Monday, August 16, 2010

LSC Roundup 8-16

WT gains from his pain
Dave Henry
Amarillo Globe News

Listening to West Texas A&M quarterback Taylor Harris describe the injury to his right shoulder suffered last season is not for the faint-hearted.

Stretched cartilage. Cut cartilage. Bone-on-bone. Shaved bone.

 As uncomfortable as those terms might sound to some, they were downright painful for Harris.
In the first quarter of last season's opener against preseason No. 1 Grand Valley State at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium, a Laker defender fell on a scrambling Harris, landing on Harris' right shoulder - his passing arm.

"Oh yeah, I remember the play," Harris said. "I was running to the sideline and I put my left shoulder into the guy and he kind of wrapped me up and fell on top of me. I felt it kind of pop. I knew something had happened."

DAVID FLORES: Intense linebacker sets tone for Incarnate Word defense
David Flores

It didn’t take long for University of the Incarnate Word football coach Mike Santiago and his staff to identify linebacker Dakota Mawyer as a top prospect when they were putting together their first recruiting class three years ago.  Impressed with Mawyer’s high marks as a student-athlete, Santiago figured he was the type of player who would help build a solid foundation for UIW’s fledgling program.

Not surprisingly, Mawyer didn’t exactly connect UIW with college football before Santiago and assistant coaches Todd Ivicic and Kyle Kennan came calling.  While Baylor expressed interest in Mawyer, Division II schools Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Kingsville seemed more likely college destinations. He visited Tarleton State in Stephenville, but never made it down to Kingsville.

“I never would have imagined going to Incarnate Word,” Mawyer said. “But that changed after I met the coaches. There was something about their passion for football and the school that made me want to come here.”

Hammond ready for turnaround

J.R. Hammond could have had a worse scenario. He could still be more than 1,000 miles from home.

The knee injury could have been career-ending. Statistics across the board could have been nothing but zeros. Instead, the former Edmond Santa Fe running back is looking forward to this football season with the idea of building on what he has done. A junior at Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford, Hammond said the 2010 season will be a "complete turnaround.”

"We were very young last year — it was a lot of things,” Hammond said. "We had a new (coaching) staff, and some people didn't want to play here anymore.”

Rams' enthusiasm evident at first practice
Mike Whitson
San Angelo Standard Times

— Not even triple-digit temperatures could diminish the excitement surrounding the Angelo State University football team as it held the first official day of practice Friday afternoon.  Players and coaches alike energetically made their way onto the practice field at the LeGrand Sports Complex as temperatures rose toward the 103-degree mark.

Senior Cody Smith acknowledged the heat as soon as he emerged from the locker room, but did not feel it would have much of an effect on the highly-anticipated practice.

“It is going to be hot,” Smith said.

Our people: Life coach
Liliana Castillo
Clovis News Journal

Eastern New Mexico University’s head football coach Mark Ribaudo spent eight years working as assistant before becoming head coach five years ago. Heading into his sixth year, Ribaudo said he is starting the season as he always likes to: Excited and optimistic. He said there is a buzz in the air before football season starts and it probably comes from the season being short and being made up of so few games. Ribaudo said each game is an event with a whole week of build up, making it exciting.

Harold Harmon
Durant Daily Democrat
Southeastern’s footballers outnumber the temperature — but not by much.

Paul Laird Field is the proving ground for 117 hopefuls and thus far that has resulted in the training staff running through seven cases of tape.

Practices for coach Ray Richards’ Savage Storm have been moved to 7 a.m. to avoid the brutal heat as much as possible.

That heat on the artificial turf can rise to around 150 degrees. A good career move would be staying off the bottom of a pile.

Welcome back, Carter Whitson
Jenni Carlson

EDMOND — Tears spilled down Carter Whitson's cheeks as he walked off the Sun Bowl Stadium turf last December. He thought his playing days were done. No reason to believe otherwise. He was a fifth-year senior at Oklahoma. He was a walk-on holder for the Sooners.

"I saw the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. He smiled. "I thought I was there."

If his sweaty Central Oklahoma practice gear is any indication, Whitson thought wrong. Because of an NCAA Division II rule and a semester spent student teaching, he has one semester of eligibility remaining. He has returned not only to the field with the Bronchos but also to the position he played as a kid — quarterback.

"I'm running around out there having a blast," Whitson said after a morning practice late last week. "I feel like I'm 9 years old. I've got all the energy in the world."

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Central Oklahoma
Nick Eatman
LoneStar Conference Website

This is the sixth of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature the University of Central Oklahoma.
Entering his third season as head coach, Tracy Holland can look at the bright side of last year’s 4-7 record. Despite a five-game losing streak in the middle of the year, the Bronchos managed to win three of their last four games, propelling them to an off-season that is still filled with enthusiasm.

“We’re very excited about we’ve got going on this year,” said Holland. “If there is one word to describe us, we are definitely young. But some of our young guys will be new faces, but some of them had to play a lot of time last year.”

While Holland says the team is young, he also describes his players as athletic and “extremely competitive.”
There will be some strong competition at the quarterback spot, where Ethan Sharp and Landon Greve battled for the job in the spring. And don’t count out Carter Whitson, a transfer from Oklahoma where he played receiver.   Sophomore guard Cody Hughes was a second-team All-LSC pick as a true freshman last year, and he returns to anchor a line that also includes Cody Ellett and Jake Kessen.

At receiver, Daniel Morrell returns to headline a talented group. Morrell earned second-team All-LSC honors with a 45-catch season that included 640 yards and six touchdowns. Matt Jackson, Dolphin Davis and Tucker Holland should provide some depth at receiver.  The running backs are young, but talented. And don’t forget about fast. Redshirt freshman Josh Birmingham will provide some speed at the tailback spot, and Tim Branch should add the power.

Defensively, it starts with linebacker Tucker Cason, a first-team All-LSC selection last season. The 6-1, 230-pound junior is not only one of the top performers, but also a team leader who plays much bigger than his size.  The secondary is inexperienced but will count on Rashawn Copeland and Ellis Knight for leadership.  Up front, Holland says the defensive line is “probably the strongest area on team in terms of depth.”   Five players with experience return this fall, including senior Jeremy Atkins and juniors Herbert Byrd and Ahamd Jones. Sophomore Sam Moses was an honorable mention All-LSC pick last year as a freshman.

The special teams should be solid thanks to a pair of sophomores – kicker Chris Robbs and punter Nick Chalifoux.

While the Bronchos played seven games on the road last season, they will get six at home this year, including the first two games of the season – Pittsburg State and Tarleton State – both at Edmond.


UCO Has Long Scrimmage
UCO Sports Information

EDMOND (Aug. 15) – There were plenty of highlights on both sides of the ball Sunday night at Wantland Stadium as Central Oklahoma took advantage of an unusually cool summer evening to go through an 111-play scrimmage.

Four quarterbacks combined to complete 31-of-58 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns – four of those in red zone situations – to highlight the offense, while the defense gave up just 96 yards rushing and returned one of three interceptions for a touchdown.

“I liked what I saw tonight,” UCO coach Tracy Holland said. “I was most impressed with the physical play we had on both sides of the football. We really flew around and that’s what we wanted to see.

“This was a scrimmage where about everybody played. We’re a young football team and we looked at a lot of different guys in different situations. We needed to come out of this scrimmage knowing who the guys are that we’re going to rely on against Pittsburg State and we learned a lot.”

The Bronchos will return to practice Monday evening as preparations continue for the Aug. 28 opener against the Gorillas. Kickoff for that contest is 7 p.m. at Wantland Stadium.

Sophomore Ethan Sharp, redshirt freshman Landon Greve, senior Carter Whitson and rookie Brett Maxie all took turns directing the offense during the lengthy skirmish.

Sharp finished 10-of-17 passing for 108 yards and two TDs, while Maxie was 6-of-13 for 100 yards and two scores, Whitson 9-of-22 for 110 yards and one TD and Greve 6-of-8 for 34 yards.

Fifteen receivers caught at least one pass during the scrimmage, with the touchdowns going to five different players – Cole Eddy (40 yards), Brandon Winn (26), Daniel Morrell (25), Waylon Botkin (20) and Greg Everidge (11).

Winn also had a three-yard TD burst and Josh Birmingham scored on an impressive 29-yard scamper.

Linebacker Turner Troup, lineman Herbert Byrd and defensive back Creadell Pennon led a stingy first-team defensive unit, while Aaron James, Keno Meadows and Mashawn Copeland all picked off a pass. Meadows returned his interception 66 yards for a score midway through the scrimmage.

Catching up with ACU Football
ACU Sports Information

ABILENE -- The ACU Wildcats wrapped up their first four days of summer camp Sunday afternoon with a spirited workout at the Wally Bullington Practice Facilty.

Despite the blistering heat (temps hovering around 115 degrees on the turf practice field), the Wildcats were able to get in four practices before starting work in full pads on Monday. ACU practiced once a day on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before going one more time on Monday (4 p.m.). ACU will practice twice Tuesday (8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) before working out one more time Wednesday (4 p.m.).

For more on what ACU head coach Chris Thomsen has seen out of his team through four days of practice, and for other ACU football notes, go to the ACU Sports blog at

Rams Battle Through Intense Third Practice Sunday
Angelo State Sports Information

SAN ANGELO, Texas – What goes around, comes around. A day after the offensive line held off the defensive line in a highly competitive trench drill, the defense prevailed forcing the offensive big men to some extra calisthenics during Angelo State’s third football practice at the LeGrand Sports Complex Sunday afternoon.

There were similar results in seven-on-seven and team drills, which saw the defense play with a slight edge in intensity at times during another nearly two hour practice in the mid-day sun. For the second consecutive day, the Rams practiced in helmets and shoulder pads and will wear full pads for the first time in Monday’s practice session.

Still, the offense had its share of big plays during seven-on-seven, including a leaping catch by V’Keon Lacey, who snuck behind the defense. Junior running back Nevin Gardiner showed some elusiveness with a pair of dashes through the line during the inside run drill.

Sunday’s workout was, by far, the most emotional of the three practices – a fact head coach Dale Carr pointed out to his team in the post-practice huddle, and cautioned that there’s a fine line with emotional intensity. Overall, Carr liked the competitiveness of practice and called Sunday’s time on the field “a good practice.”

While Carr attempted to put his team on simmer, the sun did its best to keep the players sizzling as temperatures reached triple digits for the third day of practice, and 16th-consecutive day in San Angelo. The team will hold a morning practice Monday before holding its first two-a-day practice Tuesday.

:: The Rams will hold their annual Blue-Gold scrimmage Friday, Aug. 20, at the LeGrand Sports Complex with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff scheduled. The event is free and open to the public.

:: Four Rams were held out of practice Sunday with minor injuries, a low number Coach Carr is pleased with. He credited the team with coming into camp in shape and taking care of their bodies, during the post-practice huddle.

:: Football single game and season tickets are on now on sale to the general public. Visit or call (325)942-BLUE to order. Several seats in the upgraded chair back section remain.

UIW Sports Information

It was a scripted scrimmage under the lights at Benson Stadium Saturday night and overall the Cardinals football team left some good impressions on its coaches.

The general plan called for some 90 plays, offense against defense, and Coach Mike Santiago said he gave most of the play calling duties to Offensive Coordinator Tony Marciano. "It is tough to call that many plays without a break," Santiago said afterwards. "Of course I called the touchdowns," Santiago said with a chuckle, but I thought we handled the clock well. That was an area we wanted to watch."

The evening began with the first offense against the first defense, then the twos against twos and threes against threes. One play in particular got a rise out of the crowd of some two hundred Cardinals diehards. About halfway through the session Kansas City, Mo., freshman running back Josh Eatman broke off left tackle and went 65 yards to the end zone in a hurry.

"I thought our young running backs turned out good," Santiago said. He cited Eatman along with freshman Tahje Canyon and senior Al Furlow.

The competition between the first teams drew Santiago's attention also. "It was a battle out there between our ones. They exchanged some blows."

With two weeks remaining before the season opener, the Cardinals will get a Sunday morning of rest then they return to the turf for an evening session to work on their kicking games.

UIW opens its second season on Saturday, August 28, when Langston University comes to Benson Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff. An off week ensues before Incarnate Word gets its Lone Star Conference baptism with 10 consecutive conference tilts.

SE Football Wraps First Full Week of Practice
SOSU Sports Information

DURANT, Okla. - As football puts just over a week of training camp under its belt, it's time to catch up with members of the Southeastern squad and coaching staff to find out how life on the field is right out of the gate. Below are interviews with Southeastern coach Ray Richards and quarterback Logan Turner, as well as offensive coordinator Scott Courter with running back Baylen Laury.

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico