Signing Day 2015 – Defense

On the Defensive side we don’t really have a lot to replace numbers-wise, only losing three starters. The big issue is that each of the guys lost were solid 3 (if not 4) year contributors.

With LBs Tyrell Adams and Bobby Liggins, DLs Tory Slater and Nathan Teter a LOT of career starts go out the door. Up front we’ve brought in Brandon Thorpe from Texas Tech, Jason Carr from Tennessee and A.J. Fanene from JUCO. We also signed two JUCO LBs in Christopher Harthone and Craig Murphy. They will surely be backups to returnees Kentrell Reynolds and Gabe Freeman, who beat out Liggins for playing time much of the year.

On paper these guys are probably as talented if not better than what we lose but surely they will not be the same leaders in the huddle as the outgoing seniors. My guess is Dickey holdovers Alex Armah and David Dupaty will be called on to fill those roles. Assuming DTs Marrion Holmes and Dalvon Stuckey both return* our defensive line will be among the Nations best.

We don’t lose a single person from a pretty solid secondary yet we’ve still added Josh Keys from Texas Tech and two solid JUCOs. The depth here is just ridiculous. Competition Tuesdays will be a real battle next fall.

Line: A- (more talent but less leadership)
Linebackers: C+/B- (when you lose an All-American it’s hard to say you’re not taking a step back.
Secondary: A+ Clearly better

Signing Day 2015 Report Card

Well, National Signing Day has come and gone. Once again Coach Will Hall and staff have signed an impressive group to join the Wolfpack beginning with the 2015 season.

Offensively we need to replace All-American Garrison Ushery, All-GSC Quincy Awa-Dubose and solid contributor Somto Okeke on the front line. Texas Tech transfer Dominique Robertson will help fill that gap along with a bunch of young guys that got experience last year. I’d really like to see one more JUCO added to this list but that’s just me. I’m used to the Mark Richt mantra of wanting a 7-man rotation of starter ready guys up front. I’m sure the coaching staff know what we need better than I do.

Seth Hinsley broke Nick Price’s season rushing record although it took him 15 games to do so. I’m pretty sure Nick set the record in 12 games. Derick Seward will no doubt step in ready to etch his own name in the records. We’ve got two new smaller backs in LeMarcus Franks and Devontae Jackson but man…I’d feel a lot better with one more 200 pounder back there. Maybe Curtis Lindsay will move back with all the secondary depth now.

Going into 2014 I didn’t know how we’d replace Bobby Burum but Alex Macauley did just fine. Now I don’t know how we’ll replace Macauley and Earvin Anumgba. We have a boat load of guys who can catch the ball but if you don’t block you’ll never see the field much less see the ball coming your way. With WR transfers Travis Marion, Armani Miller and JeNardreon Jones I’m not worried about the passing game at all. They’ve got all spring to figure out they need to block first, receive second.

How do you replace Denarius Appling? You don’t…just move on.

Line: B- I’d prefer one more JUCO guy
Backfield: B-
Receivers; A-…much more depth

Tomorrow – Defensive side



The Tuskegee Golden Tigers vs West Georgia Wolves Nov. 22

The Playoff picture

So. The Wolves have done it. They beat Shorter 31-17 to finish the regular season 9-2, the best record since 2001. We find out this evening whether we make the NCAA playoffs.

Senior Seth Hinsley had a monster day, finishing with 196 yards on 34 carries and four touchdowns. It was a quiet 196 yards too. I had no idea he had that many until I saw the stats. I knew he was steadily gaining yards but I was thinking 100-125.

Tuskegeee helped us in the playoff picture by outlasting a determined Albany State 47-41, possibly helped by some questionable referring…at least if you believe the ASU radio team. If West Georgia gets in that would make four teams from the Gulf South Conference for likely the first time ever, even three is pretty rare. It’s been a down year for the SAC though, with only undefeated Lenoir-Rhyne ending with with less than three losses.

Still I can’t help but feel like the committee will be looking for any reason they can find to not include four teams from any one conference. There’s really no way to justify it with the numbers.

First, Albany State finishes 7-3 while West Georgia ends up 9-2. Then you move to common opponents. ASU beat Miles 14-7 while UWG beat them 26-0. The Rams beat Clark Atlanta 34-12 while the Wolves whupped them 42-2.

Albany doesn’t really seem to have any justifiable edge over us by any metric, other than the “No Conference Left Behind” test. Fingers crossed the West Georgia Wolves hear good new this evening at 5PM.

If the playoffs began tomorrow….

[b]Week 8 Massey Top 25, Regional Rankings[/b]

1. North Alabama 1.02
2. Lenoir-Rhyne .96
3. Delta State .94
4. Valdosta State .86
5. West Georgia .84
6. West Alabama .69

UNA & L-R would get a first round bye; DSU would play UWA and we’d play VSU again…ugh. We need that bye big time.

End of season projection

I believe, if we can somehow leave Florence with a win we have the inside track on the Gulf South Conference championship and maybe that first round bye in the playoffs.

After this coming weekend UNA still has to play at Delta State, at West Alabama with Shorter at home. If they lose to UWG and Delta it’s over. Delta State still has to go to West Alabama (so pull for the Tigers) then they host North Alabama and Mississippi College.

We’re @ UNA then we host Florida Tech and MC, then we go back to Shorter. Florida Tech is playing everyone tough but everything is riding on that North Alabama game for us. We can still sneak into the playoffs with a loss but win that and we control our own destiny. Lose and we’re probably fighting VSU for that last playoff spot and their SOS is much better than ours.

Basically we’re looking at 8-3 even if the wheels falls from here; 10-1 with a first round bye in the playoffs if we handle our business….not bad for a first year program.

Lineup for VSU

Looks like we’ve made some changes on the Offensive line. Garrison Ushery has switched from Right Guard to Left. Orion Awa-Dubose, who was backing up his brother Quincy at Center, has been starting at Right. Senior Somto Okeke has taken over at RT for Austin Kastl. Kastl has had some issues dealing with speed rushers in pass protection. I’m glad to see Somto getting a start. He’s been working hard for a long time….Damn Good Wolf!