Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New podcast, with special guest

Al's on vacation this week, so today I sat down with a special guest, the "Voice of the Gamecocks," Mike Parris. Mike's been behind the mic for Jax State for 26 years. He shares some of his experiences in this week's podcast. Have a listen below, or sign up on iTunes to have the latest episode delivered to your computer each week.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trouble in paradise?

Here’s a story Jacksonville State officials don’t want you to know about, but one that has been a buzz about campus for a while.
High-profile quarterback Ryan Perrilloux faced a university student disciplinary hearing on Thursday following the report of several incidents earlier this year that university and multiple police sources have said involved him.
Since no formal charges have been brought, the hearing addressed code of conduct issues. And because there were no charges, athletic department sources did not believe there were any grounds from the legal system to remove the player from the football program.
The Gamecocks opened spring practice Friday and Perrilloux participated. The team is pinning its hopes for an OVC championship and beyond on him.
The hearing was closed and since its findings involve student records, the results are confidential. According to JSU policies, a written decision from the hearing is rendered within 10 days. Perrilloux would have the ability to appeal any decision should any unfavorable ruling be rendered.
Cedric Johnson, the troubled but talented quarterback Perrilloux replaced, was once suspended from student housing for issues that occurred early in his short term at JSU. Johnson was a midyear JUCO transfer and lasted one season before being dismissed shortly before the start of spring practice last year for violations of university policy.
Perrilloux came to JSU last spring after being dismissed from the LSU program following a series of off-field incidents.
Gamecocks officials have tried to shield the quarterback from trouble ever since he arrived, constantly surrounding him with coaches, players or other trusted personnel. Perrilloux told the Star once he understood the concern for supervision.
Perrilloux submitted his name to the NFL to gauge his viability in this year’s draft, but returned to school for his senior season after being told by NFL officials he was draftable but not until after the third round.

ITEM: You know, we never did learn this season whether Brylle Kamen, a freshman forward from France, was ever declared eligible by the NCAA.
Kamen and the Gamecocks were waiting all year to learn if, as JSU officials explained all season, his international course work met NCAA academic guidelines. JSU officials said repeatedly during the year the issue was tied up with the NCAA and Gamecocks coach James Green has said he wasn’t going to spend time worrying about an issue he had no control over.
It never has been confirmed if Kamen never got eligible, if the Gamecocks have to endure the process again in the coming season or Kamen was ruled eligible and the ruling came at such a late date in the season team officials decided to simply go ahead and redshirt him.
Asked about the situation following the last game of the season, Green called it a “compliance issue.”

ITEM: Similarly, it remains uncertain if early signee Trenton Marshall’s misfortunes at Jones County JC will affect his status on coming to JSU.
Marshall, one of the nation’s top JUCO scorers this season, was kicked off the JCJC team just before the Mississippi JUCO state championship game for a violation of team rules or policies (it was described both ways in media reports).
At JSU, a violation of policy is generally more serious than a violation of rules. It typically, but not exclusively, involves such issues as an arrest or failing a drug test.
Media sources in Mississippi said they hadn’t found any local police reports with Marshall’s name in them and JCJC coach Don Skelton has said the violation wasn’t as serious as people are making it out to be.

It was 30 years ago today ...

I was doing some archival research for the local golf scene – actually, the beginnings of the Sunny King Charity Classic – when I came across an interesting item in the paper that relates to present day Jacksonville State football.

On March 8, 1979, The Anniston Star reported that North Alabama had just hired a new offensive line coach. His name: Jack Crowe.

If the date wasn’t so significant, I probably would’ve given the item only a brief look to settle my curiosity and moved on. But it's 30 years ago today.

The story mentioned that Crowe was a former assistant to Bill Burgess at Oxford High School. It also said his UNA duties would include recruiting the Birmingham area.

“It was a new beginning for me, because I had been at Livingston long enough to know,” Crowe said earlier in the week when I mentioned the story to him. “And it was a beginning because in ’79 we (UNA) had a winning season and in ’80 was the first championship they'd ever won and the first time they’d ever been in the NCAA playoffs. That was a turning point.”

And he moved along the career path quickly.

“I coached the offensive line about two weeks,” he recalled. “The offensive coordinator left and I became the offensive coordinator.”

And from there he went to Wyoming, Auburn, Clemson, Arkansas, Baylor and, eventually, JSU.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Two for the books

Bert Smith sat in the clubhouse before Friday's game with Harvard talking with some of his other base-stealing teammates about how many they were going to get this day -- just like they always do before a Jacksonville State baseball game.
The senior second baseman hadn't had much luck early in the year, but he got two very significant swipes against the Crimson.
Smith stole second and third in the third inning to set up the Gamecocks' first run in their 4-1 victory. Just as significant, they moved him atop JSU's all-time stolen base list.
He now has 71 in his career -- in 81 attempts.
"I finally got it," he said. "There are two or three guys on the team who steal bags all the time and we sit around and talk about how many bases we're going to steal. Like today, I told Blake (Seguin) I was going to steal at least one bag and he said he was going to steal at least one bag. I'm not sure if he did, but we both talked about it before the game."
Smith has his sights on stealing 35 bases this year, but it took into the seventh game to get his first this season. In fact, he had had only one attempt prior to Friday's game.
He wasn't getting antsy. He has a green light, but he knows when to exercise caution.
"Every time I got on base, it was pretty much a guy who was quick to the plate," Smith said. "It's tough to steal when somebody's a 1.1 or 1.2 to the plate. The guys have been pretyt quick to the plate, so they've been holding me pretty good.
"Plus, I've been in the league four years. Everybody knows once I get on base I'm going to try to steal, so they always try to make it a little quicker to the plate."
Harvard starter Daniel Berardo was a tough pitcher to run on, too. But Smith found a way. Twice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

JSU's best shot for a national title

Jacksonville State’s small bore and air rifle teams qualified for the 2009 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Rifle Championship.

The event is March 13-14 in Fort Worth at the TCU Rifle Range and Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

A total of 48 competitors were selected for the championships. The top eight teams in both the smallbore three-position and air rifle events were selected based on the average of the three highest regular-season aggregate scores with no more than one match at any given site. The average of the three highest scores was added to the aggregate scores from the designated qualifiers to determine the top eight teams.

The Gamecocks shot 2,327 in the smallbore and 2,344 in the air rifle at the NCAA Sectionals. Brian Carstensen was JSU’s top shooter with 588 points in the smallbore.

They will be joined in the field by Alaska-Fairbanks, Kentucky, Nevada-Reno, TCU, Army, Navy and West Virginia.

Individual and team competitions in smallbore three-position (60 shots) will be held March 13. Individual and team competitions in air rifle (60 shots) will be held March 14. The overall team champion will be determined by combining the smallbore and air rifle team totals into one aggregate score for each institution.

Monday, March 2, 2009

JSU request in NCAA's hands

Jacksonville State’s bid for a waiver to ease any Year Three historical penalties related to the academic progress of its football program is now in the hands of the NCAA.

The Gamecocks are expected to miss the APR minimum score for the third year in a row, for which penalties include a ban on post-season play.

“I can say the report was filed with the NCAA and … we’re waiting to hear from them,” university attorney Randy Woodrow said Monday.

It is believed JSU’s request will show extenuating circumstances related to its APR score, such as players being dismissed for the integrity of the program while still in good academic standing.

It is also believed the request will reflect what school officials believe is a good-faith effort toward improving the program’s academic performance, an effort that includes a demonstration of improved semester grades and the promotion of an assistant coach with duties tied to student-athlete academic accountability.

A decision is likely to come in April. The NCAA will make public its report on all institutions in May.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

JSU early signee off JUCO team

Two newspapers in Mississippi reported over the weekend that early Jax State basketball signee Trenton Marshall has been dismissed from his Jones County Junior College team for a violation of team rules.
The Laurel Leader Call said emails and phone calls to confirm the high-scoring guard was no longer on the team were not returned Saturday.
Marshall was suspended from Thursday's JUCO state championship game and the Hattiesburg American reported the player would not be with the team when it opens region tournament play Monday.
"He will not be participating with us any more," Jones coach Don Skelton told the American. "He was suspended for a violation of team rules."
Reporters checked the local police blotter in the days around the suspension announcement and did not find any incident involving the player.
Skelton told the American he has heard plenty of rumors about the cause of the suspension, but said "most of them are exaggerated or totally false.
"It's not a severe instance, I can say that," he said. "But there are going to be people who are going to run with it and act like there was something wild and crazy that happened, when really it hasn't."
It wasn't immediately known how the suspension might affect Marshall's availability with the Gamecocks.
Marshall, who attended the same high school as current Jax State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and played for current JSU assistant Kyle Roane at Jones last year, was the nation's third-leading JUCO scorer, averaging 25.5 points a game.

JSU baseball cancelled Sunday

Due to wintry weather overnight and field conditions, JSU's Sunday doubleheader at Middle Tennessee has been cancelled.
The teams were scheduled to play two nine inning games Sunday after weather postponed play Saturday, but overnight snow worsened field conditions.
The Gamecocks won the only game of the series Friday 10-6 behind four RBIs by Jake Welch.
The cancellation means ace Ben Tootle, who was supposed to pitch Saturday, hasn't pitched since Opening Day.
If the rotation held, he wouldn't throw again until the weekend home series with Harvard, but JSU coach Jim Case said Sunday the junior right-hander would pitch Tuesday at UAB.