Sept. 21, 2005
Winston-Salem, NC - The Winston-Salem State University Rams will return to the road on Saturday evening at 6:00 pm as they travel to Richmond, Virginia to face their arch-rivals, the Panthers of Virginia Union University at Hovey Field (10,000 capacity) as WSSU looks to improve to 2-0 in the CIAA.
Kickoff..., Eastern Standard Time.
Venue...Hovey Field in
Television Coverage...There is no television coverage for this contest versus the Panthers of Virginia Union University. The Rams currently have no games in the 2005 season that are slated for television broadcasts, however there is discussion about televising the October 15th, 2005 contest versus the North Carolina Central University Eagles.
Radio Coverage...This weekend's contest will be available to listeners in the greater Winston-Salem area live on WSNC, FM 90.5 with Doc Love and George Croom calling all the action as well as live nationally on the internet at www.WSSU.edu by clicking on the link: "Listen to WSNC."
Live Statistical Broadcast Online...Can't make it to the game, but want to keep tabs on what the Rams are doing as it happens? Then log on to the official live statistical broadcast of the game on GAMETRACKER. Catch all WSSU home games as each one takes advantage of the Rams' enhanced partnership with College Sports Television as WSSU became the 72nd NCAA member school to use the GAMETRACKER software that enables a live statistical broadcast of the entire game to be seen on the World Wide Web. To access the GAMETRACKER webcast, fans may visit the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.WSSURAMS.com, accessing the football schedule page and then clicking on the GAMETRACKER link to view all the statistical action and information.
Setting The Scene...The matchup between the Rams and Panthers marks the fifth game of the season for both teams. WSSU eanred their first win of the season last weekend as they defeated the Vikings of Elizabeth City State University at Bowman Gray Stadium in
The Series...The Rams and Panthers have met 38 times since the 1946 season with the Panthers holding the advantage in the all-time series as WSSU has posted a 17-20-1 record overall versus VUU for a winning percentage of .447. The largest WSSU win came in 1995 when WSSU defeated VUU 43-0. The Largest VUU win came in 1983 when Virginia Union defeated the Rams 40-7. WSSU's longest win streak versus the Panthers was a span of 10 games from 1990-2000. The longest VUU win streak was a six-game span, occurring twice, most recently from 1981-1986. VUU has won four of the last five meetings, while WSSU won the last head-to-head meeting, in 2004, as they defeated VUU 20-13 in a game that was played at Bowman Gray Stadium, in
Fun Facts and Numbers...Since coming to
Purvis Takes Over...With the conclusion of the 2004 season, the Rams lost the services of quarterback Joshua McGee, who has since moved on to become a member of the Ram coaching staff. With the move from the playing field to the sidelines, the Rams have crowned a new starting quarterback in
The Brothers Bynum...The Rams have a tradition of football excellence, and also have a tradition of family that permeates not only the football program, but the athletic program in general. The Rams currently have two sets of brothers on the team, the most valuable of which are the Bynum Brothers. The brothers, Darrian Bynum (sophomore LB), and Levern Bynum (senior LB), will both make starts during the 2005 season. Levern has appeared in 33 games during his Ram career, starting 23 while Darrian appeared in eight games his freshman year in 2004, starting six, and has started all four games in 2005. Darrian currently leads the Rams in tackles with 24 (16 solo, 8 assisted). Levern has six tackles thus far in 2005 (5 solo, 1 assisted).
The Coaches...The coaches for this game are very evenly matched-up and both captain two football programs rich in tradition, both of which are accustomed to winning. The Rams are led by 13th-year man and WSSU alum (1980), Kermit Blount. Blount has an overall record of 72-56-3 overall for a winning percentage of .549. He has faced the Panthers 14 times and has posted a record of 10-4 versus VUU over that span, for a winning percentage of .714. VUU is led by Arrington Jones, III who has faced the Rams and Kermit Blount only once (2004). Blount got the best of Jones, his former Offensive Coordinator in 2004, by the score of 20-13.
From Standard To Unconventional...The Rams are sporting a new defensive look this season as they have trashed the conventional 4-3 defensive scheme in favor of a more unconventional 3-5-3 defense under the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Mike Ketchum. The 3-5-3 utilizes three defensive linemen, three linebackers, two "spurs" or strong safeties, and three defensive backs (two cover corners and a free safety). The new look has posed matchup problems for the Rams first four opponents of 2005 as WSSU has had much better showings defensively than 2004's squad that finished near last in the CIAA in every defensive statistical category. The Rams have recorded 12 pass break ups and four interceptions through four games and have given up only six passing plays of 20 yards or more. Cornerback Maurice Reid leads WSSU with four passes defended while Nathaniel Biggs has three interceptions, two of which came last Saturday.
New Threads For The Rams...The Rams will have one set of new threads for the 2005 season as they have brand new Russell road white uniforms. WSSU unveiled the new uniforms on September 3rd, 2005 when they traveled to Washington, DC to face MEAC member, and Division I-AA opponent Howard. WSSU will wear the uniforms three more times this season, on Sept. 24, Oct. 1, and Oct. 8. The uniforms were designed following a collaborative effort between head coach Kermit Blount and fourth-year equipment manager Jay Robinson. They are manufactured by Russell.
Rams Picked Third...The verdict came in on July 21st, 2005 at the CIAA Football Kick-Off Luncheon that took place in Petersburg, VA, and to many Ram fans, it was a surprise. The powerhouse Rams were picked to finish the 2005 season third in the ultra-competitive CIAA Western Division. WSSU was picked to finish behind 2004 Western Division Champion Fayetteville State University, who was tabbed as the favorite to defend their Western Division title and the Rams were also, surprisingly, predicted to finish behind the Eagles of North Carolina Central University. WSSU looks to prove the "experts" wrong in 2005 by winning the CIAA Western Division and the CIAA Championship. The Rams have not won a CIAA title since winning back-to-back championships during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
South Atlantic AGAIN...The meeting between the WSSU and Catawba marked the fifth consecutive season that the Rams opened play versus a team from the South Atlantic Conference. The past four seasons it was the Eagles of Carson-Newman that WSSU faced on opening-weekend. The Rams have posted a 1-4 record over that span as they won the season opener during the 2001 season, a 27-16 win over nationally-ranked Carson-Newman. The Rams are 2-6 versus the SAC during the Kermit Blount coaching era as he has led the Rams to wins over Carson-Newman College (2001) and Wofford (1994).
WSSU Jumps Out Early...The 2004 Rams liked to jump out on opponents early as the Rams posted a 4-2 record when they scored the first points of the game. This season, in the Rams' first two games, WSSU jumped out to early leads before relinquishing them both to their opponents before being saddled with losses.
First 100-Yard Rusher...Last week marked the first time in 2005 that the Rams have recorded a 100-yard rusher, and WSSU earned the win because of it. Martin Hicks recorded 153 yards on 15 carries which included touchdowns of 65 yards and 40 yards. Jed Bines recorded 67 yards on 17 carries for WSSU.
Artificial Turf Isn't Kind...The Rams lost their only game played on the artificial turf surface. WSSU has not won on turf since 2003 when they defeated West Virginia Tech 35-33 in Montgomery, WV.
Players To Watch (WSSU)...#1 Jed Bines, junior running back; #27 Martin Hicks, senior running back; #4 Monte Purvis, sophomore quarterback; #9 Brandon Hussey, senior wide receiver and kick returner; #7 Matt Hind, junior, punter/placekicker.
Weird Logic...The Rams turned the ball over five times last weekend, but were able to record the win. WSSU has posted a 1-2 record in 2005 when recording more turnovers than their opponent. WSSU currently has 16 turnovers while their opponents have recorded only 10 for a -6 turnover differential.
99 Problems, But Numbers Ain't One...The Rams are loaded...literally. On August 27th, versus Catawba, the Rams had 97 players dressed in uniform. That 97 players is only two short of the NCAA maximum of 99 players that can dress for a team's home games. That means that the Rams have a roster that is 97.9% full. According to head equipment manager Jay Robinson, the Rams may very well fill all 99 uniforms on Saturday, October 15th, when they host North Carolina Central University at Bowman Gray Stadium in WSSU's first home game after back-to-back-to-back road contests.
Running For Home...The Rams are very proficient at running the ball. There is no doubt about that. As a team, the Rams averaged 246.7 yards per game on the ground last season. However, in home games, the Rams averaged a stunning 298.7 yards per game on the ground. This season however, the Rams have only one 100-yard rusher in 2005's four contests. Martin Hicks broke the drought last weekend as he recorded 155 yards.
Secondary Solution...If there was one glaring weakness in the 2004 Rams, it would have been the WSSU secondary. The Rams were ranked second to last, or last, in every pass defense statistic in the CIAA. WSSU has tried to remedy the situation by bringing in a new defensive coordinator in Mike Ketchum, and has switched from a 4-3 to a 3-5-3 formation on defense. The change in formation yielded immediate dividends for the Rams as they batted away four passes and intercepted two more (one of which was called back due to an offsides penalty) versus Catawba on August 27th. WSSU has defended 12 opponent's passes thus far during the 2005 season (8 PBU's and 4 INT's).
New Season, New Announcers...The 2005 season will mark the debut of the new WSNC Radio 90.5 FM radio broadcast crew. The Rams' flagship station has recently revamped its entire WSSU Football broadcast crew. Ram fans will now hear all the on-field action brought to them by George Croom and Doc Love. The pair will combine for a tag-team play-by-play effort that will keep all those displaced Ram fans "in the know" with live action. As well, the duo launched a live coaches show on August 29th, 2005. The show airs Mondays on WSNC 90.5 FM at 6:30 pm. For additional information, contact WSSU Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing and Promotions,
Sophomore Sensation...The Rams' Darrian Bynum currently ranks tied for ninth in the CIAA in tackles with 24. He has tallied 16 solo tackles and eight assists with a sack and two tackles for loss. He also ranks tied for first in the CIAA with two forced fumbles (tied with seven other players).
Injury Update...The 2005 Rams have faced several injuries already, and will face the Vikings of Elizabeth City State with a few bumps and bruises. It is still unclear whether #52 William Hayes, the Rams' starting middle linebacker from week one, will suit up for the game due to a knee injury sustained in week one versus Catawba College. Details of the severity of the injury are still being examined, but his hyperextended knee (with no ligament damage) is still causing him moderate pain. If Hayes is unable to play, Thaddeus Griffin (6'2", 225 lb., So.) will make his third start of the season as he replaces Hayes, with Brandon McLellan (6'0", 225 lb., So.) backing him up. If Griffin is forced to move to middle linebacker, the Rams will put Chris Stowe (6'1", 215 lb., Jr.) in the starting right linebacker spot. Another change to the depth chart for the Rams comes on the offensive side of the ball where Michael Helton (6'3", 290lb., r-Fr.) will make his third career start at center with week-one's starting center, Javon Hubbard (6'4", 260-lb., r-So.) being relegated to a back-up role (ankle tenderness). The final injury update for the Rams is one that still has WSSU fans reeling as two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley will be unavailable for the Rams until at least October 1st as he has been told by doctors that he needs four weeks off following surgery on his left shin. Speculation is that the Rams will attempt to ask the NCAA for a medical redshirt year for Oakley who is a senior in the classroom and on the field in 2005.
Statistics Are Deceiving...As any statistician can tell you, statistics can be deceiving If one briefly looks at the Rams' stats for this season, one would notice that WSSU is a perfect 100% in the red-zone. This does not tell the story as the Rams have been in the red-zone only five times this season. WSSU turned in a perfect 1-1 showing inside the 20 yard-line versus Catawba in a 20-10 loss and did not enter the red zone on offense versus the Bison of Howard University. However, the Rams turned in a perfect three-for-three red-zone performance versus South Carolina State (one TD, two FG's) in a 52-12 loss and were 1- last weekend versus ECSU. WSSU is a perfect five-for-five this season in the red zone.
Red-Zone Efficiency, On The Flipside...The Rams are a perfect 1-1 in the red zone this season, however, their opponents are also turning in an impressive red-zone efficiency of 81.2% as well as they are a 13-for-16 inside the Rams' 20-yard line. Catawba College was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first game of the season and Howard University was a perfect 3-for-3 three Saturday's ago. The Rams saw the Bulldogs of South Carolina State turn in a stellar six-for-six outing inside the red zone on September 3rd. The Rams have given up ten touchdowns (seven rushing, three passing) and three field goals over that three-game span. However, last weekend, the Rams stopped ECSU in the red zone three times (1 interception and two blocked kicks).
Eleven In Double Digits...The Rams have only eleven players who have ten or more tackles on the season. Though 32 players have recorded at least one tackle through two games, only Darrian Bynum (24), Nathaniel Biggs (23), Thaddeus Griffin (23), Maurice Reid (16), Patrick Clark (15), Brandon McLellan (13), Demetrius Rivers (13), Sam Robinson (12), Chris Stowe (11), Raynard Crawley (10), and Jason Holman (10) have ten or more tackles thus far in 2005.
Storyline, Division I...The 2005 season marks the first time since the 2000 season that the Rams have faced two Division I football opponents. That season, the Rams faced the Bulldogs of South Carolina State and the Pirates of Hampton. That season, the Rams split with their two Division I opponents. This season, the Rams dropped both decisions to their Division I opponents, losing to Howard University (September 3rd) 20-6 and South Carolina State (September 10th) 52-12.
Climbing Out Of The Offensive Cellar...The Rams of 2005, in stark contrast to last season's offensive juggernaut, are near the bottom of the CIAA's scoring offense cellar. However, the Rams are climbing out of the cellar and have moved up to 9th in the CIAA's scoring offensive ranks as they are averaging only 13.0 points per game .
Chad Who?...The Rams, who are without the services of two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley (Haw River, NC) who is still suffering from complications due to shin surgery, are faring very well with placekicker Matt Hind (Clemmons, NC) in a back-up capacity. The Rams are currently ranked second in the CIAA in punting with a 37.8 yard per punt average. The Rams have a 33.3 yard per punt net average. As well, Hind was a perfect three-for-three in his point-after tries last weekend and hit a 20-yard field goal to win Saturday's game as time expired 24-23. For his efforts, Hind was named the CIAA's Specialty Teams Player of the Week.
Where'd The Rushin' Go?...The Rams, who have led the CIAA in rushing yardage for the last six consecutive seasons, are currently, after three games, ranked 7th in the conference in rushing. The Rams have turned in, as of press time, only 464 yards of rushing offense for an average of 116.0 yards per game rushing. This is in stark contrast to the 2004 Rams who recorded 247.2 rushing yards per game last season.
Connections To Virginia Union...There are several underlying storylines to this weekend's game with Virginia Union. WSSU Head Coach Kermit Blount is a native of Richmond, VA...Current VUU Head Coach Arrington Jones, III attended WSSU for two years before leaving for the National Football League (ultimately graduating from Virginia State University in 1985)...Jones, III also served as the Rams' offensive coordinator for three seasons before moving on to coach at Virginia Union...The Panther's linebackers coach, Gilbert Wiggins served in the same capacity at WSSU last season...The Panther's receivers/special teams coach Kevin Dial served in the same capacity at WSSU last season...WSSU's Raynard Crawley is a native of Richmond, VA...The Panthers and Rams have met in the CIAA Championship game four times with the Rams earning three wins, and CIAA titles, in the process...Current WSSU quarterbacks coach Josh McGee was a rookie starting quarterback when the Rams and Panthers last met in the CIAA title game...McGee lost that game by the score of 31-24 in 2001.
CIAA Weekly Honors...Martin Hicks and Matt Hind each earned CIAA weekly football honors this past week as Hicks was named the CIAA's Offensive Bakc of the Week and Hind was named the CIAA's Specialty Teams Player of the Week. Hicks, who has led the CIAA in rushing yardage for the past two years, awoke from a rushing slump as he recorded 155 yards on 15 carries (10.3 yards per carry) and scored a pair of touchdowns as the Rams defeated Elizabeth City State 24-23. His longest touchdown was a 60-yarder in the first quarter. He had a 45-yarder in the third quarter as well. Hind, who has assumed the punting duties following two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley's injury, also had a stellar week. His 20-yard field goal that sailed perfectly through the uprights as time expired lifted the Rams to a 24-23 win over Elizabeth City State at Bowman Gray Stadium. He was also a perfect three-for-three in the extra point category as well.
Moving On Up...Now that the Rams have entered into conference play, and have begun facing Division II opponents again, they are climbing the offensive ranks. WSSU's Martin Hicks and Jed Bines have seemingly awoken from their offensive slumps. As of press time, Hicks is 8th in the CIAA in rushing with 58.0 yards per game. His teammate Bines is 7th in the CIAA with 64.0 yards rushing per game.
Receptions A Plenty...The Rams are definitely throwing the ball more this season. Monte Purvis is starting to get comfortable in the pocket as of late and he has plenty of targets to hit on the flanks. WSSU wide receiver Bradford Herring is comfortable in the new scheme as he has been the recipient of several Purvis passes, including a 35-yard touchdown reception last weekend.
Don't Even Think About Throwing It There...WSSU cornerback Nathaniel Biggs is making the passing game very difficult for opposing teams as he has picked off three passes already this season. Biggs snared two interceptions last weekend versus Elizabeth City State and he currently ranks first in the CIAA in interceptions. He is tied with Fayetteville State's Donte Wise and Elizabeth City State's Paul Crews for the conference lead in interceptions (with three).
Fill In?...Maybe Not...WSSU placekicker Matt Hind, who assumed the Rams' punting duties following the injury to two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley has been extraordinary in a back-up role as he is currently ranked second in the CIAA in punting. Hind is averaging 38.9 yards per kick and is tied for the longest punt in the conference this season, a 64-yarder which he booted following a high snap. Despite the poor snap which forced him to drop back 15 yards deeper than normal, Hind booted the 64-yarder (from the line of scrimmage) down inside his opponent's 15-yard line. He is a perfect 4-for-4 this season on his field goal attempts and has missed only one extra point.
Upcoming Opponents...Ram fans are in no way looking past this weekend's game with Virginia Union as the two teams have a very storied, and very heated, rivalry. However, the Rams are set to take to the road again next weekend as they look for revenge versus the Broncos of Fayetteville State University. The Broncos have won the last three meetings versus the Rams as WSSU has not earned a win over FSU since a 14-2 win in 2001. The Broncos have earned a pair of CIAA football championships during that span as well. The three-game win streak versus the Rams ties the Broncos' longest win streak over WSSU all-time.
At Hovey Field...Virginia Union University's home field has not been kind to the Rams in recent years. WSSU has lost the last two meetings at Hovey Field in Richmond, VA and has not won on the road over the Panthers since a 17-0 victory that came during the 1999 season. The Rams dropped a 29-17 decision in 2003 (even after leading 10-0) and fell 24-22 on the road in 2001. WSSU looks to earn their first road win of the new millenium this weekend. However, since Kermit Blount has been the head coach at WSSU, the Rams are 4-2 versus the Panthers on the road in Richmond, VA, Blount's home-town.
Third Down Conversions...The Rams are 19 of 54 on third down this season. WSSU is turning in a third-down conversion percentage of 35.1% on the season. WSSU is o-fer on fourth down this season as they have posted an 0-for-3 mark on fourth down in 2005.
Fumble Fingers?...The Rams may have a fumble problem this season. Through four games of the 2005 season, the Rams have recorded 11 total fumbles for an average of 2.75 fumbles per contest. Even more disheartening is the fact the Rams have lost posession of nine of those 11 fumbles (81.8%).
Spreading It Around...This season, through four games, the Rams have spread the ball around well. Monte Purvis has thrown the ball to seven receivers this season. He has thrown only one touchdown pass, but has hit seven total receivers, and has hit five of those receivers multiple times in 2005.
Blocking Kicks...The Rams are up to their old tricks again. Last weekend WSSU blocked a pair of kicks, and has blocked four kicks thus far in 2005. The Rams have a history of blocking kicks as WSSU holds the NCAA record for the most blocked kicks in one season with 27 total blocked kicks. During the 1986 season, the Rams blocked 16 punts, seven field goals and four point-after tries for a total of 27 blocked kicks. WSSU is also tied for another NCAA record with Southeastern Louisiana University as both schools have turned in games where they blocked five opponent's punts. On October 4th, 1986, the Rams blocked five North Carolina Central University punts, thus tying them for the NCAA all-time record.
It Took FOREVER...Last weekend's game, a three-hour, 25-minute marathon was the Rams' longest, non-television broadcast game in over three years. The last time a game that was not broadcast on television took longer than three-hours and 20-minutes was the Rams 30-26 loss in four overtimes versus Fayetteville State on Homecoming Weekend during the 2002 season. That contest took three hours and 37 minutes.
Getting Into The Backfield...The Rams' new 3-5-3 defensive formation is causing problems for WSSU's opponents. If one needs proof of this, one needs to look no further than last Saturday's stat sheet as the Rams put severe pressure on ECSU's pair of quarterbacks. The Rams recorded nine tackles for loss and recorded three sacks. In addition to those startling numbers, the Rams hurried the pair of Viking passers three times. When the Viking QB's finally got the ball into the air, the Rams were there as well, breaking up four passes, picking off three of them.
Press Conference Quotes/Comments
Eleven team turnovers in the last two games. Man, that is a lot of hill running the coaches make you do for that isn't it?
Yeah. But Coach, hasn't really made us run, because we do a lot of that anyhow. But he made Te (WSSU quarterback Monte Purvis) and I carry a ball around practice all day on Monday and Tuesday, and if anyone knocked it out of hands, we would have had to run 10 hills.
The fumbles though, they were just flow of the game type of things, weren't they?
Yeah, I mean, we beat them (Elizabeth City State) by one point, but if we eliminate the turnovers, imagine what the score would have been like. We have to hang on to the ball and take care of it, and everything will be fine.
How is the team morale, being 1-3 heading into this weekend?
The team is doing well. I mean, all along, we wanted to go into the conference schedule and take it game by game. Our focus was to go to 1-0 in the CIAA, and we did that. Now we have to go to 2-0 with a win this weekend. I think that we have the confidence and focus to get to 2-0 in the CIAA, and it starts this weekend.
So you are feeling a little better after last weekend personally aren't you? I mean, you put up some Martin Hicks-like numbers. I had people ask me if you had graduated a couple of weeks ago because they didn't hear much about you during the first three games.
I mean, I guess I feel better, but I really feel better because we got the win. We aren't doing anything different. We have confidence going into every game. I mean, I wasn't playing my best the first few games. But everyone, from the coaches, to the community, they were all supporting us, and I think that really helps our confidence. I am just glad that we got the win. I mean I heard the questions from some people, like "When are you going to show up?". But after last week, now I hear the "Glad to have you back," comments. Now I know, I just have to keep it rolling all the time.
Is there a different attitude now that you guys have won? Does this team have a little bounce in their step now?
Usually, after a loss, sometimes some of the guys are a little down, but not much. This team always knew we could win games, and after the win last weekend, we are happy, but even more so, we know we could have, and can, play better. We have a lot more fun when we are winning, that is for sure.
That last drive of the game, the one that ultimately won it for you, does that give you more confidence as a team?
I mean, all I think about, and all the team thought about, was winning, and we got it done, so I guess we are confident because we won a close one.
A close game like that, does it give you guys confidence for the upcoming meat of the conference schedule?
Yeah, we know that we have some very difficult opponents coming up. That ECSU team was a very good team, and we got an important win in the CIAA, and we have a lot of confidence in our abilities to win close games. We, as a team, know that we can win, and we are ready to head into CIAA play.
"Oh yeah, mom will be there. No doubt about that. She has so much energy for her age. She will be there at the game, and she still gets on my case when I don't call home. I mean, she will always be my momma, so I do what she tells me, even at my age. It is a good feeling to go back to Richmond, VA because that is where I grew up, and where I played my high school ball, at that stadium."
WSSU Head Coach, Kermit Blount
Now, you obviously know AJ (Arrington Jones, III) is the head coach at Virginia Union. Is that added pressure or motivation for you? Did he recruit you too? Or was it mainly Coach Blount?
It was a little bit of both of them. I don't know if it is added motivation or not, because we just want to win this game, and every game.
Do you think that Virginia Union will do anything different?
I think that they will blitz a little more. I think he knows what kind of player I am, and I think he will try to use the blitz to make it tough on me.
You have been here a long time, can you tell that the attitude has changed after a win?
Yeah, definitely. I mean it is always better to get a win. No matter how confident you are, and how focused, it is always just a little sweeter after a win. It changes things in the locker room. It always helps the confidence level. Especially after starting 0-3.
Would you say there was doubt in the minds of some of the guys after starting 0-3?
I wouldn't say that there was doubt. There was just some anxiety. I mean, starting 0-3 is tough, but that is all erased after getting a win. No doubt about that. I think that the young guys maybe didn't understand that. Or maybe they didn't know what it takes to win a close one like that. That is where being here a few years pays off.
Bradford Herring, he really came into his own last weekend with 150 receiving yards. He showed some people he can play, don't you think?
Oh yeah. He has been great. Brad could play like that two or three years ago too. I mean, he just waited his time, and he is coming around. He is that guy that opens up a lot of things for us. Some teams like to try to double me up now that Brandon Free is gone, and Brad is going to make them pay. We can take advantage of that. Monte is going to be able to find him, and that is what happened on Saturday. He is going to be the man.
Are you going to expect that type of performance out of him all the time now, every week?
Oh yeah. No doubt. He is going to be that big play guy that we need. We feel like we, as a team, he and I, can really do things, and allow Monte to get the ball to us and open up our attack, and help support the running game.
So, any thoughts coach?
One of the things that I kept telling the team was that we were a lot better than they, or anyone, was giving us credit for. I mean, we played some stiff, real stiff, competition. We played Catawba, a team who is still undefeated, and Howard who is a great defensive team, and we all know how good South Carolina State is. I think that the guys saw how good we can be this past week. I mean, we got a win, over a good team, in a close game, and that helps us out. The guys who might have been a little bit skeptical, they know now, we can do it. One of the things, the other things, that I was thinking about, is that it may be a good omen that we didn't peak early. Because I would much rather start peaking now, rather than peak early, and then poop out when we should be peaking. Hopefully, we will continue to climb.
You have had good success going back to your hometown, I think you have lost only twice in your 12 years there, and that was a last-second touchdown then. Talk about going back home, and I know your mom is going to be there, and all that.
Oh yeah, mom will be there. No doubt about that. She has so much energy for her age. She will be there at the game, and she still gets on my case when I don't call home. I mean, she will always be my momma, so I do what she tells me, even at my age. It is a good feeling to go back to Richmond, VA because that is where I grew up, and where I played my high school ball, at that stadium. We played some of our home games at Hovey Field. There are a lot of memories there. I think that every time I ever played against Arrington Jones in high school, at Hovey Field, I won, so my memories are good [laughs].
William Hayes got back in the game, and he looks to be back to being healthy. That is good coming off of that knee problem.
Yeah, William is a tough kid. He really stepped it up in the fourth quarter, he really made some good plays. He is about one more game away from where he should be, in terms of getting back into playing shape etc. He looks pretty good.
How about Jed's ankle? Is he okay?
I'm not worried about Jed Bines. It will take a miracle to keep him out of a ball game. So honestly, I am not worried about Jed.
Union has a pretty good quarterback that they can use. Talk about that.
He is a very elusive quarterback that they have playing now. I mean, we are going to have to put some pressure on him. We need to make him think one thing and give him something else, and honestly, we are going to have to lay a lick on him and let him know how we bring it. We have to be prepared to play, and they are going to be very emotionally charged, and it is there first home game, and this is a game where we are going to see what we saw last weekend. Coach Tillar at ECSU is one of my boys from way back, and they were ready for us, and I don't expect anything less from AJ and the VUU team. These kids are going to play hard for Arrington. I mean, truth be told, I love AJ and Tillar, and Faison, but I hate playing against them, because we go so far back. But once the game is over, we will go back to being all-good again.