Monday, September 7, 2009

More on the handshake, whistle

Here's a little more on the pregame handshake issue as it relates to JSU coach Jack Crowe's conversation in Monday morning's Star that morphed into a discussion on whistles blown in the stands at Georgia Tech.

The response was prompted by my question about the handshake and -- only -- knowing the volatile nature of the Miami, FSU, Florida rivalries, how explosive that could be Monday night when Miami and FSU play.

Crowe called the handshake a "good public gesture" of sportsmanship and mutual respect, but wondered how sincere it could be if it's mandated by a higher authority instead of being a spontaneous act.

"I think if the coaches set the tone, it'll be handled right," he said. "I can't believe given the atmosphere out there right now they won't take any of that for granted.

"You look at (the players) and say this is what's gonna happen, this is what you do. They're gonna do what you tell them to. You leave that space to their discretion, the other side of the personality might come out. I don't think it'll be a problem. I think both the coaches will control their teams."

As for the confusion that resulted immediately after the play with the whistle, the officiating crew conferred, met with both coaches and let the play stand. Moments later, Tech returned a Patrick Tatum punt 68 yards for a touchdown.

"They had every right to replay the down - it would have been a strong gesture," Crowe said. "I'm not discrediting the officials. I thought they were very good. It was a one of a kind situation and they decided not to confront it. They were justified in what they did. We were talking about sportsmanship. You've got the players out there trying to set the tone and it didn't carry over to the (stands)."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Volleyball beats Tide, looks to sweep big 2

Brittney Whitten's double-double in kills (17) and digs (13) helped the JSU volleyball team score its first win in five all-time tries against Alabama, 3-1, Saturday in the Bama Bash.

The game scores were 25-23, 25-22, 28-30, 25-20.

JSU is 5-2.

The Gamecocks will try to sweep the state's big two Tuesday when they travel to Auburn.

Hey, folks, weigh in on this: Is beating one of the state's big two in any sport better than any other victory the Gamecocks can claim?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gamecocks going back to Atlanta in 2010

When the Gamecocks play Georgia Tech Saturday at Grant Field, it will mark the second year in a row they will open the season in Atlanta.

Next year they will be going to Atlanta for the third year in a row.

JSU officials said they were going to play Georgia State regularly when the Panthers get their program off the ground and the Gamecocks are on GSU's 2010 slate.

The Gamecocks will play the Panthers in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 18, according to the slate GSU announced Wednesday.

Georgia State will play its first two seasons as an independent in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision before joining the Colonial Athletic Association in 2012.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dupree waived again

Former JSU receiver Maurice Dupree was among four players waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars to get thir roster to the league-mandated 75-player limit.

Dupree had been with the team since April. He was first waived two days before its first preseason game, then re-signed shortly before the team's exhibition game with Philadelphia after the position was hit with injuries. "The Reaper," the Jags' term for the guy players used to call "The Turk," paid him a visit Sept. 1.

The Jags also waived tight end Tyler Lorenzen, defensive tackle Jervonte Jackson and wide receiver Clarence Denmark in this latest wave of cuts. They placed rookie cornerback Don Carey on injured reserve.

"I've learned it's a total business, that's what it is," Dupree said. "The talent is so good, there are so many good players it doesn't matter. They're letting veterans go.

"It's more you have to find a perfect fit before you can get that big break."

He played in the third and fourth quarters against the Eagles, but didn't have a ball thrown his way. His biggest disappointment through it all is he didn't get as big a look as a return man as he thought he might to make his mark.

After being cut the first time, Dupree had a workout with the Atlanta Falcons. He was also talking with the Orlando and New York franchises of the new UFL. That option remains open.

The teams will cut their rosters to 53 players on Saturday.

"Right now I'm hanging by the phone," Dupree said. "All the teams have to go through another cut. Right now I'm just waiting."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

JSU football notes

Santez Mays says he needs 25. Marquez Ivory needs nine, "at least". Brandt Thomas only needs two more.
Tickets, that is. Good luck finding them.
It’s game week of the season opener at Georgia Tech and the Jacksonville State players are working just as hard filling family ticket requests as they are the game plan.
The combination of the opener, a top 20 BCS opponent and the big city nearby makes tickets hard to come by. The players get four each, but that's not nearly enough for this game.
“It’s amazing how many friends and family come out of the woodwork in situations like this,” Thomas said. “Everybody’s trying to find tickets. You’ve got to be the first one to ask a manager or a trainer or people who live far away.
”With the builk of the JSU players hailing from within two hours of Atlanta, potential sources are limited. Tight end Sherwin Winbush II of Texas and offensive lineman Ricky Clemons of Michigan might be popular newcomers this week. Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux's ducats are available. He's under a one-game suspension and won't be making the trip.
The scarmble will probably be on next week, too, as the Gamecocks get ready to play at Florida State.
PAYING RESPECTS: JSU coach Jack Crowe and wife LeAnn planned to attend Monday's visitation for Keith Howard, the Lincoln High football coach who died of a heart attack Friday night.
Tiger Williams, a defensive back who played for Howard, was excused from practice Saturday and Crowe said the player could have as much time as needed to grieve. He wasn't expected to be part of the team's travel squad anyway.
Williams isn't the only JSU player who will go through this season with the heavy heart of losing his high school coach. Starting corner T.J. Heath and linebacker Chris Findley lost their coach, Alexandria's Larry Ginn, to cancer earlier this summer. Heath and Findley visited Ginn shortly before his passing.
"When I first heard about Coach Ginn being sick, I was in a morning practice," Heath said. "My coach said, 'Do you love coach Ginn?' and I said, 'Yes, sir.' He asked me again and I said, 'Yes, sir,' and he said you need to go see him."It was kind of tough to see my high school coach who taught me a lot of things and the next day he passes. There hasn't been a day I haven't thought about him."
Heath puts his coach's intials on his wrist bands as a memorial.
"It helps motivate me," he said. "He helped me to get where I'm at today."
ACADEMIC DAY: Mondays have typically been an improvement day at JSU practice. The Gamecocks will still use it for that purpose this year, only it will be for academic improvement.
One of the program's academic progress penalties involved the loss of practice time. To accommodate the sanction, the Gamecocks have eliminated practice on Monday and turned it into an academic day with scheduled class time in the window previously reserved for football.
"We're going to have to not require as many reps to get ready to play, which requires a smarter (football sense) player," Crowe said. "We're going to bave to be better with less reps ... and we're going to have to be better coaches. There are some trades in here, but that's never going to be an excuse for how we perform, I'll assure you of that."
The players said they won't miss not practicing on Monday. Besides, by the midpoint of the season Monday practices were starting to disappear anyway.
"When you get to this time of year and you put the hard work through it camp, it all becomes a mental game," Thomas said. "You can only bang your head so much before bad things start to happen with all that."
MILESTONE PROMOTION: Benjamin Puckett has been impressive enough in camp that Crowe said he would reward the freshman linebacker from Marietta, Ga., with a scholarship when one becomes available.
Puckett would become the 25th walkon to be put on scholarship during Crowe's 10-year tenure as the Gamecocks' coach.
Crowe said there were five others "right on track" for similar battlefield commission. He declined to name the others, since he hasn't informed them, but one figures to be Francis Duncan, a freshman from Cartersville, Ga., currently listed as the No. 2 corner behind A.J. Davis.
"Before I put a guy on, I have to see his classwork," Crowe said. "Puckett was here last year. He's got a 2.7. He's never been on a list for anything. (The process) starts when you see whether they can play, but then you track them to see if they're accountable. If Francis Duncan can show me a year's worth of that kind of accountability, he'll be on scholarship, too."