Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ole Miss QB situation

We want to say this is just a rumor right now, although here is a link to an Ole Miss website. We want to reiterate that it is only rumor. t is reported here that Masoli will not be allowed to play against JSU or anyone else this year. We hope he gets to play. We want to face Ole Miss at full strength. There apparently is an appeal in place, and we're not sure when the final word will be handed down by the NCAA.

Gadsden Times Article on JSU v. Ole Miss

The Gadsden Times has a nice article on Jacksonville State's preparations for the Ole Miss game. If the link doesn't work, just go to www.gadsdentimes.com.

Anniston Star - Will he or won t he JSU preparing for Ole Miss as if Masoli will be available

A good article from the Anniston Star on whether JSU will be facing Masoli or another Ole Miss quarterback.

Anniston Star - Will he or won t he JSU preparing for Ole Miss as if Masoli will be available

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jacksonville State 101 | Ole Miss sports

Here is a link from the Clarionledger.com on JSU v. Ole Miss. Note- inside the linked article is a link to a very good al.com article on Marques Ivory.

Jacksonville State 101 | Ole Miss sports

Sunday, August 29, 2010

5 Reasons Jacksonville State Might Upset Ole Miss

Recently, self proclaimed famous Ole Miss alumni Kyle Buffalino, apparently on hiatus from his normal job as a stand-in for “the Situation” on Jersey Shore, gave his predictions for the Ole Miss upcoming season. How one becomes a famous Ole Miss alumni for doing nothing more than filming drunken love scenes with Snookie is a topic for another day, but Buffalino, apparently exhausted from that endeavor could offer nothing more than this in regards to Ole Miss first game opponent, Jacksonville State: “I had to Wikipedia Jacksonville State to make sure it was in Florida. Turns out it is in Alabama. Ole Miss shouldn’t have any trouble beating teams that I know this little about.”

We decided to help Mr. Buffalino a little bit. First off, next time you want to know where Jacksonville State is, go ask Florida State. The Gamecocks led FSU in Doak Campbell Stadium with 53 seconds to go. Their players know where Jacksonville State is located. Of course, since Ole Miss has way more tradition than FSU, I’m sure Mr. Buffalino isn’t worried about that. Buffalino’s comments aside, most fans probably realize Jax State and Ole Miss have a lot in common. For instance, neither has won an SEC title since 1963, of course Jacksonville State is not in the SEC.

Not to be outdone, another journalist (Jon) appeared on the website “Saturday Down South” penning an article: “5 Things You Need to Know About Jacksonville State versus Ole Miss”. His 5 minutes spent on researh didn’t really offer any insight into the game itself so we decided to contribute.

It was a tougher assignment than we anticipated. Gamecockillustrated.com knows about Jacksonville State, but it was somewhat hard to find out what is going on with Mississippi. We mean in a conference steeped in tradition, they have changed: 1) their fight song; 2) their flag; 3) their banner and who knows what else. Thus, at the risk of offending someone (and Lord knows we wouldn’t want to do that) we will refer to the school formerly known as the University of Mississippi Rebels as the Magnolia State Hound Dogs. So, as a service to Mr. Buffalino and the good folks at SDS, here is some real insight into the game:

5 Reasons why Jacksonville State might upset the Magnolia State Hound Dogs:

1. The Hound Dogs’ Best Running Back Plays For Jacksonville State. Yes, the best running back for the school f/k/a as Ole Miss has ever had, Darius “Tig” Barksdale now plays for Jacksonville State. Of course, Tig is only third string for JSU behind junior Calvin Middleton a converted fullback that would just as soon run over an opponent than by him. Calvin is complimented in the Gamecock backfield by Jamal Young, who at 5-7, 170, is worthy of the title toughest player pound for pound in college football. September 4th is also likely to be the coming out party for former North Mississippi Offensive Player of the Year, Richard Freelon, who redshirted last year for the Cocks. But don’t worry Rebs (I mean Hound Dogs), Tig will get a few carries and may have a message to deliver to the Ole Miss administration.

2. When You Have 3 Quarterbacks, You Really Have 0. Here we are 5 days before the season, and Magnolia State doesn’t know who its quarterback is. Of course, Masoli’s Oregon parole papers may not be finalized, but still it seems a little scary that the Hound Dogs haven’t named a #1 five days before the season. In contrast, JSU has a clear #1, Marques “Cool Hand” Ivory. Ivory apprenticed behind Ryan Perrilloux for the last two years, and JSU players will tell you there is not much difference between the two.

3. Magnolia State Will Not Be Able to Pass on the Gamecocks. Let’s face it, assuming he is released on time and is permitted to leave Oregon on Saturdays, Masoli is still not going to be ready. Ole Miss had a good quarterback last year, but like Elvis, he has left the building. This puts the Hound Dogs in a bind because JSU has two outstanding cornerbacks in T.J. Heath, a Pre-Season FCS, All American and A.J. “Awesome Jet” Davis a junior cornerback with 4.4 speed.

4. The Red Bandit Defense Will Bring the Heat. With Davis and Heath shutting down the Ole Miss receivers, JSU can load the box to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. Watch out for pressure up the middle from Tim McGee, a recent transfer to JSU who was rated the #3 JUCO Defensive Tackle in the Country. On the edge, the Gamecocks have three playmakers, Rodney “Big Texas” Garrott, Kevin Dix and Monte Lewis. Garrott’s body control and combination of speed and power make him essentially unblockable. Whoever the Hound Dogs' quarterback is will surely get to know JSU Defensive End, Kevin Dix. Dix, is a 6-3, 260 pound specimen that actually returned punts earlier in his collegiate career. Finally, watch out for Monte Lewis. Lewis came to JSU weighing about 220. He is now up to 280 and is the best athlete on the team. Assuming cable TV has reached the Magnolia State, you will see him on Sundays in a couple of years.

5. The Student Can’t Beat the Teacher. The Gamecocks are led by Jack Crowe- he has seen it all in 30 plus years of coaching. We didn’t know this, but some reporter from Little Rock just texted Gamecockillustrated.com and informed us that Nutt used to work for Crowe. Crowe knows what Nutt will do before Nutt knows what Nutt will do. Advantage Jacksonville State.

We hear the Hound Dogs’ fans are wearing all white for the game. What an original idea! Word is that they might also try some crazy new interactive things with the fans called “the Wave.” In any event, lets hope the white flag doesn’t mean surrender. The Gamecocks are looking for a game. We will see you September 4th.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Link from SaturdayDownSouth.com

Click Here for a link to an article entitled Five Things You Need to Know About Ole Miss vs. Jacksonville State. All 5 things are about Ole Miss, but I thought you might enjoy reading them. Most notably, their QB is still waiting to be cleared to be added to the team.

One more tidbit I picked up from this website - An Ole Miss football "expert" (Kyle Buffolino) says: "I had to Wikipedia Jacksonville State to make sure it was in Jacksonville, Florida. Turns out I was wrong, it is in Alabama. Ole Miss shouldn’t have trouble beating teams that I know this little about."

New season brings new expectations - Sports - 3

Here is a preview on one of JSU's biggest rivals in the OVC- Eastern Kentucky.

New season brings new expectations - Sports - 3

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Al.Com with a good article on Barksdale

The best article yet on Tig Barksdale transferring to Jacksonville State. If the link does not work, you can find it on AL.com

Anniston Star - JSU s Heath ready to go

Anniston Star - JSU s Heath ready to go

Jacksonville News - Hard work pays off for McAllister

A GREAT article from the Jacksonville news about linebacker, Sean McCallister

Jacksonville News - Hard work pays off for McAllister

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


11 days until Ole Miss. Here are some interesting quotes. Also, the tentative travel squad was released yesterday.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt on what game he is looking forward to:

"Jacksonville State is the one. I worked with Jack Crowe. He's a really good football coach. He had Florida State beat. This guy can coach. He's going to run option every which way. It's going to be 2:30 in the afternoon, probably 100 degrees out here. You have to be ready to go. Our guys have been hearing a lot about the schedule and the first conference game, etc. Our first game is that first one in September. You have to be ready to go."

Crowe on Ole Miss transfer Darius Barksdale:

"We hope to get him in rotation with Calvin (Middleton), Jamal (Young) and Richard (Freelon) . . . That will give us four really good backs that we hope will help us develop a really good punch. . . . He is a big back, a powerful back, who will certainly help this ball team,"

Crowe on QB Marques Ivory and his performance last year in the opener against Georgia Tech:

"What he did in that football game would be credible for anybody in the ACC against that defense." “We recruited him with high expectations. He’s proven that he can take a tough game and perform. He’s a player. We’re good there."

Crowe on the cornerbacks, AJ Davis and TJ Heath:

“We’ve got the best two corners we’ve ever had, maybe the best four corners we’ve ever had." “We’ve got to make sure we can rush the passer, that we really have a bigtime pass rush.”

Crowe on Bandit Monte Lewis:

"He’s maybe the main guy in our football program . . . All our players talk about him. . . . On a team of pretty good players, he’s probably the most respected player we’ve got. He could be playing football for a long time.”

Other Notes:

*Reports are that the Ole Miss faithful are excited about hearing the Southerners play Dixie.

*The Anniston Star reports that the Gamecocks are awaiting NCAA clearance for transfers Mike Whittier and Ronald Johnson. Also, there is apparently some issue relating to Erik Russell. Russell is a big time linebacker so lets hope this is resolved.

*The banged up offensive line continues to be the story of pre-season camp, but the good news is that it looks like Curt Porter, Justin Kay, Tyler Ogletree and Tylor Chambers will all be healthy for the opener against Ole Miss. As best an outsider can tell from looking at the depth chart, it appears that Tori Mobley and Devon Hayes are most likely to complete the line.

*Based on the depth chart released by JSU yesterday, the Second Team offensive line consists entirely of players who have never played a down for the Gamecocks: Odie Rush (JUCO transfer from Mississippi; Ricky Clemons (a former 3* recruit from Michigan that redshirted last year); Max Holcombe (a true freshman from Tuscaloosa); Colt Kennedy (a redshirt from Douglas, Georgia with great size- 6-5, 300 lbs; and Taylor Johnstone (a transfer from Georgia Southern).

*Rod Byrd is listed as second team linebacker. GI had previously heard that Byrd was moved to tight end;

*Brent Tolson from Anniston continues to make waves. The redshirt freshman from Anniston is listed as second team linebacker.

*Armani Williams, a Defensive Lineman from Navarre, Florida, is one of a very few number of true freshmen on the 2 deep;

*Other notables on the 2 deep: Marquis George, a 3 Star Juco player is listed as the second string defensive end. Marquis attended the same Juco as Kevin Dix. Tim McGee, a tranfer from Memphis previously rated as the #3 Juco Defensive Tackle in the Country is listed as 2nd team defensive line. JUCO linebacker Brannon Byrd was also listed high on another depth chart. It appears that all of our transfer players will contribute.

*Nick Johnson, from Fort Payne, is listed as 2nd Team safety. Nick has primarily contributed on special teams to date. It also looks like Brooks Robinson, the former QB, will get some playing time at Safety. Brooks has shown that he is a great athlete.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Observations from yesterday's scrimmage

Just a few brief notes from the scrimmage...


The offensive line is continuing to try to get healthy. Curt Porter, Justin Kay, and Tylor Chambers weren't playing. Seniors Tyler Ogletree and Devon Hayes got some time, and we got to see some of the younger players. With the injuries, we are basically working with the #2 line playing as our #1 line. By the time the season starts, the Gamecocks should be a lot healthier.

At quarterback, Marques Ivory worked with the first team offense and Coty Blanchard had second string duties. Ivory hit a long touchdown pass late in the first half. Coty made a nice escape from a near sack as Kevin Dix was coming at him hard and then found an open receiver.


The defensive line and linebackers consistently put good pressure on the quarterbacks. This is a good sign because the Gamecocks have great cornerbacks. The depth at linebacker could be seen at the scrimmage. The Gamecocks are a solid two-deep, maybe three-deep at all the linebacker positions.

Barry Stafford, the freshman from Chamblee, GA, ended the first half with a sack of Coty Blanchard. Linebacker Nick Johnson had an interception.

Special Teams

Replacing Patrick Tatum was a priority in the offseason. Walk-on Griffin Thomas from Snellville, GA was a bright spot in the spring game with a 52-yard game winning field goal. James Esco transferred from FSU. The Gamecocks signed Joel Smith from Carrollton this year. Right now, it looks like Smith may be redshirted, with an ongoing battle between Esco and Thomas. Griffin Thomas has been very consistent in kicking field goals. They both do a good job with kicking deep on kickoffs.

Coty Blanchard did a good job punting on Saturday.

Had a chance to talk with a few of the players, and they are all eager to be able to line up against another team. Depth charts will now be set, and the Gamecocks will get ready for a trip to Oxford, MS.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Anniston Star - Gamecocks land ex Ole Miss RB Barksdale

Some good quotes from Coach Crowe on the arrival of Barksdale.

Anniston Star - Gamecocks land ex Ole Miss RB Barksdale

Anniston Star - JSU s colored schemes

Musky is bringing it hard on a Saturday morning with the first of two articles on the Gamecocks.

Anniston Star - JSU s colored schemes

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hot Off The Wire: Barksdale Is Official

If Greg Seitz post it, you can take it to the bank. Darius Barksdale is officially a JSU Gamecock. Here is a link to JSU's athletic website.

Jacksonville State University - Former Mr. Football Darius Barksdale Joins Gamecocks

GamecockIllustrated's JSU Fall Sports Preview

Practices have begun. Our teams are preparing for success. Predictions have been made, and it’s time to step on the field and compete. Before that happens, Gamecock Illustrated takes a look at the fall sports and brings you the unofficial preview.


Last season, the Gamecocks had a memorable run with a 27-8 season record. Even more impressive, the team went 17-1 in the OVC, winning the conference handily. Gone from last year’s team are Brittney Whitten and Paige Beasley. Whitten was a highly decorated outside hitter, and she will be missed. The Gamecocks, however, are bringing back 5 starters off of that team.

The team will be led this year by seniors Kara Slater, Caitlin Vorbeck, and Brooke Schumacher. Vorbeck, along with sophomore Jen Meyer, have earned Preseason All-OVC honors. Another major contributor will be Junior Libero Lauren Harkins. Her name will be in the record books before her career is over with an amazing number of digs. Another leader on the team that must be mentioned is Coach Rick Nold. Selected as the Midwest Region Coach of the Year last year, Nold has also been the OVC Coach of the Year twice.

Coming off a 17-1 conference record, only losing one starter, and having one of the top coaches in the country is not enough in the eyes of the prognosticators. JSU is picked to finish second in the OVC behind Morehead State.


Picked by many to finish 8th in the OVC this season, we feel that our soccer team will be a surprise. After an exhibition match last weekend against Kennesaw State, many feel pretty good about our chances. Although the score was 1-0 in favor of KSU, the Gamecocks had a strong showing against a nationally ranked team that won their conference last season.

This is a young team, made up of mostly sophomores, with only 3 seniors on the roster. Unofficial sources report that this team is doing much better in the preseason that our teams in the past. As we gain more experience, we will get even better. While the 8th place prediction may be based on what the team did last year, we feel that this is a different team.

Cross Country

Both men’s and women’s cross country teams are picked to finish in the fourth and fifth, respectively, in the OVC this season. On the women’s side this year, watch for Ashley Stovall, who earned All-OVC honors last year. On the men’s side, watch for JSU’s George Kiplaget, from Kenya.

We'll preview football in another post...


There are enough preseason predictions out there. If you’re picked 2nd, 4th, or 8th, does it really matter? Let’s go settle it on the field. We’re in this to compete, to win. At the end of the day, there’s only so much talking, writing, and predicting you can do. The time for all of that is over. Soccer starts this weekend. Volleyball starts later this month. After a scrimmage tomorrow, the football team has 2 weeks to get ready for Ole Miss. Let’s not consider where we are picked to finish. JSU is determined to win it on the field.

Anniston Star - Middleton returns for scrimmage

A good story from the Star on last night's scrimmage.

Anniston Star - Middleton returns for scrimmage

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Stars Fell on Alabama

Memo to the OVC:

Your worst nightmare just got a little scarier. Meet the newest Gamecocks, Tim McGee and Tig Barksdale.

Tig Barksdale -#22

Next to Perrilloux, Tig may be the biggest recruit in Jacksonville State history. He is a former Mississippi (we spelled it right) player of the year. He was rated 4 Star by Scout, the #3 rated Safety in the United States (even though he will play running back for JSU) and was a Parade All American. Tig comes to Jacksonville State via the Ole Miss Rebels. Wonder if he will be fired up for that game?

Tim McGee - # 99

At 6-4, 300 pounds, Tim McGee is the first guy you want getting off the bus. Tim was also a 4 Star Recruit by Scout and was rated the #3 JUCO Defensive Tackle in the nation. Tim comes to Jacksonville State via Memphis State (Gamecockillustrated.com is old school).

Once our Chief Technology Officer wakes up we will try to link you to some youtube videos.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Team That Prays Together, Stays Together

We are starting to get the feeling that this Jacksonville State football team has a bond that won't be broken by the inevitable adversity that comes to every football season. On Sunday, almost the entire coaching staff and team voluntarily went to services together at the Williams Baptist Church in Pleasant Valley.

These are the little things that will add up to this team staying the course when times get tough. Former Gamecock All-American tennis player, and current pastor of the Graystone Church in Loganville, Georgia, Jonathan Howes told me: "If they worship God together as a team, they will be a closer knit football family. If they have strong relationships with one another, then they will trust one another and be a stronger and better football team."

If this was a potluck, can you imagine the amount of banana pudding that was consumed?!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Awesome Jet" Service Coming to Oxford, Mississippi, Atlanta and all OVC Cities

In the history of FCS football, have two All-American cornerbacks ever played on the same team? We don't know the answer, but with the cornerback tandem of T.J. Heath and A.J. "Awesome Jet" Davis, Jacksonville State has a chance to have that distinction in 2010. Heath, a senior, has already been named a pre-season All American by several publications. However, Heath himself will tell you that JSU's other starting cornerback, A.J. Davis, #20, has the potential to earn post season accolades as well. Indeed, Davis, widely regarded as the fastest player on Jacksonville State's team, has already been named pre-season all OVC by PhilSteele.com.

Davis is from Clay Chalkville high school in Trussville, the same school that produced Gamecock baseball standout, Daniel Adamson, now with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Amazingly, he did not start in high school until his senior year after moving back to Trussville the previous year. This is likely why Davis slipped under the radar of some bigger schools during recruiting.

The Jet's career at JSU has been marked by steady improvement. After redshirting in 2007, Davis played in all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2008. He recorded 41 tackles and earned All-OVC newcomer status. In 2009, Davis had to miss Spring practice with injury, but still started 8 games, missing one game because of illness. As we are less than 20 days from the start of the season, it was great to talk with A.J. about his career at JSU so far, his teammates and his plans for 2010 and beyond:

Q: First off, how did you get the nickname "Awesome Jet"?

A: In a high school jamboree game, I took a little screen pass and ran it 70 yards and scored [it was actually called back] but the announcer said "A.J. the Awesome Jet Davis returns it for a touchdown." . . . All of my teammates started calling me "awesome jet" or "Jet" for short, and it has been with me ever since.

Davis Recruitment to JSU

Q: Tell us a little bit about your recruiting process and who recruited you to JSU?

A: Coach Wannebo. Tennessee Martin and Tennessee Tech offered me. Some SEC schools were recruiting me, but they never offered.

Q: It sounds like you were a late bloomer in high school.

A: Actually, I was moving a lot. I moved to Connecticut my 9th grade year. My Mom served in the military and she had to go active duty my 10th grade year so I had to move to a different school. In 11th grade, I finally went back to Clay-Chalkville. My 11th grade year I just came in the summer, so I really had to learn everything . . .

Q: What was it about JSU that made you choose it?

A: My visit. I liked the players and the coaches. It was close to home and I didn't have to go to another state or anything.

Q: So, I take it your Mom gets to come see you play?

A: Yes, sir she does. She comes to almost every game.

Q: What do you enjoy most about playing football for JSU?

A: I like working hard. I enjoy my teammates. They push you. When you are tired, they will still want to compete. Our team is about competition. It's weird, it doesn't matter if you are tired, our team still wants to compete. That is all we are about.

Q: Aside from football, what else do you like about JSU?

A: The faculty -- they will help you. If you need help, they will work with you to give you a better understanding of the subject.

Looking Back on His JSU Career to Date

Q: What are some of your best memories so far as a Gamecock?

A: Last year against Austin Peay I scored my first touchdown. That was probably my most memorable moment so far. My best game, was probably my redshirt freshman year against Murray State. I had some tackles and a pick at the end of the game.

Q: Everyone talks about the FSU game last year when we almost upset them. What is something about that game that most fans might not realize?

A: Confidence was the biggest thing. We went into a hostile environment playing Florida State. Everybody knows about Florida State. We went out there and [realized] they are players just like us. We [realized] we could play with anybody. We started playing good and I think they were really shocked- they did not think we were going to come out as strong as we did. We stuck with them and we should have won, but stuff happens.

Q: What did it mean to the team to win the OVC championship on the field last year?

A: It meant a lot. It showed how we did not give up. We could have said, we don't have anything to play for and played every game sloppy. But, we didn't give up at all, we played every game as if we were going to win a championship. I think that was the biggest thing for us to show how close we are, coming together and winning games - just beating the [mess] out of most people.

Q: After the way we won last year, will other teams be coming after JSU?

A: Oh yeah. They hate us. We have a big target on our backs. They are coming after us.

Q: What was it like playing with a high profile QB like Ryan Perrilloux?

A: It makes you better. On the defensive side of the ball, getting the speed down- his arm was incredible.

A.J. on A.J.

Q: Are you more of a physical corner like a Rod Woodson or a coverage specialist like Deion Sanders:

A: Coverage specialist.

Q: You aren't afraid to come up and make the hit are you?

A: Not at all. If I've got to do it, I’m going to make that play!

Q: Do you prefer man or zone coverage?

A: I like man coverage. I like to lock people down.

Q: Who are some NFL players you try to emulate?

A: Ty Law and Champ Bailey. I like those two a lot.

Q: You mention Champ, he played a lot of offense in college. Would you like to do that?

A: I wouldn't mind doing it, not at all!

A.J. on His Position Coaches

Q: How do you like playing for Coach Toby Norwood?

A: I like playing for Coach Norwood a lot. He gets us ready every week for games so we have no excuses on the readiness part. He is a great coach. He knows what he is talking about.

Q: The DBs also work with Student Assistant Tommy Rybacki?

A: He is good. He checks in on you. He will get you prepared. He has a gameplan and he knows what he is talking about.

A.J. on His Teammates

Q: Well, we talked about Perrilloux. How do you think our offense will by with Marques Ivory running the show?

A: Just as good. Honestly, I think Marques is up there with [Ryan]. He can throw it, he can play.

Q: Speaking of offense, do you think running back, Calvin Middleton is ready to have a big year?

A: Calvin will be amazing this year. He has lost a lot of weight and he looked great in the Spring. He might have 1000 yards this year.

Q: Who are some of the receivers on our team that present the biggest challenge to you.

A: La Ray Williams and Jeffrey Cameron.

Q: What is it about La Ray that makes him so tough?

A: He is physical. He is a lot like James Wilkerson, but just a little bit quicker, very fast.

Q: What about Jeff Cameron?

A: He is a fast guy. He is a pure route runner. He has great hands. It is very hard to cover him one on one.

Q: Lets talk about some of the other defensive backs. What is your relationship with T.J. Heath?

A: T.J. is a great friend as well as a player. He is sort of like my big brother. He looks out for me and teaches me things. On the field, he deserves every bit of credit he gets. He comes to practice every day, ready to work. He is a hard worker, he is a great athlete.

Q: What about Jawaan Booker- he rotates a lot with you and T.J. in the secondary

A: Jawaan is a great cover corner. He is getting much better. Jawaan can play for anybody, just as well as the rest of us. We also have a transfer from Florida Atlantic, Darian Thomas. He is very good. He will be seeing some action alongside me, T.J. and Jawaan.

Q: We are breaking in two new safeties. One is Keginald Harris- what does he bring?

A: Keggie brings smartness to the field. Great athleticism. He is a long athlete, he is 6'3. He is a good athlete, he can catch and he can cover.

Q: How is Brooks Robinson doing making the transition from QB to safety?

Q: Brooks is unbelievable. He just moved to safety in the Spring, but he got better real quick. I think he is going to be a really good safety for us.

Q: Robert Gray, from Collinsville, is another safety has generated a buzz. What can you tell us about him.

A: Robert Gray is a bigger safety, he is not afraid to make a tackle. He is strong and he can run. He is a good athlete all around.

Q: Who are the biggest hitters on defense?

A: Jason Horton, Monte Lewis, Kevin Dix, Morrell Jones-- it’s a lot of people.

Q: You mentioned Monte Lewis- everybody talks about him- what is it that makes him so tough?

A: For one, he is the strongest player on the team. He is probably 6-4 and he can run. He makes so many plays. Monte is one of the best athletes on the team, if not the best athlete on the team.

Q: Who is up there with you as the fastest guys on the team?

A: Jamal Young and Jeffrey Cameron as well.

Q: Any true freshman you see making an impact?

A: We have some linebackers that might play this year. Chase Williams [from Boaz] is one. Brandon Byrd [a junior college transfer]. He is going to have to step up and grow up real quick. I think he will get a lot of playing time this year.

Looking Ahead to 2010

Q: What are the team goals for 2010?

A: First of all, stick together and don't let anything tear us apart. Play through pain. Most importantly is the OVC championship and then the national championship.

Q: It is projected that we are going to have a defense, how do you guys stay grounded?

A: We study tape. We come up with a game plan every week for different teams. You just challenge yourself daily in practice to get better

Q: What about individual goals for you?

A: Mental toughness. But, I would like to become an All-OVC player.

Q: Speaking of that, what did it mean to you to be recognized as a pre-season All OVC player by Phil Steele?

A: It meant a lot. For somebody to recognize that is big, I thank him for that.

Q: Are you excited about opening up against Ole Miss, an SEC Team?

A: Yes, I am. I want to see what level they really are. It will be a challenge for us.

Q: What do you know about Jeremiah Masoli (Oregon transfer and former Heisman candidate)?

A: I have seen him play. He is a good player. He can throw a little, bit but he can run. He is not a very tall quarterback, but he is big, linebacker big.

Q: How excited are you about opening up with Chattanooga in the newly renovated stadium?

A: I can't wait. I'm ready to see the lights.

Q: Right after that, you come to Atlanta to play in the Georgia Dome?

A: That will be an experience. I have never played in the Dome before.

Q: After Georgia State, the OVC schedule starts. Who is your most intense rival in the league?

A: It is between EKU and EIU. I always like playing against EKU for some reason, but EIU is a big rival for us as well.

Q: Is the NFL your aspiration?

A: I would love to play football after college. But, what happens happens. I would like to make sure I get my degree first. [A.J. is an exercise science major and like almost all of our players is on track to graduate].

Thanks A.J. and good luck this seaon.

Anniston Star - Whittier waits for waiver while adjusting to South new position

A great article from the Anniston Star this morning on Mike Whittier.

Anniston Star - Whittier waits for waiver while adjusting to South new position

Friday, August 13, 2010

New JSU Game Day Spot

Shorter than the original, this 15 second spot has the new stadium in it.

OVC Preview - The Sports Network

Click here for a link to the OVC Season Preview. They predict JSU to finish second in the conference.

Rob Gray and Nick Johnson Featured in Times Journal Article

Great article from the Times Journal on JSU DBs,Rob Gray and Nick Johnson

The Times-Journal

Anniston Star - Absentees limit JSU offense

A good article on JSU's scrimmage yesterday from the Anniston Star

Anniston Star - Absentees limit JSU offense

Thursday, August 12, 2010

True Freshmen Getting Attention

Not a whole lot of news has come out of practice so far, but here are some tidbits:

*Crowe has mentioned Jeremy Nicholson, a blazing wide receiver from Brewton, as a freshman that might get some looks this Fall. Nicholson was a 3 Star Recruit heavily pursued by Southern Miss.

*It appears that Coty Blanchard, 2009 Mr. Alabama football, is really playing well and picking up the offense quickly. Also, you hear nothing but good things about Steven Coates, another true freshman from Southwest Dekalb.

*On the Defensive Line, Coach Crowe has specifically mentioned Michael "Moosolinni" Lewis and Armani Williams as guys that could contribute. Both are from Florida. Lewis was recruited by the Zooker at Illinois.

*A suprise on the offensive line has been how good Terrence Pendleton, a walk-on from Tanner high school has looked.

Other Notes:

*Redshirt freshman Brent Tolson, from Anniston, has moved from running back to inside linebacker and doing well.

*There is a kicking battle going on between James Esco, an FSU transfer, and Griffin Thomas, from Georgia. Thomas boomed a 53 yarder to win the Spring Game.

Keginald Getting Some Press

Here is a snippet from an article by Greg DeWalt from the TimesDaily.com on JSU's Starting Safety, Keginald Harris.

"Coach Jack Crowe clearly is counting on Harris, a business management major on track to graduate in 2012, to contribute heavily in the secondary.

“He can be a premier player for us, even as a sophomore,” Crowe said. “I don’t want to burden him with those expectations, but my expectations have been very high for him.

“Last year, he had a period of time with some injuries, but he has just gotten better and better and if he keeps that up, the sky is the limit.”

Go to TimesDaily.com for the rest of the information.

Anniston Star - Gamecocks scrimmage will determine depth chart

Al sums it up as JSU heads into a critical scrimmage today.

Anniston Star - Gamecocks scrimmage will determine depth chart

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jacksonville State Senior Offensive Lineman Curt Porter

Jacksonville State Senior Defensive Back T.J. Heath

Jacksonville State Head Coach Jack Crowe from OVC Media Day

Jacksonville News - Red Bandits may be back at Jax State

The Jacksonville News has a nice piece on the Red Bandits.

Jacksonville News - Red Bandits may be back at Jax State

Jacksonville News - Coach Letson talks a little football

Link to Jacksonville News article interview with Ronnie Letson. Someone needs to interview Letson about returning to his alma mater, Ole Miss, for the first game.

Jacksonville News - Coach Letson talks a little football

Anniston Star - JSU focuses on mental game at first practice

Link to Anniston Star Article featuring quotes from Jameson Wadley.

Anniston Star - JSU focuses on mental game at first practice

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cherokee County Herald - Blanchards extend deadline with Orioles again

Good article from the Cherokee County Herald about Coty Blanchard including some quotes from Marques Ivory.

Cherokee County Herald - Blanchards extend deadline with Orioles again

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Places, New Faces

Based on the media guide and the roster, there are some intriguing position changes and some new names on the Gamecock Roster.

Position Changes:

Rod Byrd, has moved from linebacker to tight end. Byrd is an outstanding athlete that could also punt for the Gamecocks.

Mike Whittier. Mike transferred in last January and had an outstanding Spring game at QB. Whittier has apparently moved to linebacker. If Whittier is indeed moving, it speaks volumes about what the staff thinks of Blanchard, Alabama transfer Thomas Darrah and Steven Coates, from SW Dekalb in Atlanta.

Justin Kay. Based on the media guide, Kay may play more at Guard this season than tackle, but it looks like no official decision has been made on that. Its great to have a versatile athlete like Kay to make that possible.

Jason Horton. As previously reported, Horton has been moved to safety and is listed as a starter on the depth chart along with Keggie Harris.

New Faces

Leaving aside the signees that have been previously reported, here are some new Gamecocks:

Barry Stafford, Noseguard. Stafford is a big player from Chamblee high school in Atlanta. He apparently made a mark with his speed and agility in Summer workouts and might contribute this year.

Darian Thomas, Cornerback. Thomas transferred to Jax State from Florida Atlantic and will provide much needed depth to that position.

Jewon Williams, Linebacker. Williams is from Parker high school in Birmingham and had recruiting interest from several FBS schools.

New Numbers

Wide Receiver Jeff Cameron is now wearing #1.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Early Nomination for Quote of the Year from Kevin Dix

This is from the Gadsdentimes.com article on Jacksonville State's Red Bandit Defense:

“Red Bandits is the mentality of you live it on the edge,” senior outside linebacker Kevin Dix said. “We're a pressure defense. We're going to get after you any time, any place; it's something like renegades, we just go after it.”

“To me a bandit is a person who's going to rob somebody,” said Dix, who had 49 tackles and five sacks in 2009. “I mean it's a bandit. He's going to come in late at night and he's going to get what he can get at any cost and that's what we do. We get what we can get at any cost.”

Who's fired up?

Amazing View...Amazing Vision

Good article from al.com
Amazing View and Amazing Vision at Jacksonville State

The Daily Home - Gamecocks enter 2010 season hoping to meet expectations

Here is a good article from the Daily Home related to expectations for the 2010 football season.

The Daily Home - Gamecocks enter 2010 season hoping to meet expectations

Thursday, August 5, 2010

JJ Guthrie: Focusing on the JSU Students

JJ Guthrie came to JSU from Cullman, AL after a successful high school career on the football field. JJ is now working on a student committee to help promote the football program to the student body. We spoke with JJ this week about the changes being made at JSU.

GI: Tell us about the committee you are serving on.

JJ: I’m on a student spirit committee. My part is the social media. Using facebook, I’m creating a link between the students and the football program. It’s important for the students to know who the football players are. This is an important step in creating school spirit. We’re going to be doing some player interviews for our facebook page. Right now, our facebook page has more fans than any other school in the OVC.

GI: What are some of the new things the committee is doing?

JJ: We’re starting by having Thursday night pep rallies before every home game and before the Ole Miss game. Players will be there, the Southerners will be there, cheerleaders will be there. We’ll introduce some of the players at each pep rally. We want it to be interactive. We’re planning to have them start at about 8 PM.
We’re planning to have concerts on Friday nights before games. The Friday night before the first home game, (Sept. 10th)we have a band called “Course of Nature”. They’ll be filming a video that night, so JSU students will be in the video. That should be fun.

On game days, Dillon Field beside the stadium will be the student tailgating area. Any students are welcome to tailgate here. Student organizations can reserve a space for their members.

GI: That sounds like the committee has been busy. Anything else you want to mention?

JJ: Fan Day is August 21st. Students are moving into the dorms beginning Aug. 20th, so we’ll have people at the dorms passing out flyers inviting them to Fan Day. We’ll have student tailgating for Fan Day, too.

During the season, we want the crowd to interact with the game. We’ll be giving out boom sticks and red towels to students. Just like with student tailgating, student organizations can reserve space in the stands for the game.

We’ll also be encouraging the businesses on the square to decorate. Our cheerleaders will be visiting them to paint their windows red. We want to involve the community.

GI: You’ve been on the football team for the last couple of years. Do you miss it now?

JJ: I miss it. I really miss the guys on the team. You develop a bond with them out there. I really feel I can help them more off the field now. I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given now to help with promoting the team.

GI: From your perspective, what should we expect from the team this year?

JJ: The team is really good. Our defense will be tough. We have some talent out there. Offensively, we have a lot of confidence in (Marques) Ivory (at QB).

GI: You played linebacker so you’ve seen these guys up close. Out of our linebackers, who is the hardest hitter?

JJ: That’s really tough. They all hit hard. If I had to pick one, I would say………Antonio Bonner.

GI: Thanks for taking a little time to talk with us. Good luck in school and on the committee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anniston Star - JSU facing injuries on offensive line

Follow this link to the Anniston Star for a report on some injury related shuffling on JSU's offensive line.

Anniston Star - JSU facing injuries on offensive line

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

11 Reasons to Be Excited About Football Season

1. The New Stadium. As a Jacksonville State alumni, isn't it a great feeling to have your football team playing in one of the top facilities in the country, combined with a beautiful new dorm that was desperately needed. You can be a part of history on September 11th. It is going to be a great day. The Gamecocks, fresh off an upset of Ole Miss will be hosting regional rival UTC. Coach Ken Bodiford has an unbelievable Southerners' performance planned. Then, JSU alumni, Randy Owen will sing at half time. As my buddy Charlie Robinson used to say: "It don't get no better than that."

2. The return of the Red Bandit Defense. Don't let anyone fool you, we are going to be good on defense this year. JSU has the luxury of playing man coverage with Heath and Davis (see below) which will open up big play opportunities for sack masters Kevin Dix and Big Texas Garrott (see below). I kind of feel bad for some of the opposing quarterbacks. Just kidding.

3. Calvin Middleton carrying the football. If Calvin improves as much from year 2 to year 3, as he did from year 1 to year 2, look out. Middleton went from a reserve fullback his first year to a bona fide tailback his second year. Calvin has his weight right and rushed for 147 yards in the Spring game. He is ready.

4. Marques "Cool Hand" Ivory. Our readers under 40 may not remember one of the greatest movies of all time- Cool Hand Luke, but it’s about a guy that never loses his cool no matter what the situation. JSU's quarterback fits that description. Here is a guy that went out and performed like a champ in his very first start in a college football game against Georgia Tech. While we will miss the flash of RP, Cool Hand knows what to do and when to do it. He has the respect of his teammates for his work ethic and approach to the game.

5. The Best Corner Tandem in FCS. Mr. All American #15 gets a lot of the publicity, but there's a guy that may be just as talented on the other side- A.J. "Jet" Davis. A.J. is probably the fastest player on the team (although I'd like to see him, Blanchard, Jamal Young and Gabriel Chambers race). A.J. would have more picks, but opposing quarterbacks won't throw the ball to his side of the field.

6. Terror on the Edge. Every great team, seems to have guys that can get to the quarterback. JSU has two- #23 Kevin Dix and #49 Big Texas Garrott. Dix is 260 pounds, but is capable of playing about any position on the field. He returned punts in junior college and ran a kick back for JSU in the Spring Game. Big Texas is an immensely talented player from Huntsville that plays with a great deal of swagger. He has great body control. A great competition this year will be who gets the most sacks, Dix or Garrott.

7. Best Band in the Land. JSU has "never lost a half time" and the streak will continue this year. There is a rumor that the Ole Miss band has decided not to play at all in order to allow their fans more time to enjoy the Southerners. We don't know if that's true, but plan on an interview with Coach Ken Bodiford later this month to find out.

8. Three Games on TV. JSU's opener against Ole Miss will be televised along with two OVC games.

9. Big play wide receivers. Jeff Cameron from Tupelo is poised to blow up this year after sitting out last season. Also, watch out for Alan Bonner - he played remarkably well as a true freshman, but is not just a punt returner. A lot of the players quietly mention La Ray "Big Play" Williams as a wide receiver that will emerge as one of the top threats this year for the Gamecocks. Finally, don't forget about John Houston Whiddon and James Shaw, both capable of starting. Gamecocks Wide Receiver Coach Matt Wannebo is like a fat kid at Baskin Robbins- there are a lot of great options, you just have to pick which three (of four) you are choosing.

10. The Return of the Burgess Boys. Burgess-Snow Field has a great ring to it. The support JSU will receive from the guys that were part of the Burgess era is even better. It’s great to have the Gamecock Nation reunited.

11. The emergence of the Cherokee (County) Nation. Everyone knows about Coty Blanchard. However, what would Butch Cassidy be without the Sundance Kid. Coty is not the only playmaker from Cherokee County that will be donning Gamecock Red this year, his cohort Gabriel Chambers will be there as well. Chambers is a legitimate 4.4 guy that dominated more heralded receivers at 7 on 7 camps last summer. These two Cherokee county guys could have gone a lot of places. It’s good to have them at JSU.

JSUfan.com took the pictures used in this blog post. Thanks James. You do a great job.