need to develop an athletic foundation of business people that know what to do. We can influence business in the city of Jackson if they help us get people to our games. We need to engage those people.” He also says that the history of JSU football doesn’t need to be forgotten. “We are not utilizing the history we have when we can say that we have Walter Payton, Lem Barney and Jackie Slater in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We don’t publicize that information and encourage young men to come to our school.” He knows that the money to compete with the bigger schools in the state and across the county will probably never come but he says

that JSU and the conference have to become innovative with the marketing of the league. Sell the fact that it is more than just a game. “We’ve got the Sonic Boom, we’ve got the JSettes. We have fashion shows going on in the stands.  Find out what your strengths are.” When he looks around now at games, he is saddened by where the league seems to be headed. “It hurts me to go to the stadium and see a sparse crowd. The teams just don’t have the great athletes like we used to have.” Gordon also thinks that the University and athletic staff need to lean on their former coaches more. “When I was at Notre Dame in 2008 (for the College Football Hall of Fame Induction) they had offices for all the living former coaches.” The reason, Gordon was told, was that the coaches had a good relationship with former alumni. “They said they use their relationships to support and promote our program. We don’t do that.” Gordon says there is no connection between the past and the present. “There is no reaching out.” All that said, he does believe that the SWAC and more specifically Jackson State can return to greatness by using those former successful coaches, former players and influential alumni. “I would like to see a rebirth. I would like to see us produce the great athletes and football programs of the past. I think that this can be done. We’ve got schools located in major cities. If we come together we can do it.” And for a man who loves his jazz, that would be sweet music to his soul. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 29


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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 31


MSM

MISSISSIPPIANS

Tylertown’s Biggest Saint Today more people are familiar with Saints trivia than… say last November. Largely due to a victory in a game that most of us never thought we would see, the Saints in the Super Bowl? And, they won the darn thing, “Who would have thunk dat?” Now we in the South have been “Saintified”. Well, I bet I have one you absolutely missed. - BY DAVID CULPEPPER

L

et’s try it… What does the late Norman Hand, Archie Manning, Fred McAfee and Tylertown, MS all have in common? You give up? The answer is Kevin Mangum. And we all ask who? Kevin Magnum was a tall drink of water that lived in Tylertown, MS. For those who may not be familiar with Tylertown, MS, it is nestled in southwest MS, just east of McComb and west

of Hattiesburg. The year was 1977. A six foot, one hundred sixty pound, three sport athlete by the name of Kevin Mangum was sporting Tylertown Chiefs uniforms. Kevin played football, basketball and ran track. But, football was the sport that allowed him to follow his dream. Now the lean defensive back says he feels he helped make the chiefs a better football team because he was always available to be blocked or tackled during practice. You see, Kevin was not a starter, but played a back up roll. These are the players that we rarely see play, but their presence and participation on the team is critical for success. There is one very important team member that we as fans really never pay attention to or appreciate their work. That member is the trainer. It is highly likely that if you play enough, eventually you will become good friends with the trainer. So, back to the trivia question. Kevin Mangum is a trainer for the New Orleans Saints. A position he has had for the past 29 years. Kevin started attending night classes at USM in Hattiesburg while in high school. The classes on injury prevention, treatment and taping helped prepare 32 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Greg Pevey, Mississippi Sports Magazine


Photo Courtesy New Orleans Saints Mississippi Sports Magazine - 33


the Tylertown senior for the ride of his life. After graduation, Kevin served as the athletic trainer for what is now Southwest MS Community College. Kevin was “the” trainer, the only trainer. With an additional two years on staff at USM, Kevin gained valuable experience that would allow him to apply for an internship with the Saints. It was Coach Bum Phillips’ first season when the Tylertown native was asked to come on board. After the first full season, Coach Phillips asked Kevin what his future plans were. After several discussions with Coach Phillips, the behind the scenes player at Tylertown High was asked to play a very similar roll with the Saints, but this time as a trainer. I asked Kevin after 29 years of taping, treatments and getting some of the worlds finest athletes ready to compete in the NFL, what he considered to be the biggest change in treatment and recovery? “Recovery time, without a doubt,” he said, “is the biggest change. With the new medical procedures and technology, an ACL can be rehabbed in 8 months, where in years past it took 12 to 18 months.” Kevin stated the rehab process is much more aggressive with any injury, plus you are dealing with highly motivated athletes. Kevin said the staff encourages all players to have some type of preventive taping or support during practice and games. Not all players adhere, but most do. Surely one would think after 29 years, Kevin has seen more than one might remember seeing. I asked the veteran trainer the following questions: Most notable Saint? Answer – Archie Manning, Archie is the real deal. He was the only talent on some very bad teams, but he never complained. Largest Saint? Answer – Late Norman Hand, Grady Jackson. Two very large individuals who were very agile and quick. Fastest Saint? Answer – Michael “Beer Man” Lewis, Fred McAfee. Lewis use to deliver beer in New Orleans and signed as free agent and we know the rest of the story. Fred… He’s a Mississippi College Choctaw who played as a return specialist and utility player on offense. Fred is still with the Saints in player development. We all know the high points, but what about the low points? Answer – The good times really wipe out all the bad. This past year, watching it all come together. The interaction of the fans with the players and the excitement in the front office was amazing to be a part of. No, there are really no bad times or low points when you do what I do day in and day out. It’s all good for this Tylertown native. So remember the trivia question? What does the late Norman Hand, Archie Manning, Fred McAfee and Tylertown, MS all have in common? The answer, Kevin Magnum. - MSM 34 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Manning Photo by Greg Pevey, Mississippi Sports Magazine

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BULL CYCLONE SULLIVAN

The former EMJC head coach was memorialized by Frank Deford’s famous article in Sports Illustrated in 1984. We talk with Deford about his famous article and local attorney Mike Frascogna who is telling the full story of Coach Sullivan in his new book releasing this summer.

JERIOUS NORWOOD

Norwood gives it all on the football field, but he gives more back to his hometown and state.

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38 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


MS SPORTS HALL OF FAME

MSM

Jeff Bower

On any given Saturday this fall, the former dean of Mississippi college football head coaches is likely to be doing the same thing you are – hustling to finish his “honey-do’s” before kick off. - BY STEVEN GODFREY

“I

make sure to do all my house work, get the grass cut before the afternoon. I flip around and find the good games, the good match ups, just like every other fan,” former Southern Mississippi head coach Jeff Bower says from his Hattiesburg home. “I can say that it’s a much more relaxing Saturday for sure, but I always enjoyed Saturdays as a coach. I loved competing.” Since resigning at the end of the 2007 season, Bower’s name has remained red hot, even while the man who built the USM football program has begun to cool on the idea of returning to the sidelines. “I don’t know if I’ll coach again. That’s a good question. I can say yes or no, but it’s a possibility at this point. If there is an opportunity where I would really get excited about or enjoy, I would rule it out,” Bower said.

Photo courtesy Southern Miss Athletics

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 39


Presently Bower and wife Debbie still reside in Hattiesburg, a city they have no intention of leaving (“It’s home,” he explains simply). As a player, assistant and head coach, Bower spent a total of 29 years with USM, a tenure of loyalty that might complicate an enticing coaching offer. “The longer I’m out of it, the less I miss it. I’ve primarily just been spending time with my family. You start to realize all the things you miss over the years (in coaching). So I’ve really enjoyed doing that these last few years.” As coaching tenures at the FBS level continue to shrink, Bower’s 17 year run in Hattiesburg grows even more remarkable by comparison – 119 wins, 14 consecutive winning seasons and a run of 10 bowls in 11 years. It was a storybook run (the program’s former quarterback, married to a cheerleader, who returns home to resurrect his team) is unlikely to ever be repeated in an era cutthroat “free agent” coaches and increasingly impatient boosters. Bower left the USM program amid multiple rumors of tension within the athletic department. Bower’s Eagles never earned a C-USA title bid after the conference realigned to two divisions in 2005. USM finished a disappointing 7-5 in Bower’s last season after being predicted to contend for the conference title. “You can always second-guess things in coaching. 17 years is a long time to be out there as a head coach of a program. We had a lot of things we were proud of, and to be honest, I don’t have any regrets,” he said. Despite still living in the area, Bower hasn’t been involved with the program he helped build, as new head coach Larry Fedora enters his third season this fall, having yet to eclipse the seven-win mark that caused Bower’s resignation three years ago. “I keep up through the papers and things like that. That’s pretty much the limit of my involvement. I’ve been on the outside. I read up on the players, obviously there are guys out there we had recruited, so I follow their progress.” The modern identity of Southern Miss football was created under Bower, a coach who gained national recognition for scheduling the toughest opponents possible and turning castaway players and recruits that weren’t nationally praised into cohesive, dog-fighting squads that far outplayed their listed abilities. Under Bower USM adopted the mantra “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime,” often playing some of the toughest teams in the BCS, and causing more than a few upsets (Nebraska, TCU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Georgia and so on…). “We just wanted to improve overall, as a football program, and that’s how you get better, you play teams that have a great reputation from strong conferences.” The challenge was getting national powerhouse teams to return the favor and travel to Hattiesburg. Some did, but some didn’t, and 40 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo Mississippi Sports Magazine


Photo courtesy Southern Miss Athletics

Southern Miss was treated like a homecoming one-off more than once. “We got some of those series like Nebraska down to a 2-and-1 [two games away, one home], and I didn’t mind doing things like that. We were never successful getting Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and those teams. I think with certain teams now, in the 12-game schedule they want eight home games. They aren’t looking to travel.” One challenge Bower and USM couldn’t overcome during his run was renewing rivalries with in-state SEC rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State. As a head coach, Bower never faced the Bulldogs or Rebels, and lobbied for both to return to the schedule – and Hattiesburg. “I think it’s a bad situation. Those games could be very good for the state. I’ve been very public about this; that the College Board ought to mandate that the three teams play each other regularly. [The College Board] makes athletic decisions, and I think they should take action here.” Ole Miss holds a 18-6 record over USM, but lost their last meeting in 1984, as well as six of the last eight games in the series. State, 14-121 against Southern Miss, cancelled their series against the Golden Eagles after 1990 (losing 10 of their last 14), but announced this year that it would renew the rivalry with a homeand-home series starting in 2014, the first time another Division 1 football program in Mississippi has elected to play USM in 24 years.

“I applaud Mississippi State for making the first move. It’s tremendous for the state of Mississippi,” Bower said. While Bower’s coaching career might be indefinitely on pause, he still enjoys keeping touch with his former assistant coaches and players, some of whom like Ole Miss assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix (an All-American linebacker at USM from 1990-’93), have become hot commodities themselves. “Tyrone and I talk periodically. I enjoy staying involved with those guys and maintaining those ties. I’m quick to call them up and congratulate them after a big win,” he said. Bower’s name is mainstay on vacancy shortlists. If a national powerhouse wants an assistant with experience developing players and reputation for discipline, Bower is inevitably mentioned. When fans handicap a potential coaching search, his name pops up. And in a true sign of respect, when three universities recently chartered brand new football programs (South Alabama, Georgia State, Texas-San Antonio), Bower’s name was mentioned for each post. Still, the former coach seems committed to enjoying life off the sidelines at the moment, even if his long and monumental run coaching at his alma mater stands alone on his resume. “I enjoyed it, I appreciated the opportunity, it was a good run and now I’m just in other phase of my life.” - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 35 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 41


MSM

F E AT U R E S T O R Y

Green Machine

What’s the difference between a good football team and a great football team? What are the characteristics that help create a real football program as opposed to just fielding a team each year? The famous Alabama coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, “Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared for the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things.” - BY DONELL MAXIE, Bolivar Commercial

T

Photo courtesy Bolivar Commercial

42 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

he little things are just what the Delta State University Football program have addressed over the last 12 years as they’ve catapulted themselves as one of the top programs in the Gulf South Conference and arguably the best football program in the state of Mississippi. Despite the states love affair with Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Jackson State; Delta State has maintained a competitive edge that year in and year out has made a case as to why their program is just as good, if not better then the bigger schools in the state. In the Mississippi Delta there is no question that cotton is king, but Delta State football is definitely the prince. Over the years there has become an outstanding love affair between the people in the Delta and the Statesmen football team. “Here at Delta State we play with a passion and that’s apart of our character. At this school we want to be known as a program that’s both physically and mentally tough. When people see us play or we are watched  on film, we want them to identify that this team plays hard and is both physically and mentally tough and we are going to play everytime we show up with everything we have,” said Statesmen head coach Ron Roberts. Roberts said at DSU they have worked hard to lay a solid foundation to show the people of the Delta that this football team belongs to them. “We try to extend our fan base. We get our guys involved in the community and still there’s more we can do, there’s more I can do. This is the Delta’s football team. If you live here we want them to know that this is their team. We want to have an atmosphere on game day that is exciting  football, winning football and a great family atmosphere.” Since 1998 the Statesmen have redefined what football success means at the school. Before 1998 a 5-6 or 6-4 finish was considered a major accomplishment, but in 1998 the Statesmen finished 8-3 in what was Coach Todd Knight’s final season. That season Delta State claimed their first GSC


Photo courtesy Delta State University

Championship and made an appearance in the NCAA D-II Playoffs where they lost to Fort Valley State 21-14. The success of the 1998 season spilled over into the 1999 season when Steve Campbell took over the helm and led the team to a 6-4 finish. Campbell built on his rookie campaign by putting together a juggernaut of a team on both sides of the ball in 2000 that posted the best record in school history at 14-1 earning them a share of the conference championship. Under Campbell’s watch the Statesmen brought home the 2000 D-II National Championship, which was the school’s first. The 2000 Statesmen posted several all-time highs for a Delta State team including a .933 winning percentage. Campbell became the first coach in DSU history to be named the AFCA National D-II Coach of the Year. The success of 2000 paved the way for what has become a great tradition at Delta State. In addition to the 2000 championship season and the 1998 conference title, the Statesmen have won the GSC on two other occasions (2007-08) under Roberts. The Statesmen have competed in the NCAA D-II playoffs five times since 1998. During this reign of football dominance

the Statesmen have only recorded one losing season which was a 4-7 finish in Rick Rhodes first season in 2002. Under Rhodes the Delta State offense was unbelievable, setting 14 new offensive records in 2003. In 2006, the Statesmen put together another solid offensive season which led the team all the way to the NCAA National semifinals.  Since 1998 the Statesmen have gone an impressive 98-40 for a .710 winning percentage. In comparison to the ‘Big 3’ (Ole Miss, Miss. State and USM), that is a better winning percentage over that time span. Since 1998 Ole Miss has gone 78-67 for a .538 winning percentage, Southern Mississippi has posted a 90-60 record which is good for a .600 winning percentage and Mississippi State has gone 60-83 for a .420 winning percentage. Currently under Roberts, who took over as head man in 2007, the Statesmen are 25-9 with back-to-back GSC championships. In his first season at the helm, the Statesmen claimed its first outright conference championship while advancing to the second round of the playoffs in his first two seasons as head coach. When it comes to football, the GSC draws comparisons to the South Eastern Conference. The toughness and excitement of the league

speaks volumes to how good Delta State has been in the league each year. “People always equate the GSC to the SEC. You have a lot of great players and great coaches in the GSC and every week you have to show up to play because if not you will get beat. Anybody in this conference can beat you on any given Saturday,” said Roberts. On the heels of what was a disappointing season in 2009; Delta State is poised to prove that their 5-5 finish was only a speed bump as they look to continue a successful run at another national championship. With the programs success over the years, the Statesmen now have the ability to recruit through other means, mores specifically through television. Being a D-II school Delta State rarely has the chance to play on television, but because of what Delta State has been able to establish in Cleveland, the team can be seen at least two to three times a year on TV. “We have a ton of exposure on television this year. We have several conference TV games and along with that we have a game on CBS so that’s both good for the program and the university,” said Roberts. According to a Delta State press release, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Mississippi Sports Magazine - 43


NCAA Division II and CBS College Sports Network announced in May that Delta State would be among 12 programs featured this coming season on the “NCAA Division II Game of the Week.” The Statesmen are scheduled to appear on the nationally televised CBS College Sports Network on Thursday, Sept. 9 versus Arkansas Tech University at 7 p.m. CST live from Travis Parker FieldHorace McCool Stadium in Cleveland. Delta State Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain said in the press release that the chance to play on television is great for school exposure. “This is a tremendous opportunity to expose the nation to Delta State University and Statesmen football. CBS College Sports Network and the NCAA have made a commitment to push Division II football to the nation and we’re pleased they have chosen to use us as a venue to do that. I believe our head coach Ron Roberts and Arkansas Tech head coach Steve Mullins will have a show in store for those tuning in on Sept. 9.” Delta State has enjoyed a heavy presence on television since the Gulf South Conference introduced GSC-TV Live during the 2006 season. Over the past four seasons, the Statesmen have appeared before a regional or national television audience 12 times, including the NCAA Division II National Semifinals at Grand Valley State, which was broadcast by ESPN2. The package is the fifth since Division II and CBS College Sports Network established their partnership to provide Division II schools live national television exposure for their football and basketball programs. Over the year’s Delta State has produced some of the state’s best football players. No matter how consistent a football program is, it cannot reach the level of success that Delta State has without extremely talented players along the way. No Delta State defender has had the impact on the gridiron as former Harlon Hill Trophy finalist and three-time All-American linebacker Michael Eubanks (2004-2007). The two-time Gulf South Conference Defensive Player of the Year finished his career as NCAA Division II’s all-time sack leader with 42.0. The Cleveland native eclipsed the previous mark with a 5.0 sack effort versus Shaw University in the first round of the 2007 NCAA DII Playoffs.  In addition to Eubanks, Both Anthony Maddox and Lardester Hicks-Green have earned GSC Defenisve-Player of the Year honors. In 2003, Maddox, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle, was named the GSC’s Defensive Player of the Year becoming the first in school history. In 2008, Hicks-Green, a 6-foot-1, 235 pound outside linebacker turned in one of the best seasons in school history for a backer with 100 tackles, 15.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks, and one 44 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Delta State University

interception to earn the award. Scott Eyster, a 6-foot-3 quarterback from Hammond, La., finished his career in 2006 as one of the greatest quarterbacks in GSC and NCAA Division II history. The recordsetting quarterback finished his career as the all-time leading passer in Delta State and Gulf South Conference history, while establishing a new record for career total offense. He ranks second all-time in NCAA history in career passing yards and career total offense. In 2006, Eyster passed for 3,926 yards and 36 TDs while leading DSU to the NCAA semifinals. In 2005, the rocket-armed signal-caller passed for 3,107 yards and 29 TDs. He finished his career with 13,889 yards passing and 14,432 yards of total offense, both GSC records. In four years he also threw a whopping 116 touchdowns, while rushing for 12 more.   Garrett DeWitt set two new Delta State University team records in 2008, touchdown passes in a game and passing yardage in a game. Dewitt tossed six touchdowns and passed for 514 yards versus Harding University at First Security Stadium on Sept. 20, 2008 in Searcy, Ark.  DeWitt also eclipsed Eyster for singleseason completion percentage, connecting on 62.0 percent of his attempts in 2008 for the Statesmen.  In 12 games, DeWitt completed 276-of-445 attempts for 3,277 yards with 28 touchdown and 16 interceptions. One of the Statesmen’s most popular players was Monterio James. In his first game as a Statesmen, the Starkville native picked off two Pittsburg State passes. He would go on to erase every school season interception record with eight and career interception records (13) in just three seasons. Unfortunately, his life was cut short before his senior season. To this day, coach Ron Roberts and the Statesmen honor James each season with his number on

the helmet.    No single player has had the impact wide receiver/running back Trevar Deed had in his first season with the Statesmen in 2008. The Phoenix, Ariz. native burst onto the scene after redshirting in 2007. In 12 games for the Statesmen in 2008, the speedster accounted for 1,775 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns en route to First Team AllAmerican and All-Gulf South Conference honors. Deed established a new school record for receptions in a game (16) and touchdown passes caught (4) versus North Alabama (11.29.08) in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Deed finished the year with 78 receptions for 879 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing 116 times for 608 yards and eight touchdowns. In 1996 Delta State standout running back Treg Thomas became the state’s first Conerly Trophy Winner. That season Thomas torched GSC opponents for 1,604 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. In 2000, Statesmen quarterback Josh Bright won the award after leading the Statesmen to the NCAA Division II National Championship. Bright rushed for 1,495 yards and passed for 1,292 yards.  He also rushed for a school record 21 touchdowns. Eyster became the first four-time finalist in Conerly Trophy history in 2006. Eyster was a finalist in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.  No other player in Mississippi history has even been named a finalist three times. With 26 All-Americans in school history and 11 since 1998, Delta State is proving that great things come in small packages. With a football program that can boast the state’s only national championship in recent memory, Delta State has solidified its self as the premier program in the state of Mississippi. - MSM


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YEAR TWO... Coach Dan Mullen showcases the Egg Bowl trophy to the fans who remained to celebrate their victory over Ole Miss last November. Mullen enters year two with high hopes and dreams of a bowl game for his Bulldogs this season. A return trip to Oxford with “The School Up North� awaits them at the end of the year. Will the Rebels play spoiler to the Bulldogs bowl hopes? We think the Egg Bowl gets personal this season. Photo by Greg Pevey - Mississippi Sports Magazine

46 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


Mississippi Sports Magazine - 47


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Mississippi State

By Paul Jones Contributing Writer

BULLDOGS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 5-7; 3-5 SEC WEST SEPTEMBER 4

MEMPHIS

9

AUBURN

HEAD COACH: DAN MULLEN (2ND YEAR)

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

18 @ LSU 25 GEORGIA OCTOBER 2

ALCORN ST.

9

@ Houston

16 @ Florida 23 UAB 30 KENTUCKY NOVEMBER 6

OPEN

13 @ Alabama 20 ARKANSAS 27 @ Ole Miss BIG SHOES TO FILL: With Anthony Dixon gone, there will be a showdown in fall practice to replace MSU’s leading ball carrier. Will Robert Elliot finally get his moment to shine or will a newcomer take over the coveted spot?

ANALYSIS: The Bulldogs ended 2009 with a bang handing Ole Miss a demoralizing 41-27 loss as they brought the Golden Egg back to Starkville. The Dawgs showed they could hang tough with the big boys by playing LSU and Florida to the wire. State was one play away from upsetting LSU but a 4th down pass attempt from the one was intercepted by the Tigers ending the Bulldog threat.

48 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Bulldogs building off momentum from 2009; Bowl Game in their sights for 2010

W

hen he accepted the job as Mississippi State’s head coach, Dan Mullen said there would be “exciting times” ahead. The former Florda offensive coordinator set out to prove the Bulldogs could once again win in the Southeastern Conference and battle for postseason spots. While the Bulldogs did finish 5-7 in Mullen’s debut season, there

was still excitement in the air with the gridiron program. MSU smashed school records for attendance and season-ticket sales, and even drew over 30,000 fans to the spring game in back-toback years. On the field, the Bulldogs also took a turn in the right direction, coming within one win from being bowl eligible. But now, it’s all about taking

that next step, said Mullen. He’s no friend of losing and doesn’t take losing kindly. “I expect us to keep showing signs of improvement,” said Mullen of the 2010 campaign. “You always expect to see a big step from year one to year two. This spring, it was no longer about teaching the guys what to do. There was more organization and guys were where


2009 TEAM STATS

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

they were supposed to be. Now, it’s about teaching them how to do it and how to be successful.” With several key starters back on both sides of the ball, MSU will seek to reach a second bowl game in the last 10 years. And like all teams in the SEC, the Bulldogs will be tested early and often. The schedule features home tests with Auburn and Georgia in September as well as a road trip to LSU. OFFENSE In 2009, Mullen brought his spread look to the MSU offense, and witnessed mixed results. While many fans consider a spread offense throwing the ball 50 times all over the field, that wasn’t Mullen’s style of spread offense in 2009. The Bulldogs remained a run-first offense, and showed dramatic improvements from the previous years. MSU averaged 25.7 points a game, and 371 yards of total offense a game. Both were big leaps from a struggling unit in the past. But yet, the Bulldogs still struggled at the quarterback position. Former MSU quarterback Tyson Lee and Chris Relf only combined to throw nine touchdowns and had 17 interceptions. Relf, however, was productive down the stretch and often displayed his knack for running the option. In the season-ending Egg Bowl triumph over Ole Miss, Relf rushed for 131

PRE-SEASON CONERLY NOMINEE: Chad Bumphis returns after an amazing freshman season. Bumphis led all receivers with 32 catches for 375 yds. and 4 TDs in his debut. yards and one score, and also tossed a pair of touchdowns. On the season, Relf was State’s second leading rusher with 500 yards on the ground. His biggest focus this offseason, though, was improving his passing. Relf, a redshirt junior, completed 22of-41 for 283 yards with five touchdowns and three picks in 2009. “I think I made a lot of strides throwing the ball,” said Relf. “That was my biggest improvement and I know I had to improve in that area. I also have to be a better leader this year, and become more of a vocal leader on the field.” And the MSU coaches also saw his improvement throwing the football. “Chris got better because he’s had another year in the system,” said quarterbacks’ coach Les Koenning. “It was the difference in night and day with him throwing the football. I think Chris proved himself as the starter this spring. But that competition will continue all fall and that’s what will also make him better.” This spring, MSU fans also got their first glimpse of 2009 highly-touted signee Tyler Russell. The Meridian native sat out last year as a

..................................................MSU OPP SCORING.................................... 307 321 Points Per Game.......................25.6 26.8 FIRST DOWNS............................ 229 219 Rushing.................................... 140 98 Passing...................................... 78 108 Penalty...................................... 11 13 RUSHING YARDAGE.................. 2731 1752 Yards gained rushing............... 3072 2054 Yards lost rushing..................... 341 302 Rushing Attempts..................... 555 442 Average Per Rush......................4.9 4.0 Average Per Game..................227.6 146.0 TDs Rushing.............................. 21 18 PASSING YARDAGE................... 1732 2640 Att-Comp-Int...................... 153-266-17 187-332-17 Average Per Pass.......................6.5 8.0 Average Per Catch....................11.3 14.1 Average Per Game..................144.3 220.0 TDs Passing................................ 9 18 TOTAL OFFENSE........................ 4463 4392 Total Plays................................ 821 774 Average Per Play.......................5.4 5.7 Average Per Game...................371.9 366.0 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards..........61-1514 57-1253 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards..........15-151 13-173 INT RETURNS: #-Yards..............17-417 17-147 KICK RETURN AVERAGE.............24.8 22.0 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE...........10.1 13.3 INT RETURN AVERAGE...............24.5 8.6 FUMBLES-LOST.........................23-13 22-8 PENALTIES-Yards......................67-590 67-517 Average Per Game....................49.2 43.1 PUNTS-Yards...........................51-1986 60-2372 Average Per Punt......................38.9 39.5 Net punt average.....................34.0 35.0 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game.....31:46 28:13 3RD-DOWN Conversions..........53/159 56/154 3rd-Down Pct...........................33% 36% 4TH-DOWN Conversions...........14/25 9/18 4th-Down Pct.......................... 56% 50% SACKS BY-Yards........................18-88 20-130 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED............. 37 41 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS...........16-21 12-16 ON-SIDE KICKS........................... 0-2 0-1 RED-ZONE SCORES...............33-44 75% 32-39 82% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS....21-44 48% 22-39 56% PAT-ATTEMPTS..........................35-35 39-41 ATTENDANCE.......................... 376544 264578 Games/Avg Per Game...........7/53792 5/52916 Neutral Site Games...................0/0 SCORE BY QUARTERS....1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total Mississippi State...............55 84 89 7 9 - 307 Opponents....................... 68 105 51 97 - 321 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 49


redshirt and exited the spring as the No. 2 quarterback. As expected, Russell has his ups and downs in spring practice, but is likely to get significant playing time this fall. “Sure, I’d love to play two (quarterbacks),” said Mullen. “We will play whoever is ready. I’ve done it at Bowling Green, played two at one point at Utah and played two at Florida. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve had opportunities, or a luxury, to play two quarterbacks and you gain good experience.” Exactly who the MSU quarterbacks will be handing the ball off to is more of a mystery, however, Gone are the likes of MSU’s all-time leading rusher Anthony Dixon as well as 2009 seniors Christian Ducre and Arnil Stallworth. Returning with the most experience is junior tailback Robert Elliott, who rushed for 221 yards and one touchdown last fall. But Elliott was the lone back in spring ball with any carries on the Division 1 level. In the offseason, MSU inked juco All-American Vick Ballard, who led the juco ranks with 22 rushing touchdowns last season. MSU also redshirted Montrell Conner and LaDarius Perkins in 2009, and both get their first opportunity this season. Connor showed glimpses of his ability late in spring practice once he recovered from a minor knee injury. Meanwhile, Perkins displayed exceptional speed in the open field and is considered more of a ‘scatback’. “I think we found some depth in those guys right there,” said Mullen. “When you have a guy like Anthony Dixon, who you can turn and hand the ball to 30-something times a game and he walks away, you better have some depth from some guys that can come in and fill that out. I think we found some depth at the running back position and guys we feel comfortable putting in the game.” MSU does return experience at fullback with senior Patrick Hanrahan and sophomore Sylvester Hemphill. Hanrahan, a former Alabama transfer, started much of the season in MSU’s fullback sets while Hemphill saw most of his time on special teams. Where MSU lacks the most depth for 2010 comes at the receiver position. MSU returns the likes of All-SEC Freshman Chad Bumphis, who led the team in ‘09 with 32 catches for 375 yards and four touchdowns. Also back in the mix with starting experience will be senior Leon Berry, and sophomores Brandon Heavens and Chris Smith. But after that, experience is nowhere to be found. Getting their initial chance this fall will be redshirt freshman Ricco Sanders and likely 2010 signees Michael Carr, Robert Johnson and Malcolm Johnson. “Bumphis, Heavens, Chris Smith and Leon Berry,” Mullen noted. “That’s four receiver we trust but we need to have eight even to get through a game. We’ve got four that can step on the field right now and we’ve got to find four more between now and September 4th (season opener against Memphis).” With lack of depth at wideout, MSU may look 50 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

to its tight ends a bit more. Junior Marcus Green ranked second on the team last year with 27 receptions for 306 yards and three scores. Also returning with experience are senior Brandon Henderson and junior Kendrick Cook, both of who have earned starting roles in the past. MSU also returns a wealth of experience up front, including four retturning starters on the offensive line. Senior Derek Sherrod returns at left tackle while fellow classmate J.C. Brignone is back at center. Sophomore Addison Lawrence and junior Quinton Saulsberry are returning starters at right tackle and left guard, respectively. Filling in the lone open spot is sophomore Tobias Smith at right guard, who was slated to start last year before a foot injury hampered his campaign. “I like our first five guys on the line and we have some capable backups,” Mullen said. “But like other spots, we don’t have any guys to put out there as a third team. Like receivers, it will take another recruiting class or two to give us the depth we need.” DEFENSE The Bulldogs return eight starters on the defensive side but will feature a couple of new faces on the staff. Former Middle Tennessee State defensive coordinator entered the picture in the offseason and replaces Carl Torbush as State’s defensive boss. Also new to the defense is defensive line coach Chris Wilson, who coached at Oklahoma last year. This spring, the Bulldog defenders quickly

SEC QUARTERBACK?: CHRIS RELF takes the reins for an offense that will have many questions with the loss of Anthony Dixon. If Relf struggles early how long does Mullen wait to put in Tyler Russell? Will Russell even be ready? saw Diaz’s style of different, and featured more of an attacking mode ala Mullen’s offensive gameplan. “We learned a whole lot,” said senior linebacker K.J. Wright, State’s leading returning tackler (82 tackles in ‘09). “We learned what his philosophy is and we have to make it a habit. It’s not habit yet but it will be by this fall. He always wants us moving and going to the quarterback. We all like his mindset and it fits our personnel well.” Wright is one of two returning linebackers for the Bulldogs although he’s playing a different role this year. Wright moved from sam linebacker to the will spot, while senior Chris White moved from will linebacker to middle linebacker, replacing all-SEC performer Jamar Chaney. “We moved Chris to the middle because we thought he would have a bigger impact there,” said Diaz. “In the first week of spring, Chris was figuring things out and then he started to play on a higher level. He found a good comfort level and his confidence grew. “At that spot, you need a ‘ra-ra’ guy that can become the quarterback of the defense, and be a defensive leader. He has to get the guys lined up


in the right position every single time. Chris has good size and good speed and is very tough and physical.” Expected to fill out the other starting linebacker spot will either be sophomore Cam Lawrence or junior Emmanuel Gatling. Lawrence saw most of his action last year on special teams and at safety. Like Lawrence, Gatling also moved up from safety. “That competition will likely last up until the fall,” said Diaz. “But it gives us two-deep at that spot and that’s our goal for every position.” During his successful run in the late 90’s, the Bulldogs often dominated foes with their big and physical defensive line. Heading into this fall, MSU’s D-line may return to those days with its returning depth and talent up front. Leading the way is All-SEC performer and senior defensive end Pernell McPhee, who totaled 56 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and five sacks as a junior. MSU also returns starting experience on the edge with sophomore Nick Bell and junior Sean Ferguson. Also this spring, redshirt freshman Johnathan McKenzie made his way onto the two-deep chart at end. “We play more aggressive now and try to attack everything,” said McPhee. “Coach Wilson isn’t big on reading blocks and things like that. It’s always about stepping forward and attacking on every play.” In the middle of the D-line, the Bulldogs return starters in sophomore tandem Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd, and both started as true freshmen. In December, MSU also inked 6-foot-7 and 360-pound James Carmon and the Gulf Coast Community College transfer went through spring drills with his Bulldog mates. Also providing solid depth and experience will be sophomore Devin Jones, who ranked second on the team with 2.5 sacks. “I feel good that we have four solid guys,” said Wilson. “I like the ability of Cox, Body, Devin Jones and James Carmon. They went into the summer knowing their roles and what they’ve got to do this fall. “The experience Cox and Boyd got last year in the SEC is so invaluable. Now they’ve just got to keep moving forward and use that experience to their advantage.” Benefitting from State’s force up front should be a talented and opportunistic secondary. A year ago, safety Johnthan Banks and Corey Broomfield combined for 10 interceptions, and returned four of those for touchdowns, en route to All-SEC Freshman honors. Late in the spring, Banks made the move from free safety to cornerback and his role for the fall could be at either spot. Also expected to battle for a starting spot at corner is senior Maurice Langston. The leader of the secondary, without question, is junior strong safety Charles Mitchell, who collected 64 tackles and four interceptions last season. “He is our leader and is what we want our leader to be about,” said MSU defensive backs coach Tony Hughes. “In everything he does - practice, games or off the field - Charles gives it 100 percent and gives all of his effort.” Making the biggest move this spring, however, was free safety Nickoe Whitley, a redshirt freshman. Whitley spent last year recovering from an ACL tear suffered early in his senior season at Provine High School. Midway through spring drills, Whitley moved into a starting role. Expected to provide depth at the safety slots will be veteran senior Zach Smith (missed most of 2009 with concussions) and Dennis Thames. SPECIAL TEAMS The Bulldog return a pair of reliable weapons in placekickers Sean Brauchle and Derek DePasquale. Brauchle, a senior, converted 6-of-9 field goals with a long of 49 last year and was perfect on 12 extra-point attempts. However, a hip injury forced Brauchle to miss much of the home stretch. DePasquale stepped in and MSU didn’t miss a beat with its success. The junior walkon made 10-of-12 field goals and was also perfect on extra points at 23-of-23. MSU also returns its’ starting punter in senior Heath Hutchins. The Saltillo native averaged 39.7 yards a punt with a long of 56 yards. But Hutchins was tested this spring by redshirt freshman Baker Swedenberg.

OUTLOOK Like any other year, the schedule will provide quite a test for the Bulldogs. However, MSU’s non-conference slate did get a tad easier with Georgia Tech and Middle Tennessee State replaced by UAB and Memphis. But the conference slate still features trips to Alabama, LSU and Florida, schools that have combined for the last four national championships. MSU will also travel rival Ole Miss to conclude the season as well as Houston to face Heisman Trophy candidate and senior quarterback Case Keenum. Exiting his second spring practice on campus, Mullen was asked what pleased him this spring and what concerned him the most. His response was “the same thing” and gave a good indication that the Bulldogs are still in the building process yet further along than last year. “It’s probably the same thing,” said Mullen. “Probably the same thing that pleases me the most is also my biggest concern. Our guys came ready to play in the spring. They came out with a little bit of a foundation of our offense, defense and special teams, and came out with a foundation of how to practice. “But that also concerns me the most going forward. When we step out here in August, we have got to be mentally and physically advanced from where we were (in the spring). We can not take one step backwards in knowledge. We can’t repeat something in August that we learned this spring. We have to continually move forward.” - MSM

2009 RESULTS DATE Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 3 Oct. 10 Oct. 17 Oct. 24 Oct. 31 Nov. 14 Nov. 21 Nov. 28

OPPONENT JACKSON ST. @ Auburn @ Vanderbirlt LSU GEORGIA TECH HOUSTON @ MTSU FLORIDA @ Kentucky ALABAMA @ Arkansas OLE MISS

W/L W L W L L L W L W L L W

SCORE ATTEND 45-7 54,232 24-49 85,269 15-3 31,840 26-30 53, 612 31-42 50,035 24-31 48,019 27-6 23,882 19-29 57,178 31-24 67,953 3-31 58,103 21-42 55,634 41-27 55,365

RETURNING LEADERS PASSING C. Relf

ATT COMP PCT 41 22 53.7

RUSHING C. Relf R. Elliott

ATT 76 22

YDS 525 251

AVG 6.6 5.0

TD 2 1

RECEIVING C. Bumphis L. Berry

NO. 32 14

YDS 375 170

AVG 11.7 12.1

TD 4 0

KICKING FGM-FGA S. Brauchle 6-9 D. DePasquale 10-12

PATs 23-23 12-12

PTS 20 53

LG 49 48

BLK 0 0

PUNTING H. Hutchins

YDS 1986

AVG 39.7

LG 56

BLK 1

NO. 50

YDS 283

TD INT 5 14

TACKLES: K.J. Wright, 82; C. White, 75; C. Mitchell, 64 SACKS: P. McPhee 5; K.J. Wright, 2 INT’s: C. Broomfield, 6; C. Mitchell, J. Banks, 4 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 51


MSM

M I S S I S S I P P I S TAT E P R O F I L E : D A N M U L L E N

Year Two...

bragging rights for the entire year within the state.” It didn’t take long for Mullen to embrace the MSU-Ole Miss rivalry, either. Mullen simply refers to the Rebels’ program as ‘The School Up North’, and has already turned up the heat in the Magnolia State rivalry. “Rivalries are what makes college football great,” noted Mullen. “You By Paul Jones get here in the state and you feel it. There are obvious split sides in the Contributing Writer state. Most of the people in this state are one side or the other. To me, it’s rom the first day he arrived on the job, Mississippi State head about making sure our coaches, our players, our university and our fans coach Dan Mullen promised “excitement” to Bulldog Nation. know the importance of the rivalry. Entering his first year as a head coach, he also said the Bulldogs “I think a lot of our fans appreciate the importance we’ve put on that could win and compete for championships in the toughest conference rivalry game and making it a heated game within the state.” in the land. As the Bulldogs prepare for 2010, Mullen hopes to continue to see Yes, Mullen did bring a new energy to MSU fans and it was obvious by improvements to the MSU offense, a unit that has often been poor the record crowds that flocked to Davis Wade much of the past decade. With his arrival to Stadium in 2009. While the Bulldogs finished Starkville also came the introduction of the with a losing season (5-7) in Mullen’s first year, spread offense. the team took major strides in becoming more And the Bulldogs did improve, offensively, competitive within the SEC. last year. They averaged over 25 points a game Glancing ahead to 2010, a lot of the newness and over 375 yards of offense per outing. But has worn off, said Mullen. And with that comes the thing about the spread, said Mullen, is that a new “comfort” level. the coaches will always form a plan depending “There’s just a lot more comfort in every on the talent on hand. aspect,” said Mullen. “There’s more comfort “I think we ran what we wanted to last year,” in me being a head coach, comfort with me said Mullen of his spread offensive mind-set. understanding our players and understanding “One of the big things the spread offense gives our program and our situation here. There’s you is great flexibility. Our goal is to go recruit comfort now with our assistant coaches, the best players we can go recruit. From that and them knowing their players better and point, we are going to adapt our offense to knowing my expectations. And then there’s the those things. If you look at the success I’ve had comfort of our players knowing the program in the past, even at the quarterback position, better, and knowing the offense and defense you go from Josh Harris to an Alex Smith to systems. a Chris Leak to a Tim Tebow to Tyson Lee last And Mullen witnessed that the excitement year. You look at all the different traits those level has not decreased within the fan base. In players have. What we try to do is incorporate the 2009 spring game, the Bulldogs drew over their strengths into the offense. Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine 30,000 fans and drew even more to this year’s While the style remains the same on offense, spring game (34,127). As noted above, the 2009 campaign saw a record Mullen made a couple of offseason changes to his defensive staff. number of fans at Davis Wade Stadium and in season-ticket sales. Manny Diaz took over as defensive coordinator while Chris Wilson left When Mullen embarked on his annual alumni tour in late spring, he Oklahoma to head up the MSU defensive line. quickly saw the passion among MSU fans was still evident. Like Mullen’s philosophy on offense, Diaz and Wilson have brought “The receptions were still great and you can still see the excitement,” the same attacking mind-set to the other side of the ball. said Mullen. “I think the fans understand the direction we can build this “I am really thrilled with the guys we’ve brought in,” said Mullen program, and the way we can build this program into a championship- of Diaz and Wilson. “They’ve really helped improve our program and caliber team. They have started to understand their role - how important we’re really excited about them in the future. As a head coach, the one it is to sell season tickets and fill the stadium for every game during the thing you really like is to have stability in your staff. Hopefully, we can season. keep stability in our staff in years to come and have that flow from year “Those are all important factors into helping this team win. They see to year. We had some changes this year but I could not be happier with the improvements, too, that the team is going to make.” the guys we brought in.” Of course, with only one postseason berth since 2000, there is plenty What won’t change, however, is Mullen’s sales pitch to future of work left on the table, said Mullen. And in the rugged SEC, his job Bulldogs. Entering his second full season on the recruiting season for gets no easier from year one to year two. MSU, Mullen says there is “proof ” now that the program is headed in Mullen and the Bulldogs did get to rest a bit better at the conclusion the right direction. of the ‘09 campaign. Despite not going bowling, the Bulldogs did knock “Our pitch hasn’t changed,” said Mullen. “I think there’s just more off rival Ole Miss in Mullen’s first Egg Bowl, and did so in convincing proof that, hey, look what’s going to happen here in the future. Our fashion. deal is we want to recruit the top student-athletes in Mississippi and “You know what, it was a big game and it was a big win,” said Mullen the surrounding areas. We want them to come into a great family of his first Egg Bowl experience. “It puts a smile on your face for a environment, get a great education at a great school and hopefully be long time, especially walking around in this state. You get to talk to the part of a great championship program that we are building. boosters, the alumni groups and student body. When our players get “I think now, recruits can see more of a vision we have for the future. to go back to their home town, obviously, they got the big win and the Now they can see we can actually follow through on the field.” - MSM

DAN MULLEN

F

52 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Ole Miss

By Steven Godfrey Contributing Writer

REBELS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 9-4; 4-4 SEC WEST

HEAD COACH: HOUSTON NUTT (3RD YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 4

JACKSONVILLE STATE

11 @ Tulane 18 VANDERBILT 25 FRESNO ST. OCTOBER 2

KENTUCKY

9

OPEN

16 @ Alabama 23 @ Arkansas 30 AUBURN NOVEMBER 6

LA-LAFAYETTE

13 @ Tennessee 20 @ LSU 27 MISS. STATE

ANALYSIS: Ole Miss is coming off consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games for the first time in decades. However, with all that excitement the Rebels still have to replace Jevan Snead at the QB position and Dexter McCluster in the backfield. Brandon Bolden returns at running back along with Enrique Davis in hopes to give the young QB’s some run support while they get their feet wet. The Rebel DL should still be tops in the SEC with the return of Kentrell Locket and Jerrell Powe.

54 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

TOP OF THE LINE: BRADLEY SOWELL (78) and bobby massie (79) will be important cogs in the sucees of the Ole Miss offense in 2010. Both gained valualble experience last season as Freshmen. Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

No pre-season hype for Rebels this season, which is just how Houston Nutt likes it

T

he Houston Nutt era at Ole Miss could best be described as a tale of two Cotton Bowls. When Nutt arrived in the wake of his nasty break with Arkansas in December of 2007, fans were starved for wins after three years of Ed Orgeron’s platinum recruiting and tinfoil coaching. Rebel fans hoped Nutt might be able to salvage a once consistent program and “eventually” go bowling. The

“Right Reverend” did one better, upsetting Florida and LSU in his rookie Rebel season, instantly leading Ole Miss to national prominence with an ’09 Cotton Bowl victory against Texas Tech. Then, the poison of punditry – With only a handful of starters departing, national analysts pegged the Rebels to be national title contenders in ’09, something a once weary fan base seized upon. Seemingly overnight Nutt’s expec-

tations went sky high, and when the 8-4 Rebels returned to Dallas to defeat Oklahoma State for a second Cotton Bowl title, fans were far less enthusiastic. It turns out a few of those departed players were more essential than first thought, namely lineman Michael Oher and wideout Mike Wallace. Quarterback Jevan Snead started a junior campaign with Heisman buzz but never found the success of his sophomore debut in


2009 TEAM STATS

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

Oxford. It’s safe to say he missed the blind side protection and a deep ball threat of Oher and Wallace. Rather than return Snead inexplicably ended his collegiate career after a 20 TD, 20 INT season and wound up an undrafted signee for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a NFL Draft Day joke. But where Snead’s Ole Miss legacy would end in a whimper, utility weapon Dexter McCluster would become a darling Rebel for generations to come. McCluster saved the 2009 campaign, using his lightning fast speed and escapability to combine for over 1600 yards and 12 TDs rushing, passing and receiving. McCluster did just about everything for the Rebels offense, and did it well enough to be drafted early in the second round by the Kansas City Chiefs. Fans would argue that if Nutt had moved McCluster to primary tailback at the beginning of the year, the Rebels might have finished with 10 or more wins. Could a season that started with rankings as high as No. 4 nationally that ended in relative national obscurity – not to mention an upset loss in the Egg Bowl - still be considered a success? Nutt and his staff certainly think so, and despite falling far short of a SEC Western Division title, Ole Miss has now reeled off 18 wins, two of those coming after New Year’s Day, in two short years. Year three promises to begin a new era for

PRE-SEASON CONERLY NOMINEE: KENTRELL LOCKETT could be one of the best pass rushers in the SEC in 2010. Lockett’s sense of finding the ball should help him lead the Rebels in sacks in 2010. Nutt at Ole Miss. He loses Snead, McCluster, senior receiver Shay Hodge and kicker Joshua Shene, the four players accounting for over 200 points and just under 4,000 yards. Questions abound for a team trying to find its identity after riding the highs and lows and two very different 9-win campaigns. Offense Had Rebel fans known of Snead’s eventual defection to the pros during the Cotton Bowl, the block on an interception return that plastered him into the Arlington turf might not have seemed as devastating. After all, it gave then redshirt freshman Nathan Stanley some valuable PT. His day in Dallas notwithstanding (2 for 7, 3 yards, 1 INT), Stanley was steady in his development this Spring, battling with Raymond Cotton throughout Grove Bowl practices. All inter-squad performance evaluations should be measured at best, but when two relative unknowns are battling to start at quarterback in the SEC, fans and pundits will scrutinize anything they can get to form an opinion.

............................................ UM OPP SCORING.................................. 384 230 Points Per Game.....................29.5 17.7 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 266 211 Rushing.................................. 122 106 Passing................................... 132 89 Penalty.................................... 12 16 RUSHING YARDAGE................ 2387 1824 Yards gained rushing............. 2673 2243 Yards lost rushing................... 286 419 Rushing Attempts................... 503 470 Average Per Rush....................4.7 3.9 Average Per Game................183.6 140.3 TDs Rushing............................ 22 10 PASSING YARDAGE................. 2844 2267 Att-Comp-Int.................... 377-205-21 396-198-13 Average Per Pass.....................7.5 5.7 Average Per Catch..................13.9 11.4 Average Per Game................218.8 174.4 TDs Passing............................. 22 12 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 5231 4091 Total Plays.............................. 880 866 Average Per Play.....................5.9 4.7 Average Per Game................402.4 314.7 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards........46-1068 62-1411 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards........28-292 13-109 INT RETURNS: #-Yards............13-260 21-417 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........23.2 22.8 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE.........10.4 8.4 INT RETURN AVERAGE.............20.0 19.9 FUMBLES-LOST.......................20-10 23-11 PENALTIES-Yards....................72-564 78-564 Average Per Game.................43.4 43.4 PUNTS-Yards.........................56-2304 81-3243 Average Per Punt................... 41.1 40.0 Net punt average.................. 36.7 35.4 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...29:53 30:07 3RD-DOWN Conversions........73/177 57/192 3rd-Down Pct.........................41% 30% 4TH-DOWN Conversions.........10/19 11/21 4th-Down Pct.........................53% 52% SACKS BY-Yards.....................36-248 17-114 MISC YARDS............................... 0 65 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 49 25 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS.........15-20 18-25 ON-SIDE KICKS......................... 0-1 1-2 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 38-43 88% 30-44 68% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 27-43 63% 15-44 34% PAT-ATTEMPTS.........................45-48 94% 24-24 100% ATTENDANCE........................ 390368 299677 Games/Avg Per Game.........7/55767 5/59935 Neutral Site Games.............1/77928 SCORE BY QUARTERS....1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total Ole Miss............................81 118 71 1 14 - 384 Opponents....................... 27 74 83 46 - 230 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 55


Up to this point Stanley (Spring Game: 11 of 16, 166 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) seems more consistent, but Cotton (Spring Game: 5 of 7, 178 yards, 2 TDs) seems to have the stronger arm and most potential. Stanley enters the year as the extremely tentative leader in this race, helped along by concerns over a partially torn ligament in Cotton’s throwing shoulder. But it’s far from over entering Fall practice, especially with the added wrinkle of JUCO transfer Randall Mackey (East Mississippi C.C.), a dual-threat option who figures to certainly compete for snaps if not a starting job, or possible Wild Rebel role. Minding this race is new co-offensive coordinator Dave Rader, a former coordinator at Alabama who will also serve as quarterbacks coach. Rader will share O.C. duties with Mike Markuson as the two replace former coordinator Kent Austin, who left in the offseason to take the head coaching job at Cornell. Little is expected to change in philosophy, however Nutt’s specialty of a heavier dose of running is expected, especially with such a young stable of QBs. Who the unknown starting quarterback will find in the open field is another concern. In the wake of go-to receiver Hodge’s departure (career: 173 receptions, 2646 yards, 22 TDs), the most skilled receiver on the Rebel roster, sophomore Pat Patterson, sat out Spring practice (his second suspension). In his absence sophomore Jesse Grandy (’09: 4 catches for 43 yards, 100 yards rushing, 2 TDs) became the go-to in practice. Senior Lionel Breaux (career: 25 catches, 338 yards, 1 TD) has the most experience and could start opposite Grandy if Patterson flames out. The sole returning skill player with any reliable track record is tailback Brandon Bolden, who figures to be Nutt’s feature back this season. The rising junior was a freshman surprise in 2008, rushing for 542 yards and 6 TDs (1 receiving) while averaging 10.7 yards a catch. Bolden, as well as any other tailback, was unable to rush through the inside of a shaky offensive line in ’09, and his yards per carry dropped from 5.5 to 4.8 as the scheme shifted in favor McCluster’s east-west speed rush to compensate. It worked – Dex rolled up 1169 rushing yards – but it’s no longer an option for this team. Bolden certainly wasn’t a disappointment last year (614 yards, 4 TDs), but with questions surrounding every other facet of the offense, he must become a 1500 yard rusher and a go-to starter at running back. Junior Enrique Davis (110 yards, 2 TD) has shown potential in flashes but will be relegated to a pace-changer. Sophomore E.J. Epperson is the favorite to replace Andy Hartman at fullback. Nowhere will McCluster be missed more than in the Wild Rebel formation, a scheme he dominated the last two seasons. Nutt told fans on the summer alumni dinner circuit that converted defensive back Derrick Herman could surprise in the formation this fall. Minus the 56 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

potential of Mackey’s dual-threat abilities, Nutt stated that Herman, Bolden and Grandy would handle the Wild Rebel in 2010. The offensive line figures to improve thanks to some consistency in transition at the tackle positions, but is still questionable. Last year Bradley Sowell was tapped to replace NFL 1st round Draft pick Michael Oher at left tackle and became the goat of the offense after a shaky outing in a loss to South Carolina. Sowell gradually improved over the year, and highly touted transfer Bobby Massie (Hargrave Military Academy) eased into the right tackle position. But if the tackle problem of ‘09 is solved, everything else is still a concern. Entering the fall Ole Miss looks to give its center position to freshman early enrollee Evan Swindall, creating a completely green quarterback-center exchange for the entire year. Junior Rishaw Johnson, once a coveted national recruit who ran afoul of the coaching staff (he was suspended for most of last season for team rules violations), must reach his potential at right guard to help an extremely thin line. Junior Alex Washington ran with the first team through most of the Spring at left guard. Look for redshirt freshman Emmanuel McCray and sophomore A.J. Hawkins to rotate inside. Defense Houston Nutt’s biggest recruit of 2010 was defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, who opted to turn down an offer for the same position at Florida and stay in Oxford for a new contract

LANDSHARKS: DEFENSE will be the name of the game early for the Rebels. The front-seven have been getting some pre-season love from the media over the past few months. Powe, Lockett and Co. will have to show up big early to give the team some momentum. and title (assistant head coach). Both were richly deserved: Under Nix’s watch Ole Miss finally translated the raw talent recruited in the Orgeron era into on-field success. For all the attention garnered by McCluster and Snead in the Nutt era, Nix’s defense has built a national reputation for being fast and ruthless to the ball carrier, hallmarked by a 4th down tackle of Tim Tebow in a 2008 upset of Florida. In the last two years the Rebels have finished with a Top 20 defense nationally (No. 14 in 2008, No. 16 in 2009) and improved from dead last in the SEC in most major defensive statistics in 2007, but that came in large part thanks to names like Peria Jerry, Greg Hardy, Kendrick Lewis and Patrick Trahan, all of whom have moved on. Now Nix will face his toughest assignment yet in rebuilding a unit that’s lopsided in talent from front to back. The unquestionable strength of the Ole Miss defense in 2010 will be up front and in the middle, with returning senior DTs Lawon Scott, LaMark Armour and Ted Laurent spelling Jerrell Powe, who could easily become a national name by year’s end (see profile on Page 58). Junior college transfer Wayne Dorsey (Mis-


sissippi Gulf Coast C.C.) enrolled in time for spring, and is expected to step in immediately at defensive end to help opposite Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner Kentrell Lockett, who fast rose to prominence in 2009 in place of an oft-injured Hardy, tallying 10 tackles for a loss and five sacks. The lack of depth and cause of much concern will come in the secondary. When Nix arrived under Nutt, the Rebels were the worst in the SEC in pass defense efficiency, and under in two years they ranked No. 11 in the entire country under Nix. This year Nix will have to start nearly from scratch, losing both starting corners (Cassius Vaughn and Marshay Green), as well as the team’s leading tackler, free safety Kendrick Lewis, who joined McCluster in Kansas City. Johnny Brown is the sole returning starter at strong safety (81 tackles, 1 INT in 12 games). The heir apparent to Lewis seems to be transfer Damien Jackson (Mississippi Gulf C.C.), the No. 12 rated overall JUCO player in 2009, who, like Dorsey, got to campus in January to run through Spring drills. Behind him will be senior Fon Ingram, who leads all returning players with 3 career INTs. The coaching staff raved about redshirt freshman corner Charles Sawyer, who stole the show with two interceptions in the Grove Bowl. He’ll likely line up across senior Jeremy McGee or senior Demareo Marr. The linebacker corps has remained something of an enigma for fans during the Nutt era. Absent a Patrick Willis type of standout star, Ole Miss has grown a solid (if not spectacular) unit into an above average group. Anchor Patrick Trahan is gone, but seniors Jonathan Cornell (MLB, 13 game starter in ‘09, 79 tackles, 8 TFL) and Allen Walker (SLB, 10 game starter in ’09, 51 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack) actually give this unit the most experience it’s had in years. Nutt commented in the Spring that he was pleased with their depth. Sophomore Joel Kight is expected to take over at WLB, with fellow underclassmen D.T. Shackelford, Mike Marry and Alex Washington in the rotation. Special Teams Grandy will continue to expand his role as a multi-purpose player, returning to his starting position for kickoff returns (29 in ’09 for a 25.7 yard average per return, 2 TDs) along with Bolden. The punt return team will have to replace both McCluster and Green, and right now Grandy is the most likely candidate as well. Sophomore Tyler Campbell will return as punter and sophomore Andrew Ritter will kick off, but the biggest concern will be replacing Shene at placekicker - the team’s top scorer for the last four seasons. Shene finished his career at Ole Miss with 57 FGs, and the competition to replace him will center around Ritter, sophomore Bryson Rose and junior David Hankins, who missed one attempt in the Spring game. Outlook This season will no doubt measure the performance of Houston Nutt and his staff like no other has. With 24 seniors and 13 starters lost including the top quarterback, running back and receiver, there’s no argument that Nutt is in for a rebuilding year. The question on most fans’ minds is that if “rebuilding” qualifies as a five-win campaign or another bowl bid. Critics who say that Nutt won easily with three years worth of stockpiled Orgeron recruits will get to see what an almost all-Nutt recruited team can do. Based in the gaps of talent in the secondary and offensive line alone, if Nutt can manage six or more wins and a Liberty or Music City Bowl, the alumni should commission a statue. Even with huge questions at most skill positions, six wins is within expectations. The standing logic for prognosticating a Houston Nutt coached team is that no matter the talent level, there will be one loss to an inferior team early in the season (Vanderbilt, South Carolina). It’s sure to have fans dumbfounded and angry until the “Right Reverend” delivers a headline-making upset of a national power in conference play (Florida, LSU). If that’s the case, never has a schedule been better set for such an outcome. Ole Miss opens 2010 with five “on-paper” wins – a tune-up opener against Jacksonville State, at Tulane and then a three game run hosting

Vanderbilt, Fresno State and Kentucky. No matter what kind of personnel losses the Rebels are dealing with, they’ll start the year 2-0, but beware that home stand. The Rebels haven’t won a conference opener since 2003 and Vandy is notorious for causing this program fits, but the more likely “upset” would be to the Wildcats or Valley Dogs. If the Rebels can let their defense carry an easy early 4-1 run and ease in a starting quarterback, a seven win season is possible. But the back half of the year is loaded, and it’s likely that Ole Miss could go 0-for-October with road trips to Alabama and Arkansas and a home game against Auburn. Nutt’s had tremendous success against Les Miles coached teams, so pencil an upset for November 20 in Baton Rogue. In all likelihood, the season – and possibly a bowl bid – will come down to the Egg Bowl on November 27. Nutt has publicly stated that his staff and team were somehow unaware of the importance of playing in-state rival Mississippi State, but that excuse won’t hold in the event of a second loss. The Bulldogs manhandled Nix’s defense last year in 41-27 upset, setting in course an offseason of high expectations in Starkville while tainting the Rebels’ second Cotton Bowl bid. All that combined sets the stage for the biggest Egg Bowl in almost a decade. - MSM

2009 RESULTS DATE OPPONENT W/L SCORE Sept. 6 @ Memphis W 45-14 Sept. 19 Southeastern LA. W 52-6 Sept 24 @ South Caraolina L 10-16 Oct. 3 @ Vanderbilt W 23-7 Oct. 10 Alabama L 3-22 Oct. 17 UAB W 48-13 Oct. 24 Arkanasas W 30-17 Oct. 31 @ Auburn L 20-33 Nov. 7 Northern Arizona W 38-14 Nov. 14 Tennessee W 42-17 Nov. 21 LSU W 25-23 Nov. 21 Miss. State L 27-41 Jan 02+ vs OKLAHOMA ST. W 21-7 + AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (Dallas, Texas)

ATTEND 45,207 58,119 74,724 38, 625 62. 657 47, 612 60,622 84, 756 38,184 61,422 61,752 55,365 77,982

RETURNING LEADERS PASSING N. Stanley

ATT COMP PCT 23 11 54.4

YDS 163

RUSHING B. Bolden R. Scott

ATT 129 35

YDS 663 140

AVG 4.8 3.9

TD 4 2

RECEIVING M. Summers B. Bolden L. Breaux

No. 17 20 13

YDS 394 209 160

AVG 23.2 10.4 12.3

TD 4 1 1

TD INT 1 1

KICKING FGM-FGA PATs PTS LG BLK N/A* Joshua Shene’s replacement has yet to be named. PUNTING T. Campbell

NO. 43

YDS 1,890

AVG 44

LG 71

BLK 2

TACKLES: J. Brown, 81; A. Walker 51; F. Ingram, 49 SACKS: K. Lockett, 5; Jerrell Powe, 3 A. Walker, L. Brumfield 1.0 INT’s: F. Ingram, 2; D. Shackleford, J. McGee, M.Temple, 1 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 57


MSM

OLE MISS PROFILE: JERRELL POWE

It Was Worth It... JERRELL POWE By Steven Godfrey Contributing Writer

A

rguably no other player in college football today could be more qualified to assess challenges overcome than Ole Miss’ senior (finally) defensive tackle Jerrell Powe. “I have a great deal of respect for people who hit a stumbling block and find a way to keep going.” Five years ago rookie head coach Ed Orgeron lured a five-star defensive tackle named Jerrell Powe away from Auburn on the eve of signing day in 2005. Analysts raved about Powe. His size and unnatural quickness made him one of the most coveted defensive players in the country. But Powe wouldn’t see the field in Oxford until three seasons later, outlasting the coach who signed him after an emotional and very public battle to qualify academically at Ole Miss. Powe sat out and attended classes as a regular student. Tensions peaked when Powe, denied qualification as a student athlete for the second time, publicly proved he was literate by reading aloud to newspaper reporters. While the Rebels limped through three consecutive losing campaigns, Powe could only watch, but never considered transferring. “I love this place (Oxford.) Ever since I committed to Ole Miss, fans and people around here showed me a good deal of respect. I don’t think they ever gave up on me, so I feel like I owed the university this,” Powe said. Now, at the twilight of his bizarre collegiate career, Powe is poised to become a national name in 2010. His 2008 debut was stymied by conditioning issues (8 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 1 INT), but Powe exploded in ’09, notching 34 tackles and a team leading 12 tackles for a loss. In the vain of great interior tackles, Powe has excelled at making other players better simply by causing such a disruption that offenses are forced to compensate for him in their assignments. “I think my favorite play is a good tackle for a loss, down on a goal line, like when we played Tennessee last season. When offense is driving you and hit them for a big loss, you can start to distract the offensive linemen and make things happen,” he said. He’s a preseason All-American and already on the watch list for both the Bronco Nagurski Trophy (for the nation’s best defensive player) and the Outland Trophy (for the nation’s best interior lineman). With national attention beginning to surround Powe for his on-field achievements rather than off-field struggles, Powe has become a fan favorite for Rebel fans, especially as a founding member of the “Landshark” defense. “The ‘Landshark’ is going to be back in 2010. We maintain that. That’s our mascot. I don’t know if the guys that come after us are going to use it but our class definitely is. We want it to keep going.” Despite the loss of five starters on the defensive, including three in a secondary that’s thin on depth, Powe feels confident that the national reputation the Rebels have built under head coach Houston Nutt and coordinator Tyrone Nix will carry through 2010. “I don’t think anybody’s sleeping on our defense. A good set of defensive lineman and linebackers is supposed to pressure off of the DBs. We know those guys can get the job done and we’ll be helping out,” Powe said. Entering his third season on the field, Powe will match his time spent 58 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

off the field after high school. Accordingly, teammates call Powe the “old man” in the locker room, a literal title (relative to most of his teammates, at 23 the delayed senior is a graybeard) that fits comfortably with Powe’s character as well. “Most of the people on the team joke that I’m the old man. I talk like an old man, I act like an old man. I listen to all types of music, but I definitely like some old school records. Blues stuff, Johnny Taylor, Clarence Carter, Jay Blackfoot.” He promises he’s not worried about his potential standing , but Powe is already charting on national draft boards as a future stud DT. “I’ll deal with all that when the time comes around,” he said. Instead Powe seems much more eager to promise that fans will see more of him in other areas. Emulating Alabama’s Terrance “Mount” Cody and William “Refrigerator” Perry before him, Powe made his offensive debut as a ball carrier against Oklahoma State in the 2010 Cotton Bowl. Facing a single short yard on a third-and-goal in the first quarter, the offensive staff dialed up a secret weapon for its inarguably named “jumbo” package – Powe lined up at tailback. Despite two tried, Ole Miss turned the ball over on downs and big #57 never saw pay dirt. Powe’s official stat line: two carries, zero yards gained, zero yards net. “I’m going to get it in next time, you can count on it. (Offensive line coach Mike) Markuson told me that if we got into a short yardage situation down on the goal I would get in. When they came back on that measurement for third down and it was short, I was the happiest man on the sideline.” Powe has continued to condition himself for his senior campaign, working in both the classroom (“I’m proud of what I’ve done academically here in my time, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks”) and on his conditioning. He says his ideal weight is under 320 lbs., which by comparison to previous seasons would produce a downright svelte Powe. Could his newfound lightness encourage the offensive staff to line him up a receiver? “Nah,” he says with a laugh, “there’s no lining up at wideout for me.” - MSM


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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 59


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Southern Miss

By Tyler Cleveland Contributing Writer

GOLDEN EAGLES 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 7-6; 5-3 CUSA EAST

HEAD COACH: LARRY FEDORA (3RD YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 2

@ S. Carolina

11 PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 17 KANSAS 25 @ LA. Tech OCTOBER 2

MARSHALL

9

E. CAROLINA

16 @ Memphis 30 UAB NOVEMBER 6

@ Tulane

13 @ UCF 20 HOUSTON 26 @ Tulsa

MY TURN: MARTAVIOUS YOUNG may get his opportunity to lead the high-flying Golden Eagle offense in 2010. With the injury to Austin Davis last season, Young stepped up to the challenge leading the Eagles to the New Orleans Bowl.

ANALYSIS: Martavious Young and Austin Davis will battle it out in two-adays for the top QB position in 2010. With several young talented defensive players returning for the Golden Eagles, they may finally have the defense they need to compliment their highscoring offense. No longer will the Eagles have to play teams in a slug-fest week end and week out. A C-USA championship may be awaiting for them at the end of the season.

60 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Bobby McDuffie

Golden Eagles are looking for elusive C-USA Championship under Fedora

I

t’s been six years since Southern Miss has captured the Conference USA crown in football, and despite winning seasons and bowl trips in each of those six seasons, Hattiesburg couldn’t be more hungry for a title. So the question coming off the team’s second straight 7-6 season has to be “when will the peren-

nial conference power be ready to win one?” It’s a question Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora hopes to answer in 2010. The Golden Eagles are 14-12 since Fedora took over as head coach after the 2007 season, yet the third-year head coach hasn’t been able to retain his whole staff from one season to the next. His first year he lost running backs

coach Frank Wilson and secondary coach Tony Hughes to Mississippi State, and this season he’ll replace offensive coordinator Darryl Wyatt, who left for Kansas and secondary coach Travaris Robinson, who left for Texas Tech. OFFENSE The assistant Fedora has promoted for the job of offensive


2009 TEAM STATS

Photo by Bobby McDuffie

coordinator, former quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson. Anderson has had some success in a coordinator position in the past. In 2007, he was the offensive coordinator at Louisiana, and utilized a strong running game. The Cajuns posted the No. 6 rated rushing offense nationally (251.6) in 2007 and became the Sun Belt’s first ever 3,000-yard rushing team (3,019). The team averaged a Sun Belt-record 5.6 yards per carry en route to producing two 1,000-yard rushers. It’s unlikely the Golden Eagles will be as potent as Anderson would like in his first season, but the cupboard isn’t bare. Perhaps the biggest question mark headed into the fall is how to replace four starters along the Golden Eagle offensive line. Line coach Chris Kapilovic certainly has his hands full, but there is some talent on campus to work with. Senior Cameron Zipp returns to anchor the young offensive line after a successful junior year. Zipp should be a steady hand for Kapilovic, who will likely try just about every offensive lineman on the team at every position in every combination before fall practice is over. At the end of spring practices, junior Jason Weaver had separated himself from the pack at left tackle, and senior Alex Michael ran with the first string in the spring game at left guard.

PRE-SEASON CONERLY NOMINEE: Deandre brown is no doubt the best receiver in C-USA and maybe the NCAA. Coming into his Junior season he is on par to break all the receiving records at Southern Miss and CUSA. Sophomore Joe Duhon held a small edge over freshman Jonathan Guerry on the depth chart at right guard, and sophomore Darius Barnes and junior Lamar Holmes were jockeying for position at right tackle. What the Southern Miss offense lacks in trenches it makes up for in finesse. Southern Miss has some serious skill-position players on offense, led by a junior wide receiver DeAndre Brown. In his sophomore season, Brown took a step back in terms of production from his freshman year, when he caught 67 balls for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6-foot-6 Ocean Springs native missed two games in 2009, and caught 20 fewer passes (47), but averaged the same amount of yards per catch (16.7) he did in 2008. Brown should play a crucial role in a receiving corps will be top-heavy when it comes to experience. Senior Johdrick Morris played back-up to Brown last season and caught eight passes for 131 yards, but could be the Golden Eagles second wideout come September.

................................................USM OPP SCORING.................................. 428 336 Points Per Game.....................32.9 25.8 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 287 293 Rushing.................................. 129 106 Passing................................... 138 165 Penalty.................................... 20 22 RUSHING YARDAGE................ 2658 1701 Yards gained rushing............. 2618 2117 Yards lost rushing................... 260 416 Rushing Attempts................... 512 468 Average Per Rush....................4.6 3.6 Average Per Game................181.4 130.8 TDs Rushing............................ 23 18 PASSING YARDAGE................. 3055 3401 Att-Comp-Int..................... 242-291-6 299-482-12 Average Per Pass.....................7.8 7.1 Average Per Catch..................12.6 11.4 Average Per Game................235.0 261.6 TDs Passing............................. 27 21 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 5413 5102 Total Plays.............................. 903 950 Average Per Play.....................6.0 5.4 Average Per Game................416.4 362.5 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards........64-1586 72-1387 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards........32-367 14-53 INT RETURNS: #-Yards.............12-84 6-54 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........24.8 19.3 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE.........11.5 3.8 INT RETURN AVERAGE..............7.0 9.0 FUMBLES-LOST.......................19-11 28-15 PENALTIES-Yards...................101-914 86-767 Average Per Game.................70.3 59.0 PUNTS-Yards.........................54-2078 61-2448 Average Per Punt....................38.5 40.1 Net punt average...................36.4 32.8 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...29:28 30:52 3RD-DOWN Conversions........73/174 79/188 3rd-Down Pct.........................42% 42% 4TH-DOWN Conversions.........11/19 7/15 4th-Down Pct.........................58% 47% SACKS BY-Yards.....................34-282 16-151 MISC YARDS.............................. 95 0 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 57 40 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS.........14-20 18-21 ON-SIDE KICKS..........................0-0 0-1 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 49-61 80% 36-42 86% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 37-61 61% 24-42 57% PAT-ATTEMPTS................... 42-52 81% 36-38 95% ATTENDANCE........................ 184178 198331 Games/Avg Per Game.........6/30696 6/33055 Neutral Site Games................... 1/30228 SCORE BY QUARTERS...1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total Southern Miss............... 95 1 34 81 118 0 428 Opponents.................... 71 112 62 91 0 336 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 61


Sophomore Quentin Pierce returns after a 25 catch, 247-yard freshman year and should be the answer at slot receiver in Fedora’s spread offense. In the ground game, the Eagles will have to replace Damion Fletcher, the school’s all-time leading rusher, and Tori Harrison, last season’s leading rusher. Senior V.J. Floyd returns as the team’s most veteran rusher with 398 career yards on 100 carries and a pair of touchdowns, and sophomore Tracey Lampley is the team’s returning leader from last year with 122 yards on 21 carries and a score. Lampley is likely to be more of a slot-receiver/third-down back than a traditional runner, but Floyd took some big steps in the spring towards being the back Anderson needs him to be in the fall, and rushed for 83 yards on 12 carries and caught five passes for 112 yards in the spring game. Red shirt freshman Kendrick Hardy, the long-term answer at running back for USM, is expected to get plenty of carries in 2010 as well. But don’t let that talent fool you, the success of the Southern Miss offense begins and ends at the quarterback position, which junior Austin Davis and senior Martevius Young will continue to compete for in the fall. Davis, who started every game as a freshman in 2008, started the first five games of the 2009 season before suffering a season-ending ligament tear in his left mid-foot. Young took over having thrown three collegiate passes, and proceeded to throw for 233 yards per game and just one interception in the final eight games of the season, leading Southern Miss to a 4-4 record as the starter. Fedora has said he’s looking forward to the competition, and that the job is Davis’s to lose. With two full seasons as productive as his freshman year, Davis could still break several school records including career yards and touchdowns. The black and gold offenses rolled to 746 total yards in the spring game, and if that’s any indication of things to come, the Eagles shouldn’t have problems moving the football. The offensive tempo at Southern Miss has picked up tremendously since Fedora took over, and there’s no indication they’ll slow down in 2010. DEFENSE If there’s another area of the game the Golden Eagles want to get quicker, it’s pass defense. Southern Miss was picked apart early and often on defense last year, and finished the season ranked 109th against the pass giving up just over 261 yards a game through the air. The odd part about that statistic is this one: the Golden Eagles ranked 18th nationally in sacks with 35 last season, and were right in the middle of the pack nationally in interceptions (50th) and opposing quarterback rating 62 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo by Bobby McDuffie

(62nd). The answer for Southern Miss defensive coordinator and secondary coach Todd Bradford seems to be becoming smaller and faster. Senior C.J. Bailey and sophomore Marcal Robinson sit atop the depth chart at cornerback now that Alabama transfer and two-year experiment Alonzo Lawrence has officially left campus. Senior Justin Wilson is expected to slide over to free safety, a spot left vacant when Jamie Collins moved from safety to outside linebacker. At 6’2” and 200 pounds, Kendrick Presley certainly has the size of division one strong safety, but he’ll have to overtake senior Chico Hunter to earn the playing time. The Eagles might miss departed senior corner Andre Watson, and if some younger players don’t step up, the secondary could struggle like they did in 2009. When it comes to Collins, the secondary’s loss is the linebacking corps’ gain. The sophomore is a trim 6’3” and 225 pounds, and was often the most physical player on the field for Southern Miss last year.

IT’S TIME FOR A TITLE: COACH LARRY FEDORA begins year three at the helm of Southern Miss and most fans are ready for him to put together a team that will compete to win the Eagles fifth C-USA championship. Collins made the move to outside linebacker in the spring, and is expected to be used as a 3-4, 4-3 hybrid in order to utilize his speed in rushing the quarterback. Collins’ 2009 tackle total of 48 should balloon in the coming season if he can get the playing time. He might have trouble, considering the Eagles also return the teams’ top three returning tacklers in middle linebacker Korey Williams and outside ‘backers Ronnie Thornton and Martez Smith. With Hendrick Leverette and Tim Green providing further support, the linebacking corps may well be the deepest position on the team. They will combine with a veteran defensive line to try and improve on a run defense that ranked 43rd nationally, allowing 130 yards per game. That line is solid at the ends with juniors


USA play, but the early part of the season is no cake-walk. After kicking off the college football season against the Gamecocks in Columbia on ESPN, the Eagles will head home for a Sept. 11 contest against 2009 Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Prairie View A&M. The Eagles will stay at home for a match up with Kansas, who defeated the Golden Eagles last year in Lawrence. The pre-conference portion of the schedule ends with another road game against a 2009 bowl team Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss will have a chance to get their footing in the Conference USA-East race at home early with two home games against Marshall and East Carolina in Hattiesburg to open league play. After a road game against the rival Memphis Tigers, the Eagles return to Hattiesburg for a shot at revenge over UAB, who defeated Southern Miss for the first time in school history last season. The season closes out with three of the final four games of the season on the road. The Eagles will travel to Tulane, Central Florida and Tulsa, and host Houston in what could turn into a key game on Nov. 20. MSM

2009 RESULTS

Deddrick Jones and Cordarro Law both returning to starting roles and sophomores Joel Ross, Octavius Thomas and Khyri Thornton waiting in the wings. Senior Anthony Gray will anchor the line from the defensive tackle position, and has been named to the Outland Trophy watch-list. The award is given to the nation’s top interior lineman on either side of the ball. Terrance Pope and David Boyce should each get plenty of snaps at the secondary tackle position. SPECIAL TEAMS There are still more questions than answers on special teams for the Golden Eagles, who had 10 failed extra point attempts in 2009 and made 14 of 20 field goal attempts. Justin Estes returns as the team leader in field goals after making 10 of 13 attempts, including a 49-yarder, in 2009. Daniel Hrapmann also returns, and made four of seven attempts. Peter Boehme punted the ball 54 times last year, and 26 times put the ball inside the opponents’ 20 yard line and kicked it over 50 yards 12 times. He should hold on to his position as long as he matches last year’s average of 38.5 yards a kick. OVERVIEW How much the Southern Miss defense and special teams have grown from last year’s slow start remains a mystery, but it should be clear on Sept. 2 at South Carolina, when the Eagles face one of their biggest challenges right off the bat to start the season. The schedule sets up nicely for the Eagles in terms of Conference

DATE OPPONENT W/L Sept. 5 Alcorn State W Sept. 12 UCF W Sept. 19 VIRGINIA W Sept. 26 @ Kansas L Oct. 1 @ UAB L Oct. 10 @ Louisville L Oct. 17 MEMPHIS W Oct. 24 TULANE W Oct. 31 @ Houston L Nov. 14 @ Marshall W Nov. 21 TULSA W Nov. 28 @ East Carolina L Dec. 20* Middle Tennessee L *2009 RL Carriers New Orleans Bowl

SCORE ATTEND 52-0 36,232 26-19 27,456 37-34 31,170 28-35 50,025 17-30 26,871 23-25 37,268 36-16 30,022 43-6 30,541 43-50 20,125 27-20 21,036 44-34 28,757 20-25 43,006 32-42 30,22

RETURNING LEADERS PASSING A. Davis M. Young

ATT COMP PCT 156 108 57.4 230 132 69.2

RUSHING M. Young T. Lampley

ATT 72 8

YDS 372 66

AVG 4.1 8.0

TD 1 0

RECEIVING D. Brown Q. Pierce

NO. 47 25

YDS 785 247

AVG 16.7 9.9

TD 9 2

KICKING FGM-FGA J. Estes 10-13 D. Hrapmman 4-7

PATs 28-33 14-18

PTS 58 26

LG

BLK

PUNTING B. Barefoot

YDS 1,987

AVG 40.6

LG 58

BLK 0

NO. 49

YDS 1,165 1,861

TD INT 10 2 16 3

TACKLES: K. Williams 121; R. Thornton, 114 SACKS: K. Wiiliams 8.5; C. Law, 7.5 INT’s: J. Wilson, M. Smith, 2 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 63


Output On: June 28, 2010 9:56 AM

SEPTEMBER 2 @ SOUTH CAROLINA 6:30 PM

SEPTEMBER 11

SEPTEMBER 17

PRAIRIE VIEW A&M

KANSAS

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

SEPTEMBER 25 @ LOUISIANA TECH 6:00 PM

OCTOBER 30

NOVEMBER 6 @ TULANE* 2:30 PM

SEPTEMBER 2 @ UCF* 11:00 AM

OCTOBER 16 @ MEMPHIS* 11:00 AM

UAB* 11:00 AM

HOME

64 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

High-Resolution PDF - PRINT READY

AWAY

* CONFERENCE USA GAME

OCTOBER 2

OCTOBER 9

MARSHALL*

EAST CAROLINA*

7:00 PM

6:30 PM

NOVEMBER 20

NOVEMBER 26 @ TULSA* 5:30 PM

HOUSTON* 6:00 PM

ALL TIMES CENTRAL AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE


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www.msfbins.com Mississippi Sports Magazine - 65


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Jackson State

By Wesley Peterson JSU Sports Information

TIGERS

2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 3-7; 3-4 SWAC EAST

HEAD COACH: RICK COMEGY (5TH YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 2

DELTA STATE

11 @ Tennesse State 18 @ Grambling 25 MS VALLEY OCTOBER 9

ALABAMA A&M

16 SOUTHERN 23 @ TX. Southern 30 PRAIRIE VIEW NOVEMBER 6

@ Alabama St.

13 @ UAPB 20 ALCORN

ANALYSIS: Inconsistent play has frustrated Tiger fans for the past decade. Comegy needs to make a legitimate title run in 2010 or the seat may get a little warm in Tigerland. JSU used to average 25,000 fans per home game and over the past decade that number has dropped dramatically due to poor play. If the offense can improve and Trae Rutland can play as good as advertised, the Tigers may be heading to Birmingham in 2010 to battle for the SWAC Championship.

66 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

OL Keyun Swinney Photo courtey JSU Sports Information

Blue Bengals look to bounce back to prominence in SWAC after mediocre 2009

J

ackson State head coach Rick Comegy is optimistic about the 2010 season. Comegy and the Tigers look to bounce back from a disappointing 2009 campaign and regain their seat at the head of the Southwestern Athletic Conference table. “This is our bounce back year,” said Comegy. “We have made some changes within the

coaching staff that I think will help our players excel.” Comegy added Ernest Wilson as the new offensive coordinator, Gregory Black as the offensive line coach and Carl Roberts as the special teams coach in the spring. Wilson, who previously coached at New Mexico State, is installing the spread offense. No significant changes were made

on the defensive coaching side of the ball, with Darrin Hayes as the defensive coordinator. JSU’s “Dark Side” defense was ranked eighth in total defense in the NCAA (FCS – formerly Division IAA) last season. “All of the good teams in the SWAC can score a lot of points. We needed to make a change in the offensive philosophy to


2009 TEAM STATS

DB Anthony Johnson

Photo courtey JSU Sports Information

balance out the team and help the defense.” JSU is coming off a 3-7 record; the only losing season in Comegy’s four with the university. The Tigers were selected in the 2009 preseason polls to win the SWAC Eastern Division title and square off against Grambling State for the conference crown. The Tigers struggled most of the season, mainly because of offensive inefficiency, and when the season came to an end Jackson State sat in third place in the East. OFFENSE The JSU offense struggled to produce on a consistent basis. The Tigers were hampered by injuries along the offensive line which contributed to the sluggish offensive output. Heading into 2010 the JSU coaching staff has several athletic signal callers to plug into the new system. Eight starters will return from last season’s team. McDonald will look to take over as the full time starter this season. He is the only QB on roster with significant Division I (FCS) experience. To go along with a season of collegiate football under his belt, he also spent the spring learning the new offense. In the annual spring game he showed flashes of

excitement, as he completed nine passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Red-shirt freshman Ryant Denton will also compete for the starting position. Denton learned from the sidelines last season and also benefited from spring practice in the new offense. He did not complete any passes (0-3) but showed athleticism and elusiveness, picking up 18 yards and a rushing TD on three scrambles. Three newcomers are also expected to push for playing time. Torrey Harkness, Tevin Chapman and Teshon Burton should all be in the mix for JSU. Harness is the only one of the three with any collegiate experience. At Los Angeles Southwest College he passed for 969 yards and five touchdowns. Chapman, a fresh man from Central High School (Hattiesburg, MS) is a onestart rated dual QB by Scout.com. As a senior he threw for 1,008 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 1,097 yds and 15 TDs. Burton, a freshman from Leuzinger HS (CA), is a two star dual threat prospect according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. During his senior season he passed for 2607 yards, 23 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also rushed for a team high 442 yards and another seven touchdowns. “We feel good about the quarterback

................................................ JSU OPP SCORING.................................. 139 189 Points Per Game.....................13.9 18.9 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 135 143 Rushing................................... 54 59 Passing.................................... 71 70 Penalty.................................... 10 14 RUSHING YARDAGE................. 752 1052 Yards gained rushing............. 1280 1444 Yards lost rushing................... 528 392 Rushing Attempts................... 360 358 Average Per Rush....................2.1 2.9 Average Per Game.................75.2 105.2 TDs Rushing............................. 8 8 PASSING YARDAGE................. 1599 1547 Att-Comp-Int.................... 288-134-13 261-128-18 Average Per Pass.....................5.6 5.9 Average Per Catch..................11.9 12.1 Average Per Game................159.9 154.7 TDs Passing.............................. 6 14 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 2351 2599 Total Plays.............................. 648 619 Average Per Play.....................3.6 4.2 Average Per Game................235.1 259.9 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards.........40-733 34-620 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards........20-110 20-241 INT RETURNS: #-Yards............18-171 13-313 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........18.3 18.2 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE..........5.5 12.1 INT RETURN AVERAGE..............9.5 24.1 FUMBLES-LOST.......................23-12 17-10 PENALTIES-Yards....................99-813 88-771 Average Per Game.................81.3 77.1 PUNTS-Yards.........................65-2475 60-2184 Average Per Punt....................38.1 36.4 Net punt average...................32.8 32.9 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...30:38 30:35 3RD-DOWN Conversions........41/141 40/140 3rd-Down Pct.........................29% 29% 4TH-DOWN Conversions..........2/14 6/14 4th-Down Pct.........................14% 43% SACKS BY-Yards.....................26-166 24-177 MISC YARDS............................... 1 26 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 15 24 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS.........12-18 7-16 ON-SIDE KICKS..........................0-0 0-01 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 21-32 66% 20-34 59% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 12-32 38% 14-34 41% PAT-ATTEMPTS................... 11-14 79% 18-22 82% ATTENDANCE........................ 107335 63656 Games/Avg Per Game.........5/17889 3/21220 Neutral Site Games................... 1/33977 SCORE BY QUARTERS...1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total JSU................................ 16 44 14 65 0 139 Opponents.................... 51 45 42 44 0 189 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 67


position,” said Comegy. “We believe that any of the players we have on roster can come in and help us if we need them to.” To go along with the quarterbacks, JSU has a group of talented receivers. Juniors Wilder and Tiller look to have the breakout season that JSU fans have been waiting on. In the receiver friendly spread offense both players should be able to thrive. Wilder is one of the faster players on the team and Tiller is a huge target with good hands. Also returning is senior Anthony Mayes, who tied for a team high 24 receptions for 285 yards and two TDs last season. Sophomore Rico Richardson caught 15 passes for 135 yards. Richardson was also a standout on special teams. He was second in the SWAC in punt return average (9.2 avg). Junior college transfer Desmond Ratliff will also look to play a prominent part in the passing attack. Last season at Pearl River CC he caught 85 passes for 1055 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Tigers have a stable of solid running backs. Juniors Darius Bolela and Luther Edwards look to bounce back from a disappointing sophomore campaigns. Bolela rushed for 150 yards on 43 carries and Edwards finished with 102 yards and two TDs on 51 attempts. Senior Jewrad Smith will also look to get involved in the offense as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Last season he caught three passes for 26 yards and rushed for another 22 yards. Junior Demario Pippen will also look to be a pass catching threat. Last season he six passes for 49 yards. Newcomers B.J. Lee and Tommy Gooden are expected to be major contributors this season. The offensive line should be strength for the Tigers. JSU improved its depth along the line and because of the injury bug last season a lot of young players got playing time early in the season, gaining valuable experience. The offensive line will have five starters return this season. Seniors Terrael Williams, Michael Odister and Antonio Colston will lead the line. Also returning for JSU are senior Talon Boudreaux, senior Jarel Walker, junior Keyun Sweeny, sophomore Roderick Gladney, sophomore Ameer Townes, and sophomore Luis McLeod. While the offense is expected to be better than last season, Tiger fans should not get their hopes up for an offensive powerhouse through the first half of the season. “We are installing a new offense and bringing in new coaching staff members on that side of the ball, so there will be a learning curve,” said Comegy. “Early on patience will be a virtue.”

the 2009 team. Seniors Ryan Rich, Sam Washington, Kerry Hoskins and Anthony Johnson will lead the defense in 2010. Rich, who recorded 40 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and six interceptions last season, will lead the linebackers. He was also ranked fifth in the FCS in interceptions and was tied for 16th in the SWAC in pass breakups. Washington returns from a back injury in 2009 to anchor a talented defensive line. He was an All-SWAC performer during the 2008 season and looks to return to form this season. Safety Hoskins and corner back Johnson highlight a talented secondary. Hoskins had an outstanding season in 2009. He recorded 36 tackles, seven interceptions and four pass breakups. He was ranked second in the FCS in INTs, fifth in the SWAC in passes defended and was a College Sporting News All-American honorable mention. Johnson is perhaps the most complete corner back in the SWAC. Last season he had 19 tackles, three interceptions (ranked 50th in FCS) and five pass breakups. He was also ranked ninth in the SWAC in passes defended. JSU will have pretty good depth on the defensive line. Juniors Donovan Robinson, Charles Mustafaa and Neal Pogue bring great experience to the table. Robinson was the fourth leading tackler last season, as he recorded 51 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss (ranked 22nd in FCS, 5th in SWAC) and four sacks. He was also ranked 32nd in the SWAC in total tackles. Mustafaa came on strong in the second half of the season and finished with seven tackles, while Pogue had 27 tackles and four sacks. Sophomores Johnathan Billups and Javarius Conner each finished with three tackles last season. Sophomore Jamal Carter, who is one of the strongest members of the team, had one tackle, a tackle for loss and a sack. Joining Rich at linebacker are seniors Ernest Brocks and David Graddy, sophomores Milton Patterson and Corderic Govan. Brocks had one tackle last season and Graddy finished with five. Govan had 25 tackles. Seniors Jalil Johnson and Jeremy Keys also bring experience to the secondary. Johnson recorded 19 tackles and four pass breakups, and Keys had nine tackles last season. Junior Andre Wright and sophomore Richard Hughes will add depth. “Once again we have the pieces to be one of the best defenses in the conference,” said Comegy. “We are solid along the line, at linebacker and in the secondary. We will just see how quickly we can jell together.”

DEFENSE Last season the Dark Side defense kept the Tigers in every game. This season, with some help from the offense, the JSU defense could be even better. Seven starters will return from

SPECIAL TEAMS The Tigers will have to replace All-SWAC performers in kicker Eric Perri and punter Brett Bennett in the kicking game. Redshirt sophomore Jabril Smith and transfer David Gallagher will look to pick up where Perri

68 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

and Bennett left off. Smith is a strong legged kicker. As a freshman he averaged 50.1 yards per kickoff and in the 2010 spring game he made field goals from 48 and 41 yards. Last season Gallagher played at Coahoma Community College. Last season the Tigers had problems with the snappers, but solidified the position with sophomore Ladarius Kimp. He took over the position late in the season and had a solid spring. Sophomore Alfred Moreland (5‐7, 185) will handle kick return duties. Last season he returned 25 kicks for 466 yards (18.6 avg). He was ranked eighth in the SWAC in the category. Rico Richardson will field punts. Last season he returned nine for 83 yards (9.2 avg). He was ranked second in the SWAC in punt return average. OUTLOOK With 15 starters returning, seven from the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s top ranked defense, the Tigers should be one of the favorites in the SWAC for the 2010 season. “We have high expectations every season,” Comegy said. “We believe that we can compete for a SWAC championship every season. Jackson State is built on that tradition and we are working to keep that tradition going.” If JSU is going to make it to the SWAC championship game on Dec. 11 the Tigers must generate offensive continuity before getting into the meat of the schedule. There are five key games on schedule for JSU.The Tigers will face non-conference rival Tennessee State during the Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 11 in Memphis. JSU has not beaten the TSU since 2002. The following week JSU will travel to Grambling, LA to face the Grambling State Tigers. Grambling will again be in the hunt for the SWAC Western Division title. On Sept. 25 the Tigers will host in-state rival Mississippi Valley State at Memorial Stadium. Jackson State’s Oct. 3 matchup against Prairie View A&M will be one of the biggest games of the season. The game is during homecoming week and Prairie View is the defending SWAC champion. The PVAM Panthers will be in the hunt for their second consecutive SWAC West title. The final game of the season, the Capital City Classic against Alcorn State, on Nov. 20 could determine if JSU represents the SWAC East in the conference championship game. For three of the last four seasons Jackson State’s championship game aspirations have been tied to the outcome the CCC. In 2006, if the Tigers would have beaten Alcorn, JSU would have won the east. In 2007 JSU beat Alcorn and went on to win its first conference title under Comegy. In 2008 JSU again beat Alcorn, but lost to Grambling in the championship game. - MSM


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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 69


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Alcorn State

By LLJuna Weir ASU Sports Information

BRAVES

2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 3-6; 3-4 SWAC EAST

HEAD COACH: ERNEST COLLINS, JR. (2ND YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 18 @ MS Valley 25 ALABAMA STATE OCTOBER 2

@ Miss. State

9

TEXAS. SOUTHERN

16 @ Granbling 21 UAPB 30 SOUTHERN NOVEMBER 6

@ Alabama A&M

13 @ Prairie View 20 JSU

ANALYSIS: An 0-3 start that saw Alcorn State go scoreless in its first two games while being outscored 1000 by Football Bowl Subdivision members Southern Mississippi and Central Michigan was not a good start for first year Coach Ernest Collins, Jr. But the team showed promise despite a losing season and Collins starts his 2nd year in 2010 with hopes of turning around a program that has not been to the SWAC title game since it’s inception in 1999.

70 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

RB Arnold Walker

Photo courtesy Alcorn State

Braves looking to get back in the thick of the SWAC title chase in 2010

A

fter another lackluster season on the “Academic Reservation” in Lorman, Braves Head Coach Ernest Collins, Jr. went back to the drawing board in the off-season to see what went wrong. One thing Collins did was move quarterback coach Michael Armour to offensive coordinator as an attempt to spice up an offense.

Armour will have to replace quarterback Tim Buckley. The senior from Madison, Miss., passed for 931 yards, nine touchdowns in 2009. He averaged 220.6 yards total offense. Buckley conjured up memories of McNair with a masterful performance in the Braves’ loss to Southern last season. He passed for 408 yards and five touchdowns. Three of

his touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter as the Braves rallied from a 35-14 deficit. So who will stand up and take his place? Can the Alcorn offense keep up the pace it had last season? We soon shall see. OFFENSE New Offensive Coordinator, Michael Armour, will head


2009 TEAM STATS

WB Terrence Lewis

Photo courtesy Alcorn State

the Braves’ offense this fall. Armour was the quarterback coach last season for the Braves. He was instrumental in the development of former Braves’ Quarterback Timothy Buckley. The Braves will return eight starters on offense from 2009: tailback Arnold Walker; wide receivers Edward Johnson, Terrance Lewis, and Ryan Singleton; center Isaac Williams; tackles Nate Fears and Jerry Salas, and guard Robert Benson. Others with starting experience include offensive tackle Willie Ryas and running back Gabriel Nash. With all the returning personnel, The Brave Nation is hopeful that it can build upon last year’s offensive output that saw it finish 6th in the SWAC (274.6), 3rd in passing offense, and 34th nationally. Look for the offense to improve the rushing totals this upcoming season. “Our goal each year on offense is to create a balanced attack and continue to expand our offense. It’ll be all about competition on the offensive side of the ball, as we have a lot of players who can contribute and a number of ways to use them. We’ll surround our new quarterback with some impressive talent that will allow us to put together an explosive, wide - open offense. We’ll be very experienced upfront with our added depth on the offensive line and our skill players are fast and exciting veteran playmakers”, said Armour. “With both Coach Willard Scissums’ of-

RISING STAR: TERRENCE LEWIS will add a boost this upcoming season. He caught 21 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2009. Lewis will play a major role in the special teams. As a freshman, Lewis returned 28 kickoffs for 571 yards. fensive line background in both the NFL and NFL Europa, and Coach Terrance Robinson’s enthusiasm, we have a great 1-2 coaching punch. They’ll be very active and comfortable in their roles with our offense”, said Armour. The quarterback position will be the question mark for the Braves’ offense. Returning is senior Terrance Barnes (6-1 190 SR), who backed up 2 year starter Tim Buckley. Barnes is being pushed by Redshirt freshman quarterback, Darius Smith (6-0 200 Rs FR). Both Barnes and Smith are in a fierce, continuing battle for the starting position. However, if both struggle, look for true freshman Canadian quarterback, Brandon Bridge (6-5 205) or Greenwood, MS native Jeremy Collins to get the nod. The running back positions will be the strong force of the new offense. Sophomore, Arnold Walker (6-0 225 SO), Capital City Classic MVP, had a breakout season as a true freshman in 2009, with 432 yards rushing on 118 carries and three touchdowns. One

................................................ASU OPP SCORING.................................. 174 290 Points Per Game.....................19.3 32.2 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 146 184 Rushing................................... 46 90 Passing.................................... 84 84 Penalty.................................... 16 10 RUSHING YARDAGE................. 767 1457 Yards gained rushing............. 1139 1816 Yards lost rushing................... 372 359 Rushing Attempts................... 283 382 Average Per Rush....................2.7 3.8 Average Per Game.................85.2 161.9 TDs Rushing............................. 6 19 PASSING YARDAGE................. 1975 1753 Att-Comp-Int.................... 291-150-14 262-163-6 Average Per Pass.....................6.8 6.7 Average Per Catch..................13.2 10.8 Average Per Game................219.4 194.8 TDs Passing............................. 16 17 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 2742 3210 Total Plays.............................. 574 644 Average Per Play.....................4.8 5.0 Average Per Game................304.7 356.7 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards.........49-914 26-485 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards........17-212 19-286 INT RETURNS: #-Yards..............6-80 14-275 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........18.7 18.7 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE.........12.5 15.1 INT RETURN AVERAGE.............13.3 19.6 FUMBLES-LOST........................12-8 14-9 PENALTIES-Yards....................74-586 67-659 Average Per Game.................65.1 73.2 PUNTS-Yards.........................50-1867 46-1779 Average Per Punt....................37.3 38.7 Net punt average...................30.0 33.2 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...27:46 32:12 3RD-DOWN Conversions........28/116 47/128 3rd-Down Pct.........................24% 37% 4TH-DOWN Conversions.........10/26 13/18 4th-Down Pct.........................38% 72% SACKS BY-Yards.....................27-199 24-172 MISC YARDS...............................-4 1 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 25 39 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS...........1-7 6-13 ON-SIDE KICKS..........................2-4 0-1 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 15-25 60% 39-47 83% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 14-25 56% 33-47 70% PAT-ATTEMPTS................... 21-24 88% 36-37 97% ATTENDANCE......................... 16274 96658 Games/Avg Per Game..........3/5425 6/16110 Neutral Site Games................... 0/0 SCORE BY QUARTERS...1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total Alcorn........................... 41 34 20 79 0 174 Opponents.................... 48 111 52 79 0 290 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 71


of Walker’s greatest strengths in 2009 was his ability to make positive yards on almost every touch. Walker will be accompanied by fellow Sophomore Gabriel Nash (5-9 185 SO) who had a productive spring football campaign. The Wide Receivers will be a talented group. The split end position is led by Senior Edward Johnson (5-11 190 SR). Johnson, a thee year starter, has led the Braves in receptions the past two seasons. In 2008, Johnson caught 56 passes for 578 yards. Last season, the steady Johnson hauled 41 receptions with 642 yards receiving and six touchdowns. Also returning are the tandem of Senior Ryan “Hollywood” Singleton (6-0 215 SR) and electrifying Sophomore Terrance Lewis (5-10 185 SO). In 2009, the versatile Singleton snagged 41 receptions for 330 yards at both receiver and tight end positions. Lewis, a starter at flanker, will add a boost this upcoming season. Lewis caught 21 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2009. Lewis will play a major role in the special teams. As a freshman, Lewis returned 28 kickoffs for 571 yards. Lewis will be supported by a pair of young redshirted freshman Tavoris Doss (5-9 170 RS FR) and Donte Parker (5-10 180 SO). At the Tight End, Michael Armour, Offensive coordinator, expects this group’s offensive production to increase considerably in 2010. Redshirted freshman, Terrance Green (6-3 235 RS Fr) is expected to contribute more this season. “At offensive line, the Braves will resemble a mass production labor union. These guys are “gritty and bring their hard hats every day,” according to second year offensive line coach, Willard Scissum. The leader of the pack is two year starter, and 2nd Team All–SWAC center, Isaac Williams (6-2 290 JR). The veteran, Williams will team up with 3 year contributor, Robert Benson (6-1 300 SR). Benson, who was a center early in his career made the transition to offensive guard this past spring. He will be pushed by junior college transfers Avis Shelton (6-2 310 JR) and Cornelius Brown (6-3 315). Shelton, who participated in spring drills, was a great addition to the offensive line. Shelton played at East Mississippi Community College (2009 Mississippi Bowl Champs) in Scooba, MS. At left tackle, is the quick footed, Junior Nate Fears (6-4 280 JR). Fears, has manned the left tackle position since arriving on “THE RESERVATION”. Jerry Salas will return as the starter at right tackle. Salas a two year starter, will be backed by sophomore offensive tackles, Willie Ryas (6-3 295 SO) and Brian Malone (6-5 305 SO). Malone is a transfer from nearby Hinds Community College in Raymond, MS. DEFENSE The 2010 Alcorn State Braves Defense will feature nine returning starters, including two All-SWAC performers in Malcolm Taylor (1st Team All-SWAC) and Josh Cragin (2nd Team 72 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Alcorn State

DE Malcolm Taylor

All SWAC). The 2010 ASU Defense will also have nine other Braves with either starting experience or significant playing time. Lost are Safety Tomasi Fuller, ASU Defensive MVP and Corner Back Rod Williams who signed a NFL free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Braves Defense returns a veteran front seven that tied a NCAA Single Game Record with 14 Sacks. The Alcorn State University front four Defensive Linemen are a veteran group that have some very talented players on the edges. Led by Senior All-SWAC 1st Team Defensive End Malcolm Taylor and a talented Junior Defensive Lineman Brandon Morris, the Braves will exert some pressure on the Quarterback. The two interior tackles will be anchored by a blue collar group that will man the Defensive Tackle and Nose Tackle Positions by committee. This group will be led by Senior Nose Randy Carter and Sophomore Defensive Tackle Stephen Howard. Two other players that will see significant action are sophomore Matt Haynes and Senior Chukwuma Osuala. ASU again looks to be strong at the Linebacker Position with the return of several veteran players. The Linebacker Core is highlighted by two talented players in particular. Beginning with the return of its leaders, Sophomore Middle Linebacker Herve TonyeTonye, who was lost last year in the second game of the season to injury and Josh Cragin, senior 2nd Team All-SWAC Performer, these Braves will return with a vengeance. With the addition of East Mississippi Junior College transfer Kenny Roby, it has a starting group that has the potential to be a positive force in

2010. Sophomore Linebackers Donovan Hill and Terrance Jenkins add the much needed depth. Traditionally, the Alcorn State Braves are among the best in the Conference when it comes to defensive back play. In the 2010 season, the Braves will have to replace two very talented players in Tomasi Fuller who was the ASU 2009 Defensive MVP and Corner Back Rod Williams who signed a NFL free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Braves 2010 Secondary will be led by Junior Safety Jason Owens and Senior Corner Back Jameson Smith. Senior Kirderra Hall looks to be the other starting corner, also in the mix is College of DuPage transfer Rahmon Brown. At the other Safety position Senior Javoris Tribune and Sophomore Mark Nyainda are battling it out for the nod at the starting spot. The ASU secondary returns four players that have starting experience from 2009. SPECIAL TEAMS Senior Linebacker/Punter Josh Cragin will return for his 2nd season as the Braves Punter. Cragin averaged 37.3 yards per punt in 2009, for the 4th best average in the SWAC. Senior Ryan McMahon will have to battle for the job as Place Kicker with Arturo Tamayo, incoming Junior College Transfer from California. Tamayo can punt the ball as well, which will give the Braves some insurance behind Cragin. Junior College Transfer Laron Trigg will be the team’s new long snapper in 2010, for both PAT/FG and Punt. - MSM


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2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Mississippi Valley

By William Bright MVSU Sports Information

DELTA DEVILS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 3-8; 1-6 SWAC EAST

HEAD COACH: KARL A. MORGAN (1ST YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 4

@ Alabama State

11 @ South Carolina St. 18 ALCORN 25 @ Jackson St. OCTOBER 2

PRAIRIE VIEW

9

@ Southern

23 GRAMBLING 30 @ Texas Southern NOVEMBER 6

@ UAPB

13 ALABAMA A&M

ANALYSIS: With the unexpected departure of nose tackle Jared Green, the Delta Devil front line is a unit in need of leadership and some experience. The offensive line needs to improve dramatically as the Delta Devils barely averaged just over 60 yards a game on the ground. The OL also gave up 58 sacks and needs to protect the QB if they have any chance of making a run for the SWAC title game. MVSU has yet to make it to Birmingham.

74 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

RB Stepehen Robert Photo courtesy MVSU Sports Information

Delta Devils heading into 2010 with new faces all around the program

R

ice. Totten. Cooley. Knight. Nelson. Moore. Question. What do these names have in common? Answer: Delta Devil greats who are not on the roster this season. Morgan. C. Williams. Malone. Bowie. Stargell. Burrell. A. Williams. McFadden. Question: What do these names have in common? Answer: Names of the

2010 MVSU Delta Devil program that will have to come up big if the team is to be successful this season. The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils come into the 2010 season with a new head coach, a new style of play and a list of unanswered questions longer than roll call during the first week of army basic training. However,

two things are certain - this is not your average program and this is not going to be a cakewalk. Gone are a core group of seniors who were battle tested and had a chance to taste the best and the worst of MVSU football. From the team’s first winning season in a long time to enduring backto-back eight-loss campaigns, it has been the best and the worst


2009 TEAM STATS

Photo courtesy MVSU Sports Information

of times for this program. However, with a new, energetic sheriff in town and joined by a cacophony of talented, yet somewhat inexperienced group of student-athletes, expect to see something different from the 2010 MVSU Delta Devil football team.

NEW DELTA DEVILS HEAD COACH KARL MORGAN is now in charge and is looking to turn things around in Itta Bena in 2010. The Valley faithfull have endured some tough seasons of late and are wanting a winner in the Mississippi Delta.

OFFENSE When fans look to the field for the 2010 football season, those looking for a unit looking to score quickly through the air will not find it. A new offensive scheme based on ball control, spreading the field and using the athletes on the field will be in place and looks to be effective with the personnel at hand. The Delta Devils return two quarterbacks from last season that saw some action and entered the spring hungry to take the starting reins. With the departure of two-year starter Paul Roberts, Anthony Bowie and Marvin Pittman each had their chance to show why the starting spot should be theirs. During the spring, Bowie and Pittman each got their snaps with the projected first unit and each was able to distinguish. Pittman (6-1, 185 Sr.), a transfer from Coahoma Community College, used his athleticism and quickness to be effective. Bowie (6-0, 180 Soph), a sophomore from Birmingham’s Erwin High, showed a strong arm to make the quality throws and began to show the decision making skills needed in the new

MVSU style of offense. However, actual game experience on the Division I level is limited. Combined, the two signal callers combined to complete 41-of-105 pass attempts for 642 yards, a touchdown and six interceptions. One down spot for the program last season was the production from the offensive backfield. Limited production forced the offense into several difficult positions – the likes of which the Delta Devils need to avoid this season to be effective. Returning to the fold is a couple of capable running backs which must produce early and often for MVSU in 2010. The team’s leading rusher last season returns in the person of Stephen Robert. In 2009, he had 54 carries for 207 yards and three touchdowns. But he must improve on his 3.8 yards per carry average if he has any chance at leading this offense. Robert (6-1, 215, Sr.) also helped out in the passing game, being the team’s third leading receiver with 27 catches for 348 yards – an average of 12.9 yards per reception. Also returning are Milton Gaston and Tristian Hudnall. Gaston is a strong pow-

.............................................. MVSU OPP SCORING.................................. 146 295 Points Per Game.....................13.3 26.8 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 167 202 Rushing................................... 50 109 Passing................................... 100 76 Penalty.................................... 17 17 RUSHING YARDAGE................. 674 1756 Yards gained rushing............. 1182 2179 Yards lost rushing................... 508 423 Rushing Attempts................... 330 438 Average Per Rush....................2.0 4.0 Average Per Game.................62.3 159.6 TDs Rushing............................. 6 23 PASSING YARDAGE................. 2075 1957 Att-Comp-Int.................... 343-157-15 280-169-5 Average Per Pass.....................6.0 7.0 Average Per Catch..................13.2 11.6 Average Per Game................188.6 177.9 TDs Passing............................. 13 12 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 2749 3713 Total Plays.............................. 673 718 Average Per Play.....................4.1 5.2 Average Per Game................249.9 337.5 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards.........57-897 30-604 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards.........17-98 27-444 INT RETURNS: #-Yards..............5-73 15-290 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........16.6 20.1 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE..........5.8 16.4 INT RETURN AVERAGE.............14.6 19.3 FUMBLES-LOST.......................20-12 17-10 PENALTIES-Yards....................83-651 125-1094 Average Per Game.................59.2 99.5 PUNTS-Yards.........................70-2507 55-1936 Average Per Punt....................35.8 35.2 Net punt average...................28.3 31.6 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...28:28 31:22 3RD-DOWN Conversions........32/139 43/136 3rd-Down Pct.........................23% 32% 4TH-DOWN Conversions..........7/21 7/21 4th-Down Pct.........................33% 33% SACKS BY-Yards.....................30-198 58-372 MISC YARDS.............................. 20 -3 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 19 39 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS...........5-7 11-14 ON-SIDE KICKS..........................0-0 0-1 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 19-32 59% 37-49 76% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 14-32 44% 27-49 55% PAT-ATTEMPTS................... 15-17 88% 26-32 81% ATTENDANCE......................... 10885 46257 Games/Avg Per Game..........5/2177 5/9251 Neutral Site Games................... 1/42600 SCORE BY QUARTERS...1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total Valley............................ 33 49 30 34 0 146 Opponents.................... 75 94 55 71 0 295 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 75


erful back who possess great speed for a 6-foot, 250-pound rusher. Hudnall (5-11, 205, Sr.) is a speed back mostly used on kick returns last season. He has decent hands and has enough athletic ability to be an elusive runner downfield. Wide Receivers. The most experienced group on the offensive side of the ball include the members of the wide receiver corps. With the top five receivers returning from last season and a new scheme that should allow them to use their outstanding athletic skills with and without the ball, fans and supporters should expect big things from this group of exciting performers. Chris Williams, Brandon Stargell, Paul Cox and Cameron Russ will be the leaders of the unit as they look to return to their position of offensive dominance. Williams (511, 150, Soph), a sophomore from Birmingham, had 32 receptions for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Stargell (6-2, 195, Sr.) led the unit with 31 receptions for 447 yards and four touchdowns – his 14.4 yards per catch average will go along way into pushing the Delta Devil offense down the field. Cox – a big and fast receiver at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds – has shown flashes of greatness with 20 catches for 285 yards and two scores. The lesser known of the group proved to make big catches at needed times last season. Russ’s 18 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns may not have been awe-inspiring, but Russ (6-0, 170, Sr.) has shown the ability to be a possession-style receiver will make him extremely important this season. Combined with the production from the Delta Devil running backs – especially Robert and Hudnall – all the pieces of the puzzle could be in place for a strong offensive showing. Offensive Line. The Delta Devil offensive line must step up and be a powerful unit for Mississippi Valley State to be a success in 2010. With four starters returning on the unit, the battle in the trenches should be an interesting one. Among those returning are offensive lineman Keynnon Mumphrey (6-0, 300), Ian Luckett (6-2, 300), Cory Wright (6-2, 315) and Bryant Taylor (6-4, 310). DEFENSE Last season, an attacking, ball-hawking style of defensive play was on the field and found favor in the eyes of the beholder. This season, while the scheme may look different, the thought behind the process will be the same get to the ball, cause turnovers and confusion, and make an impact. With the graduation of Chris Ivy and Daniel Clay along with the unexpected departure of nose tackle Jared Green, the Delta Devil front line is a unit in need of leadership and some experience. However the group is not totally young as two players return to take charge of the unit. Reginald Foster and David Coleman will be called upon to be a force in the trenches. Foster (6-1, 260, Jr.) finished 76 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

last season with 59 total tackles (5th most on team) along with five sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Coleman (62, 285, Sr.) is a strong defensive lineman who saw limited action last season. However, with a strong spring practice and improved conditioning, he will be needed to be a leader on and off the field. For a number of years, the linebackers’ group was the heart and soul of the Delta Devil defense. While the names have changed, the impact that the group must provide this season remains the same. Rory Malone, Dekoven Burrell, Desmond Spivey are three of the players who will be counted on to make impact plays throughout the season. Malone (5-10, 225 Sr.) was the leader of the defense last season. He led the team with 76 total tackles WR Paul Cox while garnering two sacks, an interception and 6.5 tackles for loss. Burrell (6-0, 210, Jr.) had Photo courtesy MVSU Sports Information 43 tackles and 1 ½ sacks in 2009 while Spivey (5-11, 198, Jr.) finished with 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a in this area. sack. Last season, the MVSU secondary showed SCHEDULE the ability to be impact players. Led by de- The 2010 football schedule is a competitive parting free safeties Michael Higgins (third one that features contests against all the memon team in tackles) and Ryan Burciaga, the bers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference secondary showed the ability to play fast and and a non-conference match-up with a tough hard. This season, with a good number of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference institution. those young men returning, the MVSU defen- “The 2010 Delta Devil football season is going sive backfield will again need to be a impor- to be an electrifying campaign,” said interim tant cog in Coach Morgan’s scheme. Leading director of athletics Donald Sims. “With the that charge will be returning starters Markkus caliber of athletes that the SWAC produces Davis, Armon Williams and Michael Boykins. and a current infusion of new coaches and Davis (6-2, 195 Sr.) should resume the starting new ideas, football fans can expect a season strong safety role. The team’s second-leading filled with competition and excitement.” tackler last season finished with 72 total tack- The month of September features road conles, two pass breakups and a sack. Williams tests at Alabama State, South Carolina State of and Boykins will be in the running for the the MEAC and Jackson State which bookend starting cornerback positions while Williams the home opener against Alcorn State on Sepmay be in line to take over at free safety. Wil- tember 18. In October, MVSU will face traliams (6-2, 200, Jr.) had 34 tackles and a sack ditional conference title contenders in Prairie last year while Boykins (5-11, 180 Sr.) tallied View A&M, Southern, Grambling State and Texas Southern. In the final month of the sea25 tackles and an interception. son, the Delta Devils will face rival institution Arkansas-Pine Bluff and will celebrate HomeSPECIAL TEAMS Carlos Sanchez and Zack Gilarski return to coming 2010 against Alabama A&M. serve as the kicker and punter for the Delta “We are excited about the challenge that the Devils. While both have handled all of the du- upcoming schedule presents,” said new MVSU ties, Sanchez will specialize in the field goals head coach Karl Morgan. “Starting the season and kickoffs while Gilarski – an all-conference with Alabama State, followed by the MEAC punter in 2008 – will handle the punting re- champion and FCS playoff participant South Carolina State and closing the month of Sepsponsibilities. In the return game, it will be player-by- tember with our in-state rivals Alcorn State committee as a number of Devils will see time. and Jackson State – we are going to see just Paul Cox, Brandon Stargell, Gerard Hall and where we are in the opening four weeks of the Tristian Hudnall seem to be the front runners season.” - MSM


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2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Delta State

By Donnel Maxie The Bolivar Commercial

FIGHTIN’ OKRA 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 5-5; 4-4 GSC HEAD COACH: RON ROBERTS (3RD YEAR) SEPTEMBER 4

@ Jackson St.

9

ARKANSAS TECH

18 @ Valdosta St. 25 HENDERSON STATE 30 W. ALABAMA OCTOBER 7

ARKANSASMONTICELLO

16 HARDING 23 @ W. Georgia 28 N. ALABAMA NOVEMBER 6

@ Ouachita Baptist TREVAR DEED was the man for the Statesmen rushing and catching the ball in 2010. He was simply sensational with the ball in his hands. He may be DSU’s first Conerly winner since Josh Bright won the award in 2000.

ANALYSIS: After a 5-5 regular season in 2009, the fans of the “Fightin’ Okra” were asking each other “what happened?” DSU football is one that prides itself with always being in contention for not just a Gulf South Conference Championship but being in contention for the National Championship. In 2010 Coach Ron Roberts will try to right the ship and have the Statesmen heading back to the playoffs or things could get hotter than a Delta summer afternoon in Cleveland.

78 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy The Bolivar Commercial

Delta State looks to bounce back in 2010 after a rare sub-par season

F

or many Delta State University Football fans the 2009 season is one that no one wants to remember. For the first time in four years the Statesmen did not qualify for the postseason as they finished with a .500 record in league play. With the sting of a poor season behind them, Head Coach Ron Roberts and the Statesmen Grid-

iron Gang is prepared to make some serious noise in 2010 and reclaim their place atop the Gulf South Conference. “A lot of things don’t go as planned in a season and there are a great deal of things that can contribute to that,” said Roberts. “Right now we are excited about the season and it started with a great spring camp. We worked

extremely hard and we have continued to do that as we get ready to grabbed another conference championship,” Roberts explained. Despite the disappointing season, the Statesmen had several players named to the GSC AllConference Team.  Delta State linebacker Lardester Hicks-Green returned to the First


Photo courtesy The Bolivar Commercial

2009 TEAM STATS

DT Matt Melton

Team Defense for the third straight year while running back Trevar Deed returned from last year’s First Team. Brad Latham also made the All-GSC First Team and defensive back Robert Watts was named to the first team defense. Eldred King was selected to the second team as a receiver and Justin Halas made the defensive second team as a linebacker. Two of the highlights for the 2010 season will be the debut of two new assistant coaches as  Greg Stevens will take over the offensive coordinator position and former Statesmen standout, Pete Golding will assume the defensive coordinator position. “I’m real excited about Greg. He’s clearly very intelligent and he works well with the players. I think he’s a great teacher of the game,” said Roberts. “Coach Golding brings a lot of energy to the position. He’s going to take a lot of weight off my shoulders and I think he’s going to give our defense a boost,” he added. Stevens enters his first season as Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach at DSU. Stevens comes to Delta State after serving four years as an assistant at Utah State and replaces the recently departed Darrin Hicks.  From 2005-2008, Stevens worked as the wide receivers coach at Utah State, working with the Aggies’ career receptions leader in All-American Kevin Robinson. Stevens also has ties to the Gulf South Conference, serving as offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas-Monticello for three years. During his stint at UAM, the Boll Weevils set over 30 offensive school records and was ranked among the nation’s top five units. Golding is a former four-year starter and All-conference safety at Delta State University. 

Golding served the past two years as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach under Frankie DeBusk at Tusculum College, a member of the South Atlantic Conference. Prior to being named defensive coordinator in 2008, Golding served as defensive backs coach in 2007. The Pioneers became an explosive and record-setting defensive unit under Golding’s direction. In 2007, Tusculum set a new school record for interceptions with 14 and in 2008 they lead the SAC in sacks and turnovers forced en route to an appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Other coaches will include: Chet Poblish (wide receivers/special teams coordinator), Travis Mikel (Dir. Football Operations), E.K. Franks (defensive line),  Bryan Brown (gradassistant/cornerbacks), Tyler Hennes (gradassistant/offense), Sean O’Sullivan (gradassistant/offense) and Jason Wilkes (gradassistant/defense). OFFENSE In 2009 the Statesmen offense was inconsistent at best. Delta State finished seventh in the conference in scoring offense and passing offense. DSU averaged 27.1 points per game and 239.9 yards per game passing. Delta State was solid last season running the football as they ranked second in the conference averaging 170.5 yards per contest with 17 rushing touchdowns. With a new coordinator in the fold, Roberts insist there will be a new energy, but the offensive philosophy will be the same. “Offensively we will do a lot of things similar. We are going to be able to run the football and  we will spread it out and throw it at the same time. For me, we want to keep developing players and executing the things we’re

................................................DSU OPP SCORING.................................. 271 215 Points Per Game.....................27.1 21.5 FIRST DOWNS.......................... 207 214 Rushing................................... 98 79 Passing.................................... 97 79 Penalty.................................... 12 21 RUSHING YARDAGE................ 1705 1428 Yards gained rushing............. 1938 1682 Yards lost rushing................... 233 254 Rushing Attempts................... 390 345 Average Per Rush....................4.4 4.1 Average Per Game................170.5 142.8 TDs Rushing............................ 17 14 PASSING YARDAGE................. 2399 2294 Att-Comp-Int.................... 355-213-14 394-217-12 Average Per Pass.....................6.8 5.8 Average Per Catch..................11.3 10.6 Average Per Game................239.9 229.4 TDs Passing............................. 16 10 TOTAL OFFENSE...................... 4104 3722 Total Plays.............................. 745 739 Average Per Play.....................5.5 5.0 Average Per Game................410.4 372.2 KICK RETURNS: #-Yards.........42-754 46-1001 PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards........12-277 27-444 INT RETURNS: #-Yards..............5-73 14-177 KICK RETURN AVERAGE...........18.0 21.8 PUNT RETURN AVERAGE.........11.5 9.2 INT RETURN AVERAGE.............23.1 12.6 FUMBLES-LOST........................17-7 15-9 PENALTIES-Yards....................80-681 75-644 Average Per Game.................68.1 64.4 PUNTS-Yards.........................45-1763 52-1914 Average Per Punt....................39.2 36.8 Net punt average...................34.4 31.5 TIME OF POSSESSION/Game...29:29 30:08 3RD-DOWN Conversions........66/158 63/152 3rd-Down Pct.........................42% 41% 4TH-DOWN Conversions.........11/25 8/21 4th-Down Pct.........................44% 38% SACKS BY-Yards.....................15-104 16-91 MISC YARDS.............................. 27 7 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED........... 36 27 FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS..........7-14 10-13 ON-SIDE KICKS..........................1-2 0-0 RED-ZONE SCORES............ 26-39 67% 25-36 69% RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS. 20-39 51% 16-36 44% PAT-ATTEMPTS................... 34-35 97% 23-24 96% ATTENDANCE......................... 20997 35243 Games/Avg Per Game..........4/5249 6/5874 Neutral Site Games................... 0/0 SCORE BY QUARTERS...1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total DSU............................... 87 83 30 71 0 271 Opponents.................... 48 83 30 54 0 215 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 79


running,” said Roberts. One of the big question marks going into spring camp was who would man the quarterback position. Heading out of camp, Senior Micah Davis (6-2/200-pounds) impressed the coaches enough to be named the starter heading into fall camp. Davis is a junior college transfer from Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He started two years at Copiah-Lincoln where he completed 161-of-280 passes for 1,960 yards and 16 touchdowns in his sophomore season. The statesmen will also have Zak Mikel (61, 195-pounds) at quarterback. Mikel poses more of a running threat for the Statesmen. In 2009 Mikel rushed for 160 yards on 34 carries with two touchdowns. Roberts also added more depth to the position by signing Kevin Bye out of California. The running game should be improved as the Statesmen return Deed to the backfield and get Kendall Hunter back on the offensive line. Deed was the man for the Statesmen rushing and catching the ball. He was simply sensational with the ball in his hands.  He ranked second in the conference in rushing with 931 yards on 160 carries and 10 touchdowns. “He (Deed) has been very productive for us over the last couple of years. We are counting on him a lot  this year as well,” said Roberts. Roberts is also excited to have Hunter back this season after suffering a season ending knee injury in the first game of the year. “We’re glad to have Kendall back. He is a really solid player in the GSC and will help us tremendously,” he said. Joining Hunter will be Phillip Yandall giving Roberts two returning starters from last season. One of the most talented groups for the Statesmen offense will be the receiving corp. This group will be led by Ray Chisom, Rafael Mitchell and Todd Bradford from last season.  Two new comers that have shown a great deal of talent for Roberts is Bill Franks and Carlton Ollie. “The receivers will be very good for us this year,” said Roberts. DEFENSE There’s no question that the success of Delta State football begins and ends with the play of the defense. Last season Delta State was third in scoring defense and fifth in total defense. One major statistic was the Statesmen’s ability to buckle down inside the red zone where they ranked second in red-zone defense in the conference. This season with the addition of Golding as defensive coordinator, Roberts is expecting an intense increase in defensive tenacity, energy and focus. The defensive line will be anchored by fifth 80 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

OT Kendall Hunter

Photo courtesy The Bolivar Commercial

year senior Matt Melton (6-2/265-pounds). “Matt had a great sophomore campaign but has been banged up since. I think he will be as healthy as he has been since his sophomore year. We are expecting him to have a solid year for us up front,” Roberts said. Melton finished the season with 22 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss. In addition to Melton, Roberts feels like he has two other starters returning in Mark Hoskins and Eljae Faoagali who were both injured last year. “We expected Mark to start last year but he missed the entire season and Eljae got injured about the fourth or fifth game of the season. We feel like with these three up front we have three starters coming back,” Roberts explained. He also felt linebacker Hollan Fiu had the greatest spring. Roberts said he is expecting Fiu to come in and lead the defense from his linebacker position. Last season Fiu tallied 40 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss with one sack. The defensive secondary will be led by junior Dominique Davenport (5-10/180-pounds). In 2009 Davenport racked up 45 tackles, two interceptions with eight pass break-ups. SPECIAL TEAMS Delta State will return place kicker Matt Dean and punter Tyler Caldwell from the team’s 2009 campaign. “We have some experience players in those positions and that’s always a good thing,” said Roberts. Dean finished the season 7-of-14 in field goals and 34-of-35 in extra point attempts

for 55 points scored on the season. Dean was 3-of-5 from 20--29 yards out, 3-of-4 from 3039 yards out and 1-of-5 from 40-49 years out. Dean’s longest kick of the year was from 43 yards out. Caldwell punted 42 times in 2009 for 1,675 yards. He averaged 40 yards per punt with his longest being 53 yards. He had two touchbacks and 12 kicks fell inside the 20 yard line. OUTLOOK The Statesmen will kick off the 2010 season with an in-state matchup against Jackson State University in Jackson. The two teams met in 2007 in Jackson where the Statesmen defeated the Tigers 27-15. One of the biggest games of the year for the Statesmen will be there matchup with Arkansas Tech. The game will be huge because the Statesmen have been selected as one of 12 programs that will be featured on the “NCAA Division II Game of the Week.” The Statesmen are scheduled to appear on the nationally televised CBS College Sports Network on Thursday, Sept. 9 versus Arkansas Tech University. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. CST live from Travis Parker Field-Horace McCool Stadium in Cleveland. Delta State will also be on the tube on Sept. 30 at home against West Georgia and the next week the Statesmen will be on the road in a televised game against Arkansas Monticello and play on television again on Oct. 28 against rival North Alabama at home. The Statesmen will hold homecoming on Oct. 16 against Harding. - MSM


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2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Mississippi College

By David Nichols MC Sports Information

CHOCTAWS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 9-3; 7-1 ASC

HEAD COACH: NORMAN JOSEPH (6TH YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 4

@ Millsaps

11 BELHAVEN 18 @ Hardin Simmons 25 LA. COLLEGE OCTOBER 9

@ MaryHardin Baylor

16 E. TEXAS BAPTIST 23 @ Howard- Payne 30 SUL ROSS ST. NOVEMBER 6

@ TX. Lutheran

13 McMURRY CONERLY TROPHY NOMINEE: Senior running back Steven Knight will provide a punch after rushing for 1,333 yards and 11 touchdowns on 263 carries in 2009.  The former Hinds CC and Pearl High standout rushed for 100 yards in eight of the last nine games of the season while being named a D-III All-American.

ANALYSIS: The Choctaws are riding high after a successful 2009 season including a conference championship and a trip to the D-III playoffs. MC will have to a find a new QB to take over the reigns for departed Adam Schaffer who was more than impressive last season. Head coach Norman Joseph will be looking for continued improvement in Clinton with bigger dreams and aspirations for the Choctaws in 2010. AllAmerican RB Steven Knight could be the key to success.

82 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Mississippi College Sports Information

Back where they belong, Choctaws looking to repeat as Conference Champions in 2010

T

he 2009 football season at Mississippi College was one for the record books both individually and as a team. The Choctaws finished the year with a 9-3 record, their first American Southwest Conference Championship since 1998, and their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Playoffs, ousting Hungtingdon College in the first

round, 56-21. The Choctaws return six starters on offense and seven on defense, but will have to deal with the loss of Conerly finalist Adam Shaffer after a record-setting career. The return of preseason All-American Steven Knight at running back has the Choctaws with high hopes heading into the 2010 campaign. Head Coach Norman Joseph

enters his sixth season at the helm, and after taking over a 1-9 program the year prior to his tenure, Joseph looks poised to have the Choctaws as a regular member in the top 25 and a contender for an ASC Championship for years to come. OFFENSE The offense for the Choctaws will look different from seasons


past as MC will have to be more focused on the ground game with the The loss of Quartez Ashmore at linebacker could prove to be just as departure of Shaffer. In 2009, the Choctaws finished second in the ASC pivotal as the departure of Shaffer. Ashmore earned All-American in total offense, averaging 428.0 yards per contest with 266.0 of those honors and was named ASC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the coming through the air. MC finished fifth in the league in rushing offense, Choctaws with 87 tackles, including 8.5 for loss. compiling 162.0 yards per game. The Choctaws will return two on the outside in seniors Dale Meitzler (5’9”, Senior running back Steven Knight (5’9”, 195), will provide a punch after 195) and Maurice Cowan (5’9”, 200). Meitzler is coming off a breakout rushing for 1,333 yards and 11 touchdowns on 263 carries in 2009.  The season in 2009 when he finished fifth on the team with 54 tackles in his former Hinds CC and Pearl High standout rushed for 100 yards in eight first year as a starter. Cowan returns after missing the 2009 campaign due of the last nine games of the season. Knight has earned a First Team All- to injury. Cowan recorded 37 tackles, including 5.5 for loss in 2008. American nod by the D3 Senior Classic Committee prior to the season. Junior Jeremy Bertand (6’2”, 190) and sophomore Blake Rome (6’0”, Senior Austin Divinity (6’1”, 205) will provide a thunder to Knight’s 210) will also provide depth at the position after seeing significant time lightning in the backfield after moving to the tailback position late last in 2009. year. Divinity rushed for 255 yards on 47 carries and two scores, including The secondary returns several players after a tough season in 2009. The a season-high of 65 yards in the second-round playoff loss to Wesley to end Choctaws finished last in the ASC in pass defense, allowing 281.4 yards and the year. Knight and Divinity are two of the three 31 touchdowns through the air on the season. returning All-ASC players from a season ago. MC returns two starting safeties in juniors Luke The quarterback position has some experience Petitto (5’11”, 185) and Dustin Retherford (5’11”, returning despite the loss of Shaffer. Junior 175”). Pettito finished second on the team 70 signal caller Tommy Reyer (6’0”, 178) looks set to tackles and led the team with seven pass breakups. take over behind center after being named ASC Retherford finished fourth with 56 tackles and Freshman of the Year in 2008. In 2008, the speedy intercepted a pass against Mary Hardin-Baylor Reyer completed 52.4 percent of his passes for that led to the game-winning field goal against 1,116 yards and seven touchdowns, while finishing the nationally-ranked Cru. second on the team with 394 yards on the ground Seniors Emel Dorleans (5’11”, 175) and Willie on 76 carries and two scores. Brown (5’8”, 170) return at corner for the The offensive line returns three starters from last Choctaws. Dorleans made 38 tackles and broke season with seniors Jonathan Shaw (6’0”, 261) and up four passes, while Brown recorded 15 stops last MC COACH NORMAN JOSEPH Cory York (5’10”, 275) and junior Justin Cardwell season. (6’2”, 265), who returns from injury heading into 2010. Shaw is starting for the third consecutive year after being named an All-ASC performer SPECIAL TEAMS in 2009. Junior Jesse Ward (6’4”, 260) and sophomore Estefano Malone The Choctaws will have to replace First Team All-ASC punter and (6’0”, 280) also saw significant playing time up front for the Choctaws last placekicker Brannon Walls after an outstanding senior season in 2009. season. Walls connected on 13 of 21 field goals, including the 31-yard gameThe receiving corps will have to replace tight end Renard Ellis after his winning effort against Mary Hardin-Baylor. All-American season in 2009. Senior Cody Goss (6’5”, 240) will give the Sophomore Adam Herrington (5’10”, 170) looks to be the leading Choctaws a big target in the red zone after catching seven passes for 97 candidate heading into 2009. Herrington’s leg saw improvement through yards and two scores last season. the year and gives the Choctaws confidence at the position. On the outside, the Choctaws return two of their top three receivers in Senior long snapper Jared Cummins (6’2”, 245) enters the season as senior Matt Burke (6’1”, 185) and junior Brian Richardson (5’10”, 175). one of the top professional prospects for MC. Cummins has a sub .70 Burke finished fourth on the team with 25 receptions for 285 yards and snap time and gives the Choctaws a steady player at an often forgotten two scores despite missing the final five games of the year due to injury. position. Richardson has caught 32 passes in each of his first two seasons, racking The return game looks to be a strength for the Choctaws Austin Divinity up 504 yards and three scores through the air in 2009. and Brian Richardson coming back. Divinity returned 28 kicks back for Senior Wesley Boudreaux (5’8”, 160) will look to play a more prevalent 597 yards and one touchdown in earning All-ASC honors as a return man. role in the offense after catching nine passes for 216 yards and three The former Hinds AHS standout opened the Sul Ross State win with an scores, while leading the team with 24.0 yards per reception. Knight is a 88-yard return for a score. good pass-catcher out of the backfield, bringing in 22 passes for 178 yards Richardson and Divinity shared punt return duties last season, as both and three touchdowns. players brought back six punts. Richardson led the team with an 11.7 yard average, including a long of 35 yards in the playoff win at Huntingdon. DEFENSE The 2010 outlook for the defensive side of the ball is a bright one with OVERVIEW the return of seven starters from a team that finished fifth in the American The 2009 season was one that saw the Choctaws advance to the NCAA Southwest Conference in rushing defense (162.7 ypg). The Choctaws will Division III Playoffs for the first time in school history and earn their have a change in the booth with Lytrel Pollard stepping as the defensive first American Southwest Conference Championship since 1998. Head coordinator. Coach Norman Joseph has led the turnaround at MC and is poised to The strength of the 2010 defense should come from the front line where have the Choctaws set for yet another successful season at MC. Joseph is the Choctaws return all three starters and five players overall, who return now 29-23 in five seasons, but has compiled a 27-15 record over the past with significant playing experience from 2009. The defensive ends both four seasons. return with two years of starting experience in senior Nolan Willisson The schedule sets up as a tough one for MC with road games at Mary (6’1”, 255) and junior Brad Holt (6’2, 235”). Both players will look to Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons. The Choctaws earned victories improve on seasons that ended with All-ASC honors. over both ASC stalwarts for the first time in school history in the same MC returns two players that both started and saw significant playing season. The opening game of the season will be the annual “Backyard time in 2009. Juniors Jeremy Horton (6’1”, 310) and Larry Walker (5’11”, Brawl” against cross-town rival Millsaps on September 4th. 280) are run-stoppers that force teams to beat the Choctaws with the With 13 overall returners and a plethora of talent coming in expected to pass. Walker returned a fumble for a touchdown in the playoff win over contribute right way, the 2010 season looks to be yet another successful Huntingdon. campaign for the suddenly consistent Choctaws. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 83


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Millsaps

By Erik Bartlam Contributing Writer

MAJORS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 7-3; 5-1 SCAC

HEAD COACH: AARON PELCH (1ST YEAR)

SEPTEMBER 4

MS. COLLEGE

11 @ LaGrange College 18 AUSTIN COLLEGE 25 @ Trinity University OCTOBER 2

DePAUW UNIVERSITY

9

HUNTINGTON COLLEGE

16 @ Rhodes Col. 23 @ Centre Col. 30 SEWANEE UNIVERSITY NOVEMBER 6

A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME: AARON PELCH takes over the reigns at Millsaps College after Mike Dubose departed to Memphis after last season. After a brief stint in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, Pelch returns ready to maintain the Majors recent success.

@ Birmingham Southern

ANALYSIS: Will the return of Aaron Pelch as the new head coach at Millsaps keep the momentum going for the Majors playoff hopes. Under Mike Dubose, offense was the name of the game. Pelch spent last season with the Oakland Raiders and returns home and plans to keep the highflying offensive attack going strong to keep the fans on the edge of their seats on State Street. Will Pelch bring some NFL nuances to his offense in 2010?

84 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Millsaps College

It’s a whole new ballgame at Millsaps with new Coach Aaron Pelch in charge

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or the last four years the Millsaps College football team has shared or won outright the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Title. The Majors have made an appearance in two of the last four NCAA Div III playoffs. You’ll find Millsaps and its football players scattered all over the top of the SCAC’s 2009 statistical catego-

ries. Head football coach Mike Bubose turned the Majors into a powerhouse during his four year tenure. He resigned in December to coach the defensive line at the Univeristy of Memphis. Taking his place this season will be Aaron Pelch who spent last season with the Oakland Raiders. He’ll be heading an almost entirely new coaching staff, but don’t

look for a lot of major changes. From 2006 to 2008 Pelch was an assistant and associate head coach at Millsaps under Dubose. He’s familiar with many of the players having recruited some of them. He understands the way things have been done at Millsaps and knows a solid system when he sees it. Rather than try and rebuild a winning program, Coach


OUT WITH THE OLD: MIKE DUBOSE left Millsaps last season to take a job at Memphis. Aaron Pelch was an assistant coach under DuBose and was a major reason the offensive air attack was so potent over the past four season and spurred their runs in the playoffs.

Pelch intends to build on the success that the Majors have established in the last four years. There’ll be some minor tweaking, as every coach brings his own style to the game, but don’t look for any drastic changes. The idea is that the Majors continue their recent success and do so in a familiar fashion. “Continuity is the key,” says the coach. The Offense The offense has a new coordinator, Rich Scangarello. Like Coach Pelch, Scangarello spent the 2009 football season with the Raiders where he was an assistant quarterbacks coach. There will be some changes on the offensive side of the ball, and these will be determined by the talent at hand. Scangarello says they are going to play to their strengths. The Majors finished second in passing offense for the 2009 SCAC season. They have a strong wide receiving corps returning. Scangarello says they will continue to throw the ball. The Majors will have a new man at quarterback this year. He’ll be lining up under center more often than past Major quarterbacks, and look for Shane Bowser to get a lot of carries. In the past he’s been used as a scat back and caught a lot of screen passes, but Scangarello is anxious to get Bowser between the tackles. “He’s as good as any back at this level” of collegiate football he says. He’s pleased to explain that the offensive line is looking forward to playing a more physical style of football. They’ll also be leaning heavily on standout left tackle Adam Williams to keep the quarterback on his feet while he gains experience. Coach Scangarello is confident Williams will be able to match up with any defensive end he’ll face. The Defense Trey Haverty is the new defensive coordinator for the Majors. Haverty comes over from Texas Christian University where he worked under head Coach Gary Patterson. Haverty explains that Patterson’s goal was to have a team that played harder than everybody else, and that’s the kind of spirit Haverty intends to bring to the Millsaps’ defense. He has the pleasure of taking over a lot of talent on defense including Will Hawkins, SCAC Defensive player of the year in 2009 and first team DivIII All-American. Hawkins heads a list of highly touted players on the Millsaps defense including Kevin Peters at strong safety. Peters is a per-season All-American. Coach Haverty is quick to point out that accolades aren’t “going to win you any games.” Still, with that much talent and former success, Haverty isn’t looking to make any wholesale changes. As far as scheme goes they won’t have a set formation. As in the past they’ll switch off between 3 man and 4 man fronts depending

on what the situation calls for. Haverty says, “we’ll give whatever look it takes to bring pressure.” In 2009 Millsaps lead the SCAC in total interceptions and Haverty feels really good about the secondary. Kenny Reeves, Brent Gerald and Jeff Hampton are all players returning from last year’s stand out squad. One area of concern is the defensive line. It’ll be played by committee this year, and as always at this level, health and depth are worrisome spots. Still, with that much talent coming back look for the Majors to have a strong defense again this year. Special Teams For four years running Millsaps has had the Special Teams Player of the Year. Last year it was kick and punt returner Michael Galatas, and he’ll be back this season. Galatas is not only the 2009 SCAC Special Teams Player of the Year but preseason All-American in Track and Field. The Majors led the SCAC in punt and kick return yardage last season, but also lead the league in kick coverage. Ben Cain is the new special teams coordinator. Cain is a 2009 graduate of Millsaps. He’s also one of the few returning coaches having worked as an intern on the staff last season. Coach Pelch will also be involved with the special teams. He was in charge of the special teams while at Millsaps and played a large role in establishing that squad’s success. Conclusion The new coaching staff at Millsaps has inherited a lot of talent and a winning tradition. So, maybe it’s not so surprising that they don’t intend to make a lot of changes. Coach Pelch is very pleased with the way Spring practice went. With or without changes, having an entirely new coaching staff is a big adjustment for a team. Pelch is really pleased with the way the team picked up the transition. “It was really smooth,” he says, and there weren’t any real stumbling blocks. The goal is to make it back into the playoffs and win some games with the ultimate goal of eventually being in the discussion for National Title. For now the staff is focused on the first game of the year. Coach Pelch knows all about the rivalry with Mississippi College, and he wants to make sure the team is ready. “It’s always a great game,” he says, “and the players really look forward to it.” - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 85


2 0 1 0 M S M C O L L E G E F O OT BA L L P R E V I E W

Belhaven

By Kirk McDonnel Belhaven Sports Information

BLAZERS 2010 SCHEDULE | 2009 RECORD: 6-5; 4-2 MID-SOUTH WEST

HEAD COACH: JOE THRASHER (2ND YEAR)

AUGUST 28 @ Texas Col. SEPTEMBER 4

LOUISIANA COLLEGE

11 @ Miss. College 18 LINDSEY WILSON COL. OCTOBER 2

BETHEL UNIVERSITY (KY)

9

@ Faulkner University (AL)

16 SHORTER COLLEGE (GA) 23 @ Union College (KY)

CONERLY HYPE: CORDARIO CALVIN led the Blazers in receiving with 85 catches for 1,028 yards and 12 Td’s IN 2009. The Greenville native is just the 7th player in school history with over 1,000 plus receiving yards in a season.

30 UNIVERITY OF THE CUMBER- LANDS (KY) NOVEMBER 6

@ Cumberland University

13 @ Georgetown College (KY)

ANALYSIS: The Blazers made huge strides in 2009 and look to improve this season. Coach Joe Thrashers first year was more than expected as the Blazers improved in every aspect of the game. Defense is still the key and it’s only getting better as they strive for a conference title.

86 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Photo courtesy Belhaven Athletics

Blazers ready for next step in 2010

E

xpectations are higher for the 2010 season as the Belhaven football program looks to take the next step and battle for a Mid-South Conference championship. It’s certainly safe to say that the Blazers and Head Coach Joe Thrasher got things rolling in the right direction in 2009 finishing the year with an overall record of 6-5 and took second place in the Mid-South Conference Western Division with a mark of 4-2. It was the programs

first winning season since 2006 and a vast improvement over the teams 2-9 finish in 2008. Belhaven battled back strong from 0-2 start and won a thrilling 37-31 overtime victory against Union College (KY) to finish the year 6-5 and give some momentum to the program heading into the offseason. One of the biggest keys to a more successful campaign in 2009 was a vastly improved defense. In 2008, Belhaven gave up an average of 37 points per game to their op-

ponents compared to 2009 when they surrendered just 25.9 points per contest. It was an 11 points per game improvement from 2008 to 2009. Belhaven also went from giving up 410 yards per game in 2008 to 354 in 2009. “I very proud of what we were able to accomplish last season, but at the same time not satisfied,” said Head Coach Joe Thrasher. “I want our players to strive for more in competing for conference championships, working towards getting


into the playoffs, and it’s our job as coaches to recruit and prepare these young men to be successful on the field and in the classroom. We did some good things on the field, having a winning season is a good step for our first year and we want to continue to build on that.” OFFENSE The Belhaven offense showed signs of promise in 2009 with strong performances against Kentucky Christian University, Faulkner University, and Union College in the season finale. However, there is still room for the offense to grow and improve. Although the basic “Air Invasion” offensive scheme remained the same heading into last season, a greater emphasis was placed on the running game in 2009 by the coaching staff. Ricardo Bolton led the Blazers in rushing with 556 yards in 2009 and was also the teams second leading receiver hauling in 43 catches for 597 yards and eight touchdowns. So, despite some challenges with creating running lanes, Belhaven was effective at finding other ways to get the ball into the hands of the tailback. One of the recruiting focuses during the offseason was too sure up the offensive line. “The main thing is that we knew we had to get better up front on the offensive line and we have to do a better job of establishing the run,” says Coach Thrasher. “We went out and recruited some offensive lineman and really stressed the running game, but we also have a lot of weapons at the quarterback and receiver positions and we have to find ways to get them the ball as well. I think it’s going to be one of those years of how do you keep everybody happy with the kind of talent that I feel we have on offense.” One of those weapons on offense is Cordario Calvin who led the team in receiving last season and was Belhaven’s Conerly Trophy nominee. Calvin, who hails from Greenville, MS, and will be a senior this season, had 85 total catches for 1,028 yards and also hauled in 12 touchdowns and averaged 93.5 yards per game receiving. Calvin is just the seventh player in school history to rack up 1,000 plus receiving yards in a single season and was a Mid-South Conference Western Division All-Conference selection in 2009. Coming back to join Calvin in the Blazer receiving ranks is wide out Kevin Dizer of Sterlington, LA. Dizer had three touchdown catches and averaged 10.9 yards per catch. The man who will be looked upon to get the ball into the hands of Calvin and Dizer is second year quarterback Alex Williams. Williams, a native of Covington, LA, gained a tremendous amount of experience as a freshman last year especially early in the season when Jerred Wallace was sidelined with an injury. In six games, Williams completed 75 passes for 818 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had two of Belhaven’s three rushing touchdowns in 2009. Some key offseason additions on offense are lineman Taylor Quick and Alex Kibby. Quick, a 6’6 300 pound transfer from Ole’ Miss along with Kibby who is a 6’4 285 pound transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College should open up more running lanes for the running backs this season while providing plenty of protection for the quarterback. Other newcomers expected to make an immediate impact on offense are wide receiver Jared Foster and running back Eugene Perry. Foster, a transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, is a big target standing 6’5 and weighing in at 220 pound while Perry comes to Belhaven via Tampa Florida and possesses great speed at 5’8 175 pounds. DEFENSE The Belhaven defense made big strides in 2009 compared with their performance during the 2008 season. However, there is still room for improvement and the coaching staff feels the defense will make an even bigger impact in 2010. On average, the Blazers gave up 173 yards per game on the ground last season. On the other hand, Belhaven had a strong pass defense as they kept opposing offenses in check through the air allowing only 181.1 yards per game. One of the reasons for their success was safety Tramaine Brock who pulled down a team high six interceptions and returned two for touchdowns. Belhaven will have to find a way to replace Brock, Cameron Achord, Jonathan Reed, and linebacker Reginald Lumpkin who became Belhaven’s all time leading tackler last season.

“We are only going to be as good as our defense,” says Coach Thrasher. “We have to have a solid defense and I expect that this season. We feel like we were able to bolster our defensive line during the offseason with new recruits while moving a couple of players already on the roster from the offensive side of the ball to the defense. In a 4-2-5 defensive scheme, if you are good up front and have a strong front six in the box, it allows you to do more blitzing and gaming with the defensive backs.” Senior Jack Hayes will be back to help bolster the Belhaven defensive line in 2010. Hayes a native of Columbia, MS, was an MSC Western Division All-Conference Honorable Mention selection after having made 42 total tackles including four sacks with three forced fumbles in 2009. Jonathan Gamberi also returns to the Blazer defensive line for his senior year and was also an MSC All-Conference Honorable Mention pick in 2009. Gamberi, a native of Natchez, MS, had 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season. Senior Baqui Thomas will move back to the defensive front this year after playing offensive guard for the Blazers last year. Belhaven has a few new faces on defense that will be expected to make major impacts in 2010. The Blazers are excited about defensive lineman Jerhoshua Williams who is a 6’4 245 pound transfer from Itawamba Community College. Also in the trenches will be L’Ronnie Nelson who is a 6’3 250 pound freshman from Tampa, FL. At linebacker another freshman may see a lot of action this season. Gilberto Espinoza, who hails from Georgia, has good speed and should fit in well with the 4-2-5 scheme the Blazers have in place. Like Thomas, Ryan Rice will transition from running back to linebacker for the 2010 season. Rice, a sophomore from Plant City, FL, had an outstanding performance in the spring game and the coaching staff is excited about what he can bring to the defensive side of the ball. In the defensive back field, Jerien Cole a transfer from Northeast Community College and freshman Daniel Brown from Cordova, TN will look to fill the shoes of Cameron Achord and Tramaine Brock. SPECIAL TEAMS There will also be some new faces in the special teams department for the 2010 season. Punter Michael Wilson graduated and during the offseason Belhaven brought in transfer Jacob Chancellor from Jones Community College to handle the punting duties in 2010. Place kicker Justin Miller is back and will battle Bo Bryan for the starting job this season. Bryan, a 6’3 215 pound transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was ranked number one in the nation in place kicking at the junior college ranks. Miller was 5 of 12 in field goal attempts last season with a long of 42 yards. In the return game Bryan Pupo will be a new name to learn for Blazer fans. Pupo, who hails from West Palm Beach, Florida, will be back deep to return kicks along with Cordario Calvin. Calvin will be new to the return game in 2010, but with his speed and athleticism has the potential to make some big plays on kick returns. Both Pupo and Calvin will have to replace Tramaine Brock and Ricardo Bolton who handled the majority of the returns in 2009. THE SCHEDULE Belhaven kicks off the season on the road at Texas College on August, 28th in Tyler, TX. Belhaven will open their home schedule when they battle Louisiana College September 4th starting at 7:00 PM. The Blazers will renew their rivalry with Mississippi College on September 11th in Clinton starting at 6:00 PM before returning home the following week to face off against Lindsey Wilson College (KY) at 1:30 PM on September 18th. Belhaven then gets into Mid-South Conference Western Division play as they host Bethel University (TN) in the annual homecoming game October 2nd at 1:30 PM. The Blazers will then travel to Faulkner University October 9th, take on Shorter University at home October 16th, followed by a trip to Union College (KY) on October 23rd prior to returning home to meet up with the University of the Cumberlands (KY) for their final home game of the season October 30th. Belhaven will wrap up the 2010 regular season schedule with two road games at Cumberland University (TN) November 6th and Georgetown College (KY) November 13th. MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 87


MSM

2010 SEC/C-USA SCHEDULES

SEC WEST

SEC EAST

CUSA WEST

CUSA EAST

Alabama Crimson Tide

Florida Gators

Houston Cougars

East Carolina Pirates

Sept. 4......................... SAN JOSE STATE Sept. 11....................... PENN STATE Sept .18....................... @ Duke Sept. 25....................... @ Arkansas Oct. 2.......................... FLORIDA Oct. 9.......................... @ South Carolina Oct. 16........................ OLE MISS Oct. 23........................ @ Tennessee Nov. 6.......................... @ LSU Nov. 13........................ MISS. STATE Nov. 20........................ GEORGIA STATE Noc. 26........................ AUBURN

Sept. 4......................... MIAMI (OH) Sept. 11....................... SOUTH FLORIDA Sept. 18....................... @ Tennessee Sept. 25....................... KENTUCKY Oct. 2.......................... @ Alabama Oct. 9.......................... LSU Oct. 16........................ MISS. STATE Oct. 30........................ @ Georgia (Jxnville) Nov. 6.......................... @ Vanderbilt Nov. 13........................ SOUTH CAROLINA Nov. 20........................ APPALACHIAN ST. Nov. 27........................ @ Florida State

Sept. 4......................... TEXAS STATE Sept. 10....................... UTEP Sept. 18....................... @ UCLA Sept. 25....................... TULANE Oct. 2.......................... MISS. STATE Oct. 16........................ @ Rice Oct. 23........................ @ SMU Oct. 30........................ @ Memphis Nov. 5.......................... UCF Nov. 13........................ TULSA Nov. 20........................ @ Southern Miss Nov. 27........................ @ Texas Tech

Sept. 5......................... TULSA Sept. 11....................... MEMPHIS Sept. 18....................... @ Virginia Tech Oct. 2.......................... @ North Carolina Oct. 9.......................... @ Southern Miss Oct. 16........................ North Carolina St. Oct. 23........................ MARSHALL Oct. 30........................ @ UCF Nov. 6.......................... NAVY Nov. 11........................ @ UAB Nov. 20........................ @ Rice Nov. 26........................ SMU

Arkansas Razorbacks

Georgia Bulldogs

Rice Owls

Marshall Thundering Herd

Sept. 4......................... TENNESSEE TECH Sept. 11....................... LOUISIANA-MONROE Sept. 18....................... @ Georgia Sept. 25....................... ALABAMA Oct. 9.......................... @ Texas A&M Oct. 16........................ @ Aubrun Oct. 23........................ OLE MISS Oct. 30........................ VANDERBILT Nov. 6.......................... @ South Carolina Nov. 13........................ UTEP Nov. 20........................ @ Miss. State Nov. 27........................ LSU (Little Rock)

Sept. 4......................... LOUISIANA-LAFF Sept. 11....................... @ South Carolina Sept. 18....................... ARKANSAS Sept. 25....................... @ Miss. State Oct. 2.......................... @ Colorado Oct. 9.......................... TENNESSEE Oct. 16........................ VANDERBILT Oct. 23........................ @ Kentucky Oct. 30........................ FLORIDA (Jxnville) Nov. 6.......................... IDAHO STATE Nov. 13........................ @ Auburn Nov. 27........................ GEORGIA TECH

Sept. 4......................... TEXAS (Reliant Stadium) Sept. 11....................... @ North Texas Sept. 18....................... NORTHWESTERN Sept. 25....................... BAYLOR Oct. 2.......................... SMU Oct. 9.......................... @ UTEP Oct. 16........................ HOUSTON Oct. 23........................ @ UCF Nov. 6.......................... @ Tulsa Nov. 13........................ @ Tulane Nov. 20........................ EAST CAROLINA Nov. 27........................ UAB

Sept. 2......................... Ohio State Sept. 10....................... WEST VIRGINIA Sept. 18....................... @ Bowling Green Sept. 25....................... OHIO Oct. 2.......................... @ Southern Miss Oct. 13........................ UCF Oct. 23........................ @ East Carolina Oct. 30........................ UTEP Nov. 6.......................... @ UAB Nov. 13........................ MEMPHIS Nov. 20........................ @ SMU Nov. 27........................ TULANE

Auburn Tigers

Kentucky Wildcats

SMU Mustangs

Memphis Tigers

Sept. 9......................... @ Miss. State Sept. 18....................... CLEMSON Sept. 25....................... SOUTH CAROLINA Oct. 2.......................... LOUISIANA-MONROE Oct. 9.......................... @ Kentucky Oct. 16........................ ARKANSAS Oct. 23........................ LSU Oct. 30........................ @ Ole Miss Nov. 6.......................... TENNESSEE-CHATT Nov. 13........................ GEORGIA Nov. 26........................ @ Alabama

Sept. 4......................... @ Louisville Sept. 11....................... WESTERN KENTUCKY Sept. 18....................... AKRON Sept. 25....................... @ Florida Oct. 2.......................... @ Ole Miss Oct. 9.......................... AUBURN Oct. 16........................ SOUTH CAROLINA Oct. 23........................ GEORGIA Oct. 30........................ @ Miss. State Nov. 6.......................... CHARLESTON SOUTHERN Nov. 13........................ VANDERBILT Nov. 27........................ @ Tennessee

Sept. 5......................... @ Texas Tech Sept. 11....................... UAB Sept. 18....................... WASHINGTON STATE Sept. 24....................... TCU Oct. 2.......................... @ Rice Oct. 9.......................... TULSA Oct. 16........................ @ Navy Oct. 23........................ HOUSTON Oct. 30........................ @ Tulane Nov. 6.......................... @ UTEP Nov. 20........................ MARSHALL Nov. 26........................ @ East Carolina

Sept. 4......................... @ Miss. State Sept. 11....................... @ East Carolina Sept. 18....................... MIDDLE TENNESSEE Sept. 25....................... @ UTEP Oct. 2.......................... TULSA Oct. 9.......................... @ Louisville Oct. 16........................ SOUTHERN MISS Oct. 30........................ HOUSTON Nov. 6.......................... TENNESSEE Nov. 13........................ @ Marshall Nov. 20........................ @ UAB Nov. 27........................ UCF

LSU Tigers

South Carolina Gamecocks

Tulane Green Wave

Southern Miss

Sept. 4......................... North Carolina (Atlanta) Sept. 11....................... @ Vanderbilt Sept. 18....................... MISS. STATE Sept. 25....................... WEST VIRGINIA Oct. 2.......................... TENNESSEE Oct. 9.......................... @ Florida Oct. 16........................ McNEESE STATE Oct. 23........................ @ Auburn Nov. 6.......................... ALABAMA Nov. 13........................ UL-MONROE Nov. 20........................ OLE MISS Nov. 27........................ @ Arkansas (Little Rock)

Sept. 2......................... SOUTHERN MISS Sept. 11....................... GEORGIA Sept. 18....................... FURMAN Sept. 25....................... @ Auburn Oct. 9.......................... ALABAMA Oct. 16........................ @ Kentucky Oct. 23........................ @ Vanderbilt Oct. 30........................ TENNESSEE Nov. 6.......................... ARKANSAS Nov. 13........................ @ Florida Nov. 20........................ TROY Nov. 27........................ @ Clemson

Sept. 4......................... SE LOUISIANA Sept. 11....................... OLE MISS Sept. 25....................... @ Houston Oct. 2.......................... @ Rutgers Oct. 9.......................... ARMY Oct. 16........................ @ Tulsa Oct. 23........................ @ UTEP Oct. 30........................ SMU Nov. 6.......................... SOUTHERN MISS Nov. 13........................ RICE Nov. 20........................ UCF Nov. 27........................ @ Marshall

Sept. 2......................... @ South Carolina Sept. 11....................... PRAIRIE VIEW Sept. 17....................... KANSAS Sept. 25....................... @ Louisiana Tech Oct. 2.......................... MARSHALL Oct. 9.......................... EAST CAROLINA Oct. 16........................ @ Memphis Oct. 30........................ UAB Nov. 6.......................... @ Tulane Nov. 13........................ @ UCF Nov. 20........................ HOUSTON Nov. 26........................ @ Tulsa

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Tennessee Volunteers

Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

UAB Blazers

Sept. 4......................... MEMPHIS Sept. 9......................... AUBURN Sept. 18....................... @ LSU Sept. 25....................... GEORGIA Oct. 2.......................... ALCORN ST. OCt. 9......................... @ Houston Oct. 16........................ @ Florida Oct. 23........................ UAB Oct. 30........................ KENTUCKY Nov. 13........................ @ ALABAMA Nov. 20........................ ARKANSAS Nov. 27........................ @ Ole Miss

Sept. 4......................... TENNESSEE-MARTIN Sept. 11....................... OREGON Sept. 18....................... FLORIDA Sept. 25....................... UAB Oct. 2.......................... @ LSU Oct. 9.......................... @ Georgia Oct. 23........................ ALABAMA Oct. 30........................ @ South Carolina Nov. 6.......................... @ Memphis Nov. 13........................ OLE MISS Nov. 20........................ @ Vandebilt Nov. 27........................ KENTUCKY

Sept. 5......................... @ East Carolina Sept. 11....................... BOWLING GREEN Sept. 18....................... @ Oklahoma State Sept. 25....................... UCA Oct. 2.......................... @ Memphis Oct. 9.......................... @ SMU Oct. 16........................ TULANE Oct. 30........................ @ Notre Dame Nov. 6.......................... RICE Nov. 13........................ @ Houston Nov. 20........................ UTEP Nov. 26........................ SOUTHERN MISS

Sept. 4......................... FLORIDA ATLANTIC Sept. 11....................... @ SMU Sept. 18....................... TROY Sept. 25....................... @ Tennessee Oct. 6.......................... @ UCF Oct. 16........................ UTEP Oct. 23........................ @ Miss. State Oct. 30........................ @ Southern Miss Nov. 6.......................... MARSHALL Nov. 13........................ EAST CAROLINA Nov. 20........................ MEMPHIS Nov. 27........................ @ Rice

Ole Miss Rebels

Vanderbilt Commodores

UTEP Miners

Central Florida Knights

Sept. 4......................... JACKSONVILLE ST. Sept. 11....................... @ Tulane Sept. 18....................... VANDERBILT Sept. 25....................... FRESNO STATE Oct. 2.......................... KENTUCKY Oct. 16........................ @ Alabama Oct. 23........................ @ Arkansas Oct. 30........................ AUBURN Nov. 6.......................... LOUISIANA-LAFF. Nov. 13........................ @ Tennessee Nov. 20........................ @ LSU Nov. 27........................ MISS. STATE 88 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Sept. 4......................... NORTHWESTERN Sept. 11....................... LSU Sept. 18....................... @ Ole Miss Oct. 2.......................... @ Connecticut Oct. 9.......................... EASTERN MICHIGAN Oct. 16........................ @ Georgia Oct. 23........................ SOUTH CAROLINA Oct. 30........................ @ Arkansas Nov. 6.......................... FLORIDA Nov. 13........................ @ Kentucky Nov. 20........................ TENNESSEE Nov. 27........................ WAKE FOREST

Sept. 4......................... ARKANSAS-PB Sept. 10....................... @ Houston Sept. 18....................... NEW MEXICO ST. Sept. 25....................... MEMPHIS Oct. 2.......................... @ New Mexico Oct. 9.......................... RICE Oct. 16........................ @ UAB Oct. 23........................ TULANE Oct. 30........................ @ Marshall Nov. 6.......................... SMU Nov. 13........................ @ Arkansas Nov. 20........................ @ Tulsa

Sept. 4......................... SOUTH DAKOTA Sept. 11....................... NORTH CAROLINA ST. Sept. 18....................... @ Buffalo Bulls Sept. 25....................... @ Kansas State Oct. 6.......................... UAB Oct. 13........................ @ Marshall Oct. 23........................ RICE Oct. 30........................ EAST CAROLINA Nov. 5.......................... @ Houston Nov. 13........................ SOUTHERN MISS Nov. 20........................ @ Tulane Nov. 27........................ @ Memphis


2010 SEC/C-USA WEEK BY WEEK SCHEDULES

SEC Week-by-Week

CUSA Week-by-Week Tennessee @ Georgia Eastern Michigan @ Vanderbilt Ole Miss - Open

Sept. 2 Southern Miss @ South Carolina (ESPN) Sept. 4 San Jose St. @ Alabama Tennessee Tech @ Arkansas Arkansas St. @ Aubrun Miami (OH) @ Florida LA-Lafayette @ Georgia Louisville @ Kentucky North Carolina @ LSU (Atlanta) Jacksonville St. @ Ole Miss Memphis @ Miss. State UT-Martin @ Tennessee Northwestern @ Vanderbilt Sept. 11 Penn State @ Alabama LA-Monroe @ Arkansas Auburn @ Miss. State South Florida @ Florida South Carolina @ Georgia Western Kentucky @ Kentucky Vanderbilt @ LSU Ole Miss @ Tulane Oregon @ Tennessee Sept. 18 Duke @ Alabama Arkansas @ Georgia Clemson @ Auburn Florida @ Tennessee Akron @ Kentucky Miss. State @ LSU Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss Furman @ South Carolina Sept. 25 Alabama @ Arkansas South Carolina @ Auburn Kentucky @ Florida Georgia @ Miss. State West Virginia @ LSU Fresno State @ Ole Miss UAB @ Tennessee Vandy - Open Oct. 2 Florida @ Alabama LA-Monroe @ Auburn Georgia @ Colorado Kentucky @ Ole Miss Tennessee @ LSU Alcorn State @ Miss. State Vanderbilt @ UCONN Arkansas, South Carolina - Open Oct. 9 Alabama @ South Carolina Arkansas @ Texas A&M (Arlington, TX) Auburn @ Kentucky LSU @ Florida Tennessee @ Georgia Miss. State @ Houston

MSM

Oct. 16 Ole Miss @ Alabama Arkansas @ Auburn Miss. State @ Florida Vanderbilt @ Georgia South Carolina @ Kentucky McNeese St. @ LSU Tennessee - Open Oct. 23 Alabama @ Tennessee Ole Miss @ Arkansas LSU @ Auburn Georgia @ Kentucky UAB @ Miss. State South Carolina @ Vanderbilt Florida - Open Oct. 30 Vanderbilt @ Arkansas Auburn @ Ole Miss Georgia v. Florida (Jacksonville) Kentucky @ Miss. State Tennessee @ South Carolina Alabama, LSU - Open Nov. 6 Alabama @ LSU Arkansas @ South Carolina Chattanooga @ Auburn Florida @ Vanderbilt Idaho State @ Georgia Charleston Southern @ Kentucky LA-Lafayette @ Ole Miss Tennessee @ Memphis Miss. State - Open Nov. 13 Miss. State @ Alabama UTEP @ Arkansas Georgia @ Auburn South Carolina @ Florida Vanderbilt @ Kentucky LA-Monroe @ LSU Ole Miss @ Tennessee Nov. 20 Georgia State @ Alabama Arkansas @ Miss. State Appalachian State @ Florida Ole Miss @ LSU Troy @ South Carolina Tennessee @ Vanderbilt Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky - Open Nov. 26 Auburn @ Alabama Nov. 27 LSU @ Arkansas Florida State @ Florida Georgia Tech @ Georgia Kentucky @ Tennessee Miss. State @ Ole Miss South Carolina @ Clemson Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt SEC CHAMPHIONSHIP - Dec. 4

Sept. 2 Marshall at Ohio State Southern Miss at South Carolina Southeastern Louisiana at Tulane Florida Atlantic at UAB Sept. 4 Texas State at Houston Memphis at Mississippi State Texas at Rice South Dakota at UCF Arkansas-Pine Bluff at UTEP Sept. 5 Tulsa at East Carolina SMU at Texas Tech Sept. 10 West Virginia at Marshall UTEP at Houston Sept. 11 Memphis at East Carolina Rice at North Texas UAB at SMU Prairie View A&M at Southern Miss Mississippi at Tulane Bowling Green at Tulsa N.C. State at UCF Sept. 17 Kansas at Southern Miss Sept. 18 East Carolina at Virginia Tech Houston at UCLA Marshall at Bowling Green Middle Tennessee at Memphis Northwestern at Rice Washington State at SMU Tulsa at Oklahoma State Troy at UAB UCF at Buffalo New Mexico State at UTEP Sept. 24 TCU at SMU Sept. 25 Tulane at Houston Ohio at Marshall Memphis at UTEP Baylor at Rice Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech Central Arkansas at Tulsa UAB at Tennessee UCF at Kansas State Oct. 2 East Carolina at North Carolina Marshall at Southern Miss Tulsa at Memphis SMU at Rice Tulane at Rutgers UTEP at New Mexico Oct. 6 UAB at UCF

Oct. 9 East Carolina at Southern Miss Mississippi State at Houston Memphis at Louisville Rice at UTEP Tulsa at SMU Army at Tulane Oct. 13 UCF at Marshall Oct. 16 N.C. State at East Carolina Houston at Rice Southern Miss at Memphis SMU at Navy Tulane at Tulsa UTEP at UAB Oct. 23 Marshall at East Carolina Houston at SMU UAB at Mississippi State Rice at UCF Tulane at UTEP Oct. 30 East Carolina at UCF UTEP at Marshall Houston at Memphis SMU at Tulane UAB at Southern Miss Tulsa at Notre Dame Nov. 5 UCF at Houston Nov. 6 Navy at East Carolina Marshall at UAB Tennessee at Memphis Rice at Tulsa SMU at UTEP Southern Miss at Tulane Nov. 11 East Carolina at UAB Nov. 13 Tulsa at Houston Memphis at Marshall Rice at Tulane Southern Miss at UCF UTEP at Arkansas Nov. 20 East Carolina at Rice Houston at Southern Miss Marshall at SMU Memphis at UAB UCF at Tulane UTEP at Tulsa Nov. 26 SMU at East Carolina Southern Miss at Tulsa Nov. 27 Houston at Texas Tech Tulane at Marshall UCF at Memphis UAB at Rice Dec. 4 C-USA Championship Game Mississippi Sports Magazine - 89


MSM

2 0 1 0 S WA C S C H E D U L E S

SWAC EAST

SWAC WEST

Alabama A&M Bulldogs

Ark.-Pine Bluff Tigers

Sept. 4......................... @ Tennessee State Sept. 11....................... CENTRAL STATE Sept. 18....................... @ Texas Southern Sept. 25....................... SOUTHERN Oct. 2.......................... GRAMBLING STATE Oct. 9.......................... @ Jackson State Oct. 16........................ @ UAPB Oct. 30........................ ALABAMA STATE Nov. 6.......................... ALCORN STATE Nov. 13........................ @ Miss. Valley St. Nov. 20........................ PRAIRIE VIEW

Sept. 4......................... @ UTEP Sept. 11....................... @ Alabama St. Sept. 25....................... CLARK ATLANTA U. Oct. 2.......................... @ Southern Oct. 9.......................... PRAIRIE VIEW Oct. 16........................ ALABAMA A&M Oct. 23........................ @ Alcorn St. Oct. 30........................ GRAMBLING Nov. 6.......................... MS VALLEY ST. Nov. 13........................ JACKSON ST. Nov. 20........................ @ Texas Southern

Alabama State Hornets

Grambling State Tigers

Sept. 4......................... MS. VALLEY ST. Sept. 11....................... UAPB Sept. 18....................... @ Prairie View Sept. 25....................... @ Alcorn St. Oct. 2.......................... TEXAS SOUTHERN Oct. 9.......................... @ Gambling Oct. 23........................ SAVANNAH STATE Oct. 30........................ @ Alabama A&M Nov. 6.......................... JACKSON STATE Nov. 13........................ @ Southern

Sept. 4......................... @ Louisiana Tech Sept. 18....................... JACKSON STATE Sept. 25....................... @ Prairie View Oct. 2.......................... @ Alabama A&M Oct. 9.......................... ALABAMA ST. Oct. 16........................ ALCORN Oct. 23........................ @ MS. Valley St. Oct. 30........................ UAPB Nov. 6.......................... CONCORDIA COL. Nov. 13........................ @ Texas Southern

Alcorn State Braves

Prairie View Panthers

Sept. 18....................... @ MS. Valley St. Sept. 25....................... ALABAMA STATE Oct. 2.......................... @ Mississippi State Oct. 9.......................... TEXAS SOUTHERN Oct. 16........................ @ Grambling Oct. 21........................ UAPB Oct. 30........................ SOUTHERN Nov. 6.......................... @ Alabama A&M Nov. 13........................ @ Prairie View Nov. 20........................ JACKSON STATE

Sept. 4......................... @ Texas Southern Sept. 11....................... @ Southern Miss. Sept. 18....................... ALABAMA ST. Sept. 25....................... GRAMBLING (Dallas) Oct. 2.......................... @ MS Valley St. Oct. 9.......................... @ UAPB Oct. 16........................ LINCOLN Oct. 23........................ @ Southern (Shreve.) Oct. 30........................ @ Jackson St. Nov. 13........................ ALCORN ST. Nov. 20........................ @ Alabama A&M

Jackson State Tigers

Southern Univ. Jaguars

Sept. 4......................... DELTA STATE Sept. 11....................... @ Tennessee State Sept. 18....................... @ Grambling Sept. 25....................... MS. VALLEY ST. Oct. 9.......................... ALABAMA ST. Oct. 16........................ SOUTHERN Oct. 23........................ @ Texas Southern Oct. 30........................ PRAIRIE VIEW Nov. 6.......................... @ Alabama State Nov. 13........................ @ UAPB Nov. 20........................ @ Alcorn State

Sept. 5......................... SWAC/MEAC Challenge Sept. 11....................... ARKANSAS-MONTICELLO Sept. 25....................... @ Alabama A&M Oct. 2.......................... UAPB Oct. 9.......................... MS VALLEY ST. Oct. 16........................ @ Jackson State Oct. 23........................ @ Prairie View Oct. 30........................ @ Alcorn State Nov. 6.......................... TEXAS SOUTHERN Nov. 13........................ ALABAMA STATE Nov. 27........................ @ Grambling State

MS Valley Delta Devils

Texas Southern Tigers

Sept. 4......................... @ Alabama State Sept. 11....................... @ South Carolina St. Sept. 18....................... ALCORN ST. Sept. 25....................... @ Jackson State Oct. 2.......................... PRAIRIE VIEW Oct. 9.......................... @ Southern Oct. 23........................ GRAMBLING Oct. 30........................ @ Texas Southern Nov. 6.......................... @ UAPB Nov. 13........................ ALABAMA A&M

Sept. 4......................... @ Prairie View Sept. 11....................... @ Connecticut Sept. 18....................... ALABAMA A&M Oct. 2.......................... @ Alabama St. Oct. 9.......................... @ Alcorn St. Oct. 23........................ JACKSON STATE Oct. 30........................ MS VALLEY ST. Nov. 6.......................... @ Southern Nov. 13........................ GRAMBLING Nov. 20........................ UAP

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*All times Eastern

2 0 1 0 - 2 0 1 1 colle g e bowl schedule

2010-2011 college bowl schedule

EAGLE BANK

OUTBACK

Washington, DC •Dec. 29 • 2:30 PM • ESPN

Tampa, FL • Jan. 1 • 1 PM • ABC

ACC vs. CUSA - RFK Stadium

BIG TEN vs. SEC - Raymond James Stadium

NEW MEXICO

TEXAS

CAPITOL ONE

, NM • Dec. 18 • 2PM • ESPN

Houston, TX • Dec. 29 • 6 PM • ESPN

Orlando, FL • Jan. 1 • 1 PM • ESPN

Mountain West vs. WAC - University Stadium

BIG TEN vs. BIG 12 - Reliant Stadium

BIG TEN vs. SEC

uDROVE HUMANITARIAN

VELERO ALAMO

GATOR

Boise, ID • Dec. 18 • 5:30 PM • ESPN

San Antonio, TX • Dec. 29 • 9:15PM • ESPN

Jacksonville, FL • Jan. 1 • 1:30 PM • ESPN2

MAC vs. WAC - Bronco Stadium

Big 12 vs. PAC 10

BIG TEN vs. SEC - Municipal Stadium

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED

ROSE BOWL PRESENTED BY CITI

New Orleans, LA • Dec. 18 • 9 PM • ESPN

FORCES

Pasadena, CA • Jan. 1 • 4:30 PM • ESPN

CUSA vs. SUN BELT - Superdome

Fort Worth, TX • Dec. 30 • Noon • ESPN

BCS vs. BCS - Rose Bowl

- Alamodome

• Florida Citrus Bowl

CUSA vs. MOUNTAIN WEST - Amon G. BEEF ‘O’ BRADY ST. PETERSBURG

Carter Stadium

St. Petersburg, FL • Dec. 21 • 8 PM • ESPN BIG EAST vs. CUSA - Tropicana Field

TOSTITOS FIESTA Glendale, AZ • Jan. 1 • 8:30 PM • ESPN

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE

BCS vs. BCS • Univ. of Phoenix Stadium

Bronx, NY • Dec. 30 • 3:20 PM • ESPN MAACO LAS VEGAS

BIG 12 vs. BIG EAST - Yankee Stadium

Las Vegas, NV • Dec. 22 • 8 PM • ESPN

Miami, FL • Jan. 3 • 8 PM • ESPN

MOUNTAIN WEST v. PAC-10 - Sam Boyd

FRANKLIN AMERICAN

Stadium

MUSIC CITY

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT

ORANGE BCS vs. BCS - Sun Life Stadium

Nashville, TN • Dec. 30 • 6:40 PM • ESPN

ALLSTATE SUGAR

ACC vs. SEC - LP Field

New Orleans, LA • Jan. 4 • 8 PM • ESPN

UNION POINSETTA

BCS vs. BCS - Superdome

San Diego, CA • Dec. 23 • 8 PM • ESPN

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION

MOUNTAIN WEST vs. NAVY - Qualcomm

HOLIDAY

GMAC

Stadium

San Diego, CA • Dec. 30 • 10 PM • ESPN

Mobile, AL • Jan. 6 • 8 PM • ESPN

BIG 12 vs. PAC 10 - Qualcomm Stadium

MAC vs. SUN BELT - Ladd-Peebles Stadium

Honolulu, HI • Dec. 24 • 8 PM • ESPN

MEINEKE CARE CARE

AT&T COTTON

CUSA vs. WAC - Alohoa Stadium

Cahrlotte, NC • Dec. 31 • Noon • ESPN

Arlington, TX • Jan. 7 • 8 PM • FOX

ACC vs. BIG EAST - Bank of AMerica Stadium

BIG 12 vs. SEC - Cowboys Stadium

Detroit, MI • Dec. 26 • 8:30 PM • ESPN

BRUT SUN

PAPAJOHNS.COM

BIG TEN vs. MAC

El Paso, TX • Dec. 31 • 2 PM • CBS

Birmingham, AL • Jan. 8 • Noon • ESPN

ACC vs. PAC 10 - Sun Bowl Stadium

BIG EAST vs. SEC - Legion Field

INDEPENDENCE

AUTOZONE LIBERTY

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER

Shreveport, LA • Dec. 27 • 5 PM • ESPN

Memphis, TN • Dec. 31 • 3:30 PM • ESPN

San Francisco, CA • Jan. 9 • 9 PM • ESPN

ACC vs. MOUNTAIN WEST - Independence

CUSA vs. SEC - Liberty Bowl Stadium

PAC 10 vs. WAC - AT&T Park

SHERATON HAWAII

LITTLE CEASARS - Ford Field

ADVOCARE V100

Stadium CHICK-FIL-A CHAMPS SPORTS

Atlanta, GA • Dec. 31 • Time (TBD) • Net-

Orlando, FL • Dec. 28 • 6:30 PM • ESPN

work (TBD)

ACC vs. BIG EAST - Florida Citrus Bowl

ACC vs. SEC - Georgia Dome

INSIGHT

DALLAS FOOTBALL CLASSIC

TOSTIOS BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Tempe, AZ • Dec. 28 • 10 PM • ESPN

Dallas, TX • Jan. 1 • Noon • ESPNU

Glendale, AZ • Jan. 10 • 8 PM • ESPN

BIG 10 vs. BIG 12 - Sun Devil Satdium

BIG TEN vs. BIG 12 - Cotton Bowl

BCS 1 vs. BCS 2 - Univ. of Phoenix Stadium Mississippi Sports Magazine - 91


MSM

RECRUITING

Recruiting 101 The Evolution of College Football Recruiting

By DAVID ARMSTRONG SoutheastScout.com, Clinton, MS

I

can remember the days when colleges would step up their recruiting efforts each spring by simply going to watch rising senior prospects. Recruiting was a six month out of the year occasion for most colleges. Don’t get me wrong, recruiters are still out there looking at those rising seniors, the only differences now are that they are recruiting twelve months out of the year, and they are looking at rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in addition to the rising senior prospects. Many Division IA BCS Universities have 15-20 commitments going into season these days. With the rise of internet recruiting services, quick access to game film and highlights, and combines and summer camps, college recruiters have access to prospect information at their fingertips. Some college budgets are unlimited when it comes to how much money is spent on recruiting. Some of the numbers are staggering: some schools spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on high school recruiting. As late as 1990, some colleges and universities were still using 16 millimeter cameras to film their games. In the early 1990s,the use of VHS tapes made it easier to create and distribute copies of games. As the technology evolved DVDs made game footage even more accessible. DVDs are smaller and easier to store than bulky VHS tapes, and can be copied in a matter of minutes. Coaches used to have to mail 16 millimeter film from college to college in order to get a look at a player on film. Only one game film would be available from the high schools, so the colleges had to share and mail it from place to place. Now coaches can download game film straight from the internet via ftp: sites into their computers. This allows recruiters to watch a prospect instantly. They can pull games off of data bases that hold thousands of games, which can enable a coach in California to watch a prospect in Florida at the touch of a button. This technology has enabled many colleges to expand their recruiting territories. That’s exactly why you see so many players these days on rosters from many different states. This isn’t to say that colleges don’t recruit locally anymore, because they do. Anytime a recruiter can 92 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

take a home grown athlete he will. That player is not only going to have more loyalty toward that college, but it’s also good public relations for the alumni. Alumni like seeing home grown athletes representing their colleges. As recruiting technology has advanced so has the ability to evaluate prospects. Combines and camps are more available these days for prospects to show their skills to recruiters. The rise of workout facilities has enabled young athletes to learn the basics of training and running with the expertise of professionals. Sports training has become a multimillion dollar business. Athletes have learned how to master certain drills at combines; therefore they can catch the college recruiter’s eye. In the spring and summer there is a combine or camp just about every weekend somewhere close to most athletes. Many colleges do traveling camps in order to get in front of more prospects as well. Instead of the athletes coming to the college for a camp, the colleges are taking the camps to the athletes’ home towns. Colleges use the data from many of these combines to help evaluate the physical attributes of a prospect. Some of the basic drills performed at these combines are the 40 yard dash, vertical jump, L drill and bench press repetitions. The 40 yard dash is, of course, a measure of speed. The vertical jump measures the explosiveness of an athlete, and there is usually a correlation between a good 40 time and a good vertical jump. The L drill, or 5-10-5 shuttle, measures the ability of an athlete to change direction and, of course, the bench press measures the brute strength of an athlete’s upper body. Size, strength, speed, and agility are all factors college recruiters take into account when evaluating a prospect. The NFL now broadcasts its combine on TV which has brought much attention and recognition to the event. Coaches also look at the height and weight of a prospect in relationship to his parents and grandparents. Knowing these statistics can give recruiters insight as to how big the athlete may be in two to three years, and therefore he can project what kind of “upside” the athlete may have. This is why we see prospects coming from smaller colleges. They didn’t have the size in high school for the Division IA schools, but then these players grew two to three inches or more

and put on considerable weight in college. Another aspect in the recruiting process, which is sometimes overlooked, is the “heart” of the player. A great example of this aspect is a young man I coached at Samford University several years ago, Cortland Finnegan from Pace High School in Florida. Cortland, who last year made the Pro Bowl as a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, was offered scholarships only from Samford University and Troy University out of high school. Standing only 5’10 and 175 pounds, Cortland has great work ethics and determination, not to mention he runs sub 4.5 in the 40s. He was overlooked by the big universities due to his size. Because of his heart and his sheer will to succeed, Cortland has become one of the best corners in the NFL. The best recruiters do their homework on prospects and take all things into consideration. Star ratings on players coming out of high school generate much talk and conversation these days. Some recruiting sites such as Rivals and Scout.com rate players from a 1 to 5 stars, with a 5star being a national recruit. These ratings create a lot of enthusiasm in the fall for sports fans, as they enjoy watching these star rated individuals play. Ratings are based on a number of criteria: size and speed of the athlete, agility, performance on the field, and the caliber of the high school program and competition level he competes against. Universities not only compete for a national championship on the field, but also with recruiting classes these days. The programs that sign the highest rated players, according to these recruiting sites, also have the top rated recruiting classes in the country. This generates a lot of great talk radio commentary from fans across the country. These class evaluations also put the coaches in the spotlight, as fans can see who is doing the best job in recruiting the top players. As technology and information gathering methods advance, recruiting will become even more specialized. The ages of potential recruits will continue to drop. Athletes will continue to train and develop physically at younger ages. This year the University of Southern California offered a thirteen year old quarterback a scholarship, and it drew national attention. Who knows how common place this will be in five to ten years. - MSM


RECRUITING

MSM

MISSISSIPPI’S “FABULOUS 15”

Mississippi Sports Magazine and David Armstrong of SoutheastScout.com give you our list of the Top 15 High School and Junior College players to keep an eye on during the 2010 season.

HIGH SCHOOL TOP 15 - Listed Alphabetically THOMPSON AKIKO

JOSH PINKSTON

DARION ARRINGTON

TOBIAS SINGLETON

NICHOLAS BRASSELL

JERMAINE WHITEHEAD

Clinton HS - RB - Explosive speed. A threat every time he has the ball.

Stone County - RB - Strong RB with excellent speed. Has SEC offers.

South Panola - WR - Explosive Athlete, big target with great speed and hands.

MALCOLMB FACIANE

Picayune HS - TE/DE - Runs 4.6 40. Can play both sides of the ball.

CORTEZ FRIZELL

Durant HS - RB - 2400 yds, 33 TDs in 2009. Led Mississippi in rushing.

DOMINIQUE HARRIS

Southaven HS - QB - Good size and strong arm.

ZAC JACKSON

Forest HS - WR - Lean athletic WR. Great Hands and speed.

Madsion Central HS - WR - Big play maker for MC. Great speed and explosiveness.

Amanda Elzy - CB - Great athleticism.

BEST OF THE REST CHELARVEZ BROWN

- Winona HS - RB - Runs 4.4 in 40.

- Gulfport HS - OL - Athletic lineman DEONTE MONCRIEF - Raleigh HS - WR - Tall athletic CORTEZ HARTZOG

receiver. BEN STEVENS

- West Jones - QB - Expecting another great

season in 2010. C.J. RAMERIZ

- Ittwamba AHS - OL - Has good feet and size.

Heidelberg HS - ATH - Receiving D1 offers. Can play both sides of the ball.

Comes out of a great program.

C.J. JOHNSON

make up one of the best backfields in the state.

Philadelphia, HS - LB - Great nose for the ball. Runs sideline to sideline well.

DEVONTAY BARNETTE CULLEN BURNETTE

- Meridian HS - DL - Very active DL. Great

JACOBY EASON

Tupelo HS - DL - Receiving D1 offers. Can dominate his side of the LOS.

motor.

DANIEL KNOX

lete. Has D1 offers.

MAIKHAIL MILLER

Ittawamba Agricultural HS - QB - Big strong accurate pocket passer. Has good feet as well.

AARON MORRIS

Callaway HS - OL - Receiving D1 offers. Good feet for his size.

- NW Rankin HS - DL - Good motor. Big

frame.

P.J. JONES

West Lauderdale - TE - Big TE with athleticism. Has D1 offers.

- West Jones - RB - He and Stevens

SENQUEZ GOLSON

- Pascagoula HS - ATH - Versatile ath-

KENDRICK MARKET

- South Panola HS - DB - Plays QB in

the Wildcat formation. Versatile athlete. JUSTIN BELL

- Callaway HS - OT - Anchors the other side of

the line with Morris. QUIN GRIFFIN

- South Panola HS - RB - Plays OLB/RB. hard

nosed player. Physical. JAVON WASHINGTON

- Natchez HS - QB - Athletic QB.

Expecting a great year in 2010. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 93


MSM

RECRUITING

JUCO TOP 15 - Listed Alphabetically BUBBA BROWN

Jones CC - RB - Kasnas St. signee in HS. Strong runner with good speed.

MARK SPAIGHT

Delta CC - LB - May be the best player in JUCO this year.

OTHA FOSTER

MARTEZ THOMPSON

OSCAR GOLDEN

BO TILLMAN

Pearl River CC - SS - 4.4 in teh 40. Major D1 prospect.

Delta CC - SS - Runs the alley well. Tackles well in space. Demeber graduate.

DANIEL HAYDEN

Pearl River CC - DE - Very athletic. Good size and quickness. Aggressive.

JONATHAN JENKINS

Gulf Coast CC - DT - The next in line of great DTs at GCCC.

Gulf Coast CC - CB - 4.5 in the 40. Great make up of speed and cover skills.

Co-Lin CC - DE - Top D1 prospect. Runs well. Can dominate.

BEST OF THE REST WILLIE BURROWS - Gulf Coast CC - CB - Big physical DB. May play safety in 2010.

HOLLIS MOORE - Coahoma CC - WR - D1 athlete. Expecting a great year in 2010.

GARRICK JONES

ROBERT McCOY - Coahoma CC - DT - Big presence in the middle. Good quickness. Gets to the ball.

IZAUEA LANIER

KESHUN COWAN - Northwest CC - CB - Ran 4.2 in the 40. Great athlete. Cover corner.

Coahoma CC - QB - Good size and poise in teh pocket. December graduate.

East MS CC - SS - Signed with Auburn out of HS. Great WR as well.

LEON MACKEY

Hinds CC - DE - Va. Tech signee out of HS. Runs well. Can dominate.

JOMANTAY PILSON

JO’NAL WHITE - Jones CC - DT - Strong presence in the middle. Quick and strong.

JOSH SHIPP siveness.

- Northwest CC - LB - Good speed and aggres-

MARTY STADOM ball. Makes plays. TAVARES WHITE

- Southwest CC - DE - Always around the - Delta CC - SS - Very aggressive safety.

HOUSTON LANTRIP - Itawamba CC - OL - had most votes as OL for All-State last season.

Northwest CC - DE - Several SEC schools already in hot pursuit.

MARCUS McQUARLEY Caught 7 TDs in 2009.

J.D. Ratliff

KY’VARI BOLDEN 2009. 5 for loss.

Southwest CC - CB - Led nation in INTs in 2009 with 10. 1st team All-American.

RYAN ROBINSON

Jones CC - DE - Placed by Oklahoma St. Good size and speed.

DARIUS SLAY

Itawamba CC - CB - All-State as a Freshman. Signed and place by Miss. State out of HS.

- East MS CC - WR - Very fast.

- Northeast CC - DT - Had 84 tackles in

LEDARREN COOK - Pearl River CC - DT - D1 talent. Good size, strenght and quickness.

SCOTTIE WOODSON - Pearl River CC - CB - Great cover CB In-state player from Columbia, MS.

KHALID WILSON - East Central CC - DT - Great motor. Top 10 in state in tackles in 2009.

TERRANCE COLEMAN - Co-Lin CC - DE - Signed with Auburn out of HS. Expecting a great year. JORDAN HUNT Makes plays.

- Co-Lin CC - LB - Always around the ball.

SoutheastScout.com is owned and operated by David Armstrong of Clinton, MS. David provides information, hilites and film packages of Mississippi prospects for colleges and Universities all across the country. David has 18 years experience in college coaching including position, offensive coordinator, as well as recruiting coordinator at multiple schools. David is also a former four year letterman as a quarterback at Western Kentucky University and quarterbacked the 1988 team to 9-4 and the quarterfinals of NCAA I-AA Championship in the playoffs. David comes from a coaching background as his father, Wayne Armstrong, coached at Southern Miss back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. David is a member of the American Football Coaches Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. David can be contacted by email at SoutheastScout@ yahoo.com. 94 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


JOIN OUR TEAM! Advertising Sales Representative Mississippi Sports Magazine is looking to take the publication to the next level and reach a relatively untapped advertising base. Teammates of the utmost standard are needed to attain this stage of the game, and the right Advertising Sales Representatives are the ones who will help us get there. RESPONSIBILITIES: This is a part-time or full-time position, which requires the following duties: • Identifying and prospecting potential accounts • Locating decision-makers and researching company backgrounds for their advertising needs • Consistently identify new accounts while working on existing prospects • Having excellent communication and dialogue with clients via phone, email and face-to-face • Must be able to craft proposals and use proper grammar and etiquette • Meeting customers’ needs efficiently and closing accounts quickly to meet production deadlines • Giving daily/weekly feedback reports as to the progress of potential accounts IDEAL CANDIDATES: A person residing in Mississippi is a must. Face-to-face communication, excellent written and phone communication, and computer proficiency are skills necessary in a potential candidate. This person must also be outgoing, confident, and a self-starter who is constantly seeking new business avenues. Our Advertising Sales Representatives must be organized and driven to succeed. Although not a necessity, someone who possesses interest in sports, particularly with Mississippi, is definitely preferred. Someone with previous sales experience in the field of advertising is ideal, however, someone with a substantial sales background in other markets will be considered. COMPENSATION: This position will have a compensation structure dependent on your performance. Once different sales levels are achieved, it will trigger salary and benefit components so those who work hard and produce results will be rewarded. A generous commission will be given for all bi-monthly billing. There is no limit as to the level of compensation achievable for this position. An aggressive and ambitious individual looking for the right career will be rewarded accordingly.

If you are interested in joining our TEAM, email your resume to publisher@mssportsmagazine.com Mississippi Sports Magazine - 95


MSM

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

The Top High School Teams in each Class for 2010 By James O. Covington Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine

CLASS 6A - TOP 5 1. SOUTH PANOLA – After winning last year’s State Title in a Snow Storm, this year the Tigers look to ice down the competition even more. 2. OLIVE BRANCH – They are number two for a reason, until they get by South Panola. 3. MADISON CENTRAL – Primed and Ready for another banner season, but questions arise on defense. 4. CLINTON – Perhaps one of the most athletic teams in the Southeast, that will carry a chip on its shoulder after coming so close last year. 5. OAK GROVE – Anytime Brett Favre is at your practices, the kids step it up a level. The Warriors are going to step it up a whole lot this year, especially on offense where they will be rebuilding. KEEP AN EYE ON NATCHEZ – Paced by All-State Quarterback Javon Washington, the Bulldogs have been getting better and better every year. This year watch out for them.

CLASS 5A - TOP 5 1. WEST POINT – Loaded and ready for a return trip to the Big House, but it’s not always an easy task. Especially with what’s down below gunning for you. 2. WAYNE COUNTY – As always, another swift bunch returns for the War Hawks, but will it be enough to come out of the South? 3. WEST JONES – Whoever wins between them and Wayne County will have the inside track in the South, but they may see each other again in the playoffs. 4. PICAYUNE – The Maroon Tide are often overlooked, but not this year with the return of several talented Seniors and Juniors. 5. NEW HOPE – They lost to West Point twice last year, and that is what motivates this bunch. KEEP AN EYE ON STONE COUNTY – They have the pieces in 96 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

place to make some noise! On offense they can score in bunches thanks to Mr. All-Everything Darion Arrington.

CLASS 4A - TOP 5 1. LAFAYETTE COUNTY – 6-4, 235-pound junior quarterback Jeremy Liggins will be hard to handle, but for the Dore’s the defense must come together if they are to repeat as North State Champions. 2. LOUISVILLE – The road to Jackson always crosses Louisville and this year is no exception with an abundance of talent returning for the Cats. 3. WEST LAUDERDALE – Led by All-State Tight end Daniel Knox, this baseball school is slowly turning into a football powerhouse. 4. ITAWAMBA AHS – Senior Quarterback Maikhai Miller will lead this team as far as he can in a crowded and loaded North. 5. NOXUBEE COUNTY – Some of the fastest players in the state will suit up here this fall. KEEP AN EYE ON ST. STANISLAUS – Gone is Dylan Favre but back is a youthful group that could surprise many this year in the weak South.

CLASS 3A - TOP 5 1. CHARLESTON – This could be their year after having so many “oh so close” years! 2. MORTON – The best defensive front in Class 3A will give Morton a solid chance of playing in Jackson come December. 3. HAZLEHURST – Physical and fast is one way to describe the Indians. Led by speedster Gabrial Gray and heavy hitting linebacker Leviticus Cain, beware… 4. TYLERTOWN – They lost a lot from last year’s State Championship winning squad, but they return a good bit on defense and will have plenty of weapons on offense. 5. FRANKLIN COUNTY – New head coach Rickey O’Quinn Jr. takes over a well oiled football machine, that’s four years removed from a State Title. Guess what? These pit bulls

are hungry again! KEEP AN EYE ON PHILADELPHIA – Led by hard hitting linebacker C.J. Johnson, a Miss. State commit, this team has the talent to go a long way this fall.

CLASS 2A - TOP 5 1. BASSFIELD – They are back for more and hungry for another title. 2. LLOYD STAR – New coach Randall Huffman takes over a talented group that trademarks itself with Smash-Mouth football. 3. TAYLORSVILLE – If they can survive their first five games then 2A could be a breeze! 4. ACKERMAN – They love to hit, and up north everybody still fears them. 5. BALDWYN – Two years ago they won a State Title, now those talented Sophomores back then are Seniors this fall. KEEP AN EYE ON MIZE – Like a snake, at any given moment they can strike on offense.

CLASS 1A - TOP 5 1. MT. OLIVE – The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair may have said it best – ‘In order to be the champs, you’ve got to beat the champs!’ 2. DURANT – The potential is there for them to make a strong run in 1A, possibly to Jackson. 3. VARDAMAN – One lose to Durant kept them from Jackson last year, but these Rams look ready to go the extra mile this year. 4. COFFEEVILLE – Taking aim at a State Title once again, with a solid squad. 5. RAY BROOKS – Another season of high expectations comes with this unit. KEEP AN EYE ON SMITHVILLE – If they get hot, then watch out. If a team on top stumbles they could make a move.


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MSM July/August 2010 Football Preview