Monday, August 9, 2010

LSC Roundup 8-9

DAVID FLORES: Stadium expansion reflects steady growth of UIW football
David Flores

The University of the Incarnate Word football program is a lot like its stadium.  It’s a work in progress.  But like Benson Stadium, which will seat 6,000 after the addition of grandstands on the north side of the facility is completed, the Cardinals are evolving.

Even as UIW had its media day on Sunday, crews worked overtime to complete the stadium expansion by the Cards’ season opener in less than three weeks.

“It’s really changed the landscape,” UIW coach Mike Santiago said. “It looks like a football stadium now and adds to the program.  The Lone Star Conference, a real stadium. It’s good.”

Chad Peters
San Antonio Express

One by one this offseason, all of Incarnate Word running back Trent Rios' cohorts in the backfield disappeared.  J.J. Johnson quit; Keith Brown became an academic casualty; and Alex Torres, who coach Mike Santiago said was poised to replace Rios as the starter, suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him for the coming season.

So as the Cardinals reconvened for media day Sunday, a day after launching their two-week-long training camp, a stark reality began to set in on campus.

“We went from running back-rich to running back-poor overnight,” Santiago said.

A new cast of characters showed up, with a handful of transfers and signings being asked to complement Rios. And as Santiago admitted, they'll ultimately be asked to challenge for the starting job, as well.

For Rios, it's nothing new.

Maskill prepares for ninth season at MSU
Scott Russell
Times Record News

Midwestern State head football coach Bill Maskill will start his ninth season at the school on Wednesday when the Mustangs’ coaching staff welcomes more than 100 players for the start of preseason workouts.  The Mustangs are coming off a 9-3 season in 2009 that saw them tie for the Lone Star Conference overall and South Division titles, as well as their third trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs.  They finished last season ranked No. 14 in the nation and they are ranked as high as 10th and as low as 25th in several preseason polls.

Maskill is anxious to get the season started.

“We’ve been doing a lot of preparation over the last few weeks and now we get to start working with the players on the field,” Maskill said. “We’re anxious to get them on the field and coach them out there. We want to see what kind of shape we’re in and how much we have improved since the spring.  We’re only 25 days from our opener and we have a lot of new players. We have to be conscious of getting these guys ready physically and mentally. And then out first game is on a Thursday. I think we’ve only played one Thursday game since I’ve been here.”

New QB impresses in first SE practice
Kevin Duke
Durant Daily Democrat

The familiar sounds of coaches barking at players filled the air at Paul Laird Field Thursday morning, as the Southeastern Oklahoma State football team began fall practice for their final season of Lone Star Conference play.

The practice featured a lot of position specific drills, as head coach Ray Richards and his staff worked the quarterbacks and wide receivers against the secondary, while the offensive and defensive linemen were put through their paces at the other end of the field.

“The practice went well. Guys are excited, giving great effort and their learning what they need to be learning,” Richards said.

It’s a little early for Richards to assess his team this year, but he did see some things at practice that he liked.

“I saw some some talent,” he said. “I think we’ve got some kids that can run and saw some kids that can throw and catch it a little bit.  For the first day, it looked pretty good.”

Kevin Wilson
Clovis News Journal

The heat was about the only thing Mark Ribaudo would have changed about Saturday.

The Eastern New Mexico University coach was happy with just about everything else that transpired during the two-and-a-half hours of practice to lead off the upcoming football campaign, which will be his sixth as head coach.

“The older guys picked up right where they left off in the spring,” Ribaudo said. “Testing this morning went well. We had some younger guys who tested through the roof.”

Hounds start fall drills with few holes to fill
Dave Wagner
Clovis News Journal

Eastern New Mexico University’s high-powered offense is slowing gaining respect in the Lone Star Conference.  The Greyhounds (3-8, 0-6 LSC South Division), making the switch this season to the North in football, were picked for fourth place in the North in the conference’s preseason poll. Moreover, they earned two first-place votes.

That’s all nice, but senior linebacker Nathan Uland isn’t impressed.

“I’m still not set with it,” said Uland, a third-year starter from Denton, Texas, who was tied for second in NCAA Division II last season in tackles (132). “It pretty much came down to our record.  When I see our record, I’m always shocked. It feels like we were in so many games, (but the) record doesn’t show that.”

Nick Eatman
LoneStar Conference Website

This is the first of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature Abilene Christian.

Entering his sixth season as head coach, Chris Thomsen has several talking points to get excited about this year.

Not only did the Wildcats return to the playoffs last year with a 9-4 record, which included eight straight wins to open the year and a No. 1 ranking at one time in the season, but ACU returns 25 seniors and 15 players who received All-LSC recognition last year, including eight first-teamers.

So this should be a huge year for the Wildcats? For Thomsen, the answer to that question is yes, if and only if ACU can find a consistent quarterback to emerge.

A three man-race between Mitchell Gale, who started the second half of the season, Zach Stewart and Clark Harrell will compete for the starting job.

“Going through the spring, I felt like all three of those guys improved, but I still don’t believe anyone separated themselves,” said Thomsen, who is 32-17 overall at ACU. “The first couple of weeks will be critical because whoever performs the best will probably start against Washburn (Sept. 4). It could be any of those three guys.”

Whoever emerges as the quarterback, will have plenty of talent surrounding him.

Three all-conference linemen return, including guard Royland Tubbs. Also back is offensive tackle Trevis Turner and center Matt Webber.

In the backfield, ACU returns a pair of second-team All-LSC backs in Darryl Richardson, who rushed for 961 yards and 16 touchdowns, and Reggie Brown, who had 955 yards and seven scores.

Wide receiver Edmund Gates had 49 grabs for 702 yards last year.

But for all the talent on offense, ACU appears even better defensively, and it starts up front as the entire front seven are back from last year, when the Wildcats led the LSC in total defense, allowing just 291.4 yards per game.

Leading the way is junior defensive end Aston Whiteside, this year’s preseason choice for South Division Defensive Player of the Year.

“Aston is doing a great job on the field and in the classroom as well,” Thomsen said of Whiteside, who led the team with 9 ½ sacks last year.

Just behind him was Fred Thompson, who moves into a defensive end role from linebacker last year. Kevin Washington had a team-high 76 tackles year, and will team up with Eric Edwards and Courtney Lane to form quite a tandem at linebacker.

The holes on defense could come in the secondary, which lost All-LSC safety Tony Harp. But Drew Cuffee and Richard Havins will be asked to take charge.

Overall, its’ a talented and experienced squad for the Wildcats, and one that should be right in the mix once again in the LSC South.

Undrafted Randle gets call to Hall - Mark Craig - The Olympian
Mom kept Randle on road to glory - Tom Osborn - San Antonio Express
PRO FOOTBALL: The time is now for HOF class - Barry Wilner - San Angelo Standard Times
The road to Canton - Bill Lankhof - Toronot Sun

Texans will start with tough conditioning test
Sports Editor

If you're a college football player, you should be in tip-top shape.

Sounds like common sense to first-year Tarleton State head coach Cary Fowler, who is adding a twist to the start of the Texans' preseason training camp next week.

After players check in Wednesday, they will be greeted by a tough conditioning test at the start of Thursday's workouts.Fowler will require all players to run 110 meters 16 times with only 25 seconds of rest in between.

"Be in shape. Stay in shape. Work hard over the summer to be in the best shape possible. That's all I ask," Fowler said. "I'm not surprising anyone with this. I told them at the end of the spring they would be doing this. Now it's here and we're going to find out real quick who is ready to play football for us."

Fowler says the conditioning test is much tougher than the shuttle runs NFL defensive end Albert Haynesworth is being forced to complete by Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

"This will be a lot tougher," he said. "I'm not trying to kill anyone, but I want to work with guys who show up to camp ready to roll."

The Texans will have just three weeks to prepare for their season and Lone Star Conference crossover opener Sept. 2 against Northeastern State.

"We made good progress in the spring, but now it's for real," Fowler said. "We have a lot of new faces coming in and only three weeks to get ready to play in the toughest league in all of Division II. We have to have guys who are going to show up ready to go."

The Texans are coming off a 10-3 season in which they won a share of both the LSC league-wide crown and the LSC South Division title. They advanced to the national playoffs, eliminating Texas A&M-Kingsville in the opening round before being eliminated by Central Washington.

"That was a good season, now we have to move on and take the next step forward," Fowler said. "We can't do that if we're not in shape, and we're going to find out who is and isn't in shape real quick next week."

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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