Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Double duty and other things

Ronald Murray and Brandt Thomas could be pulling double duty for the Jacksonville State football team this weekend at Murray State.

Murray was moved from fullback to defensive end before last week’s Eastern Kentucky game and twice was approached on the sideline about being prepared to go back in to help on offense. He didn’t have to go there, but he might this week.

“I told him I wasn’t going to call him ‘The Refrigerator’ if he played running back and defensive line in the same game,” JSU coach Jack Crowe said, referring to former Clemson and Chicago Bears behemoth William Perry. “I told him we would call him ‘Icebox.’ That’s what we called Michael Dean (Perry, the Frig’s brother).”

Thomas, meanwhile, was moved from the defensive line to the offensive line right before the season opener --- with the idea of moving back when center Tyler Ogletree got back --- but it hasn't happened yet, because the O-line has injuries elsewhere.

He may be easing his way back, as Crowe said Monday the sophomore might play both ways against the Racers.

“We sort of have Brandt Thomas in no-man’s land,” Crowe said. “We’ve got him on one side of the ball; he may be a two-way players this week, too.

“What a special guy he is. He cares about this football team. What you find out when you’re going through this little bit where the splinters are in the plank is which ones are here for them and which ones are here for us.”

And now for something completely different ...

BREAKING THE TAPE: For the first time in school history, the JSU men’s cross country team is ranked in the regional poll. The Gamecocks checked in at No. 10 in the South, but coach Steve Ray thinks his team was a little shortchanged.

“I can assure you that I, along with our guys, believe we are better than our current ranking,” he said.

The team, with three freshmen in its top five, has finished first, second and fourth this year.

Alabama, Florida State and Florida are 1-2-3 in the poll. Samford is 15th.

SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: The Gamecocks and the City of Oxford are teaming up to put on a college softball tournament this weekend.

The inaugural Tera Ross Memorial Classic is scheduled for the Oxford Lake Softball Complex Saturday and Sunday. The 12-team event honors the memory of the former Jacksonville State pitcher killed in a car accident in Florida in 2003.

Here is JSU’s schedule and game times

Saturday: vs. Snead St., 9 a.m.; vs. Wallace, 5 p.m.; vs. West Georgia, 7 p.m.

Sunday: vs. Middle Georgia, 11 a.m.; vs. Mercer, 1 p.m. The top eight teams in the round-robin standings will play at 3 p.m., the bottom four teams in the standings will play at 5.

LOCAL FLAVOR: The JSU golf team has a good representation from Calhoun County on it.

The Gamecocks finished fifth at their most recent tournament, the McLaughlin Intercollegiate, at Bethpage State Park. Yes, that Bethpage, but not the famous Black Course.

Anyway, former Oxford High players Nathan Bennett and Marcus Harrell were both in the JSU lineup. Bennett tied for 20th, while Harrell tied for 47th -- on the Red Course.

Even though they didn't get to play the Black on this trip, the Gamecocks did get a look at it. And Harrell even had his picture taken next to the sign on the first tee that warns players of the difficulty of the course and the recommendation that it be played only by accomplished players. They certainly would've qualified.

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