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BCU’s 2012 football season officially kicked off on Thursday morning with the opening of Fall camp at the New Smyrna Sports Complex.  The new season brings with it a ton of excitement, high expectations, and the challenges of the unknown.

Here are 5 of our most pressing questions heading into camp.

1. Who will be the Wildcat’s primary signal caller this year?

Coming out of Spring practice, Jackie Wilson was tops on the Wildcats’ depth chart at quarterback.  Wilson completed over 66% of his pass attempts last year and was undefeated as a starter against FCS competition. The 6’0”, 215 pound Junior from Ft Lauderdale is expected to be pushed for the starting nod by Louisiana Tech transfer, Brock Waters (Sr.) and redshirt Freshman and 2010 Florida Mr. Football, Quentin Williams. 

Waters seems to be the best of the three with his legs, Williams with his arm, and Wilson the best dual threat.

2. Which newcomer will have the greatest impact on the squad?

Many HBCU pundits rated Bethune-Cookman’s 2012 signing class as the best in all of black college football.  Several of the 2012 signees will have a chance to step in and contribute right away.  Here are a few of the new faces that we’ll be watching closely. 

Brandon Bryant, UCF transfer, has tremendous ability and could step in and fill one of the vacated defensive end slots right away.

Brock Waters, La Tech transfer, is a versatile athlete who can play any of the three offensive skill positions (QB, RB, and WR).  

Ray Martin is an explosive WR/return specialist from Sanford Seminole high school.  Martin was a bona fide playmaker at the high school level and a threat to “break one” at any time.

3. Will the Wildcats be able to compensate for the loss of six defensive starters from a year ago?

This year’s defensive unit may be more athletic, faster, and deeper than last year’s defensive group. The problem is this year’s defensive unit is far less experienced.

Gone are six starters from a year ago, three of whom are currently on NFL rosters (Ryan Davis-Jaguars, Jean Fanor-Chiefs, and Ryan Lewis-Dolphins). 

Defensive lineman Harold Love III, linebacker Jarkevis Fields, and safety DJ Howard are all 2012 Preseason All-MEAC selectees.  Love, Fields and Howard are proven playmakers at all three levels of the defense (line, linebackers, and secondary).  The trio will need to provide leadership and stability to those around them and help facilitate the growth of players like Brandon Bryant, Tavarus Dantzler, and Nick Addison. 

4. Will the Cats win their first ever FCS playoff game?

Bethune-Cookman is 0’fer in FCS playoff games and the MEAC is 0 for its last 12 in the FCS playoffs.  This year seems as good as any to finally break those dubious streaks.  But before the Wildcats can hope to win a playoff game, they must first navigate an arduous schedule and win the conference’s automatic qualifier.

The Cats first four conference matchups are against powerhouse South Carolina State (09/08), Hampton (09/29), North Carolina A&T (10/06), and Norfolk State (10/20).  BCU fell to SCSU and NCA&T last season, they narrowly escaped Hampton thanks to a replay decision after regulation time expired, and NSU is the defending conference champion.  YIKES!

5. Will the institution and the City of Daytona Beach resolve the issue surrounding the $3 surcharge added to game tickets before the season begins?

The City of Daytona, in hopes to offset the cost of installing the synthetic playing surface at Municipal Stadium, has once again proposed that a $3 surcharge be added to each BCU game ticket.   The school has offered a counter-proposal which the City is said to be reviewing. 

Neither side can afford to have this issue linger very long.  An unused stadium (and consequently unsold hotel rooms and fewer dollars spent at local restaurants, retail outfits, and gas stations) serves no benefit to the City of Daytona Beach. And changing venues this close to the start of the season would be a logistical nightmare for BCU. 

Let’s hope that an amicable solution can be reached in the coming days.

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