#18 Wildcats bounce back with 42-12 drubbing of Hampton

Dion Hanks

Dion Hanks

A week after losing its first MEAC contest in over two seasons, 18th ranked Bethune-Cookman bounced back in impressive fashion thrashing the Hampton Pirates 42-12  on Senior Day in Daytona Beach.

The Wildcats racked up 557 yards of total offense including 475 rushing yards in the contest.

BCU opened the game’s scoring on an 11 play, 87 yard touchdown drive on its second possession of the contest. The Wildcats ran the ball 10 straight times on the drive with the only pass attempt resulting in a 6 yard touchdown reception from Jackie Wilson to Cary White.

The Wildcats doubled their lead on their next possession but needed just 4 plays this time to hit pay dirt.  Isidore Jackson, who finished the contest with 102 yards rushing on 9 attempts, scampered down the right sideline for 53 yards to set the Cats up with 1st and goal at the 6.  Two plays later, Wilson twisted his way into the endzone on a quarterback keeper.

“We came out focused and ready to play” coach Brian Jenkins stated after the contest.  “We are a good football team.  A lot of people doubted us after last week and that’s okay.”  “We had a talk as a team.  There was no panic; it was just (about) cleaning up our act and we did that.  The approach we took is we’re not going to let it go to the score cards.”

Anthony Prevost successfully converted a 34 yard field goal to give Hampton their only points of the first half.   But the Wildcats would respond immediately needing to travel just 15 yards for their third touchdown of the half. Darian Baker took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the Hampton 15 yard line.  3 plays later,  Quentin Williams finished the drive on a 1 yard option keeper.

Brodrick Waters scored on a 2 point conversion attempt and put BCU ahead 22-3 at the half.

Hampton had several chances to get back into the contest early in the 3rd but the Wildcat’s tenacious defense kept the Pirates at bay.  After HU trimmed the lead to 22-6, the BCU offense fumbled on its first two possessions of the 3rd quarter but the defense held firm and prevented the Pirates from capitalizing on either of the turnovers holding them to a missed FG attempt and stopping them on a 4th and 1 respectively.

Freshman running back Michael Jones pushed the BCU lead to 28-6 midway through the 3rd quarter on a nifty 30 yard run.  Jones made a couple of HU defenders miss and outran a few others on his way to the endzone.  “I stretched the play to the right, the defense was over-pursuing, I found a cutback lane and hit it” Jones remarked  in the postgame presser.

Quentin Williams and Drexler Dixon added rushing touchdowns in the 4th quarter for the Wildcats while the Pirates’ Marcus Hampton recorded HU’s only touchdown of the game in the final frame.

“It was good to end my last regular season home game with a (convincing) win ” senior defensive end Tevin Toney stated.  He went on to state, “it goes to show you that the hard work that we put in pays off in games.”

Toney and his defensive mates forced 2 Hampton interceptions and limited the Pirate offense to just 216 yards.

BCU takes on archrival Florida A&M next week in the Florida Blue Florida Classic in Orlando.  A Florida Classic win would grant the Wildcats at least a share of the MEAC crown for the third time in four years.  A win would also secure BCU’s 3rd trip to the playoffs in 4 years as the Cats would be awarded the conference’s automatic bid.

Miscues doom Wildcats in 24-27 loss to Norfolk State

IMG_1039One word summarizes Bethune-Cookman’s 24-27 loss to Norfolk State on Saturday; MISCUES!

The Wildcats got off to an uninspiring start and committed 5 turnovers (including 4 in the first half) in Saturday’s defeat.  On the other side of the ball, Norfolk State started the game redhot and scored on its first 3 possessions.

The Spartans took the game’s opening possession 81 yards on 10 plays and scored on a 2 yard touchdown run by Rolandan Finch early in the 1st quarter.  After a BCU three-and-out, the Spartans stretched their lead to 10-0 on a 43 yard Cameron Marouf field goal.

Bethune-Cookman’s offense showed some life on its second possession and easily sliced through the NSU defense needing only 2:48 to travel 72 yards to cut into the Spartan lead.  Isidore Jackson scored on a 35 yard touchdown run up the right sideline after receiving an option pitch from quarterback Quentin Williams to reduce the deficit to 10-7.  Jackson’s TD run pushes him to 3rd on BCU’s  all-time rushing TD list

NSU’s offense seemed to stall inside the BCU redzone on the ensuing possession; however, 2 redzone penalties on 3 down extended the Spartan drive.  Senior defensive end, Dyron Dye, was flagged for a roughing the passer call after the Wildcats stopped NSU on 3rd and 4 from the 12.  3 plays later Tim Burke was flagged for defensive pass interference after what would have been a 3rd and goal stop from the 5.

The drive finally ended with a 2 yard TD pass from Tyler Clark to University of Florida transfer and Miami native Lynden Trail.

Trail made his second impact play of the evening 3 plays later but this time while playing defense.  The All-MEAC performer forced a fumble on an option pitch.  Natturner Harris scooped the deflected pitch up and raced 31 yards to put ahead NSU 24-7 halfway through the 2nd quarter.

Trails was all smiles after the game.  “We felt like they (BCU) kind of overlooked us and we felt disrespected.  They were probably thinking about next week’s game or maybe even the playoffs.  But we came in here tonight, got the victory, and proved that we are a good football team.”

“It’s a blessing that this game is on our schedule.  My mother is here watching.  I am 6 foot 7; I weigh 260 pounds but I am still my mother’s baby.  She doesn’t like the contact part of the game because I am her baby but I am sure that she appreciated the touchdown.”

“I don’t even know how many family and friends I had here tonight watching (me) but it was a lot.  I am just so proud of my teammates and my coaches.  They (the coaches) gave us a good gameplan and we executed.”

While NSU’s offensivie execution may have been crisp in the opening half, BCU’s execution was anything but.  The Wildcats turned the ball over on four of six first half possessions.

The Wildcats were able to put together a feverish fourth quarter rally but the comeback attempt fell just short.  Nick Addison made what would have been the play of the game had the outcome turned out differently when he stopped Derrick Demps just shy of the first down marker, wrestled the ball away, and scampered 14 yards to make it a two possession game (27-13).

The Wildcats took over their next possession at the NSU 44 yard line.  4 plays later the Cats had it 1st and goal from the 1 but an illegal procedure penalty negated a touchdown and backed the Cats up to the 6.  BCU was unable to punch it in on that drive and instead settled for a 23 yard Jonathan Cagle field goal to make it 27-16.

After forcing a NSU punt, Jontavious Carter hauled in a 61 yard pass from Jackie Wilson and Isidore Jackson’s 11 yard TD run capped a 2 play 72 yard scoring drive that took only 31 seconds on BCU’s ensuing possession.  Brodrick Waters hit Justin Henderson on a short pass to complete the 2 point conversion attempt and cut the lead to 27-24.

BCU’s defense held the Spartans to what would have been a 3 and out and the Cats were set to take over possession at the NSU 44 yardline trailing 27-24 with over 3 minutes remaining and all the momentum.  However, the Wildcats’ special teams unit was flagged 15 yards for a bizarre “snapper interference” call.

Norfolk State was able to essentially run out the clock after that call.

The Wildcats ended the contest with a dismal 15 penalties for 138 yards.

Jarkevis Fields registered 21 tackles while LeBrandon Richardson pitched in 15 of his own.

Norfolk State’s victory was the first for the Spartans in Daytona in 10 tries.





Wildcats shake off lackluster start; defeat DSU 21-7

New look helmetsDover- #21 Bethune-Cookman (4-1, 10) shook off a lackluster first half of football and used a balanced offensive attack and 3 defensive interceptions to secure a 21-7 win over Delaware State (1-4, 1-1) in Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Delaware State opened the game’s scoring when Cory Murphy hooked up with Malik Golson for a 7 yard touchdown pass midway through the 1st quarter.

The Wildcats tied the game at 7 on a 3 yard touchdown run by Anthony Jordan.  The 10 play, 75 yard scoring drive was aided by a 30 yard Jackie Wilson to Eddie Poole strike and an Isidore Jackson 4th down conversion on 4th and 4 from the DSU 24.

BCU took the lead for good midway through the 3rd when quarterback Quentin Williams kept the ball on an option read and raced 31 yards off tackle for the score.

Poole hauled in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Williams with 4:40 remaining to seal the contest 21-7 for the Cats. The 15 yard catch and run provided Poole with his first TD reception of the season and it pushed him over the 100 yard receiving mark for the first time this year as well.

Bethune-Cookman finished the afternoon with 409 yards of Total Offense (241 rushing, 168 passing) while holding DSU to 223 yards (only 10 yards rushing).

Defensive backs Dion Hanks and Thomas Finnie finished with 7 tackles apiece while Joshua Richardson, Nick Addison and Erik Williams all registered interceptions.

BCU travels to D.C. to take on the Howard Bison next week at 1:00.

Game stats
BCU at DSU Video Highlights

Cats too tough for Panthers

Credits: BCU Athletics

Credits: BCU Athletics

Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman jumped to a 31-point halftime lead and added four second-half touchdowns to complete a 66-7 rout of Virginia Union on Saturday.

Bethune-Cookman (2-0) head coach Brian Jenkins relied on what he likes to call their three-headed monster at quarterback. Seniors Brodrick Waters and Jackie Wilson and junior Quentin Williams each threw a touchdown pass and combined to complete 13 of 20 passes for 182 yards.

Eight different receivers caught passes for the Wildcats, marking the first time that’s happened since 2010. Jontavious Carter had two touchdown receptions.

The Wildcats defense scored twice in the first half on interceptions by Nick Addison and Nesley Marcellon.

Eric Shaw led the Virginia Union (0-1) ground attack with 14 carries for 65 yards.

The game was first meeting between the two programs since the 1953 Tropical Bowl which Virginia Union won 13-0.

Scoring Summary

FG 09:47 Jonathan Cagle 20 Yd 0 3
TD 05:39 Erik Williams 41 Yd Interception Return (Brodrick Waters Run For Two-Point Conversion) 0 11
TD 00:19 Quentin Williams 5 Yd Run (Pat Blocked) 0 17
VIR TD 08:04 Damon Kelly 1 Yd Run (Troy Krepich Kick) 7 17
TD 06:09 Cary White 1 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 24
TD 05:53 Nick Addison 38 Yd Interception Return (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 31
TD 03:32 Anthony Jordan 20 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 38
TD 11:25 Jontavious Carter 16 Yd Pass From Jackie Wilson (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 45
TD 03:05 Jontavious Carter 22 Yd Pass From Brodrick Waters (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 52
TD 06:21 Drexler Dixon 12 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 59
TD 02:11 Michael Jones 16 Yd Pass From Quentin Williams (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 66

Team Stat Comparison



1st Downs 14 25
3rd down efficiency
6-16 8-11
4th down efficiency
1-4 0-2
Total Yards 182 464
Passing 87 182
12-23 13-20
Yards per pass
3.8 9.1
Rushing 95 282
Rushing Attempts
45 44
Yards per rush
2.1 6.4
Penalties 7-74 10-68
Turnovers 3 1
Fumbles lost
0 0
Interceptions thrown
3 1
Possession 38:11 21:49

Virginia Union Passing

S. Dowdy 5/9 44 4.9 0 1
K. Graham 7/14 43 3.1 0 2
Team 12/23 87 3.8 0 3

Bethune-Cookman Passing

Q. Williams 4/5 73 14.6 1 1
J. Wilson 5/7 55 7.9 1 0
B. Waters 4/8 54 6.8 1 0
Team 13/20 182 9.1 3 1

Virginia Union Rushing

E. Shaw 14 65 4.6 0 20
D. Kelly 19 41 2.2 1 7
S. Dowdy 6 3 0.5 0 13
M. Parker 1 2 2.0 0 2
T. Malone 4 1 0.3 0 2
J. Reynoso 1 -17 -17.0 0 0
Team 45 95 2.1 1 20

Bethune-Cookman Rushing

C. White 8 62 7.8 1 23
A. Jordan 6 45 7.5 1 20
I. Jackson 6 45 7.5 0 47
D. Dixon 5 32 6.4 1 12
Q. Williams 4 32 8.0 1 15
D. Arnold 7 28 4.0 0 7
J. Wilson 4 24 6.0 0 15
B. Waters 4 14 3.5 0 9
Team 44 282 6.4 4 47

Virginia Union Receiving

M. Holmes 4 41 10.3 0 14
D. Duchenne 1 24 24.0 0 24
J. Wright 3 12 4.0 0 8
D. Anderson 1 4 4.0 0 4
A. Davis 1 3 3.0 0 3
E. Shaw 1 2 2.0 0 2
M. Parker 1 1 1.0 0 1
Team 12 87 7.3 0 24

Bethune-Cookman Receiving

E. Poole 1 44 44.0 0 44
J. Carter 2 38 19.0 2 22
J. Gordon 3 28 9.3 0 13
J. Davis 2 19 9.5 0 11
M. Jones 1 16 16.0 1 16
I. Virgin 1 14 14.0 0 14
A. Jordan 1 9 9.0 0 9
J. Lumas 1 7 7.0 0 7
J. Murphy 1 7 7.0 0 7
Team 13 182 14.0 3 44

Virginia Union Interceptions

J. Blanks 1 9 0
Team 0 0 0

Bethune-Cookman Interceptions

E. Williams 1 41 1
N. Addison 1 38 1
J. Richardson 1 0 0
Team 0 0 2

Virginia Union Kick Returns

M. Norris 4 104 26.0 35
D. Duchenne 4 87 21.8 32
M. Parker 1 12 12.0 12
J. Lewis 1 0 0.0 0
Team 10 203 20.3 35

Bethune-Cookman Kick Returns

J. Carter 1 28 28.0 28
Team 1 28 28.0 28

Virginia Union Punt Returns

Team 0 0 0.0 0

Bethune-Cookman Punt Returns

J. Borgella 1 14 14.0 0
P. Cleckley 1 7 7.0 7
D. Baker 1 0 0.0 0
Team 3 21 7.0 7

Virginia Union Kicking

T. Krepich 0/0 0.0 1/1 1
Team 0/0 0.0 1/1 1

Bethune-Cookman Kicking

J. Cagle 1/1 100.0 20 7/8 10
Team 1/1 100.0 20 7/8 10

Virginia Union Punting

J. Reynoso 4 105 26.3 0 0 37
-. Team 1 0 0.0 0 0 0
Team 5 105 21.0 0 0 37

Bethune-Cookman Punting

Team 0 0 0.0 0 0 0

What we learned in BCU’s 12-9 win over Tenn State

Credits: TSU Athletics

Credits: TSU Athletics

So we’re a day late on our weekly wrap-up; give us a little grace please. Our favorite HBCU played on Sunday evening and that threw the schedule off. With that being said, let’s get to it.

No Apologies Needed

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats used a strong defensive effort to grind out a 12-9 victory over Tennessee State in Sunday night’s season opener. While it would have been nice to score more than one offensive touchdown and to put a few more points on the scoreboard, the Wildcats need not apologize for defeating a quality opponent from an automatic qualifier league on their home field. Any win against a team the caliber of Tennessee State is a great win; the score not withstanding.

Brian Jenkins is now 4-1 in “revenge games” with the University of Miami being the only team the Wildcats have succumb to in consecutive tries in the Jenkins’ era.

The Passing Game Still Needs Work

You can make an argument that based on pure talent and athleticism; BCU has the deepest and most gifted receiving corp in the conference. However, if you make that argument please do not attempt to use statistics to support your claim. The Wildcats only gained 98 yards of offense through the air against TSU. Ironically it was QB Jackie Wilson’s 6 yard TD pass to Jordan Murphy that proved to be the game winner on Sunday.

Bethune-Cookman has now played 25 games since last passing for 300 or more yards as a team. Conversely, the Wildcat offense has thrown for less than 100 yards 5 times in that same span. The Beach Cats must develop a consistent passing attack as the season progresses if they hope to have any chance of reaching their ultimate goal. The ability is certainly there; now it’s time to translate that ability into on-the-field production.

Multiple QBs the New Normal

Seniors Brodrick Waters and Jackie Wilson alternated series at quarterback throughout the TSU contest with Waters receiving the starting nod. Both players showed flashes of their potential at times but it seemed the offense as a whole lacked a consistent rhythm or flow. The biggest part of that was the TSU defense no doubt. Let’s face it, that’s an athletic and talented bunch who returned all 11 starters from the OVC’s top defense in 2012. Couple that with the fact that this was just the first game of the season and midseason precision was highly unlikely. There was something left to be desired from a playcalling standpoint and we understand that 3 offensive linemen were making their first starts in a BCU uniform. But maybe, just maybe the three-way split of quarterbacks receiving even number snaps during practice and the revolving door on gameday had something to do with the lackluster offensive performance in week one.

With that being said, we fully suspect multiple QBs will be the norm for this team unless one guy clearly seperates himself from the pack. Oh by the way, Quentin Williams, who led the team in passing yards and passing touchdowns a year ago, did not see the field on Sunday but he will certainly factor into the quarterback discussion at some point during the season.


The most impressive unit on the field was by far the BCU defense who delivered a more than solid performance on Sunday. Jarkevis Fields and LeBrandon Richardson each had 10 tackles and Tevin Toney was a disruptive force upfront. The Wildcats kept TSU out of the endzone and limited the Tigers to 3 field goals and just 248 yards of total offense. It was an all-around great performance by the defensive unit. ALL HAIL Defensive Cats!!!!

Midseason interview with Coach Brian Jenkins

For those of us who have had the opportunity to speak with  BCU’s head football coach, Brian Jenkins, you know the experience is very much akin to attending a Sunday morning church service in the black community.  At some point in the engagement you are likely to laugh, you will certainly feel the intensity of the moment, some may even ask for repentance; but almost everyone is assured of feeling better about the experience afterwards.

Such was the case for me yesterday when Coach Jenkins graciously agreed to sit down with Bradford Gillens of the Orlando Examiner and myself for a thorough conversation.  The third year head coach touched on topics such as his team’s performance in the first half of the season, the success of some of the MEAC’s newest coaches, his wife’s assertions that he has mental problems, and his affinity for the world renown Marching Wildcats (more affectionately known as The Pride). 


If you would coach, assess your team’s performance in the first half of the season.

I am a perfectionist so I am pleased but never satisfied.  We didn’t play a complete football game until the A&T game.  In the other games we had so many miscues, and different assignment errors as well as a lot of dumb penalties.  Our operation was not very good at times, but in some cases it was good enough to get us the victory.

On the positive side, one thing that I have felt good about all year is the conditioning of our team.  Another thing is the fight of our team.  I think that they have exemplified that from the first play of the first game so I do know that is there.  What has decreased our grade to a C or C+ is all of those other things that I previously mentioned.  If we can clean up and continue to improve, we can definitely get to an A ”.

Your team is positioned atop the conference standings and you are in complete control of your destiny.  Are there any areas of concerns that you feel need to be addressed in the 2nd half of the season to ensure this team fully meets the expectations that you have for them going forward? 

We need to continue to execute well.  That’s always an area that you have to be sound and solid.  We have to tackle well.  The game is won with good tackling and good blocking.  We just have to continue to improve and develop as a whole”.

I have a few numbers for you coach: 7, 0, 0, 16, and 3; that’s the number of points your defense has surrendered in the 2nd half of games against FCS competition this year.  It seems that once they settle in they have been lights out.

That’s a good thing. It shows you that down the stretch we’re conditioned and we’re mentally focused to continue to execute at a high level and finish things out.  But if you look on the flip side at the points given up in the first two quarters, it demonstrates why we need to execute better.  If we can have that same urge, effort and execution in the first half of games then automatically we become a better football team”. 

There are a host of young players on the defensive side of the ball.  Do you feel this unit is ready to take the leap from being very good in the second half of games to being dominant throughout the entire contest?

“I don’t like to get caught up in the ‘we’re  young argument’.  These guys have been playing football since they were 8 years old and it’s the same game.  You put your helmet on, you put your shoulder pads on and you go out there and you have to tackle, execute, and stop your opponent.  I think what comes with being young is that sometimes our guys don’t execute within the scheme.  But when we settle down and they start operating in the scheme they are able to see what we can do.  I think if we continue to execute within the scheme then we are ready to propel forward and start being a dominant defense”.

Through the first half of the season, your Wildcats have the #1 rushing offense in the conference and the 2nd to last passing offense, a stark contrast to your inaugural season when your offense was coined the “Speedway O.”  Is it more of a situation where you are letting the talent you have dictate how you run the offense, or has it just been a concerted effort to become a primarily run first team?

“You have to do what’s necessary to win.  We’re letting our talent take over and that’s a plus to any football team.  I don’t get caught up in being #1 in passing or #1 in running.  The main thing that we have to do is be consistent in execution in order to win. People know we can throw the ball  and we have proven that.  We will continue to do whatever is necessary to win”.

Coach there are many overlooked aspects of a quality football team.  For instance, I am sure that both Jackie Wilson and Brock Waters would prefer to be on the field receiving snaps from Center; however, you can see those guys on the sidelines giving pointers to Quentin Williams and they have both seemed to willingly take up a mentor position with your young quarterback.  Is this part of that developing men and developing character aspect of your job that you hold so dearly?

“Absolutely!  100%!  I want two things from my players: (1) I want players who are trying to find a way in and not trying to find a way out; and (2) I want players that are all in. 

If you don’t have those two characteristics then you cannot play for me.  Right now, those guys are finding a way into the game and that’s by helping each other.  When Jackie was on the field it was Q and Brodrick.  When Brodrick was on the field it was Jackie and Q being his eyes and ears.  They are all in it together.  They all train together and they receive the same amount of reps in practice.  They are all focus and they are finding a way to contribute to the team.  That is all a part of developing men and developing character and it is very much a part of our program”.

 And what about the play of Quentin Williams, last week he was named as the MEAC Offensive POTW.  He seems to really be growing right before our eyes?

“Quentin is definitely growing just like Matt (Johnson) grew when he was here and Jackie grew last year when he had his time.  I always tell our guys that before growth takes place, you have to humble yourself and realize who you are.   Once you do that you open yourself up to being developed.   That’s what Quentin has done.  He came in with all of these accolades but I told him that he had to strip himself of being “Q” the big time high school quarterback and just be Quentin and develop Quentin as a person.  That will make Q the quarterback that you want to be.

Let me tell you about Quentin.  Everybody was telling him how well he played on Saturday (against NCA&T).  He had our video guy make cutups of all of his bad plays and he was evaluating those bad plays on Sunday much more intently then what he did well.  When we had our questions and answers session on Sunday and asked him what could you do to improve yourself, he said coach I made 8 bad plays and I have 8 coaching points that I need to correct.  That goes to show you how he’s open to development and correction and it shows you the type of leadership that we’re getting from Quentin and all of our quarterbacks”.

For the second time in 3 years, your team leads the nation in turnover differential.  That doesn’t just happen by accident does it?

“I learned from Greg Schiano that trained behavior becomes instinct.  We train our guys 7 days a week all year long on security and security of the program. They have taken to it and the results have shown.   It’s something that we drill every day.  I can’t tell you everything that we do because I would be giving parts of my program away and I can’t do that.  I will tell you that we do some mental drills and exercises.  Our coaching staff believes in the drills and philosophies even though some of them tell me that I am a different type of guy and kind of out there but the philosophies work and produce results.  So it’s not just the players that are making this happen.  My coaching staff has also bought in and they are teaching the things that I asked of them. It’s a total program effort”.

You have been singing the praises of Coach Harrell at Howard, Coach Broadway at North Carolina A&T, and Coach Frazier at North Carolina Central to anyone who would listen.  I guess it is not a surprise to you to see their teams sitting near the top of the conference standings huh?

“No It’s not.  I knew when those men were hired a change would take place.  No disrespect to anyone else but those are true men.  Coach Kerm at Delaware State is another one.  These men are true competitors who have a drive to master their craft and prepare a high level football team so it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Look at Coach Frazier’s record at Prairie View.  He is proven by the results that he got at Prairie View.   Coach Flea has been prepared by some very good coaches.  He called me and asked me for some advice when he first got the job and we spoke at length.  He doesn’t have an ego and he understands his role and he takes it very seriously.  Coach Broadway is a vet and he’s been through this before.  He’s been through challenging times but he’s long lasting and he has always come out on top.  Coach Kerm is another solid individual.  He took his success from Winston-Salem to Delaware State.  He implemented his system and he has been patient.  All of these guys are good ball coaches and good men and no one should be surprise that they are having the success that they are having”.

Are you surprised to see perennial power SCSU and last year’s champ NSU struggle to the degree that they have?

“There is so much parity in the league I wouldn’t say that they are struggling.  Norfolk loss one ball game off of a flag.  Right now, their records don’t match their coaching and for whatever reason, they haven’t caught their rhythm or hit their stride.  There is not a coach in the league who works to finish second.  Everyone wants to finish first but someone has to lose.  Those are still good football teams but their records just don’t show it”.

Interestingly enough, you kind of called this whole thing back in July.  At the MEAC Press Luncheon you were quoted as saying, in regards to NSU being selected to repeat as conference champions, If all that mattered, just give out the trophy now to who they picked first and why play the games? I don’t pay any attention to that and it doesn’t really matter to me.”   Should we expect to see you on ESPN College Gameday alongside Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit once your coaching days are done?

“We will see.  I am going to be honest, that is something that I am interested in and a lot of people have asked me about that.   It is something that draws and interests me and we’ll see many years from now if God pushes me that way.  When I made that statement though, it wasn’t because Norfolk was picked to win.  You still have to get in the ring, put on the gloves and fight.  That is just a strong belief that was instilled in me by my dad.  I also said that because when I looked around that room, I saw a good group of coaches who were looking forward to competing.  It was nothing against Norfolk State, but you have to play the game”.

Now I know it’s early and there’s a lot of football left to be played but, as I’m sure you know, Tennessee State is 7-0 and looks poised for a playoff run if they continue their string of success.  Considering you make no bones about the fact that you hate to lose, how special would it be for you to meet the Tigers again in the FCS Playoffs?

Coach Rod Reed is doing an exceptional job at Tennessee State.  Everybody counted him out and was ready to push him out of the door.  He’s a quiet assassin and his mind is always working.   They came up here and kicked our tails.  They have proven that they are one of the best teams in the nation.  Hopefully they don’t get slighted like some other teams have been slighted in the past.  If that road comes to show, that means that we were able to stay focus and be in that position (to make the playoffs). I am sure that it will be good and it will be challenging”.

I watched a Youtube clip of the Marching Wildcats at South Carolina State and somewhere near the end of the clip I saw a figure that looked a lot like you grooving in front of the band.  I know sometimes you can’t remember last week’s game, but does that ring a bell at all?

“(Guilty Laugh) Yeah it does. We have a closeness with our band that is tremendous.  Donovan Wells and his staff does a tremendous job with the band.  Our band gives a valiant effort to do the things to get us going.  I feel like our football team is a part of the band and the band is a part of our team.  I go down and do things like that with the band to show them that I appreciate their professionalism, their high productivity, their consistency, their detail, I appreciate all of that.  There are times that I go over and just watch their practices and see how in to it they are and how focus they are to put on a good show and represent us.  So in return we have to make sure that we do the necessary things to represent them because they deserve to be represented at a high level.  So yes you did.  I went down there and cut loose for about 15 seconds, but that was just to show the band my appreciation for all that they do for our team and our university.

And let me say this, people can talk all they want about Bethune-Cookman football, but we know the lead ship here at Bethune-Cookman is the Bethune-Cookman Band.  And I have no problem with that because it give me an opportunity to have my program a part of greatness and our band is greatness.  I really look forward to having a chance to interact with them and I thank Mr. Wells for opening up the door and allowing our team to have that type of interaction with the band.  

There is a mutual respect between me and Donovan Wells and I tell people this all of the time.  Donovan Wells is Coach Jenkins in charge of the band and Coach Jenkins is Donovan Wells in charge of the football team because we’re one and the same.  We’re very aggressive, we’re very detailed, we’re very serious about our craft, and we’re very demanding.  Sometimes I go and watch this guy in practice and preparation and I say this guy should be a football coach.  I have a very high level of respect for him because of the way he shows up every day and do his job. 

He knows that I honor him and I honor the band and he supports and honor our team.  We’re two men who have a very high level or respect for one another.  If Donovan sees one of my guys out of line he jumps right in them and I do the same thing to the band members”.

Coach do you want to give us any hints on what you’ll be performing (with the band) after the game this Saturday?

“(Laughs) I wish I knew.  I don’t even know what I am going to do when I hang up this phone today.

 I heard the other day and I was trying to figure out if that was me.  But I heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  My wife keeps telling me that I have mental problems.  I have been trying to deny it but I don’t know (anymore).  She tells me you do the same thing seven days a week and she says that you have a plan for Monday through Sunday of what you will eat, from the time that you will eat, you have everything scheduled.  Yet you expect different results out of me when it comes to cooking.  That just lets you know what I deal with every day.  I guess that means that I am insane.  Hey but if it works for me then I guess I am okay with being insane”.

Week Three Wrap-Up


Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

The first quarter of the season is over and we find ourselves still trying to figure out just how good this team can be this year.  After stumbling out of the gates against both Alabama State and South Carolina State, the Wildcats struck first against Miami this past weekend but made far too many execution errors to give themselves any chance of pulling off an upset.

Moral Victories won’t do

It was obvious from the postgame interview that Coach Jenkins was not at all happy with his team’s performance.  In fact, Coach Jenkins’ responses and overall disposition were much more reflective of a coach who felt like his team ‘let one slip away’ as oppose to a coach whose undermanned team was within 14 points of the University of Miami with 9:00 left in the contest.  The worse part about Saturday’s contest wasn’t losing, I mean we are talking about “The U”.  They have much more overall talent, they can offer 22 more scholarships (FBS-85; FCS-63), and they had the best player on the field in running back Duke Johnson; but the volume of  dropped passes, missed assignments, poor tackling, untimely penalties and overall poor execution by Wildcat players was troubling.

The easy thing to do is to simply write this off as BCU playing against a better team and being forced into execution issues.  The problem with that logic is that BCU has not played a full 4 quarters of crisp football all season long.  And oh by the way, Tennessee State is the #1 ranked team in HBCU football and they come to town in a few days.  The Wildcats can ill-afford to go through any periods of lull or poor execution against the Big Blue Tigers if they hope to stay undefeated in FCS play.

Make the decision for the coach

Here’s the deal.  BCU has three talented quarterbacks who all offer something different.   I would give up pork for 3 weeks if one of the QBs elevates the consistency of his play, separates himself from the bunch and become the Wildcat’s sure-fire starting quarterback.  You can say that I am praying for the next Matt Johnson to arise from this bunch and to do so quickly. 

Jackie Wilson has the most in-game experience of the trio.  Wilson has started all three games this season and he has not done anything to warrant losing the starting nod.  Wilson had most of last season and the first three games of this year to claim sole ownership as THE quarterback; but like a year ago, he is again stuck in a rotating quarterback system.  Good things seem to happen whenever Brock Waters is on the field, but Waters is sometimes erratic with his throws.  Quentin Williams represented well in his first collegiate game action but the sampling is way too small to draw any real conclusions. 

Neither quarterback has played pooly, but consistency at the position is the difference between this team having a good season and making a legitimate playoff run.  Hopefully one of these three guys will have a tremendous week of practice and make the decision for the coach with his play.  

The only person that will be more excited than me if this happens is Coach Jenkins himself.  It will be the first time in a year and a half that he won’t be asked “who’s the starter at QB this week”.  That alone may be enough to allow him to finally crack a smile.

BCU rushes pass ‘Bama State

2012 MEAC/SWAC Challenge

Seventeen minutes into Sunday’s matchup against Alabama State, Bethune-Cookman fans were left gazing at the scoreboard and wondering if they would wind up on the wrong end of a one-sided MEAC/SWAC Challenge.

The Hornets opened the contest with a 12 play, 75 yard drive which ended with a 5 yard Greg Jenkins touchdown run.   ASU’s second and third scores were aided by a BCU fumble on a punt return and a missed field goal respectively.  With 13:45 remaining in the 2nd Quarter, ASU was defending a 21-0 lead and looking to run away with the contest. 

As dominant as ASU appeared over the first seventeen minutes, BCU was equally dominant over the final forty-three minutes of the contest.  Like ASU, BCU’s first scoring drive consumed 12 plays, 75 yards and ended with a rushing touchdown (Andronicus Lovette, 2 yards).  Sven Hurd added a 20 yard field goal just before halftime to bring the deficit to 21-10.

The Wildcat offense started to steamroll in the second half scoring touchdowns on their second (24 yd pass from Brock Waters to Jhomo Gordon), third (6 yd run by Waters), and fourth (47 yd pass from Waters to Eddie Poole) possessions after the half.  Both teams tacked on an additional touchdown before the final whistle.

Coach Brian Jenkins was quick to sing the praises of his squad.  “Alabama State is a championship caliber team; don’t let the score fool you”.  “We knew they had a high octane offense but there was no doubt in our mind that we would end up victorious.  You saw a team today that believes in the philosophy that we’re teaching (stay in the moment and play every play).  It’s just a tremendous thing to see the fight that our guys showed today”.

Thank God for the backup quarterback

Coach Jenkins revealed in his postgame interview that quarterback Jackie Wilson was unable to continue in Sunday’s contest because of conditioning/heat related issues.  Louisiana Tech transfer Brodrick Waters (who prefers to go by Brock) relieved Wilson midway through the 2nd quarter.  Waters inherited a 21-7 deficit, but led the Wildcats to 31 unanswered points.  Waters ended the afternoon with 100 yards rushing on 11 attempts (1 rushing td) and 6 of 9 passing for 110 yards with 2 touchdowns.  The second of Water’s TD passes was a beautiful 47 yard hookup on a post route to Eddie Poole on 3rd and 21.   The result of the play pushed BCU to a comfortable 31-21 lead.

Waters, who played with the message ‘RIP’— ‘TD 22’ written on his eye black, combined with Isidore Jackson (123 yards) and Rodney Scott (103, 1 td) to make BCU history as the first trio of rushers to eclipse the 100 yard rushing mark in the same game.  When asked about the significance of his Tebowesque eye black message, Waters explained that he was honoring his former La Tech teammate Tyrone Duplessis.  The 21-year old Duplessis died in his sleep in February of this year.  “He was someone that I looked up to” Waters stated.  “I decided to dedicate this game to him as well as my first touchdown.  They told me that I almost got one (touchdown) called back (for excessive celebration) because I showed some emotion towards him and that probably wasn’t the best thing to do”.

BCU finished the game with 383 yards rushing on 60 attempts for a 6.1 yard average.  Eddie Poole (102 yards, 1 td) eclipsed the 100 yard receiving mark on the afternoon and pushed his consecutive games with a catch streak to 24.  In total, the Wildcat offense racked 551 yards of offense.

Jarkevis Fields led the defensive charge with 10 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss.  The Wildcat “D” held ASU running back Isaiah Crowell to 18 yards rushing on 9 attempts.  Crowell (formerly of the University of Georgia) is the 2011 SEC Offensive Freshmen of the Year recipient.

The Wildcats travel to Orangeburg next Saturday for an early season showdown with MEAC powerhouse South Carolina State.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 P.M..

Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs 22 25
Total Yards 351 551
Passing 253 184
Rushing 98 367
Penalties 3-30 15-111
3rd Down Conversions 8-15 8-16
4th Down Conversions 0-1 1-1
Turnovers 2 1
Possession 25:05 34:55

Passing Leaders

Alabama State C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Jenkins 19/29 196 6.8 0 1
Bethune-Cookman C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Waters 6/9 110 12.2 2 0

Rushing Leaders

Alabama State CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Jenkins 15 39 2.6 2 17
Crowell 9 18 2.0 1 11
Bethune-Cookman CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Jackson 21 123 5.9 0 25
Scott 13 103 7.9 1 38

Receiving Leaders

Alabama State REC YDS AVG TD LG
McWilliams 6 89 14.8 1 39
Neely 5 64 12.8 0 34
Bethune-Cookman REC YDS AVG TD LG
Poole 3 102 34.0 1 54
Stroud 4 39 9.8 0 15

Qtr Time Scoring Play

1st 11:06 ALST – Jenkins, Greg 5 yd run (Wenzig, Bobby kick), 12-75 3:54 7 – 0
04:28 ALST – Crowell, Isaiah 2 yd run, 2-20 0:43 14 – 0
2nd 13:45 ALST – Jenkins, Greg 3 yd run (Wenzig, Bobby kick), 8-72 2:15 21 – 0
09:18 BCU -LOVETTE,Andronicus 2 yd run , 12-75 4:21 21 -7
00:01 BCU – HURD,Sven 20 yd field goal, 12-77 3:02 21 – 10
3rd 05:53 BCU – GORDON,Jhomo 24 yd pass from WATERS,Brodrick (HURD,Sven kick), 5-70 3:04 21 – 17
04:28 BCU – WATERS,Brodrick 6 yd run (HURD,Sven kick), 4-20 1:19 21 – 24
4th 10:39 BCU – POOLE,Eddie 47 yd pass from WATERS,Brodrick, 11-91 5:36 21 – 31
06:59 BCU – SCOTT,Rodney 38 yd run, 2-39 0:53 21 – 38
03:53 ALST – McWilliams, T.C 39 yd pass from Duhart, Daniel (Wenzig, Bobby kick), 9-79 2:59 28 – 38

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.

What to watch for at the Wildcats’ Spring Game

The 2012 Spring Game will be played on April 21st at 4:00 p.m. at Municipal Stadium

In less than 72 hours, the maroon and gold faithful will receive their first glimpse at the 2012 version of the Fighting Wildcats.

I must admit that the actual Spring Game means very little in the grand scheme of things.  Coaches only install a fraction of their offensive and defensive systems during Spring drills, the starters receive fewer reps than they normally would during the regular season, and half of this year’s recruiting class have yet to even graduate from high school.   However, the Spring game is the best and only real football-like barometer that we can use to measure our favorite football squads in late April.

So with that disclaimer, here are some of the players and positions that I will be paying keen attention to during Saturday’s glorified scrimmage.

Anthony Jordan (Running Back) —  The 230 pound bruiser from North Atlanta High School led the squad with 9 rushing touchdowns last season.  He has been one of the most raved about players in Spring drills this year.  Jordan, who  has an exceptional work ethic, is trying to prove to the coaching staff that he can be more than just a short yardage back.

Lavon McCoy (Offensive Guard) —   BIG Lavon McCoy; and by BIG I mean almost 400 pounds BIG, was a highly touted prospect with offers from USC, Oregon, and the University of Washington coming out of high school.  He is one of those players that Coach Jenkins has mentioned that we’re very fortunate to have.  Last year, McCoy played exclusively on the defensive side of the ball.  He demonstrated very good foot work and quickness at defensive tackle.  This year he is moving to the offensive side of the ball and is expected to play offensive guard.  His Junior College highlight film shows him playing both defensive tackle and offensive guard.  McCoy looks great as a defensive tackle prospect but even better as an offensive guard.  It will be interesting to see how productive McCoy can be against FCS competition.

Tavarus Dantzler (Linebacker) — Tavarus Dantzler has been penciled in as the next big thing at linebacker for the Wildcats.  He has good size at 6’3″, 230 lbs, but his game is built on speed.  Dantzler can flat out fly.  Defensive Coordinator Yogi Jones has stated that he believes Dantzler can be a very special player and an all conference performer.  Let’s hope that Dantzler rises to the occasion and fulfill his potential.

Defensive Line Ryan Davis was simply the best defensive player in HBCU football last year.  I am not quite sure that one player will be able to fill the void left by Davis’ departure.  Instead, the Wildcat defensive front may look to maintain last year’s productivity levels by committee.  Harold Love, Anthony Woodard, and Tevin Toney all had very good campaigns last year.  Erik Williams rejoins Coach Earl Lane’s defensive unit after being sidelined with an injury a season ago.  Brandon Bryant and LeBranden Richardson are UCF transfers who will look to have an impact on the defensive line as well.

Jim Pry (Offensive Coordinator) — Okay, so we will not be able to make any legitimate or rational assessments about new offensive coordinator, Jim Pry’s, play calling after Saturday’s contest.  But what I hope to see is Pry’s influence on the passing game; and how the quarterbacks and receivers are understanding the principles of Pry’s passing attack.  Pry is a disciple of the vertical passing game.  His route combinations are not stagnant or predefined.  Instead, receivers have options on each route (think Mike Leach and the Air Coryell offenses).

Quarterback —  Jackie Wilson ended last season with a 66% completion rate and showed tremendous growth as the Wildcats primary signal caller.  But Wilson is not a shoe-in to be the starting quarterback in 2012.  Former Florida Mr. Football, Quentin Williams, is competing with Wilson and Broadrick Waters (La Tech transfer) to be Brian Jenkins’ trigger-man come September.