Friday, April 29, 2011

Hatcher moves up the depth chart

Here's an article from the Dothan Eagle on JSU Offensive Lineman, Preston Hatcher.
Click Here for the link.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Golf Team Wins the OVC

Congrats to the Jacksonville State Mens' Golf Team for winning the OVC championship. They will join the tennis team in NCAA Division I post-season play. It will be exciting to see where they are selected to play.

Congrats to Coach Hobbs on his umpteenth title. I wonder if his players realize that he was a great basketball coach a few years back.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking for Quarterbacks

We need to get another quarterback at JSU soon. Looking to the 2011 season, the quarterback position looks to be in good hands. Marquez Ivory returns for his senior season. Coty Blanchard will be back on the football field this fall after a very successful spring on the baseball diamond. Thomas Darrah has shown some glimpses of what he can do, and we know Stephen Coates is athletic and look forward to seeing what he can do on the field.

But look just past this season, to next spring. With Ivory and Darrah both gone, and Blanchard back at 3B for the baseball team, that leaves Coates as the only QB on the team for the J-Day game.

We know the coaching staff is on the recruiting trail of quarterbacks that may graduate early (December) and enroll at JSU for the Spring Semester. We know of a few candidates that have very good grades in the classroom and have shown they have what it takes on the field. It's a great opportunity for a young quarterback to play his senior year this fall and go immediately onto the depth chart here and get significant playing time in the J-Day game. We haven't been in position to say that to a quarterback recruit in quite a while.

Some offers have already been made. There are other players out there that may fit this profile, and the coaching staff will continue until the right answer is found.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jacksonville State University - Gamecocks Win OVC Women's Tennis Crown; Blanks UTM, 4-0

Jacksonville State University - Gamecocks Win OVC Women's Tennis Crown; Blanks UTM, 4-0

Softball Update

The big news of the day is Tiffany Harbin's no-hitter against Austin Peay today. It's the first 9-inning no-hitter in JSU's history. She picked a great day for it, as the normally loud bats went quiet. JSU picked up a run in the bottom of the ninth for the win. Harbin had 10 strikeouts on the day, and now has 191 in 144 innings.

Hilary Phillips pitched a great game Saturday, shutting out the Lady Govs 5-0. In her complete game, Phillips appeared to step firmly into the second starter role.

Only one number really matters...wins. The Gamecocks earned their 31st win this season, and have a double header at home against Tn Tech this Wednesday. Other statistical leaders include...
Batting Avg - Kristen Graham at .424
Home Runs - Amanda Crow at 13
Runs Batted In - Amanda Crow with 42
Walks - Kristin Graham with 25
Runs Scored - Kristin Graham with 36

It was hard to imagine what the team would be like this year after losing such great players as Chrissy O'Neal, Hillary Downs, and Nikki Prier. The way Harbin, Graham, and Abbey Stepp have contributed to the team this year is a huge complement to their ability and to Coach McGinnis and her staff for being able to bring in such great talent.

All of our conference games are important, but none look bigger than the series with Eastern Illinois at the end of April. Right now, they are 19-1 in conference play, while we are 16-3. The regular season championship could come down to the 3 game series in Charleston, IL in two weeks.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Star Is Born and Other J-Day Notes

Its always fun to see if a new playmaker will emerge from a Spring Game. That happened today for the Gamecocks. Trey Smith, a 6-5, 225 pound receiver from Perry, Georgia by way of Western Michigan lit up the stat sheet. Before the day was over, Smith tallied 12 catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Coach Crowe commented on the radio that he really didn't remember a target of that size perhaps his first season at JSU. Obviously, Smith's work was against the second team defense, but its still exciting to see a new receiver emerge after losing Jeff Cameron, John Houston Whiddon and La Ray Williams from last years team.

Other notes:

*If Ivory maintains his physical condition going into next fall, Gamecock fans will be seeing a new and improved version of what was already a very good quarterback. Ivory has lost over 25 pounds and has definitely picked up a step.

*Despite worthy challengers in Tig Barksdale and Unpredictable Freelon, Calvin Middleton continues to show why he is the king. For the second straight spring game, Middleton gained over 100 yards. His performance this year bears particular note given that his work came against the first team defense. The key for Calvin will be to stay healthy in 2011.

*Speaking of injuries, quite a few players expected to contribute in 2011 missed the J-Day game with injuries including LB Spiderman Smith, OL Tristan Harden and QB Steven Coates. Of course, Coty Blanchard was playing baseball. During the game, safety Jason Horton was banged up, but it looks like he will be o.k. While Tig Barksdale played, it looked like he was bothered by injury as well and was used as more of a blocking back.

*Besides Trey Smith, another player that had an eye opening performance was Jeremy Nicholson. A highly recruited wide receiver from the 2010 signing class, Nicholson seemed to be everywhere, including making a big touchdown pass. While its hard to tell who is who sometimes in Spring Games, it looked like Nicholson was also returning kicks and playing some defense.

*Keginald Harris showed why he is a potential All American candidate by intercepting a Thomas Darrah pass and making a long return. On what seemed like the very next play, Daniel Hammett, a reserve safety from Piedmont made a beautiful pick and followed it with a long return. After having a disastrous first half, Darrah showed a lot by regaining his confidence and almost leading his team to a comeback win in the second half.

*There have been some struggles on the offensive line this Spring, but both units played well on J-Day. A high point on the day was seeing Matt Jones back on the field. Preston Hatcher, who redshirted last year, started with the first team. Speaking of the offensive line, Brandon Rogers who is normally the long snapper showed he is a receiving threat as well making several catches from the tight end spot.

Other quick notes:
*RB Jordan Allen showed he can gain yards after contact and is willing to lower the shoulder and run through defenders.
*We saw AJ Davis in the game on offense in the second half and made a great play.
*Playing safety hasn't made Brooks Robinson forget his quarterback days. He through a 45 yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Nicholson for the first score of the game.

All in all, a well played exciting game. We are sure we missed some stuff and got some stuff wrong. Please let us know your comments.

Jacksonville State University - White Team Holds Off Red Team In Annual J-Day Game, 30-28

Jacksonville State University - White Team Holds Off Red Team In Annual J-Day Game, 30-28

Friday, April 15, 2011

5 Burning J-Day Questions

Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, there will be a Spring Game today at Burgess-Snow field. Here are 5 burning questions:

1) What will the new defense look like?

For the first time in a long time, the Gamecocks have a new Defensive Coordinator in Chris Boone. Players and coaches have been excited about what he brings to the table. Boone may play it close to the vest on J-Day, but it will be exciting to see what the new defense looks like.

2) What will Thomas Darrah do?

Darrah has the skills to be a starting quarterback, but the Gamecocks have amazing depth at that position. Darrah should get most of the snaps for the second team offense today. It will be interesting to see what the Alabama transfer can do in this situation. Unfortunately, under the format, Darrah will be operating against the first team defense so he has his work cut out for him.

3) Who is the skinny guy?

Marques Ivory has lost 28 pounds. It will be interesting to see how this affects his performance. If Ivory gains some mobility, the undisputed team leader will be even tougher for opponents to face.

4) New look backfield?

We haven't heard anything of Jahron Brown this Spring. With three very talented running backs, Middleton, Unpredictable Freelon and Tig Barksdale available, we might well see two running backs in the backfield at the same time. Probably not going to happen in the Spring Game because the players will be divided up, but interesting to watch anyway. While Barksdale was banged up in the Spring, hopefully he gets a shot to show what he can do today. He is capable of being the best player on the team. Another guy to watch is Unpredictable Freelon. We have had two seperate people associated with the program tell us that UF could be the best running back ever to play at Jax State.

5) Who wants it on the offensive line?

With the departure of Curt Porter and Tyler Ogletree and the injuries to Matt Jones and Tori Mobley, the Spring Game is a chance for some young offensive lineman to break into the depth chart. The list of available candidates is a long one including highly recruited players, Ricky Clemons, Tristan Harden and Preston Hatcher. Other names to watch include Georgia Southern transfer Taylor "Tree" Johnstone, Mammoth Douglas, Georgia product Colt Kennedy, Johnny Ubi, Jr., Tarik Milner, Chad Hampton and Max Holcombe. While offensive line is a hard position for casual fans to evaluate, the Gamecocks need to find five quality starters on the offensive line.

Can't wait for 5:30.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Game Friday Night

Everyone should make plans to attend the Spring Game this Friday night. It would be great to have a roster to make the game more enjoyable to watch. We will post one if and when it becomes available.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today's Links

Anniston Star gives us an article about the coaching changes on the football staff. Click Here.

Some will argue that the #18 baseball team is way over-rated. Regardless, the JSU baseball team picks up another win over a ranked team. Whup Troy!

The JSU softball team continues to get dominant pitching and strong, timely hitting in picking up another win. Tiffany Harbin picks up her 17th win, while striking out 12. She now has 171 strikeouts in just over 128 innings. Click here for the link.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Random Observations This Spring

A few random comments and observations for a Friday morning...

Kristin Graham, pitcher and first baseman on the softball team, was hitting .500 for the season before yesterday's game. After going 0-2 yesterday, I wouldn't want to be the pitcher facing her in the next game. Counting her walks, she gets on base almost 60% of the time.

In baseball, pitcher Aaron Elias has an impressive stat to go along with his 2.13 ERA. He's struck out 34 batters while walking only 7 in over 42 innings. That's a great strikeout/walk ratio in any league.

In football, spring practice continues. RB Jordan Allen looked great in practice yesterday. BigTexas Garrott is still showing why we have high expectations of him this season. Look up All-OVC in the dictionary, and you should see his picture. The defensive line continues to look great. We got to see some of the depth of the DL at practice yesterday, and King Kong Coulahan was impressive. The linebackers are talented, and will shine this season. Brooks Robinson was making plays at safety as Keginald Harris was sitting out. One exciting addition to the JSU defense for this season is D-Coordinator Chris Boone. If you want to see the difference he makes, come to the spring game FRIDAY, APRIL 15 AT 6:00 PM.

NEXT WEEK...Softball plays at home on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Baseball will WHUP TROY on Tuesday at 6:30 at home and will play at home again on Saturday. We're calling out the students to show up for these games. One more week of school until finals begin. Let's support our teams!

And next Friday is the Spring Football at 6PM. The students are having a JSU block party today from 4-6. Can we do it again next week? It would be awesome to tailgate from 4-6 and then go to the spring game. We hope to see you there.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today's Links

Article from Tennessee Tech about our softball team. Click here.

Article from Miami on possible Sunbelt Conference Expansion. Click here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gamecock Football- A Southerner's Perspective

The following is from Austin Faulkner, a current Southerner and huge Jacksonville State fan. Austin may start regularly contributing to the Blog- we hope he does!

Football from Behind the End Zone

Many of you who read this post will have seen at least one JSU football game from the stands. You may have even sat beside those spirited enough to paint themselves from forehead to waist to show their support for the Gamecocks. But, only a select few each year get the opportunity to know what it is like to see the game as a Marching Southerner. I am lucky enough to be one of those few and will try to explain what it is to see the game from the viewpoint of a Southerner.

Now before I start, I must warn you, I am not your average sports fan. Being in Southerners has only magnified the passion I have for this school and its athletics program. I also have the privilege of hosting the RedZone, WLJS’s college sports radio show. I am passionate, borderline obsessive when it comes to sports and my passion (along with everyone else’s) just about overflowed at the best college football game I have ever witnessed, the 2010 JSU-Ole Miss game.

The week leading up to the game I had at least one copy of every day’s newspaper in my hands at all times. Ole Miss’s quarterback situation was questionable at best with Oregon transfer Isaiah Masoli waiting to be cleared to play by the NCAA. I skimmed my preseason SEC magazine that whole week to go over any potential weaknesses the Rebels might have. Everyone thought I was crazy, even conspiracy theorists, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was possible that we could beat an SEC team.

Saturday morning came and I was up at 2 a.m. to get to the buses to save my sections’ seats not that I needed an excuse, I couldn’t sleep anyway. When the buses arrived and were loaded, we began the long-anticipated drive to Oxford.

Upon arrival (six hours later), we set out to find the lunch tent. After a satisfying lunch in the shade of one of the tremendous trees that are all over campus, we set out for the stadium. We got to our seats and anxiously awaited kickoff.

Being emotionally attached to a sporting event of any kind is not the healthiest choice you can make, especially when your team goes into halftime down twenty-one points. I still had hope, but the grim reality was that it simply did not look good. Regardless, I cheered the loudest when our boys took the field for the second half.

When the Gamecocks started what eventually became dubbed “the Mississippi Miracle,” I frankly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. JSU went on to score 21 unanswered points and hold the Rebels’ offense to go into overtime.

By this time I, along with the rest of the Southerners, have lost what little sanity we had. We are making more noise than the Ole Miss faithful, who seemed to be in a slight state of shock. As the Gamecocks went on to take it to a second OT, the Rebel nation seemed to realize that they might actually lose this game and began, more out of desperation than enjoyment, to make some noise. That didn’t keep the Gamecocks from the end zone as you well know.

That had to be the fastest and most enjoyable fight song I have ever played. The stadium was empty except for us. We soaked every moment of it in, got pictures of the scoreboard, pictures of us with the scoreboard and pictures of pictures with the scoreboard.

Those are the games that motivate us to do what we do. We may not work the same way the football team does, but we put as much time and effort into it as they do. In the fall, nothing else matters for a Southerner. We get to school a month early to practice 12 hours a day and when school starts we practice 2 hours every day after classes. I’m not saying we endure the same amount of abuse that the players do, but we take our share. In fact, that is one of the biggest things we have in common, both the football players and the band members work, sweat and bleed until the end of the season.

Our goal is to be the best we can be and to help, in any way we can, our team achieve that. We make the most noise at football games, we heckle when we wait for our pregame show to start, and we taunt opposing fans while blowing the other teams’ band out of the stadium. No one comes to a JSU game more excited and ready to cheer than the Southerners.

Life as a Southerner can be hectic. When we’re not at games, we’re marching exhibitions, and while we’re there, every Southerner without a smart phone (me) is scrambling to find the score of the JSU game. I can’t wait to look at the online stats to see who the leading rusher was and who had the biggest impact on defense, wishing I could have been there to witness the game, win or lose.

Through my eyes, spending a Saturday watching Gamecock football is like nothing else. I’ve only been on campus for two years, but it’s my home away from home. I love the atmosphere, the campus, the people and of course the athletics. I look forward to next season and cannot wait to see if the ever elusive national championship becomes a reality or stays just beyond reach. Gamecock football is not just hobby, it’s a lifestyle.


Monday, April 4, 2011


The Gamecock nation anxiously awaits the Spring Game on April 15th. Here are a few interesting storylines:

1) Dominant defensive line. The Gamecock defensive front of Monte Lewis, Jameson Wadley, Demitrio Tyson and Big Texas Garrott has made it very difficult for the offense to develop any continuity. This could be one of the best defensive lines in FCS. Tyson in particular is really turning heads with the athleticism he first showed stopping a reverse against Florida State a couple of years ago. The Defensive Line is working against a patchwork offensive line. Tori Mobley has not been practicing and Matt Jones will not be available until the Fall.

2) Who is that skinny kid playing quarterback? Marques Ivory is on the "I'm going to dominate the OVC diet" having lost 28 pounds since last season. He is playing well and leading the team. Thomas Darrah continues to wow onlookers with his arm strength. Rumor has it there is another pretty good quarterback playing baseball.

3) 1-2 Punch in the Backfield. Tig Barksdale has the ability to be the best player on the team, but he still has a long way to go picking up the offense. Calvin Middleton is a 1,000 yard type rusher if he can stay healthy. Look for the Gamecocks to figure out ways to get both of these guys on the field at the same time. If they do, it will present matchup problems for opposing defenses. While he won't be here until the Fall, DaMarcus James may also be a big part of the offense. Finally, the Gamecocks will have an old face in a new position, Rayce Whiddon has moved to running back.

4) Bonner emerges as a go-to receiver. Alan Bonner has been a dominant special teams player the last two seasons for the Gamecocks. Look for him to emerge this year as a go-to receiver. If you are looking for a dark horse to emerge from the receiving corps, remember the name Gabriel "Country" Chambers.

5) New look D. The Gamecocks will play fast on defense this year and will show a lot of movement. A big if for the upcoming season will be whether Eric Russell returns to the team after taking a redshirt season last year. He is a disruptive player and one of the most athletic on the team.

6) Jason Horton stopped by the Gamecock Illustrated office recently. His early report from spring practice was that the defense was going to give opponents a real hard time this season. Horton spoke of the new freedom to move around and make adjustments for the defensive backs, and the increased pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Horton is looking forward to finishing strong this spring and preparing for UT Martin on Sept. 1st.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New defensive coordinator Boone spicing up Gamecocks’ routine, attitudes

New defensive coordinator Boone spicing up Gamecocks’ routine, attitudes: "JACKSONVILLE — It’s only the second week of spring practice and the first scrimmage where the coaches turned the players loose for some live hitting, but there’s already something different about t..."

Friday, April 1, 2011

"I needed to come to college"

A good article on Coty Blanchard on The Sports Network website. Here is a link.