Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LSC Roundup 3-23

NCAA Basketball Championship

SCSU basketball's Taylor and Forrest Witt: Like brother, unlike brother
Elite eight bound

M. Basketball: Fan Information for 2010 NCAA Division II Men's Elite Eight

The parade of post-season accolades continued for Dauntae Williams Monday when the Central Oklahoma standout was named to the 2010 State Farm Division II All-America Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
The Short List
Remember the name Simi Kuli on the West Texas A&M football team. Kuli, listed as a 6-foot-5, 275-pound junior transfer defensive lineman from California on the Buffs' spring roster, was a potential stud at Oregon State and the top-rated JUCO player in the nation, according to recruiting services. The Buffs lose three key d-lineman from last season.

Most athletes at Pro Day, held midday Monday at Abilene Christian University, were hoping for eye-popping sprints, leaps and displays of strength. Tony Washington just wanted to be a tenth of second, or two, faster.

One week into spring practices, Angelo State head coach Dale Carr is impressed in what he is seeing in his Rams.

The Rams opened spring drills Thursday, Mar. 4, and had six workouts before taking a week off for spring break.

"We're pretty balanced on both sides of the ball," said Carr, who is opening his sixth season with the Rams this fall. "We're practicing pretty smart, nothing surprising yet. We have some good leadership out there and they set the tempo of our practices."

The Rams returned to the practice field Monday to start the second half of spring drills. They will practice every day this week, except Wednesday, preparing for the first of two scrimmages this weekend. The Rams will scrimmage 10 a.m. Saturday, Mar. 27, at San Angelo Stadium. ASU will close spring drills Thursday, Apr. 1, with its second and final scrimmage. That scrimmage is set for 4 p.m. at the practice field.

"Through our first week of spring workouts, our offense is running the same package that we ran the last weeks of the regular season," said Carr. "Offensively, we've got a lot of returning talent that makes spring practices run smooth. Defensively, we have a lot of players that saw significant playing time last fall and we're seeing good things from them. We're waiting to see more from those younger players that redshirted or saw limited playing time last fall."

Football Starts Spring Drills

WEATHERFORD, Okla. - Southwestern Oklahoma State University will began spring football practice Monday, March 22, the first of 17 practice dates that will conclude with the annual spring game Saturday, April 17.

Under second-year head coach Dan Cocannouer, SWOSU enters spring ball with 77 players, 25 more than took part in drills in the coach's initial year.

"I am very excited to get going," Cocannouer said. "We are certainly pleased with the numbers that we have. We have only 17 days so we can't afford to waste a single second.

The team will add pads for the first time at Friday's practice. Cocannouer said that the team will conduct some live work and there should be plenty of hitting.

All practices are open to the public and will begin at 3 p.m. They will be held on the intramural playing fields located north of the main campus.

Texans begin spring ball under Fowler

Sports Editor

The Cary Fowler era in Tarleton State football won't officially begin until the Texans battle Northeastern State in the 2010 season opener on Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium.

The preparation for that new beginning is well under way.

The first spring ball under Fowler began Monday, and the first-year head coach, who previously served Tarleton asdefensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for two years, was especially pleased with the tempo of the first practice.

"That's one of the first things you have to establish is a good tempo so you can get a lot of work done," Fowler said. "I tell my players we're all in the NFL - meaning we're in it 'not for long.' That means we have to take advantage of every opportunity we get and make the most of it."

The tempo was at its best when plays were being shuttled in quickly between the 40 yard lines.

"I don't know exactly how many plays we got off in that drill, but it was a lot," he said. "Our tempo was definitely there, and we have to keep that up."

Another sight that brought a smile to Fowler's face was that of Scott Grantham coaching quarterbacks. Grantham spent three seasons becoming one of Tarleton's most decorated signal callers before announcing shortly after the end of the Texans' 2009 campaign that he would forgo his senior season of eligibility.

"Scott is exactly who I want working with my trigger pullers on every play - a winner," Fowler said. "I know he'll do a great job working with those guys."

Grantham looked comfortable on the field in a sweat top with the sleeves rolled up, shorts and a ball cap in the place of a purple helmet.

"I'm real comfortable out there," Grantham said. "Some things are changing but it's the same style of offense and I know all (the quarterbacks) so it's easy to be comfortable."

Grantham, who already has a bachelor's degree and is currently working on his master's in business administration, says he knows he wants to be coach, and working with the Tarleton quarterbacks is a natural fit.

"As a quarterback, I always tried to have a coaching mentality even when I was a player," Grantham said.

As many as five players could battle for Tarleton's starting quarterback job, and three - junior-to-be Casey Page, sophomore-to-be Jake Fenske and redshirt freshman Aaron Doyle - took snaps Monday. Versatile sophomore-to-be Blair Johnson worked exclusively with the defensive backs and redshirt freshman Jackson Crawley was excused from practice because he was accepting a Fellowship of Christian Athletes award.

As a volunteer coach, Grantham said he didn't feel qualified to discuss who would win the starting job, but he did offer his own insight into some of each player's strengths.

"Doyle is the best overall athlete of the group, Fenske is the biggest and strongest and Page is the best leader because he's been here the longest and knows the system so well," Grantham said. "Crawley is a combination of all those.

"It's a great group with a lot of character," he continued. "All of them have a good understanding of the game."

Fowler was working with defensive backs while Grantham handled the quarterbacks, but the head coach did like what he saw from the signal callers during team drills.

"From what I saw of them, they all have great command in the huddle," Fowler said. "That's something they get from working with Scott. He has the type of confidence and leadership skills that are contagious and those guys all pick up on that."

Rumors suggest Grantham has thought of reconsidering his decision not to play next season and return in the fall for his final semester of eligibility, but that is one topic he chose to avoid discussing in much detail.

"The fever is for football, and that's why I'm here. I love the game and I just want to be around it," Grantham said. "Will that cause playing fever? Not necessarily."

Fowler says whether Grantham dons a playing jersey again or not, the Texans are better just for having him around.

"If he plays, we're better because we have Scott Grantham," Fowler said. "If he doesn't, we're still better because whoever starts at quarterback has worked with him and picked up on the things that made him so successful."

Fowler, Grantham and offensive coordinator Scott Carey had Page directing the first-team offense Monday, and the unit impressed the head coach, particularly in the "sudden change" (working to score touchdowns after a turnover) drill that ended the practice.

"We do that drill to work on scoring touchdowns and not settling for field goals," Fowler said. "The last time I checked (All-American kicker) Garrett Lindholm isn't playing for us anymore."

The first-team offense picked up a first down in the drill and then Page split two defenders for a touchdown strike.

The second-team defense then won one for the stop troops on the ensuing "sudden change" possession, stopping their offensive counterparts cold on second and third-and-one situations on back-to-back plays.

"Those two units really stood out with the way they performed there at the end of practice," Fowler said.

The Texans will be in the weight room, meetings and film sessions today before returning to the turf at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Full pads will be donned for the first time Friday, and the first full-contact scrimmage is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

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