Thank you FAMU

Back in the day when my crew and I were rocking Jeri Curls, Guess Jeans and Adidas with the fat boy shoelaces, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen penned the famous line: “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” Today as I sit here with my baldhead, no name jeans and Dr. Scholl inserts, I am unashamedly thanking Florida A&M University for the fire that is currently blazing across the MEAC and HBCU landscape.

Yeah, you heard me correctly. On this 21st day of October, I am thanking Florida A&M University for setting the MEAC landscape on fire.

The spark that started the flames came on Sunday afternoon when the Rattlers defeated reigning Black College National Champions North Carolina A&T 34-31 in overtime.

Prior to Sunday’s rescheduled contest, there was a sense of apathy…inevitability…been-there-done-that permeating MEAC circles. There were no real surprises up to that point. All of the teams we thought would be good heading into the season were handling their business; none more so than the #9th ranked Aggies who seemed on course to win their 3rd straight MEAC crown.

But all of that changed when FAMU pulled off the first real shocker of the season. As a result, lethargy has been replaced with vigor around the conference. Trash talk is ramping up. Half of the league is playing the “what-if” game and reviewing all of the scenarios that would land their squad in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.

Buddy Pough and the resurgent South Carolina State Bulldogs now control their own destiny to get to the Celebration Bowl. NCA&T is still in control of their own fate to get to Atlanta. Florida A&M, who isn’t eligible for postseason play this year due to self-imposed sanctions, still control their own destiny as it relates to being named Black College Football National Champions. Rattler fans, who have watched their team defeat Southern, South Carolina State and now North Carolina A&T, are starting to feel real good about themselves. Many of them are already peeking ahead at the Florida Classic.

Speaking of the Florida Classic, let’s not forget about our favorite hBCU. Bethune-Cookman is 6-1 and sitting atop the MEAC standings but if you were not playing close attention you could have easily missed that fact. This is partly because the Wildcats have yet to have a signature win and partly because BCU’s schedule is heavily back loaded with games against SCSU, NCA&T and FAMU all upcoming.

The Bulldogs visit Daytona Beach this Saturday to face the Wildcats in a huge homecoming matchup. A SCSU win would throw the conference race into utter chaos. A win by BCU keeps them looking down at everyone else in the standings and on pace for the MEAC title and one of the most significant Florida Classic matchups in years.

Yeah, I know there is a ton of football left to be played between now and then but a guy can dream can’t he?

Everything is on the table. All of the team goals are still in front of the Wildcats. Let’s hope Terry Sims, his coaching staff and his team can pull it all together and keep the fire burning in the hearts of BCU fans. South Carolina State you’re on the clock. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm this Saturday. Who will ascend to the top of the mountain!

 

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)

BCU Releases Official Statement Regarding the Harold Love Pro-Day Article

HAIL-WILDCATS_GOLD LogoOn April 11, 2013, NFLDraftZone.com ran an article written by self-described NFL scout Damond Talbot.  Talbot’s article focused almost exclusively on his perception of an alleged injustice committed by Bethune-Cookman University and executed against former B-CU defensive tackle, Harold Love.  The university’s official statement from Lynn W. Thompson, Director of Athletics is shown below.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN OFFICIAL STATEMENT from LYNN W. THOMPSON (Director of Athletics)…

“Our student-athlete handbook states ‘Student-athletes are highly visible representatives of the university and are expected to uphold the values and responsibilities of the institution while meeting all requirements set forth by the MEAC, NCAA, B-CU and the B-CU intercollegiate athletics program.’

The university reserves the right to prohibit, reduce and otherwise sanction the participation of any student-athlete who falls short of or compromises any of these standards.

The student-athlete was a repeat offender of university and team policies. He was and is fully aware of those policies and understands our stance and subsequent disciplinary actions imposed on him. In addition to the sanctions imposed by the university, which limit him to only academic related activities, the department of athletics also imposed additional penalties. While we have imposed these sanctions on him we also stand with him and will continue to provide the resources which will support him in his ultimate quest to graduate from our institution this spring.

We will issue no further statements on this matter and will consider it closed.”

Lynn W. Thompson
Director of Athletics

Duron Carter linked to Bethune-Cookman in possible transfer according to reports

Former Ohio State and University of Alabama receiver Duron Carter (son of NFL great Chris Carter) has been linked to Bethune-Cookman according to multiple reports.

According to OwlAccess.com, Carter has applied for admission to FAU and is in the process of pursuing an NCAA transfer waiver that would allow him to play this season for the FBS, Florida Atlantic Owls.  If the NCAA denies Carter’s transfer waiver request, Bethune-Cookman, where Carter would be eligible to play right away under NCAA transfer rules, appears to be Carter’s most preferred landing spot. 

Carter is a 6’-5”, 215 pound wide receiver from storied St. Thomas Aquinas High School located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Rivals.com rated Carter as a 4-Star recruit coming out of high school.  He signed a letter of intent and played one season at Ohio State in 2009 before transferring to a Community College in Kansas in 2010.  Carter signed with defending National Champions Alabama in 2011 but academic transcript issues brought his Crimson Tide career to an abrupt end. 

Whether or not Duron Carter ever plays a down for BCU, his interest in the Wildcats tells just how well and what type of athletes Brian Jenkins and his staff now recruits at Bethune-Cookman.