Who are We???

True story folks.

Before my cousin and I headed off to college, our uncles decided to loan us their extra wheels for the summer so we could handle all of our post high school shenanigans. So we alternated between driving one uncle’s white 1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray and another uncle’s almost doo-doo brown 1976 Plymouth Valiant.

Yes the Stingray was as awesome as it sounds. 427 cubic inches of aggressive, opulent, spectacular American Muscle.

Also yes, the Plymouth was a hooptie. We affectionately named the Plymouth “sadadat” based on the sound she made when we drove her.

“Sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”….. you could hear us coming from 3 blocks away.

It was actually my homeboy Johnny Torrence, currently the proprietor of Torrence Lifestyles, who came up with that name but I digress.

Both vehicles got us to and from beachside parties, girlfriends homes, work…you name it. But getting there in the Plymouth was nothing like arriving in the ‘vette. What the Stingray was in feisty excitement, sadadat was in humdrum pragmatism.

I have spent all summer trying to figure out if the 2018 rendition of @BCUGridiron will be more like the ‘vette or the Plymouth I use to drive. Excitement or humdrum? The truth is I have no idea.

Every time I try to make myself believe the Cats are poised to make a run, I start to hear “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat” playing in my head.

I wish I could go on a Denny Green tirad and shout “the Wildcats are who we thought they were” but I have no idea who the Wildcats are.

I have even robbed myself of my late summer hobby of spending hours envisioning all of the reasons why our beloved Bethune-Cookman Wildcats will finish the season atop the MEAC and HBCU football standings.

But nope! That has not yet happen this season.

No wishing the Aggies, Rattlers, Bulldogs and Eagles fans bad luck this season for having the audacity of thinking they will somehow win against the Mighty Fighting Wildcats. My posts on MEACFanZone haven’t been filled with passive aggressive jabs about “the little church school”striving hard to prove everyone wrong.

It hasn’t happen. None of it. Instead I am just sort of preparing to ride out the 2018 football season in the passenger seat of the Plymouth…but I have my racing gloves and shades in hand just in case in I need to jump in the ‘vette too.

Terry Sims took over as the head honcho in Daytona Beach in 2015. The Wildcats finished 9-2 that season, 4-6 the next and 7-4 last season under Sims’ direction. For those keeping score at home, Sims’ teams have swapped between good, bad and average like my cousin and I swapped vehicles. BCU’s 20-12 (.600) record in the Sims era averages out to about 7 wins and 4 defeats a season.

Bethune won 7 of its 9 matchups against FCS teams last year. That is good. 8 of those 9 games were 1 possession games entering the final 2 minutes of the contests including against bad 3 win teams like South Carolina State, Savannah State and FAMU. That is not good.

Sure you will take a win any way you can get it but what if the Wildcats don’t convert a Hail Mary against NCCU as time expires this season? What if the Cats don’t block a SCSU field goal as time whines down? What if the FAMU punter doesn’t foolishly attempt a fake punt with his team leading and possessing all of the momentum in the second half? (That last question was fully intended to frustrate Rattler fans btw.)

If BCU plays the same way they have the past two seasons, there is equal chance of the ball bouncing for or against them.

The prayer of the Wildcat faithful is that Coach Sims and company will calibrate things just right, have this team firing on all cylinders and find themselves putting games away early and not allowing contests to hang in the balance.

Of course other teams will have something to say about that but the Road to Atlanta and the Celebration Bowl is more easily navigated this year than in years past.

The two North Carolina schools are the only schools to have represented the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl. However, both schools find themselves in a state of major transition with head coach Rod Broadway retiring at NCA&T and NC Central losing their head coach Jerry Mack to FBS Rice.

BCU’s roster is talented enough to rise to the top of the leaderboard in conference but if they are to do so, they will have to improve on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats finished last season ranked in the middle of the pack on both offense (6th) and defense (5th).

Sims described his defense as bend but don’t break last year. With running starters like Elliot Miller (DB), Trenton Bridges (LB), Devin James (LB) and Todney Evans (DL), the Wildcats should have plenty enough on defensive side of the ball to exert their will and return to the dominant, hard hitting, fast paced unit they are traditionally known as being.

The D will have to lead the way early in the season while Arkevious Williams acclimates to being the new starting QB. Offensive coordinator Allen Suber will also have to look for ways to prepare a bevy of new receivers to make up for the losses of Jawill Davis and Frank Brown.

“Vroom, vroom” or “sa-da-dat?

I am still unsure which one we will see in 2018. What I do know is we are just two weeks away from finding out when the Cats travel to Nashville on September 1st at 7:00pm to take on Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic.

HailWildcats.com will be there to bring you a fan’s perspective of all the action. You are cordially invited to travel with us to Nashville and all road games as we support our boys in their quest to make it to the Celebration Bowl. Click here for fan bus details: https://hailwildcats.com/ontheprowl/.

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Week Two All HAILS…..

 

As we prepare to look ahead at Bethune-Cookman’s Week 3 matchup with FBS opponent Florida Atlantic, let’s first reflect back on a few things that deserve an “All Hail” from the Wildcats’ impressive road win over Southland Conference foe Southeastern Louisiana.

ALL HAIL Larry Brihm and the passing offense! Brihm finished the evening 25/39 for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Brihm also added a 1 yard rushing score which proved to be the game winner with 6:04 remaining in the 4th. The performance was good enough to earn the senior quarterback MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. Senior wide out Jawill Davis and junior Keavon Mitchell both eclipsed the 100 yard receiving mark. Davis registered 7 receptions for 138 yards and 1 TD while Mitchell recorded 6 grabs for 125 including a 47 yarder on the Wildcats opening drive which set up a Brihm to Anthony Cruz 11 yard hook up for the game’s first score.

 

ALL HAIL the BCU secondary. Trevor Merritt, Diquan Richardson and Elliott Miller reinforced their “no fly zone” moniker by each picking off a pass in Saturday’s contest. The BCU secondary locked down the SLU receivers and permitted a pedestrian 93 passing yards on the evening.

 

Defense….Defense- It wasn’t just the secondary who impressed on the defensive side of the ball. The entire squad deserves an ALL HAIL Salute! The Wildcat D only surrendered one touchdown on the evening. The other SLU TD came on a 92 yard kickoff return (#fixthat). Yogi Jones unit came up with several huge stops including the 3 picks by Merritt, Richardson and Miller and by limiting the Lions to a field goal after turning the ball over on its own 9 yard line. The biggest defensive stand came in the final minutes of the contest when the Wildcat D kept the Lions out of the endzone with 1:27 remaining and preserved a 28-23 win. Familiarize yourself with the name Uriah Gilbert. The 6’3”, 325 pound freshman, hailing from Ocala’s Trinity Catholic High School, helped control Southeastern’s inside rushing attack. Gilbert finished the contest with 7 tackles (including 1 for a loss). Gilbert has a lot of the same qualities as did former Wildcat DT Demarcus Womack. Linebacker Alexander Morales paced BCU with 9 tackles.

 

ALL HAIL the Southeastern Louisiana fan base. Well, almost all of the fan base. There was that one shirtless dude walking around on the visitor’s side showing his drawers and picking fights but he was the outlier. The other SLU fans were amazing. There must have been a dozen SLU fans who congratulated me on the win after the contest. They were extremely complimentary of the guys in maroon and gold and they expressed genuine concerned about the looming arrival of Hurricane Irma in Florida. The Lion fan base wished us well in weathering the storm and in the remaining contests this season. #SouthernHospitality

Speaking of Southern Hospitality. Big ups…check that…ALL HAIL Southern University for allowing Terry Sims and his squad to use their facilities this week because of travel delays associated with Hurricane Irma. Thanks for the HBCU love and hospitality.

 

No ALL HAILS to the three turnovers committed by the offense or the 14 penalties for 132 yards collected by the squad. If the Wildcats can address the turnover and penalty issues adequately, an upset win over next week’s FBS opponent FAU is not out of the question. The contest gets underway at 6:30pm at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. You can join us in  supporting the Fighting Wildcats by hopping on the HailWildcats.com Fan Bus. Click here for more details.

Wildcats Weather Storm to Beat SELA 28-23


The Bethune-Cookman football team stepped into Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, Louisiana with their hearts filled with the looming threat of Hurricane Irma bearing down on their loved ones back home in Florida. By night’s end, BCU weathered a different kind of storm overcoming 3 turnovers, a rash of penalties and a 4th quarter deficit to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 28-23.

Larry Brihm’s 1 yard TD plunge with 6:04 remaining in the contest capped an 11 play, 72 yard scoring drive and secured the win for the good guys. Brihm finished the contest with 354 yards passing, 2 touchdowns through the air and 1 rushing TD.

The Wildcats marched 78 yards on their opening drive and scored the game’s first points when WR Anthony Cruz caught an 11 yard TD pass from Brihm.

SELA cut the lead to 7-3 courtesy of a Dillion Burkhard 32 yard field goal but the Wildcats answered with another long first quarter scoring drive; this on covering 88 yards in 9 plays and ending with a 4 yard Michael Jones TD run. Unfortunately for BCU, they wouldn’t score again until trailing 16-14 in the 4th quarter.

Untimely penalties and turnovers almost foiled BCU’s bid to defeat a quality out of conference foe on the road. A quick peek at the box score reveals the Wildcats loss 2 fumbles, threw 1 interception and were flagged 14 times for 132 yards. As good as Brihm performed with his arm, he was also responsible for all three of BCU’s turnovers. These types of miscues can be calamitous but the Brihm and the Wildcats were able to overcome them.

The Beach Cats racked up 482 yards of total offense (354 passing, 128 rushing) while holding SELA to just 291 yards of total offense. Jawill Davis and Keavon Mitchell finished the afternoon with 138 and 125 yards receiving respectively. Michael Jones pitched in with 122 yards of offense (95 on the ground and 27 receiving). Davis also hauled in a 2 yard touchdown reception with 11:00 remaining in the 4th. The TD grab resulted in BCU’s first points of the second half and pushed the Cats back ahead 21-16.

Defensive backs Trevor Merritt, Diquan Ricardson and Elliott Miller all snagged interceptions in the contest. Miller’s was the most spectacular of the bunch. He ran stride for stride with the SELA receiver before laying out and securing the pick with a one hand snatch. #GiveMeThat

The defense held SELA to under 100 yards passing but the biggest defensive sequence of the night came on the final stand in the game’s closing minutes. SELA, trailing 28-23, drove the ball to the BCU 47 yard line late in the 4th. The Wildcat D stopped SELA on downs with under 3 minutes remaining but a bogus defensive pass interference call gave the Lions new life and placed the ball at the BCU 35 yard line. Thankfully that was as far as the Lions would get as the Cats held and forced a turnover on downs, this time a legitimate stand. The offensive unit was able to run out the clock and secure Bethune’s first victory of the season.

Bethune travel to South Florida next week to take on FAU. As always, HailWildcats will be there bringing you the sights and sounds.

2016 Season Preview ~ Meet the Squad

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.

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (175)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.

Offense

Phillip Norman

Phillip Norman

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.

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (426)

WR- Frank Brown vs NSU 2015

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.

Defense

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.

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (414)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.

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (488)

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.

LeBranden Richardson eager to face old UCF teamates

1 LeBrandon Richardson

LeBrandon Richardson #50

DAYTONA BEACH — When Bethune-Cookman’s LeBranden Richardson takes the field at Bright House Networks Stadium Saturday, he should feel right at home.

As a former UCF player, Richardson is quite familiar with the surroundings of the Knights home turf, but this time the confines won’t be so friendly. Nonetheless, he’s looking forward to seeing some of his old friends.

“It’s going to be exciting … I love that Bright House stadium. It will be like a homecoming, bringing back some old memories. I made my first collegiate sack at that stadium,” said Richardson, now a senior defensive end at B-CU. “I won’t be nervous. I will just like any other game, but I will get that feeling once I get out there, I suppose. I’m excited for it.”

Some of his former teammates are gone and so is his old position coach Jim Panagos, now the defensive line coach at Rutgers, but the Knights’ roster still features some of his closest friends, including UCF receiver Josh Reese.

Continue… http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/os-ucf-bethune-cookman-lebranden-richardson-0918-20140917-story.html# .

Q&A with Coastal Carolina Blog/Fan Forum: CoastalFans.com

6935005So we caught up with Randy from the CoastalFans.com blog/forum for a Q&A session on this weekend’s 1st round matchup between Bethune-Cookman and Coastal Carolina.   A big thank you to Chanticleer super-fan Randy for his time and effort.

Q1) After securing the first playoff win in school history a season ago, how have expectations changed this season for Coastal Carolina? Would Chanticleer fans consider this year a disappointment if CCU did not win a playoff game?

A: Expectations were hopeful after last season, with many fans predicting CCU would finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-3 heading into the postseason. I don’t think it would be fair to the hard work & effort our players have put in this year to brand their entire season – a 10-2 effort which has set a ton of all-time program records – as a “disappointment” just because of one loss.

Q2) Head Coach Joe Moglia has hit the ground rolling in Conway leading CCU to back to back Big South titles and playoff appearances in his first two seasons. What has made Coach Moglia so successful so quickly? Is he not long for the office in Conway or do you expect him to stick around with the hopes of building CCU into a FCS powerhouse?

A: Coach Moglia has consistently said that it would take a “dream job”-type scenario to pull him away from Conway. Specifically, he says it would have to be a job where both CCU’s AD & President tell him that he has to take it. Moglia’s not going anywhere for the likes of Toledo, Buffalo or UConn. He will be here for the foreseeable future unless that “dream job” comes along. Personally, I’m more worried about us retaining OC Dave Patenaude if our offense continues to put up the numbers it has been putting up since he came on board.

Q3) Any concerns about the mood/health of the team after losing to SEC power South Carolina 70-10 in your last outing and 2 of the last 3 games overall?

A: There is absolutely no concern about the team’s health after playing South Carolina. We came out of that game with no new injuries to any of our players. As far as the “mood” of the team, I don’t think losing a game to a top-10 FBS team is really cause for much concern. Besides – if I recall correctly, Bethune-Cookman got blown out by ACC powerhouse Florida State by a score of 54-6 & went on to win their next five games by an average margin of 19.4 points.

The loss to CSU, a five point loss on the road against a top-20 FCS school, did indeed sting. But I think it refocused our players on their ultimate goal, which is to still be playing football in January.

Q4) Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is a Walter Payton Award Finalist, linebacker Quinn Backus is a Buck Buchanan Finalist, Matt Hazel has had a stellar career there, but who are some of the lesser known guys who have made significant contributions this season?

A: Other players to look out for include RB DeAngelo “Hop” Henderson, WR DeMario Bennett and KR Devin Brown. Hop has consistently shown himself to be our future starter at RB, rushing for 536 yds on the season. Bennet, a Senior transfer from South Carolina, has been our #2 receiver all year and is just as dangerous as Hazel. Brown, a RS Freshman, has been explosive on special teams for us this year. Brown set a program record with a 95 yd kickoff return for a touchdown against VMI.

Q5) Prediction on Saturday’s 1st round contest?

A: Bethune-Cookman is certainly no pushover, with one of the top defenses in the FCS. However, CCU has already squared off against several of the top-10 defenses at our level & done very well. We are winning games by an average of 22.6 PPG, and while BCU is only giving up an average of 12 PPG against FCS competition – I don’t think they’ve faced an offense quite like ours this season.

The Wildcats also consistently hurt themselves with penalties, having been flagged a total of 115 times for 944 penalty yards on the season. While the “energetic” coaching style of Brian Jenkins may indeed inspire his players, it unfortunately causes his team to make too many mistakes on which I think the Chanticleers will capitalize.

I do expect this to be a hard-fought game, and I do expect BCU to come out with a chip on their shoulder as they seem to feel they need to avenge their loss to the Chanticleers in last year’s FCS playoffs. The Wildcats obviously have a stellar defense, and it will be interesting to see how they contain RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (who has only lost 11 yards all season) and how they respond to our threats at WR. All that said – I think the Chants take this contest at home, 31-20.

 

BCU draws Coastal Carolina for 2nd straight year in FCS Playoffs 1st Round

SONY DSCFor the second consecutive year, Bethune-Cookman (10-2) and Coastal Carolina (10-2) will square off in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

The Wildcats, who fell to the Chanticleers 24-14 in Daytona Beach last season, will travel to Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C. for a 1:00 kickoff according to www.ncaa.com.

The BCU/CCU winner will travel cross-country for a matchup with Montana who received a first-round bye and the tournaments 8th seed.

Bethune-Cookman defeated their in-state rival Florida A&M 29-10 in this past Saturday’s Florida Blue Florida Classic.  The 45,321 fans in attendance watched the Wildcat defense dominate the FAMU offense limiting the Rattlers to just 89 yards of total offense on the afternoon.

BCU is one of three HBCU teams headed to the FCS playoffs this season.  MEAC Co-Champion, South Carolina State (9-3), and Ohio Valley 2nd place finisher, Tennessee State (9-3), join the Wildcats in the field of twenty-four.

South Carolina State will host their first ever FCS playoff game in a matchup against fellow Palmetto State foe Furman of the Southern Conference while Tennessee State will hit the road for a matchup against Butler (9-3) of the Pioneer League.

The Wildcats own victories over both SCSU and Tenn State this season.  All three games involving HBCU squads kickoff on Saturday at 1:00 EST and can be seen on ESPN3.

Final Florida Classic Rant

Undisputed and outright champs

At the conclusion of this past Saturday’s Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt around his waist.  Yeah you heard me, coach Jenkins was rocking a Championship belt around his waist that Dusty Rhodes would have been proud to don. 

“I have been telling (our football team) about the belt.  You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end.  Right now this phase of our season is done.  We have won this belt and hopefully we can put things together and be able to put on another (belt)” coach Jenkins stated.

 Look Good Play Good

BCU White Helmet

The Bethune-Cookman football team wore all white uniforms (helmets included) for the first time in school history on Saturday.  The new white headgear is the fourth helmet the Wildcats have competed in during the Brian Jenkins era.  When asked about the abundance of helmets and uniform combinations, coach Jenkins stated: “the young men deserve it.  We are so hard on our young men throughout the year about doing things right.  I believe in rewarding them for the effort that they put in for this university.  So it’s things like that I do to show them appreciation for their effort, dedication, commitment and passion to each other, for each other, and also for this university”.

He went on to state: “the guys did not know when the white helmets were coming.  When they came into the locker room before the game, they saw the maroon helmets.  They put them on (and went out for pregame).  When they came back in (the locker room) they saw the white helmets.  The helmets gave our guys a charge and some excitement to our fans”.  “I don’t know you might see a different helmet next week” (in the playoff matchup).

BCU is 4-0 in helmet reveal games during the Brian Jenkins era.

Eddie Robinson Award Finalist

Coach Brian Jenkins, who has led his Bethune-Cookman Wildcats to their second FCS playoff appearance in three years, has been named a 2012 Eddie Robinson Award Finalist.  The award is presented annually to the national coach of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) by The Sports Network.

“Obviously, this is an extreme honor to be named a finalist for an award of this magnitude,” expressed Brian Jenkins on Monday afternoon. “This award not only shows the hard work of a head coach, his staff and players throughout the year, but also the hard work and dedication of a man for whom the award is named. “Not only was Eddie Robinson an inspiration to me, but he paved the way for African-American coaches like myself and many more to reach new heights in the college football coaching ranks. Again, it’s such an honor to be named a finalist for this award.”

Coach Jenkins led BCU to their first ever 10-0 start when he arrived on campus in 2010.  Saturday’s win earned the Wildcats their first ever 8-0 season in league play.     

The Wildcats, who earned the league’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, will host Big South champion Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m.  Tickets can be purchsed from the Bethune-Cookman Box Office or from Ticketmaster.com.

5 Questions heading into Bethune-Cookman football camp

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.