Thursday, August 28, 2008

Game time decisions

Pregame notes were distributed in the press box at Bobby Dodd Stadium and JSU's injury update took up the bulk of the early notices.

It previously was reported receiver James Wilkerson and running back Tremayne Coger would be out of the game for injuries. Anthony Jones will start in place of Wilkerson, with John Houston Whiddon as the backup. Daniel Jackson, last year's leading rusher, will start in place of Coger, with Drec Lindley as the backup.

Not altogether surprising department, left guard Matt Washington will not start and fullback Ronald Murray is out. Freshman Matt Jones will start in Washington's place, but Washington is listed as the backup. Alphonso Freeney will start in Murray's place. Calvin Middleton is the backup fullback.

Gavin Hallford seemed to be kicking well enough the ball in pregame despite being hampered by a groin injury in camp that limited his ability to scrimmage. Look for Hallford to handle the placements tonight, but punter Zach Walden will do the kickoffs and freshman Al Chamazad might even be called into action.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What are they waiting for?

What is the Jacksonville State basketball program waiting for? School to start? New athletics director Oval Jaynes to officially take over (he's already said to have had meetings with some coaches)? Midnight Madness?

It's been months since James Green has been named the program's head coach, and you know the staff has been working, but there's been no formal word on signees, a schedule, a contract.

So much time has passed since the hiring announcement that they've already killed any initial excitement toward the program and with the football opener Thursday night interest now will be cursory at best.

There have been snippets of info, like the four major-college guarantee games the Gamecocks are expected to play (UAB, Iowa State, South Carolina and UMass), but whenever it does come out, this will be the latest their complete schedule has ever been released.

When inquiries about Green's contract has been made, high ranking university officials have said at various times (a) it would be available in the library when completed, (b) was expected to be available the Tuesday after the last board of trustees meeting, (c) is still in draft form. The only new contracts in the library file are those of soccer coach Julie Davis and women's basketball coach Becky Geyer.

As for the signees, there was a mid-summer announcement about the transfer of Nebraska's Jay-R Strowbridge, but he won't be available to play until 2009-2010. The roster on the website does list four new names -- freshman guard John Barnes of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; freshman forward Brandon Crawford of Montgomery; early signee Stephen Hall, a freshman forward from Birmingham; and Geddes Robinson, a redshirt freshman forward from the Bronx.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Davis: No disappointments

The JSU women's soccer team just finished an evening's outing against Mexico's Under-20 Women's National Team.

The Gamecocks lost the exhibition 5-1, falling behind 5-0 before scoring with less than 15 minutes to play.

Despite the final score, JSU coach Julie Davis and her players found a number of things to be positive about. For one, the game drew an estimated crowd of 500, and Davis was pleased with the "wonderful" atmosphere.

The Gamecocks played their advanced visitors even for 35 minutes. And, perhaps most important of all, their youthful roster of 10 newcomers and 15 freshmen and sophomores gained valuable experience.

"We had a huge freshman class come in and we got them experience," senior goal keeper Kate Kelly said. "This was a once-in-a-lifetime (experience); they got all their nerves out of this game.

"To play an international match, really, and have freshmen who have never played at this level come in, that's the most important thing, the exposure we got and the experience those freshmen got.

"For those freshmen to get this under their belt, we're going to go into every game saying, 'Well, look what we did against Mexico.'"

There was a negative side to the evening, though. The Gamecocks lost junior defenders Trista Munster and Amber DeLaney to knee and leg injuries and it may not be until later in the week before they discover the extent of the injuries.

"That really hurt us," Davis said. "Now that's going to really test some of our other newcomers who didn't get as much playing time, to train them with some pressure to have to step up because there's a potential possibility those injuries might be extended."