Friday, August 20, 2010

LSC Roundup 8-20

Former Javelina Great Johnny Bailey passes away
Fred Nuesch, TAMK

KINGSVILLE---Former Texas A&I football running back Johnny Bailey, 43, the most honored collegiate football player in history, died Friday morning in Houston after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Bailey, who set records and compiled yardage in football that stand as the best ever for a collegiate athlete, played football for the Javelinas in 1986-89. His accomplishments are unexcelled in the history of college football. Bailey, from Houston Yates High School, rushed for 6,320 yards and became only the second back to rush for more than 6,000 yards in a career. The other was Tony Dorsett of the University of Pittsburgh, who had 6,082 in his four years. Bailey surpassed Dorsett’s mark at mid-season of his senior season.

Bailey had 7,803 all-purpose yards, also the best ever at the time. He finished third on the collegiate scoring chart with 428 points. He had 580 additional rushing yards in the three post-season playoff games but these did not count in career records at the time. His best single-game figure was 254, that coming in his sophomore season.

Bailey opened his college career with four consecutive 200-plus yards games. No other athlete has had such a college debut. He rushed for 100 or more yards in his first 11 college games. His best rushing season was his first when he picked up 2,011 yards, the best single-season performance for an LSC athlete. At the time, only two other college backs had ever rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Bailey ranks as the all-time leading rusher in the state and Lone Star Conference. The Javelina ace led the LSC in rushing for four consecutive years and was the leading scorer in 1987 and 1989. He made every All-America team for which he was eligible for four consecutive years. He appeared on 15 of the units. He received the Harlon Hill Trophy for three consecutive years and was runnerup for the honor as a freshman. The trophy goes to the NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

Bailey was named Domino’s Pizza/American Football Coaches Association “Coaches’ Choice” Player of the Year in the first year of the award. He was selected to the Football Writers of America All-America team and became the first college division athlete to earn a berth on the roster. He was selected to the ESPN All-America team and is the only college division player to make that squad.

The Javelina back was on the Associated Press’ Little All-America and Kodak All-America first teams in each of his four years of play, and became the first athlete to appear on the squads for four consecutive years. Bailey was the LSC offensive player of the year for four seasons and was selected as USA Today’s Texas Amateur Achiever of the Year twice. He was selected the offensive player of the decade in the LSC. Bailey was selected to appear in three post-season all-star games.

During his four-year career, the team compiled a 38-8 record, won three LSC championships and was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II poll twice. Bailey became the first Javelina player to have his number retired.

After finishing with the Javelinas, Bailey was drafted by the Chicago Bears and also played with the St. Louis Rams. He later played with the Arizona Cardinals.

SWO Sports Information

WEATHERFORD, Okla. –Southwestern Oklahoma State University held their second scrimmage of the 2010 football season Thursday evening and showed a necessary performance boost from the first, Coach Dan Cocannouer said.

“There was some definite progress from our first time,” Cocannouer said. “Defense played well, tackled better and was just cleaner overall. Offensively, I thought we had some nice plays and showed some toughness.”

Game one against Emporia State is less than six days and the veteran coach said the Bulldogs’ focus is changing to concentrate on their upcoming opponent, a team that bested SWOSU 48-17 a year ago.

“Emporia, like us, is eager to start the season the right way,” Cocannouer said. “Both teams will use a number of new players in positions that were different from a year ago. It’s hard to anticipate what exactly will transpire, but we’ll be ready. I think everyone should expect to see a tough football game with both teams giving maximum effort.”

SWOSU went briskly through its 60-play scrimmage that lasted just over one hour in length. The Bulldogs limited the number of plays from their front liners choosing instead to get a closer look at first-year players and other squad men.

Still several first-teamers did have their moments.

Offensively, Michael Van Deripe and Dustin Stenta continued to show their strengths in the battle for the quarterback job. Van Deripe had a 50-yard run on a nifty move while Stenta later threw a 35-yard touchdown strike to Esau Bauknight for one of the offensive scores.

Cocannouer said his preference would be to go with one quarterback and not rely on a two- quarterback system. Still, though the coach did not rule out that both could see action against Emporia.

“Both of them have certain abilities that given them an edge over the other,” Cocannouer said. “It will not necessarily hinge on football skills to determine the eventual starter. We want them to take charge and be a leader. They both know this and our showing well for themselves.”

Defensively, SWOSU played without ends Sean Gordon and Tim Stephenson who were held out as a precautionary measure because of injuries. Still, both are expected to be ready for the opener.

The defensive line appears set with TCU transfer Henry Niutei anchoring the unit from the nose position. Position battles remain at linebacker and secondary where a number of new players will be fighting for starting jobs.

Mustangs rely on giddy-up from hard-charging running backs
J. Scott Russell, Times Record News

The Midwestern State Mustangs no longer have the “Mathis Brothers” in the backfield as BeeJay Mathis has used up his eligibility. But Marcus Mathis returns for his senior season with plenty of other running backs ready and able to fill the void beside him.

“We have six of them,” said offensive coordinator Dean Norsworthy. “Three of them are powerful and run real strong. And three of them are quick and fast. Marcus, Peter (Smith) and Chauncey (Harris) all have exceptional speed. Neal (Carr), Lester (Bush) and Keidrick (Jackson) all have pretty good speed, but they are all very powerful. Right now three of them are guaranteed playing time. After that it will depend on the game plan — what personnel we need — and who’s practicing well. Of course if there’s an injury, the others better be prepared to step up.”

Ready to run
Bob Forrest, Ada Evening News

Ada — Hard as it is to believe about a team coming off a season that produced very little to brag about, the East Central University Tigers are working on staying “grounded” this fall.

Although ECU’s young football team showed marked improvement from the start to the agonizing finish (a one-point loss to old rival Southeastern) of an historic 0-11 campaign, the Tigers had one of the worst rushing attacks not only in the Lone Star Conference but in all of Division II, averaging just 63 yards per game. And the irony wasn’t lost on head coach Tim McCarty, who made a living running the ball behind All-Conference tailback King Bennett in his first tour as ECU’s head coach in 2004-2005.

So despite a myriad of things to fix and with another rugged schedule staring him and his team in the face this fall, McCarty made beefing up and speeding up his ground game one of the priorities of his recruiting strategy last winter.

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Texas A&M-Commerce
Nick Eatman, LSC Office

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Texas A&M-Commerce

RICHARDSON, Texas – This is the 10th of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature the Texas A&M-Commerce.

After four games into Guy Morriss’ first season at Commerce, even the former Kentucky and Baylor head coach might have wondered what he was getting into during the early stages of the 2009 season. But after a 0-4 start that included a 76-56 loss at Eastern New Mexico, things suddenly turned around for the Lions. Who would’ve thought A&M-Commerce not only would win five of its next six games, but win the LSC North with a perfect 5-0 record. One of the reasons for the change was quarterback Adam Farkes, who took over in the middle of the season.

“He made the most of that opportunity,” Morris said of Farkes, a senior and former transfer from the University of Maine. “It wasn’t too far after that, that our offense really started to gel and come together. It allowed us to win five ballgames. He’s done a great job. His leadership is exactly what you’re looking for from a quarterback.”

Farkes will have some offensive weapons to throw to, including junior receiver Adam Jones, who led the squad with 33 catches last year, while junior receiver Taylor Fore led the team in receiving yards with 491 and four scores. Blake Patton also had 359 receiving yards as well. At tailback, Marcus Graham was a first-team All-LSC pick, rushing for 677 yards and seven touchdowns. The offensive line is anchored by guard David Sudderth, another All-LSC first-teamer. Place-kicker Ahmed Abo-Mahmood was a first-team All-LSC pick, booting 7-of-9 field goals and all 29 extra-point attempts.

Defensively, senior linebacker Cory Whitfield was the LSC’s Linebacker of the Year and first-team all-conference pick. Whitfield led the Lions last year with 111 tackles and had six straight games of double-digit tackles. Next to him will be Stephen DeGrate, who had 58 tackles last year and was an honorable mention all-conference choice. Cornerback Israel Hughes, another All-LSC first-teamer had two picks last year and also returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. The defensive players returning for the Lions have all-conference experience, but that’s about it when it comes to returning starters.

“Defensively, we have to do some work,” Morriss said. “We lost about eight players on defense. I’m not going to tell you how good or how bad we’ll be, because we don’t know. But we will be young. But overall, our kids have worked very hard this spring and summer. I hope it pays off this season.”

Once again, the Lions were picked by the league coaches to finish first in the LSC North, but Morriss isn’t buying it just yet.

“I really appreciate the vote of confidence from the other coaches and schools,” he said. “But, I’m not falling for all that. I’m not sure we’re that good. We’ll find out soon enough.”

UCO holds final scrimmage
UCO Sports Information

EDMOND (Aug. 19) – Central Oklahoma wrapped up its preseason scrimmage schedule Thursday morning with a 67-play skirmish at the end of practice as the Bronchos continue preparing for the fast-approaching season opener.

UCO, which has several front-line players sidelined by nagging injuries, started three possessions at the offensive 30-yard-line, four at the offensive 40-yard line and five at the defensive 20-yard-line during the hour-long scrimmage.

“It was another good scrimmage and we continue to make excellent progress,” UCO head coach Tracy Holland said. “The attitude of the team is great and they’re working hard, but we still have a lot to do before we’re ready for next week.”

The Bronchos make their 2010 debut next Saturday, Aug. 28, hosting Pittsburg State for a 7 p.m. contest at Wantland Stadium.

Running back Tim Branch sparked the offense during Thursday’s scrimmage with three touchdowns. He capped a 70-yard drive with a one-yard burst and then ended two red zone possessions with two-yard smashes up the middle.

Four quarterbacks saw action, combining to complete 20-of-35 passes or 254 yards. Sophomore Ethan Sharp led the way with a 6-of-7, 77-yard effort, while freshman Brett Maxie hit 6-of-10 passes for 73 yards, Landon Greve 4-of-6 for 39 yards and senior Carter Whitson 4-of-12 for 65 yards.

Greve had the long scoring pass, hitting tight end Brian Booker with a two-yard TD toss.

Freshmen Steven Daniels and Ruben Gaines had interceptions during red zone drills to lead the defense.

Place-kicker Chris Robbs had 32- and 34-yard field goals during the scrimmage.

The Bronchos will practice twice Friday and once each Saturday and Sunday before taking Monday off with the start of the fall semester.

Former Broncho Making An Impact In NFL
Former Central Oklahoma defensive standout Jermelle Cudjo is making some noise on the NFL level with the St. Louis Rams as he tries to make the team's final roster for 2010.

Cudjo had two tackles for loss and a sack in the Rams' preseason opener loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week and he's expected to see significant playing time again Saturday when St. Louis plays at the Cleveland Browns.

Click here and here to read more about Cudjo.

ASU Running Backs Set Tempo at Thursday Practice
ASU Sports Information

SAN ANGELO, Texas – At 5 feet 5 inches, 5 feet 7 inches, and 5 feet 9 inches, Angelo State’s top three tailbacks might be the most diminutive in stature on the roster. Don’t be fooled by their size, however, as the trio will play a huge role as the Rams look to build upon a 6-5 mark in 2009 and make a splash in the Lone Star Conference.

Samir Baker, Nevin Gardiner and Tristan Carter continued to show that the running back position is the most improved aspect of ASU football as the team completed a two-a-day practice session at San Angelo Stadium Thursday.

All three showed signs of quickness and agility during the Rams two hour practice on the turf Thursday night, a hint that the team could improve upon its’ middle-of-the-pack 127.7 yards per contest from last season. The trio made defenders miss, and hit holes created by the offensive line during the Rams’ inside run drill and team portion of practice.

“There’s no doubt about it, this is the best backfield we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Angelo State senior quarterback Josh Neiswander said. “We’ve got a slew of running backs and good fullbacks. One of the parts of our offense that was missing last season, was a really good running game. I definitely feel like this year will be much improved and it’s definitely going to help our passing game.”

All three are new to the Rams for 2010. Baker joined the team for spring practice after transferring from Alcorn State, and Gardiner and Carter transferred in from two-year schools over the summer. It hasn’t taken long for the tiny trio to make their mark.

“We’re a pro style offense, so a big part of our passing game is play action passes,” Neiswander said. “When you don’t have a threat to run the ball like at times last year, play action passes aren’t as good. With the running game we feel like we’re going to have, teams are going to have to respect that aspect of our offense and it will put us in a good situation.”

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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