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."

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