Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LSC Scoop Roundup 8-31

Mike Howard's is in his 14th season at ENMU, all as offensive coordinator - Clovis News Journal
Two nights after his play-calling helped Eastern New Mexico University open its season with an impressive win, longtime Greyhounds offensive coordinator Mike Howard was recovering from heart surgery Monday at a Lubbock hospital.

Howard underwent a triple bypass at Methodist Hospital, according to Greyhounds head coach Mark Ribaudo.

Ribaudo said Howard would be in the intensive care unit for a few days. He said Howard experienced chest pains Monday while exercising, but wasn’t sure if the incident was technically a heart attack.

Howard’s status for Saturday’s game at Angelo State University is unclear, but Ribaudo said assistant coach Draco Miller will fill in for now.

Ribaudo said Howard has helped numerous players graduate, and leads a Bible study before every Greyhound game.

“Irreplaceable is a word that comes to mind,” Ribaudo said. “I’m not eloquent enough to put into words what (Howard’s) meant to Eastern New Mexico Greyhound football and its athletes. He’s taken this offense to new heights. It’s a record-breaking offense, and it’s because of his work.”

Passing game a work in progress for Tarleton

Sports Editor

As the newest member of Tarleton State's football coaching staff, passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Justin Carrigan is still getting adjusted to life on campus and in Stephenville.

He's also working with a new starting quarterback in Tennessee transfer Nick Stephens and a new backup in redshirt freshman Aaron Doyle.

Also in the equation are a handful of new receivers.

"It's a little bit tough," said Carrigan, who worked alongside new Tarleton head coach Cary Fowler when both were assistants at Midwestern State. "But we're all learning together."

The Texans hope they've learned enough to be successful at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Thursday when they kick off their 2010 season against Northeastern State.

While the learning process continues, Carrigan says the game plan will be pretty manila for the defending Lone Star Conference and South Division co-champs.

"We're going to keep it simple and try to establish success early," he said. "(The offense) is a work in progress, so we won't be emptying our playbook."

Carrigan says he is comfortable with Stephens and the progress he's made. Stephens spent a large part of his summer in Stephenville learning the offense and working out with teammates.

"He had already taken our playbook and learned it before I got here," said Carrigan, who was officially hired mere weeks before training camp began. "Nick is very intelligent and he has a very professional approach to the game. His leadership and presence will be felt for sure."

Stephens started six games at Tennessee in 2008, but current NFL signal caller Jonathan Crompton beat him out last fall. Stephens was behind junior college transfer Matt Simms, the son of NFL legend Phil Simms, when he left for Tarleton at the end of the spring.

He was instantly the starter at Tarleton, where he says he is taking his leadership role seriously.

"I've been fortunate to learn from great coaches and play in some really big games," Stephens said. "I'm kind of taking the approach of teaching what I can to the other guys, but also still learning myself, because I know I don't know everything."

Doyle is excited to learn everything he can from both Carrigan and Stephens, but also wants to help the team right away.

"I'm learning a lot just watching Nick and being around him," Doyle said. "I want to keep learning so I'm ready to step in whenever I need to. In the meantime, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. If that's running the wildcat or returning kicks and punts, I'll do whatever it takes."

Carrigan says Doyle will get the chance to play.

"Nick's definitely the starter, but it's a situation where they're both going to get playing time," Carrigan said. "They're both competitive and they both want to be on the field. It's my job to keep them both happy."

Doyle was an All-Centex and Class A All-State selection at nearby Evant. He was once recruited by Oklahoma State as a linebacker, and received other Division I looks as an "athlete."

Behind Doyle, Casey Page is the No. 3 quarterback, and Jake Fenske and Jackson Crawley are also available.

"The quarterback position is deeper than anywhere I've ever been, including UTEP (last year)," Carrigan said. "There's five guys and they're all competing and they all want to start. I would trust any of them to step in if they needed to. They've all taken to their roles nicely."

But getting the signal callers on the same page with their receivers is another story.

"It's coming along slowly," Carrigan said. "The hardest part is having all the new receivers, not only the new quarterback. It's a lot of new people learning together, and there are different comfort levels between the quarterbacks and receivers - how they run routes, how fast each of them are - they have to get in a rhythm with each other and the offense."

Four receivers have played sparingly before, and Carrigan says each has stepped up throughout the preseason.

"The four guys who have been here and played - (Arthur) Buckingham, (Charles) Stermer, (Devon) Gray and (Jamal) Mays - those guys are making plays, but some of the new guys are still getting comfortable."

Those new receivers include juco transfers Saalim Hakim, Will Randle and Bola Omisanya, as well as Jeken Frye, who was with Carrigan at UTEP last year.

As the Texans prepare for their opener, Carrigan says he can feel his game day nerves already starting to take effect.

"I always get butterflies whether I'm coaching or playing," he said, "especially before the first game."

Carrigan knows Northeastern gave the Texans a tough challenge in Tahlequah, Okla. last year, and expects nothing less from the Riverhawks Thursday.

"I think they're going to be very physical up front (defensively). Obviously they played us tough last year. It was just 6-0, so it wasn't easy," he said. "Plus it's the first game and we have no idea what they're going to come out and try to do."

Not that the Texans will be at a disadvantage.

With so much newness surrounding its offense, Northeastern will have no idea what Tarleton will be trying to do, either.

Winborn centerpiece of Javs' offense - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller
Senior running back seeks to lead Lone Star Conference in rushing again in 2010

KINGSVILLE — There is a no-nonsense aura that surrounds Texas A&M-Kingsville senior running back Fred Winborn.

He isn’t the loquacious speaker in the vein of Muhammad Ali. Soft-spoken, Winborn says very little in a public setting but when he does speak, there is a steadfast message conveyed.

So broached with the question about his approach to his final season with the Javelinas, Winborn was as quick with his response as he is when he is juking opposing defenders.

“All out, all in, go hard or go home,” Winborn said without hesitation. “It’s my last season. I’m approaching it like I’ve never approached any other season. As seniors you’ve got to approach it every day, finding a way to get through and get better, doing more than you did before. In the offseason I worked often, I did more. I feel better. I feel good about this year.”

That should give opposing defenses cause for concern given Winborn’s performance last season.

NSU's Randle 'revitalized' with RiverHawks - Ben Johnson, Tahlequah Daily Press
If Ben Randle appears to be playing with more conviction in 2010, there's a good reason for that.

During a trip to Canton, Ohio in early August, the Northeastern State wide receiver watched a new class of football players be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, motivating him to return to Tahlequah and work harder than he ever has.

"When I saw him (Ben's uncle, John Randle) put on that jacket, walk (across the stage) and those lights came on, and everybody was like, 'Wow!'" Randle said, "that really made me want to go run and work toward a national championship."

ACU Position Preview - Receivers
ACU Position Preview - Running Backs
ACU Position Preview - Quarterbacks

Grand Valley State opens football season with new coach, new faces on both sides of ball

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