5 Questions from Fall Camp

IMG_9324The Bethune-Cookman football program has spent most of the last five seasons nationally ranked and atop the MEAC standings. In that same timeframe, the Wildcats have posted more victories than any other conference school and advanced to the postseason on four occasions. Yet despite its recent run of success, the buzz surrounding the program has been relatively quiet heading into the 2015 campaign. Questions abound as to rather BCU’s window of success is closing or if the Cats are poised to continue their reign as one of the premier programs in the HBCU and FCS ranks.

Here are 5 mysteries that must be solved if Bethune-Cookman is to remain consistent in its winning ways.

The Man following the Man

TSims

1st year head coach Terry Sims

First year head coach Terry Sims inherits a roster full on talent but lacking in experience. Sims won’t be afforded a honeymoon period to acquaint himself or his young squad to the high expectations in Daytona Beach. Wildcat fans fully expect Sims to continue and build upon the success of former head coach Brian Jenkins.

Sims is well respected within the BCU athletic department. He is ultracompetitive, detailed-oriented, and perhaps better credentialed than was Jenkins when he first took over the reins in 2010. But there are some aspects of the head coaching position for which only the crucible of experience can prepare you. The manner in which Sims responds to tense, split-second and sometimes unpredictable moments on and off the field will go a long way in determining the success of this year’s squad.

Fantastic Four or Fantastic No-more???

Yogi Jones is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the MEAC. He will need to rely on all of his experience and know-how to ready a defense that features nine new starters including an all new front four.

Donald Smith #16

Donald Smith #16

Not only will the defensive line feature four new starters but the four new starters were not even enrolled at Bethune-Cookman this time last year. Thankfully, they all have some post-high school playing experience under their belts and they all possess great athleticism and potential. Getting this group of new faces to actualize their talents and replace the production void left by the likes of Erik Williams, LeBrandon Richardson and Rony Barrow will be quite a task even for Yogi Jones.

Inexperience at Linebacker

Donald Smith returns as the lone starter at linebacker. We expect Robert Way, our preseason pick for breakout player of the year, and Deland high school product Trenton Bridges to join Smith as the starting linebackers. All three guys will lay a good thump on you. We just want them to get in the habit of getting ball carriers on the ground and racking up tackles. We’ll worry about highlight reel hits down the road.

OC or Oh-No?

While Yogi Jones has proven his mettle as a great defensive coordinator, the jury is still out on 4th year offensive coordinator Jim Pry. BCU has never averaged more than 30 points per game or more than 400 yards of total offense under Pry’s guidance. In fact, Pry’s units rarely racked up huge numbers in his previously stints as offensive coordinator at Dartmouth, Akron and Duke. Granted, you can’t measure success by statistics alone and the offensive talent he had at his disposal while serving as OC at the aforementioned schools generally were not as good as the competition he faced. But coaching is a bottom line business. Pry will need to have the BCU offense prepared to carry more of the weight this season to give the new faces on defense time to jell and gain experience.

Step it up QB

????????In 2010, BCU entered Fall Camp unsure who would emerge as the primary signal caller. Senior Matt Johnson stepped up, made the job his own, and proceeded to have one of the best seasons any Wildcat quarterback has ever experienced. We’re hoping redshirt senior Quentin Williams can find some of that same magic in his final year.

Williams has not been bad as a starter but he has struggled with consistency at times. Q needs to step up his production this season. Whether he does or doesn’t isn’t an issue of talent but one of confidence.

Larry Brihm will challenge Williams for snaps all season and the thought of both quarterbacks taking meaningful snaps is not out of the question.

The Terry Sims era of Bethune-Cookman football begins on Saturday, September 5th when the Wildcats travel to South Florida to take on FBS powerhouse University of Miami. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

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Congratulations to Mrs. Emma Price on winning (2) 2014 Florida Blue Florida Classic Tickets

Congratulations to Mrs. Emma Price of Daytona Beach on winning the Hailwildcats.com BCU vs Norfolk State “Watch Party” Raffle for (2) 2014 Florida Blue Florida Classic Tickets. If you missed the past raffle, you have another opportunity this week, details below!  Congrats again Mrs. Emma Price!BCU HU

Hailwildcats.com will host a WILDCATS “LETS GO” Watch Party on Thursday November 13th, 2014 starting at 7 p.m. EST when our Mighty Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University take on the Pirates of Hampton University on ESPNU. The game will air live on the “BIG SCREEN” of Buffalo Wild Wings at 2479 W. International Speedway Blvd  Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

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If you are in the Daytona area, put on your Maroon and Gold and come out and share with the Wildcat Nation in this momentous and joyous occasion and see

“Who will ascend to the top of the mountain?”

We will hold a raffle for (2) Tickets ($54.00 value) to the 2014 Florida Blue Florida Classic which will be held on Saturday November 22, 2014 @ 2pm in the newly remodeled Citrus Bowl. To enter, tickets are One (1) for $5.00 or Three (3) for $10.00, the winner will be announced on Hailwildcats.com on Saturday November 15th, 2014. You may pre purchase raffle tickets below:

paypal_buynow (1) Raffle Ticket $5.00

 


 

paypal_buynow(3) Raffle Tickets $10.00

 

JOIN US FOR FOOTBALL, FOOD, and FUN!

Buffalo Wild Wings
2479 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, Fl 32114

We look forward to seeing you there! Kickoff at 7:30 P.M.

 

Hailwildcats.com WILDCATS “LETS GO” WATCH PARTY Nov. 13th, 2014 @ 7p.m. (Buffalo Wild Wings Daytona Beach, Fl)

CALLING ALL WILDCAT NATION!!!!!BCU HU

Hailwildcats.com will host a WILDCATS “LETS GO” Watch Party on Thursday November 13th, 2014 starting at 7 p.m. EST when our Mighty Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University take on the Pirates of Hampton University on ESPNU. The game will air live on the “BIG SCREEN” of Buffalo Wild Wings at 2479 W. International Speedway Blvd  Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

10801844_758916190854690_4672741216347505240_n

If you are in the Daytona area, put on your Maroon and Gold and come out and share with the Wildcat Nation in this momentous and joyous occasion and see

“Who will ascend to the top of the mountain?”

We will hold a raffle for (2) Tickets ($54.00 value) to the 2014 Florida Blue Florida Classic which will be held on Saturday November 22, 2014 @ 2pm in the newly remodeled Citrus Bowl. To enter, tickets are One (1) for $5.00 or Three (3) for $10.00, the winner will be announced on Hailwildcats.com on Saturday November 15th, 2014. You may pre purchase raffle tickets below:

paypal_buynow (1) Raffle Ticket $5.00

 


 

paypal_buynow(3) Raffle Tickets $10.00

 

JOIN US FOR FOOTBALL, FOOD, and FUN!

Buffalo Wild Wings
2479 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, Fl 32114

We look forward to seeing you there! Kickoff at 7:30 P.M.

 

Hailwildcats.com WILDCATS “LETS GO” WATCH PARTY Nov. 6th, 2014 @ 7p.m. (Buffalo Wild Wings Daytona Beach, Fl)

CALLING ALL WILDCAT NATION!!!!!

10173685_4773331029342_6501135014572887901_nHailwildcats.com will host a WILDCATS “LETS GO” Watch Party on Thursday November 6th, 2014 starting at 7 p.m. EST when our Mighty Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University take on the Spartans of Norfolk State University on ESPNU. The game will air live on the “BIG SCREEN” of Buffalo Wild Wings at 2479 W. International Speedway Blvd  Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

If you are in the Daytona area, put on your Maroon and Gold and come out and share with the Wildcat Nation in this momentous and joyous occasion and see

“Who will ascend to the top of the mountain?”

We will hold a raffle for (2) Tickets ($54.00 value) to the 2014 Florida Blue Florida Classic which will be held on Saturday November 22, 2014 @ 2pm in the newly remodeled Citrus Bowl. To enter, tickets are One (1) for $5.00 or Three (3) for $10.00, the winner will be announced on Hailwildcats.com on Saturday November 8th, 2014. You may pre purchase raffle tickets below:

paypal_buynow (1) Raffle Ticket $5.00

 


 

paypal_buynow(3) Raffle Tickets $10.00

 

JOIN US FOR FOOTBALL, FOOD, and FUN!

Buffalo Wild Wings
2479 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, Fl 32114

We look forward to seeing you there! Kickoff at 7:30 P.M.

 

Jenkins Declines Jackson State Interview — Statement from Brian Jenkins

Bethune-Cookman University head football coach Brian Jenkins has declined to interview for the vacant head coaching position at Jackson State University.  Jenkins, officially considered a candidate for the open head coaching position at JSU, made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.  Through an official from the B-CU Department of Athletics, Jenkins released a quote on his decision to decline the next step in possible talks with Jackson State.

“I am honored to have a school with a rich history of football like Jackson State University consider me for their head coaching vacancy,” said Jenkins. “It not only speaks volumes about how highly they think of me and my coaching philosophy, but also that of my coaching staff. After all, none of the success we’ve enjoyed over the last four years would be possible without a dedicated staff and great student-athletes. A year ago this time, Dr. Edison O. Jackson and Lynn Thompson showed their tremendous support not only of me, but towards my staff and family, when they extended my contract at Bethune-Cookman University. I said then that I had a goal to achieve. And since I’ve yet to achieve that goal, I stay firmly committed to believing B-CU is the place where that goal can be achieved in the future.

“Again, I want to thank Vivian Fuller and Jackson State for noticing what my staff and I have done here at B-CU, and believing it would take the JSU football program to even greater heights. I thank them for their consideration, but I thank B-CU even more for its love and support. We have a good nucleus of student-athletes coming back in 2014. Mixed with the strong recruiting class we’re expecting to sign next month, I believe we are poised to do something special for Wildcats Nation next season. And it’s something everyone should want to be a part of.”

SONY DSC

Jenkins tabbed MEAC Coach of the Year; 12 @BCUGridiron athletes earn All-MEAC honors

SONY DSCNorfolk, VA – Fourth-year head coach Brian Jenkins of Bethune-Cookman was selected for his third Coach of the Year honor.  Jenkins led the Wildcats to a 7-1 MEAC mark and a 10-2 overall record.  The Wildcats defeated Florida A&M, 29-10, to clinch a share of the conference’s regular season title and secure the MEAC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division I (FCS) Championships. The Wildcats are currently ranked 12th in both the Sports Network’s FCS and FCS Coaches Poll.  He has led Bethune-Cookman to three MEAC titles in four years and fell just one game shy of back-to-back undefeated MEAC finishes.

Howard quarterback Greg McGhee was selected as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) Offensive Player of the Year and Joe Thomas of South Carolina State earned the Defensive Player of the Year honors, as voted on by the MEAC’s head football coaches and sports information directors.

North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen earned the Rookie of the Year award and Tristan Bellamy, of S.C. State, was selected as Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Junior Greg McGhee led the MEAC in total offense (272.9 avg./g) and ranked second in passing yards per game (198.2 avg./g).  He completed 228 passes on 385 attempts (59%) with 16 touchdowns in 12 games this season. He also finished the season ranked third in the MEAC in rushing with 896 yards (74.7 avg./g), on 157 attempts, and three touchdowns.  McGhee ranks 19th in the nation in total offense and 31st in completions per game (19). He earned conference Offensive Player of the Week accolades twice this season. McGhee is the tenth Bison to earn the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year honor and first since Ted White in 1996.

Joe Thomas recorded 116 total tackles, 84 solo, with a conference-best 19 tackles for a loss during the 2013 campaign.  Thomas collected 7.5 sacks, sixth in the MEAC, with one interception, five breakups, five hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery to help the Bulldogs finish as the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense (80.5 avg./g) and No. 2 scoring defense (14.0 avg./g).  Thomas earned Defensive Player of the Week honors once this season and is currently listed on the Sports Network’s Buck Buchannan Award watch list, which recognizes the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) defensive player.  Thomas becomes the 13th Bulldog to earn the conference’s top defensive award, however he is only the second to have been selected in more than 10 years (David Erby 2010).

As a freshman, North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen led the MEAC in rushing, averaging 104.4 yards per game (,) on 195 attempts with eight touchdowns.  He earned the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week accolades three times and Rookie of the Week honors twice this season.  A native of Bunn, North Carolina, Cohen became the first freshman in North Carolina A&T State history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.  Cohen’s is currently listed on the Sports Network’s Jerry Rice Award watch list, which recognizes the nation’s top FCS freshman.  Cohen is just the second Aggie to be named Rookie of the Year.  He joins the school’s all-time rushing leader, Mike Mayhew, who earned the honor in 2009.

Tristan Bellamy aided a dominating Bulldog offense that accounted for 4,101 yards of total offense ,  including 2,000 yards on the ground.  Behind Bellamy’s blocking S.C. State finished second in the MEAC in scoring offense (29.6 ppg), and third in total offense (341.1 avg./g).  Bellamy earned the conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Week honor twice this season.  Bellamy is the sixth Bulldog to earn Offensive Lineman of the Year accolades.

South Carolina State led all schools with 13 student-athletes recognized on the three MEAC post-season teams.  The Bulldogs have five student-athletes earn first-team honors, in addition to two-of-four top awards.

Bethune-Cookman finished close behind with 12 student-athletes to earn postseason honors, in addition to five first-team selections.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) – 2013 Football All-Conference Teams

Offensive Player of the Year: Greg McGhee, Howard
Defensive Player of the Year: Joe Thomas, South Carolina State
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Tristan Bellamy, South Carolina State
Rookie of the Year: Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T
Coach of the Year: Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman

 First Team

Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
QB Greg McGhee Jr. Howard Pittsburgh, Pa.
RB Tarik Cohen Fr. North Carolina A&T Bunn, N.C.
RB Rolandan Finch Grad. Norfolk State New Albany, Ind.
WR Tyler McDonald Sr. South Carolina State Summerville, S.C.
WR Milton Williams III Jr. Delaware State Upper Marlboro, Md.
TE Joseph Hawkins r-Sr. Norfolk State Chicago, Ill.
C Andrew Edourad Jr. Bethune-Cookman Philadelphia, Pa.
OL Karim Barton Sr. Morgan State Los Angeles, Calif.
OL Alex Monroe Sr. Bethune-Cookman Jacksonville, Fla.
OL Domanic Wilson r-So. South Carolina State Lake City, S.C.
OL Rashard Brown Sr. Bethune-Cookman Kissimmee, Fla.
DEFENSE        
Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
DL Miles Groom So. Hampton Richmond, Va.
DL Andrew Carter r-Jr. South Carolina State Hamlet, N.C.
DL Alex Glover Jr. South Carolina State Charlotte, N.C.
DL Rodney Gunter Jr. Delaware State Haines, Fla.
LB Lynden Trail r-Jr. Norfolk State Miami, Fla.
LB Jarkevis Fields Sr. Bethune-Cookman Samford, Fla.
LB Joe Thomas r-Sr. South Carolina State Blackville, S.C.
DB Nick Addison Jr. Bethune-Cookman Tampa, Fla.
DB Darrin Marrow r-Jr. Norfolk State Virginia Beach, Va.
DB Justin Blake r-Sr. Hampton Piscataway, N.J.
DB Ademola Olatunji Jr. Howard Riverdale, Md.
P Lawrence Forbes r-Fr. Morgan State Upper Marlboro, Md.
PK Anthony Prevost Fr. Hampton Chesterfield, Va.
RS Adrian Wilkins r-So. North Carolina Central Forest City, N.C.

Second Team

Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
QB Cory Murphy Sr. Delaware State Sunnyvale, Calif.
RB Isidore Jackson Sr. Bethune-Cookman Mossy Head, Fla.
RB Anthony Philyaw Fr. Howard Redondo Beach, Calif.
WR Eddie Poole Grad. Bethune-Cookman Belle Glade, Fla.
WR Simon Heyward Sr. Savannah State Savannah, Ga.
TE Kris Drummond Jr. Savannah State Washington, D.C.
C Tristan Bellamy r-Sr. South Carolina State Johnston, S.C.
OL William Robinson r-Jr. North Carolina A&T Clinton, Md.
OL Nathan Isles Sr. North Carolina A&T Atlanta, Ga.
OL Darren Pinnock Jr. Morgan State Miami, Fla.
OL Kory Alpichi Jr. Hampton Winchester, Calif.
DEFENSE        
Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
DL Dyron Dye Grad. Bethune-Cookman Sanford, Fla.
DL Javon Hargrave So. South Carolina State Salisbury, N.C.
DL LeBrandon Richardson Jr. Bethune-Cookman Miami, Fla.
DL Deon King So. Norfolk State Reston, Va.
LB D’Vonte Grant Sr. North Carolina A&T Charlotte, N.C.
LB Delbert Tyler Sr. Hampton Monroeville, Pa.
LB Tazmon Foster Sr. North Carolina Central Henderson, N.C.
DB D’Vonte Graham Sr. North Carolina A&T Tallahassee, Fla.
DB Michael Jones Fr. North Carolina Central Baltimore, Md.
DB Kimario McFadden Sr. South Carolina State Riverdale, Ga.
DB Carvin Johnson Sr. Hampton New Orleans, La.
P Christian Faber-Kinney r-Fr. Hampton Williamsburg, Va.
PK Nick Belcher r-Sr. South Carolina State Sumter, S.C.
RS* Tubotein Taylor Sr. Morgan State Anaheim, Calif.
RS* D’Vonte Graham Sr. North Carolina A&T Tallahassee, Fla.

Third Team

Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
QB Richard Cue r-Sr. South Carolina State Florence, S.C.
RB Lamont Brown r-Fr. Morgan State Suffolk, Va.
RB Justin Taylor r-Sr. South Carolina State Atlanta, Ga.
WR Antwon Chisholm Sr. Hampton Belle Glade, Fla.
WR* Lenworth Lennon r-Jr. Florida A&M Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
WR* Malik Golson r-Fr. Delaware State Smyrna, Del.
TE Termarrick Hemingway r-So. South Carolina State Loris, S.C.
C Joshua Matthews Sr. Howard Bowman, S.C.
OL Toree Boyd Fr. Howard Miami, Fla.
OL Deonta Allen-Wright r-So. Howard Midolthian, Va.
OL Blake Matthews r-Sr. Norfolk State Manassas, Va.
OL Anthony Kibler Jr. Bethune-Cookman Belle Glade, Fla.
DEFENSE        
Pos. Name Cl. School Hometown
DL Tyree Hearn Sr. North Carolina A&T Durham, N.C.
DL Damon Gresham Chisholm So. Howard Covington, Ga.
DL George Riddick Jr. Norfolk State Suffolk, Va.
DL Tevin Toney Sr. Bethune-Cookman Sebring, Fla.
LB Marquis Smith So. Savannah State Prince Georges County, Md.
LB Cody Acker Jr. Morgan State Greenbelt, Md.
LB Ernest Adjei Sr. Delaware State Woodbridge, Ga.
DB Terrick Colston So. Delaware State Lakeland, Fla.
DB Travis Crosby Sr. North Carolina A&T Charlotte, N.C.
DB John Wilson Sr. Savannah State Athens, Ga.
DB* Tim Burke Sr. Bethune-Cookman Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
DB* Patrick Aiken r-So. Florida A&M Miramar, Fla.
P Oleg Parent Jr. North Carolina Central Lake Forest, Calif.
PK Cody Jones Fr. North Carolina A&T Gastonia, N.C.
RS Darius Drummond Sr. South Carolina State Asheville, N.C.

*indicates tie

HBCU coaches band of brothers during playoffs

4ed7d1777c6c7a954efb78bfc19f953cBradford Gillens | Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Examiner|

When the 2013 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff pairings were announced last Sunday on ESPNU, of the 24 teams selected, three of them (Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina State, Tennessee State) were from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It was the first time three HBCU’s had been selected for the postseason since 1999 (FAMU, Hampton, Tenn. State).  Bethune-Cookman won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s automatic berth, while South Carolina State (MEAC) and Tennessee State (Ohio Valley) were selected as at-large participants.

During the regular season, those teams forge some of the most intense rivalries in FCS football but once the playoffs begin, it’s not uncommon to hear coaches from opposing teams rooting for their HBCU brethren to do well in the tournament.

For head coach Brian Jenkins of Bethune-Cookman, he was extremely excited to see all three schools make the field of 24.

“I think it would speak volumes about the direction of where HBCU football is headed, Jenkins said. We play football just like every other school and because of our establishment I don’t think that should be taken into any type of consideration when you look at the brand of football.”

Read on: http://www.examiner.com/article/hbcu-coaches-band-of-brothers-during-playoffs?CID=examiner_alerts_article

Memorable Florida Classic Moments

KJ Stroud ClassicThe 34th installment of the Florida Blue Florida Classic between in-state rivals Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M is upon us. The contest has grown into one of the premier HBCU showcases attracting over one and half million fans since its inception in 1978. The two teams have combined for twelve (12) conference titles during that same timeframe and have created many memorable moments in this annual showdown.

Players and coaches from both teams will look to create their own signature Florida Classic moment when the two teams square off Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Citrus Bowl.

Here is a look back at some of the more memorable games played in Florida Classic history.

Memorable Florida Classic Moments

1978 – Florida A&M trailed BCU 17-0 at halftime in the first ever Florida Classic played in Tampa Stadium. The Rattlers scored 27 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 27-17 victory. Rudy Hubbard’s squad went on to win the first 1-AA (now FCS) National Championship later that season. A year later (1979) BCU won their first Florida Classic 25-20.

1994 – BCU QB Tony Kerrin connected with Morris Nobles on a 2 yard TD reception in the corner of the endzone to give the Wildcats a 27-24 lead with :47 remaining in the contest. BCU went on to win by the same margin and Coach Cy McClairen earned his first victory over the Rattlers as a head coach.

2003 – Daytona Beach native and current Chicago Bear, Eric Weems, scored 3 touchdowns and helped the Wildcats rally from a 28-10 halftime deficit. The final touchdown was set up by a fake punt attempt on 4th and 17 with less than 2:00 remaining in the contest. A FAMU player was flagged for pass interference on the fake punt and BCU was awarded an automatic first down.

Later in the drive quarterback Allen Suber avoided a sack, rolled to his right, and hit Weems who beat triple coverage just beyond the pylon with 9 seconds remaining in the game. BCU prevailed 39-35 in front of the largest crowd (73,358) in Florida Classic history.

2004 – Florida Classic fans were treated to the first overtime in the history of the series. The Wildcats eventually prevailed 58-52.

FAMU’s Ben Dougherty (QB) and Roosevelt Kiser (WR) had career days in that contest. Midway through the third quarter, Dougherty connected with Kiser on a 66 yard TD reception and extended FAMU’s lead to 45-24.

Head coach Alvin Wyatt then made the decision to move eventual three-time All-Pro defensive back Nick Collins from safety to cornerback with the assignment of blanketing Kiser. The move proved to be very effective for the maroon and gold. The FAMU passing game was severely limited as a result of the coaching decision and the Wildcats outscored FAMU 34-7 from that point forward. Rodney Johnson’s 15 yard touchdown run in overtime sealed the victory for BCU.

Coach Wyatt, who was overcome with emotion after the win, fainted and had to be carted off the field by medical personnel. Wyatt was eventually treated for dehydration but was no worse for the wear.

Not only was the 2004 victory the first overtime fame in Florida Classic history, it was also the first time that BCU won three consecutive victories over the FAMU.

2005 – Like the year prior, this game was also decided in overtime; only this time FAMU would emerge as the victor. The Rattlers entered the contest as underdogs and quickly fell behind to the Wildcats 17-0. But A&M slowly climbed back into the contest and forced the game into overtime on the strength of a Wesley Taylor 43-yard field goal with less than 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Taylor’s 26-yarder in overtime vaulted the Rattlers to a 26-23 win.

2010 – BCU entered the 2010 FC (Brian Jenkins’ first year) with an unblemished 10-0 record. However, a 3rd quarter injury to eventual MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Matt Johnson, derailed BCU’s high-octane “Speedway Offense.” FAMU capitalized on the opportunity and secured a 38-27 win in one of the biggest upsets in FC history. Phillip Sylvester scored 3 times for the Rattlers and rushed for 146 yards on 26 carries in the process.

Repost of “THE BELT”

The beltAt the conclusion of the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and very conspicuously wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt that was large enough and elaborate enough to make Hulk Hogan envy.

Some fifteen (15) or so minutes after first being spotted with his new ornate accessory, coach Jenkins met with members of the media for his normal postgame recap.  There it was again; this time prominently displayed on the conference room table almost touching the fiery coach’s left elbow.  There was no attempt at modesty.  No attempt to conceal it.  It was as if coach Jenkins was silently screaming for someone to ask about THE BELT…and so I did.

The third year coach rather foxily revealed that THE BELT was an inside thing between him and his team.  “I have been telling (our football team) about the belt.  You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end” Jenkins exclaimed.

At this past Saturday’s 2012 Championship Team Banquet inside the North Tower Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel located directly on Daytona Beach, coach Jenkins revealed to the 350 Wildcat supporters in attendance the inside story behind THE BELT.

The story goes as follows:

Shortly after being named as the fifteenth (15) head football coach at Bethune-Cookman, Brian Jenkins had a chance encounter with a Florida A&M football fan.  The FAMU fan approached the newly appointed coach and said let me show you something.  He reached into his back pocket and unfolded a piece of paper.  Listed on the paper were the results of all of the Florida Classics including the previous two (2); both of which FAMU won. 

The FAMU fan was undoubtedly sending a clear message to the precocious new coach of what he should expect when facing the mighty Rattlers.

As fate would have it, coach Jenkins bumped into the same Rattler fan nearly a year later.  The FAMU fan, feeling emboldened by his Rattlers’ upset victor over the Wildcats in the 2010 Florida Classic, even more vigorously than the year before flagged down coach Jenkins and again pulled out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket.  It was an up-to-date history of the Florida Classic results.  The FAMU fan proudly and boastfully pointed to his team’s upset win in 2010.  It was shortly after that encounter that the idea of THE BELT was conceived in Brian Jenkins’ mind.  Jenkins decided if his team could win the MEAC crown and win the Florida Classic, he would supply every graduating senior with his very own Championship Belt.

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

What better way to memorialize the hardwork, sacrifice, and dedication that’s required to become MEAC and Florida Classic champs than to provide the senior class with Championship Belts.  And besides, a Heavyweight caliber Championship Belt trumps a folded piece of paper any day.

Coach Jenkins’ statement to the media after the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic now makes so much more sense: “…in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt.”

THE BELT is brilliant in everything that it represents.  It is the proverbial gauntlet slap in the face, a one-upper, a ‘step ya game up’ if you will.  It is a unique memento, it epitomizes excellence, symbolizes hardwork and sacrifice, and it is meant to draw a line in the sand.  If you want THE BELT, come and take it.  If you want to keep THE BELT, then be prepared to defend it.  So keep your folded piece of paper and I will raise you a Championship Belt.

Interestingly, coach Jenkins stated that the last time he spotted the FAMU fan who flagged him down and showed off his folded piece of paper was shortly after the 2010 season.  Coincidence? Maybe but not likely!

A source within the BCU Athletic department could not confirm whether THE BELT is a one year phenomenon or a new tradition for each senior class who wins both a MEAC and Florida Classic championship in the same season.  Personally, I hope this becomes a new tradition.  A new goal of sorts for each class of seniors.  I think coach Jenkins said it best: “in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt”.

Congratulations to all the guys who earned the right to wear THE BELT!!!