Dan Ryan recounts how the B-CU staff got the campus running again after Hurricane Matthew and deserves coverage worthy of any sporting event.
Source: Final: B-CU Staff 1, Matthew 0
So this interesting thing happened this past Sunday. A fellow Wildcat sent a group text message saying he had this crazy dream Bethune-Cookman lost to Savannah State 16-10 in overtime Saturday night. I mustered up a laugh after reading the message and quickly replied I had the same wild dream. But no matter how hard we tried to deny the obvious, there it was staring right back at us. Our beloved Wildcats had fallen to the Tigers and were 0-3.
Shocking! Shameful! What type of sorcery was this? Who saw this coming? I didn’t.
I guess that’s why the friendly texts meant so much Sunday morning. It was the best way us diehards could cope in our time of crisis. I am happy to say we all stayed far away from bridges and sharp objects for the requisite 48 hours.Everyone is accounted for so I suppose we’re now ready to talk about it.
Let’s start by saying congratulations to Savannah State for earning the victory and breaking the 16 year drought against the Wildcats. As much as I hated seeing my team lose, that small part of me that’s a pure sportsman at heart says kudos to the winning team. I mean how can you not be a little happy for a team whose last win over the opponent came 2 months before Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas was nominated as the 42nd President of the United States of America. That’s crazy son! Craazzyyy!!!
It begs the question though: ‘what in the world is going on in Daytona?’ The Wildcat fan base has gotten use to winning and they aren’t handling the loss to SSU very well. I mean, Florida doesn’t lose to Kentucky; FSU doesn’t lose to Wake Forest and Bethune-Cookman doesn’t lose to Savannah State……well I suppose we do now but you get the point. What does all of this mean?
2016 was not supposed to be a rebuilding year. We were supposed to be contenders this year. Could this mean we are witnessing Bethune’s recent dynasty come to an end? Is there enough talent on this team to turn things around? What about the coaching staff? Are they resting on yesteryear’s laurels? Do they have the capability to scheme up, coach up, and correct the issues that have this team stumbling to a lackluster start?
No, I am not jumping ship but I am mad. I am worried. I am concerned. We praise our team when they play well and we speak the truth when they under-perform. We do this not because we’re fickle fans but because we want to see the young men who strap it up for the maroon and gold preserve the legacy!
Okay, okay let me calm down! It’s going to be alright. Let’s take this slow shall we.
The first obvious observation is that it is far too early in this cycle to declare Bethune’s recent dynasty has come to an end. No Division 1 HBCU program has had more wins since the beginning of this decade. Dynasties are indicative of year to year success so let’s just press pause on this one.
Bill Parcells once famously said “you are what your record says you are.” The Greek translation of that statement is this is not a good football team right now. Sure we’re only three games into the season but the problems that have Terry Sims and his team gawking at 0-3 will not magically disappear on there own. There are major concerns with this team right now specifically on the offensive side of the ball.
The offensive play calling and scheme is unimaginative. The offensive line play has been somewhere between shaky to bad. The wide receivers have had far too many drops and quarterback play has been underwhelming. That’s not negativity. It’s the truth. Any coach who says otherwise is cheating his players.
BCU is dead last in the conference in passing offense averaging just 97passing yards per game. Comparatively, they are averaging 95 yards per game in penalties. When the difference between your total passing yards and penalty yards is a net 2 yards, you’re going to have a hard time winning football games. Yes I said a net of 2 yards. That simply is not good enough.
To be fair, the only experienced quarterback Bethune have on its roster is Larry Brihm and he got injured halfway through Game 2 against Tennessee State. Additional, All-MEAC Preseason 1st team selectee Michael Jones has been out all year with an injury. Perhaps the return of Brihm and/or Jones will provide the offense with a much needed jolt.
The defense has been good enough. The defensive line is growing week in and week out and secondary play has been pretty good as well. Diquan Richardson has been a maniac at safety flying all around the field making plays.
There is still time to recover from the slow start and this squad is talented enough to do so. But the improvement must happen immediately as the Cats enter the toughest stretch of their schedule with matchups against North Carolina Central, South Carolina State and North Carolina A&T in the next three weeks. Win all three and you are still on course to reach the goal of playing in the Celebration Bowl; lose 2 or more of the next three and…….well there is always next season. Let’s hope for the former.
Tigers top MEAC kingpin Bethune-Cookman 16-10 in OT
Bethune-Cookman’s bid to obtain their third scalp of a FBS opponent was shot down in the Lone Star State on Saturday night. North Texas rode to a 41-20 victory over BCU behind the strength of a strong running game.
BCU’s upset efforts looked on course early after the Wildcat D forced a 3 and out on UNT’s first possession. Frank Brown returned the ensuing punt 88 yards to put BCU ahead 7-0. It was the Wildcat’s first punt return touchdown since Michael Williams took one to the house against Hampton in 2009.
North Texas responded to BCU’s special teams touchdown with a 10 play, 65 yard touchdown drive that ended with a Jeffrey Wilson 20 yard scoot.
The Mean Green secured their first lead of the contest after a blocked Johnathan Cagel punt was returned 1 yard for a score. Wilson scored his 2nd rushing touchdown from 10 yards out and Trevor Moore converted a 19 yard FG to stretch the UNT lead to 24-7 at halftime.
UNT opened the 2nd half with a 12 play, 83 yard touchdown drive before BCU safety Diquan Richardson picked off a Mason Fine pass and returned it 30 yards for the Wildcat’s second score showing off some nifty footwork in the process.
The Wildcats squandered their best opportunity to get back in the game after they failed to score after recovering a blocked punt on the North Texas 5 yard line. A touchdown would have withered the lead to 2 scores with over 14 minutes remaining in the contest but it wasn’t meant to be.
The teams traded touchdowns in the 4th quarter with BCU’s coming on the effort of quarterback Arkevious Williams racing 83 yards to pay dirt outrunning several North Texas defenders in the process.
The Wildcat offense looked sluggish all night and were outgained by almost a 2-1 margin (450 total yards to 231). Meanwhile the defense played a little better than the final score indicates but certainly have plenty room for growth.
Terry Sims and company will try to right the ship when Tennessee State come to town next Saturday for a 4:00 kickoff.
|3rd down efficiency||2-12||7-16|
|4th down efficiency||0-3||2-3|
|Yards per pass||3.9||3.7|
|Yards per rush||4.9||6.5|
Bethune-Cookman and Alcorn State had never faced off in an official gridiron competition prior to Sunday’s 1:00 MEAC/SWAC Challenge. By 5:05 pm, officials from both schools elected to keep it that way after severe weather around Daytona Beach forced an extended stoppage of play.
The game was interrupted at the 7:14 mark of 2nd quarter shortly after Alcorn had taken a 13-7 lead.
The Wildcats opened the scoring on a 28 yard TD strike from Larry Brihm to Jontavious Carter.
Successive touchdown passes of 38 and 18 yards by Alcorn’s trigger man, Lenorris Footman, gave the Braves a 13-7 lead just before the weather delay.
Multiple attempts were made to restart the contest before representatives from both schools finally called the game and ruled it a “no contest.”
BCU travels to Dallas next week for its season opener against North Texas.
If you have spent any time in or around Daytona Beach since the beginning of this decade, you know there are three constants on which you can bank.
1 ~ the deliciousness of an order of Honey Wings from Bethune Grill; (love those)
2 ~ a full parking lot at Krispy-Kreme when the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign begins flashing;
3 ~ Bethune-Cookman ending the season atop the MEAC standings.
The Wildcats have won or shared the MEAC crown in all but one year this decade. They have averaged over 9 wins a season in that span, produced MEAC Player of the Year awardees on both sides of the ball, sent talent on to the professional ranks…….well you get the point. BCU football has been pretty dang good since 2010 and this year should be no exception.
Terry Sims (9-2 in 2015) enters his second season with much of his 2015 MEAC Co-Championship team still intact. Sims’ squad returns 7 offensive starters, as many on defense, the punter, placekicker, return specialists, Elvis, Bigfoot, ‘eerybody’ is back for the party. Simply put, the talent is in place for BCU to make yet another run at the conference crown and perhaps earn their first ever trip to the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.
The Wildcats led the conference in several offensive categories a season ago including Scoring Offense (31.4 ppg) and Total Offense (445 ypg). Trevin Huff, Phillip Norman and Dazzie Morris return as starters along the offensive front. The trio will try to help set the stage for BCU’s high powered offense. Job Buissereth (6’4”, 325) and David Bryant (6’7”, 336) will look to anchor the right side of the line. Ja-Quan Lumas and Michael Boland are both expected to see regular action at the tight end position. Lumas finished the year with 3 receiving touchdowns and could see more red zone targets this year.
Larry Brihm has had flashes of brilliance for BCU (think 2014 Florida Classic and 2015 comeback win against Grambling State). His experience in Jim Pry’s offense makes him the favorite to take over the reins at quarterback for the now departed Quentin Williams. Brihm will need to show more consistency in the pocket if he plans to remain the unquestioned primary signal caller throughout the course of the season. Redshirt freshman Arkevious Williams and JUCO transfer Anthony Cruz will look to challenge Brihm for snaps.
Wide receiver is easily BCU’s deepest position. JaWill Davis , Frank Brown, Keavon Mitchell, Jontavious Carter, and Jaime Wilson have all had great moments in Maroon and Gold jerseys. Davis (39 rec, 6 TDs) is perhaps the best deep threat of the bunch while Brown (30 rec, 6 TDs), is the most reliable route runner and pass catcher of the crew. Travares Copeland is a North Carolina State transfer looking to add his name in the mix of this already talented bunch. Copeland can be dynamic with the ball in his hands and has the ability to contribute as a receiver, return specialist or ball carrier.
Speaking of ball carriers, Michael Jones has evolved from former walk-on into a Preseason All-MEAC 1st Team running back. Jones is a multidimensional player who contributes in both the run and pass game. In fact, he led the Wildcats in All-Purpose yards (880) a season ago. Freshman Tupac Isme and Marcus Levy should also find regular minutes in the backfield.
The Wildcats return all four starters as well as their first line rotational guys along the defensive front. Kevin Thompson and Todney Evans developed nicely as last season progressed and both look physically stronger this year. Thompson and Evans have exceptional athleticism and quickness at the defensive end position. Both have a chance to be stars in this league if they can meet the physicality demands of the position. DaMarcus Womack weighs in at 6’3”, 350 pounds. He along with the familiar faces of Jamal Thomas, DiShawn Ray and Anthony Meyer will look to plug the middle of the defense more consistently than we saw a year ago. Malik Slaughter was a highly touted JUCO player who is now looking to be an impact player at the FCS level.
All-MEAC Preseason selectee Trenton Bridges’ responsibilities will extend far beyond bringing down opposing running backs when he line up at middle linebacker this year. Bridges will be counted upon to make the right defensive checks and for leading a linebacking crew that will feature first year starters flanking him on both sides. Atreyu Farrior, Werley Placide and Veion Robinson have first dibs at making their names as starters in Yogi Jones’ defense.
Diquan Richardson is the leader of a secondary that is expected to be much improved in 2016. Arthur Williams provides BCU with some much needed length at corner while Sophomore Elliott Miller is a speedy cover guy who looks to build on a solid 2015 campaign. Former cornerback and UCF product Jeremy Davis switches to safety.
Another year of seasoning should help this year’s Wildcat defense rebound from a season that saw them fall to the middle of the pack in most defensive categories.
Coach Sims and his 4 time defending MEAC championship squad kick things off this Sunday at 1:00 against Alcorn State in the 12th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on WatchESPN.
You the fan have the power to select the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats full uniform for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge! The nationally televised event will mark the debut of Bethune-Cookmans new Nike apparel. The Wildcats and nine other MEAC schools announced the expansion of their Nike agreement earlier this year.
Make your choice from the four options below. Voting will run until Friday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
YOU have the power to decide what uniform combination Bethune-Cookman Athletics wears in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge! All who vote and have “liked” our page are eligible to win a pair of game tickets.