COLLEGE UPDATE: Tuskegee ranked 25th in first poll
TUSKEGEE, Ala. – Fresh off its first-ever NCAA Division II playoff appearance, Tuskegee University opens 2014 on several top 25 lists. TU will enter the 2014 season ranked No. 25 in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll.
The Golden Tigers finished last season with an 8-3 record. The season ended with a 30-27 loss to North Alabama in the first round of the playoffs.
Tuskegee completed the season with the top scoring offense and defense in SIAC play. In 10 games, the defense allowed just 21 touchdowns while the offense scored 45 touchdowns. The offense rushed for 1,943 yards and accumulated 1,942 yards with the aerial attack.
The Golden Tigers will open their season at home against the Bulldogs of Alabama A & M University. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. on Sept. 06.
Huntingdon puts on the pads
The Huntingdon football team closed out its first practice in full gear a little early on Monday.
Rain and lightning forced an early end to the fifth practice of the preseason, but head coach Mike Turk said it was a productive session.
“The weather knocked off the last 15-20 minutes of practice, which was the tail end of our full-speed work,” Turk said. “We were able to get some of our 11-on-11 work done, so that’s a good thing. We just weren’t able to finish.
“For the first day in full pads, the intensity was good and guys were getting after each other. I think our defensive mentality is good right now. We’re still making some mistakes, but we have a lot of guys playing hard and flying around.”
The defensive coaches are keeping a watchful eye on the linebacker positions. While the secondary returns three starters and the defensive line returns five players with game experience, the Hawks are less experienced at linebacker.
“We lost a lot of guys that played for us last year,” Turk said. “We have a few guys back and we’ve moved some guys around to try and find the right combination of people to make it work. The early stages of practice have been very important to try and identify who the leaders are and increase their reps so they will be ready.”
Turk said he is not ready to point out the frontrunners for starting positions, but said several players are battling for playing time.
“We have a lot of guys at this position, but we have to figure out who the leaders are and who the best ones are,” Turk said. “We have to start by finding three linebackers, work our way to finding our top six and whatever we can find beyond that is gravy. But we have to find our starting three first.”
The Hawks will practice again in full gear on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Practice is open to the public.
Troy completes scrimmage
The Troy football team completed its final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday as the Trojans ran approximately 100 plays in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Trojans did not practice Sunday or Monday and begins their normal in-season schedule Tuesday. Troy will take part in a mock scrimmage next Saturday, which will be one week out from the season opener at UAB.
“Obviously it looked to me like the offense came out and played a little bit today, running and throwing,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “Defensively, we’ve got a few guys dinged up, which no excuse as we’ve got a lot of guys out there.”
Offensive highlights from Saturday’s scrimmage included a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Silvers to Chandler Worthy, a 27-yard shuffle pass for a score from Connor Bravard to Keith Johnson and a solid ground game from Brandon Burks and Jordan Chunn.
“We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy,” Silvers said. “Last week we didn’t play too well and this week we wanted to step it up a little bit. I was more comfortable today and got a couple of drives under my belt. We want to get the big play and score as fast as we can, but the 13-play and 11-play drives are okay too as long as we score.”
The defense had a solid day as well, but the biggest take away from the scrimmage was the lack of turnovers forced by the unit.