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October 11, 2014

What's At Stake For MSU and Ole Miss This Weekend And Beyond

By bryanflynn

As College Gameday prepares for their second visit in Mississippi for the second week in a row, and the first time at Mississippi State, the stakes keep getting higher for the Rebels and Bulldogs. Both teams are tied for third in the AP Top 25 football poll, and the eyes of the football world are once again on the Magnolia State.

Neither the Rebels nor Bulldogs are out of the playoffs with a loss this weekend. That is, unless the voters decide both we're frauds and dump our teams down the polls.

Texas A&M has more at stake this weekend than Ole Miss. The Aggies are coming off a lose to Mississippi State, and a Rebels victory would put an end to Texas A&M's playoff hopes.

Ole Miss must get past the Aggies to get a break in their schedule. Well, at least as much of a break you can get in the SEC.

The Rebels get Tennessee next Saturday at home before traveling to LSU. The Volunteers are an improved football team, and LSU is young but playing in Tiger Stadium is never an easy win.

A win this weekend means the Rebels could climb all the way to up to No. 2 or take sole possession of third place. It would be a step closer to the playoffs and a SEC West title.

Beating the Aggies would leave just Auburn and Mississippi State as the major tests left on the schedule. Sure, Arkansas is in the mix but, even as improved as the Razorbacks are this season, the Rebels should get a win like against LSU and Tennessee.

After this weekend, the road is wide open for the Rebels. Just about all the major stumbling blocks will be out of the way.

Mississippi State has a chance to move up to No. 2 in the nation with a win over Auburn. Much like Ole Miss, the road for the Bulldogs gets a lot lighter for a while after this weekend.

MSU gets Kentucky and Arkansas in SEC action. The Wildcats are improved like the Razorbacks, but that shouldn't trouble the Bulldogs much.

The road gets harder after that with road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss to finish out the season with a home date against Vanderbilt sandwiched between those two games.

This weekend sets up a nice stretch for both the Rebels and Bulldogs. After this weekend, much of the heavy lifting is over.

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has the most at stake this weekend. He can become the Heisman front runner with a solid-to-great game and a win. His counterpart Nick Marshall of Auburn could also take the lead.

Prescott can put a lock on the award with his normal play against Auburn. He can lock up the award with big games against Kentucky, Arkansas, and UT-Martin.

Keys to Rebels and Bulldogs wins

Things are easy for the Rebels. Just use the ...

October 8, 2014

Mississippi Roster For 28th Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game

By bryanflynn

Earlier today, the coaches and players were announced for the Mississippi roster of the 28th Annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game. The Mississippi Association of Coaches made the announcement.

The game will be played on Saturday, December 13th in Montgomery, Alabama. The game will be televised on WLBT.

Local metro coach, managers, and players are in bold.

Team Mississippi

Head Coach

Jamie Mitchell (Starkville)

Assistant Coaches

Toby Collums (Itawamba)

Chad Cook (Ripley)

Trent Hammond (Tupelo)

Lance Mancuso (Bassfield)

John Perry (Pearl)

Tony Vance (Hattiesburg)

Scout Coach

Jeff Breland (Lake)

Roster

Armani Linton (Walnut) - DB

Cameron Myers (Oak Grove) - DB

Chris Stamps (Warren Central) - DB

Ephrain Kitchen (South Panola) - DB

Jarvis Wilson (Tupelo) - DB

Richaud Floyd (Gulfport) - DB

Fletcher Adams (Brandon) - DL

Jauan Collins (Pascagoula) - DL

Marshean Joseph (Pascagoula) - DL

D.J. Henderson (Clinton) - DL

Keontye Garner (Murrah) - DL

Michael Godley (Starkville) - K

Fred Walls (Olive Branch) - LB

Joseph Dillon (Tylertown) - LB

Jamal Peters (Bassfield) - LB

Justin Clifton (Tupelo) - LB

Johnathan Abram (East Marion) - LB

Tijan Jallow (Olive Branch) - LB

Leo Lewis (Brookhaven) - LB

Tommy Champion (Callaway) - OL

Jordan Bradford (St. Stanislaus) - OL

Jarien Barksdale (South Panola) - OL

Thad Roberts (Petal) - OL

Ryan Gibson (St. Stanislaus) - OL

Rishard Cook (Hattiesburg) - OL

Javon Patterson (Petal) - OL

Drake Dorbeck (St. Aloysius) - OL

Marquez Griffin (Lake Central) - OL

Austin Riley (DeSoto Central) - P

Brady Davis (Starkville) - QB

J'mar Smith (Meridian) - QB

Darrell Henderson (South Panola) - RB

Ladarious Galloway (Gentry) - RB

Jordan Wright (Pearl) - RB

Terrance Davis (Southaven) - WR

Keenan Barnes (Madison Central) - WR

Willie Hibbler (North Panola) - WR

Malik Dear (Murrah) - WR

Trey Smith (Madison Central) - WR

Raphael Leonard (Starkville) - WR

Managers

Dylan McCollom (South Panola)

Daniel Baxter (Brandon)

October 3, 2014

Mega Magnolia Football Saturday Preview

By bryanflynn

October is the time of year when college football begins to show who is contenders and who are pretenders. This Saturday the SEC West will begin to find out who are contenders and who are pretenders, in earnest.

Mississippi State and Mississippi will have the focus of most of the college football world. The Bulldogs and Rebels could be dark horses for the SEC West title and a spot in the new college football playoff.

Texas A&M and Alabama (who are this week's visitors) are already favorites for both the SEC title and the playoff. The Aggies and Crimson Tide will be expected to win by most but there is no reason not to believe in the Rebels or Bulldogs.

There has been a ton of speculation about both these games. Article after article has been written and I'm sure I haven't read them all by this point.

Let me say one thing. Football is simple.

Don't get caught up in all the long drawn out breakdowns of each position. Football games are rarely won by one single player.

Both these games are going to be won or lost by the team that can control the line of scrimmage on the offensive and defensive lines, who doesn't turn the ball over and gets turnovers and being sound in the kicking game. It is that simple.

IF the Bulldogs and Rebels can control the defensive line of the Aggies and Tide on offense to give Dak Prescott and Bo Wallace time to throw and the running backs a holes to run, offense won't be a problem.

IF Ole Miss and MSU can get penetration with their defensive line against the Texas A&M and Alabama offensive line, they can disrupt the running game and get pressure on quarterbacks Kenny Hill and Blake Simmons.

One more thing on defense, both the Rebels and Bulldogs must tackle well. There is no doubt that the Aggies and Tide are going to get yards and points but don't make things easy by missing tackles and giving them free easy yards.

As much busted coverage as I have seen already this season, Ole Miss and MSU better make sure they know what coverage they are in each play. I have seen the Aggies and Tide score a few easy touchdowns this season by blown coverage.

This is nothing revolutionary. It is just sound football. Block and tackle. Cover receivers.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss have the offensive and defensive lines to control the line of scrimmage. Anyone who watched the LSU game can't deny that MSU can be the more physical team. I have no doubts the Rebels can do the same.

No turnover is really ever good but some are worse than others.

Here are what the Bulldogs and Rebels need to avoid, turnover wise. Don't turn the ball over for guaranteed points (with Alabama's field goal kicking problems, that means from the ...

September 12, 2014

College Football Week Three Picks

By bryanflynn

I correctly picked 16 of 19 games last week but I also had my first missed picked involving a Mississippi team. That brings my season record to 32-5 so far this young season, which isn't too bad if I say so myself.

So, I had Millsaps beating Mary Hardin-Baylor and go undefeated. That picked looked good when the game was tied 7-7 late in the first quarter. Then Mary Hardin-Baylor dropped 36 unanswered points on the Majors and pick was done. Millsaps faced one of the toughest teams in Division III and losing is not something to be ashamed of and the team can still have a strong season.

I picked Stanford to win over USC but then the Cardinal did everything they could possibly do to lose the game. Stanford punted deep in Trojan territory several times instead of rolling the dice and going for it. If the Cardinal wasn't punting when knocking on the USC door, they had penalties that killed drives and took scores off the board.

The strangest thing was USC Athletic Director Pat Haden coming down to the field help argue a call because head coach Steve Sarkisian asked him to come help him. No coach should ever call his AD down to the field over calls and someone as respected as Haden never should have come down.

It just looks bad for everyone involved. I don't think it will have any baring on Haden being on the playoff selection committee because he would have to recuse if USC was in the discussion. It was smart of the committee to set up the recusal system before the season before this incident happened.

My last incorrect pick was Michigan State over Oregon. That picked looked good in the third quarter then it looked like the roles sudden reversed. The Ducks had the relentless hard charging defense and the Spartans looked lost and slow on defense.

Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to win the game and they did pretty much what every they wanted on offense and defense while taking control of the game. Michigan State tackled poorly on defense and compounded their poor tackling with even poor coverage.

Stanford plays a similar style to Michigan State and had beaten the Ducks in their last few meetings. Oregon beating the Spartans might mean they have figured out how to go toe to toe with other more physical teams.

This week, Delta State is off and it would be a shame not to mention the Statesmen going on the road and demolishing Fort Valley State University. Delta State routed FVSU for a 56-13 win to get the season off on a nice foot. Now the Statesmen have two week to prepare for Valdosta State.

Be for getting to this weeks picks, here is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Could BYU crash the playoff party. The Cougars are 3-0 after getting past Houston ...

September 11, 2014

MY NFL Week Two Picks

By bryanflynn

It was a bloodbath for my picks in week one. I scratched and clawed my way to ten correct picks. TEN! That is good enough to get in the playoffs most seasons but instead I felt like the 2013 Arizona Cardinals after the week was over.

I was just one game above .500 to start the season. That puts me in a hole early.

Here is what I missed:

I picked the Saints over the Falcons but how was I supposed to know that the New Orleans 2012 defense would show up against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Either Atlanta is really going to bounce back this season or the Saints are really going to struggle. Saints fans hope last Sunday was an aberration.

It was a toss up between the Rams and Vikings. Matt Cassel versus Shun Hill quarterback battle didn't inspire confidence in either choice. Cassel and the Vikings pounded the Rams as Hill went out with an injury and former Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis didn't have any better luck.

So the Bills outlasted the Bears and I took Chicago. Buffalo is forced three turnovers making me wonder if the Bears are going to be a contender with Jay Cutler at quarterback. Chicago should be a better team than Buffalo. Maybe the Bills will be the surprise team of 2014.

I thought Washington would be a better team this season than Houston. Sure, there is a quarterback controversy building in Washington but Robert Griffin III should be a much better choice than Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Texans defense dominated the game and Fitzpatrick managed the game and made plays when he had to make them. If RG3 play doesn't improve quickly it, he could be on the bench in favor of Kirk Cousins.

Jake Locker out-dueled Alex Smith making my pick of the Chiefs over the Titans. Smith was Kansas City's leading rusher against Tennessee which is a bad sign. The Chiefs looked like they were ready to turn the corner and be a contender but maybe they were just a product of a weak schedule last season. If Locker can stay healthy it looks like the Titans might have some hope in the AFC South.

I totally blew the Patriots over the Dolphins. New England's offensive line was dreadful against the Miami. Brady had little to no time each time he dropped back to pass and there was zero running game. I don't think I have ever seen an offensive line play that badly after the team traded away a guard. Is the Patriots run finally coming to end? Is Miami, New York or Buffalo ready to take over the AFC East?

The first week is always tough to make picks. Week two isn't a cakewalk as teams that lost in week one know they need to bounce back quickly. Teams know going 0-2 means they need to throw the kitchen sink at their opponents the next two weeks.

September 4, 2014

My NFL Picks Week One

By bryanflynn

Preseason is finally over. Starting tonight, when the Seattle Seahawks take the field as defending Super Bowl Champions against the Green Bay Packers, the games in the NFL count for real.

The first four weeks of the NFL season are always hardest to pick. History tells us some team will go from worst to first (it has happened the last 11 years) and at least four (since the playoffs expanded in 1990 there has been four teams at least who didn't reach the playoffs two years in a row) of the playoff teams from the season before will likely not make it back to the postseason.

Another thing that makes picking NFL games so hard the first month of the season is that everything you base picks off is from 2013. No professional league in America changes year to year like the NFL and past performance doesn't dictate future wins.

Most of the time the preseason doesn't help much because teams aren't trying to win preseason games. They are evaluating talent and normally don't game plan or run much more than base defense and offense.

This is truly a throw everything against the wall and see what sticks philosophy. If I pick half these 16 games correctly I will be happy. If I get 12 right I will be ecstatic and if I get all 16 then I know I'm set up for a huge fall for the rest of the season.

So without anymore rambling, here are my week one NFL picks (winner in bold):

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Throw last year's game when the Baltimore Ravens lost their opener as defending champs to the Denver Broncos. The Ravens had to go on the road (the Orioles wouldn't budge on their home game) and the 2012 game that was played on a Wednesday.

Seattle has one of the best home field advantages in the NFL and one of most complete teams as well. The Seahawks crowd will be hyped and loud and that will cause problems for the Packers. Green Bay was injury plagued last season but still found away to get into the playoffs.

Aaron Rodgers is healthy and I expect the Green Bay defense will keep this game close. Seattle pulls out the win with a dominate fourth quarter.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

This is one of the NFL's best rivalry games. It might not have the national appeal as other games but it does feature two fan bases that don't like each other.

Atlanta went from Super Bowl contender to dumpster fire because of injuries last season and Matt Ryan wasn't himself at all. You think this would be a bounce back season for the Falcons but I'm not so sure.

New Orleans has looked the part of Super Bowl contender this preseason. The defense looks deep and the offense always looks dangerous. As long as Drew Brees is healthy there isn't ...

September 4, 2014

College Football Picks Week Two

By bryanflynn

Heck of a way to start the season for me. Overall I finished the week 16-3 and correctly picked every game involving a Mississippi team.

I blew the Texas A&M and South Carolina game big time. Who knew Kenny Hill would play his first game as the starter like he has been the starter for the last three years.

I also tripped up on the Rutgers against Washington State game. The Scarlet Knights went across country with a late kickoff and escaped with a win for the Big Ten over the Pac-12 Cougars.

Finally, I missed Louisville beating Miami. I thought the Hurricanes would be better this season but they folded as the game went along.

This week every Mississippi team begins play after Milsaps, Mississippi College and Delta State were off last week. Nationally, the schedule has some tasty games but a lot of the top 25 are playing cupcakes.

Here is the list of the top ten of AP Top 25 are playing this weekend: The Citadel, Florida Atlantic, Michigan State, Tulsa, San Jose State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Lamar and Northwestern State. Georgia is off this week and Michigan State and Oregon play each other and Ohio State faces Virginia Tech.

Even with all the cupcake games there are still plenty of games to waste your Saturday watching. Here are my week two picks starting with the Mississippi games, as with last week, winners are in bold.

Delta State at Fort Valley State (Saturday/1 pm)

This is the first game for both teams this season. The Statesmen make the trip to Georgia to face the Wildcats. I think Delta State will be good this season and this will be a good first test. I'm going with the Statesmen because a gut feeling.

UAB at Mississippi State (Saturday/1 pm/FSS)

The Blazers rolled over Troy last Saturday and everyone knows the Bulldogs demolished Southern Miss. Mississippi State will be 2-0 after this game but I expect UAB to put up a fight.

Mississippi at Vanderbilt (Saturday/3:30 pm/ESPN)

On paper before the beginning of the season, this looked like a good matchup. That was before Vanderbilt got blasted by Temple at home. If Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace can keep from giving the other team the ball, this game should be a blowout win for Mississippi.

Mary Hardin-Baylor at Milsaps (Saturday/6 pm)

The Majors kickoff their season against one of the better teams in Division III. If Milsaps wins this game I think they will run the table. I really think the Majors are going to run the table.

Alcorn State at Southern Miss

The Braves wasted no time dispatching Lynchburg last week. The Golden Eagles played tough against MSU for a quarter.

This game is must win for USM or they are going 0-12 this season. The Braves won't roll over for anyone and will put up a fight. Southern Miss is in a dogfight for ...

August 28, 2014

Rebels' Offense Comes Alive in Second Half to Trounce Boise State 35-13

By bryanflynn

In sports sometimes, it not how you start but how you finish. For the University of Mississippi it was an ugly start but a beautiful finish in the Rebels 35-13 win to open the 2014 season.

It was an ugly first half for Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace against Boise State. Wallace struggled in the opening two quarters as he threw three interceptions.

The first half wasn't much better for Boise State quarterback Grant Hendrick. The Broncos quarterback also threw three interceptions in the opening half and four interceptions for the game.

Wallace wasn't the only Rebel who struggled on the big stage. UM had several offensive penalties, with most coming in the form of false starts. Linebacker Serderius Bryant didn't have a good night either after he was ejected for targeting midway through the first quarter.

The stars of the first half for the Rebels were the defense and punter Will Gleeson. All night long the UM defense was able to bring relentless pressure on Hendrick each time he dropped backed, tackled soundly and covered pretty well all game long.

After three straight punts by both teams, the interception fest began on the second possession for the Rebels. Wallace threw his first pick on the very first play of the drive. It looked like Boise State would take that turnover in for a touchdown but Hendrick managed to turn things aroung by throwing his first pick on the ensuing drive, with Senquez Golson making the interception in the end zone.

The Rebels would then go on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Wallace throwing a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open Cody Core. Boise State's busted coverage on the scoring play gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Hendrick would throw an interception on BSU's next drive and Wallace would return the favor on the Rebels' next drive. The Broncos would end up kicking a field goal after the Wallace pick to cut the Rebels lead to 7-3 in the second quarter.

Both teams would spend the rest of the half either punting or throwing interceptions. Mississippi would head into the locker room with a 7-3 lead at halftime.

The third quarter wasn't very good for either team offensively as the Rebels and Broncos struggled to get anything going. Boise State managed a field goal late in the third quarter to cut the UM lead to 7-6 heading into the fourth.

With the game on the line, Wallace finally came alive in the final 15 minutes. Wallace found LaQuon Treadwell for a 14-yard touchdown as the Rebels marched 75 yards down the field in 10 plays.

The Treadwell touchdown would give UM a 14-6 lead. Hendrick threw his fourth and final interception on the next Broncos possession.

Wallace would only need two plays to make the Broncos pay, as he found Quincy Adeboyejo for the 36-yard strike to give the Rebels a 21-6 lead and break the game ...

August 28, 2014 | 1 comment

College Football Week One Picks

By bryanflynn

Finally it is that time of year, the return of of college football. O.k. to be honest there was college football on Saturday when FCS teams Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State played and on Wednesday night Georgia State faced Abilene Christian.

Nearly the rest of the college football world begins play this Thursday through Monday. This weekend offers a plethora of intriguing games with some big matchups sprinkled in the mix as well.

Now that my daughter is sleeping through the night (fingers crossed), I hope I will have time to do weekly picks once more. The upside is having a daughter now, if my picks go badly I can let her make them.

Here are this week's picks (starting with Mississippi teams) with the winners in bold:

Mississippi versus Boise State (Thursday/7 pm/ESPN)

This game is going to be played in the Georgia Dome as Boise State makes the long distance trip. The Broncos are one of the last mid-majors not to have moved to a bigger conference. The Rebels get a national audience to announce to the rest of the country all those recruits have arrived.

Boise State finally lost head coach Chris Petersen and replaced him with Bryan Harsin former BSU quarterback and offensive coordinator. The Broncos have slipped a bit recently from the height of their mid-major power.

Mississippi is one of the trendy choices for dark horse in the SEC this season. The Rebels will have more talent on the field and should blow this game open in the second half.

Boise State will keep this game close but they don't have the talent to win as Mississippi is a better team.

Southern Miss at Mississippi State (Saturday/6:30 pm/SEC Network)

Southern Miss might be on the right track under Todd Monken and on road back to where neither state SEC wanted to play them. Mississippi State has slowly built an impressive squad under Dan Mullen.

The Bulldogs have more talent but expect the Golden Eagles to put up a fight for a half. Brighter days are ahead for Southern Miss but not this Saturday. Bulldogs will roll.

Florida A&M at Jackson State (Saturday/6 pm)

These two teams haven't met in a decade. Florida A&M is coming off a losing season and Jackson State is breaking in a new head coach and quarterback.

This game will be close but the Tigers are at home. The Rattlers are going to be a tough out but I trust in JSU.

Virginia University at Lynchburg at Alcorn State (Saturday/4 pm)

Alcorn State wins. In fact, the Braves win big...very big.

University of Faith at Mississippi Valley State (Saturday/4 pm)

The Delta Devils start the Rick Comegy era off with a big win.

Belhaven at Texas College

Just a gut feeling, I'm picking the Blazers.

The rest

Texas A&M at South Carolina (Thursday/5 pm/SEC Network)

The Gamecocks are replacing the number one pick in ...

August 26, 2014

Watch Party for Rebels Versus Broncos on Thursday Night

By bryanflynn

On Thursday Night, the University of Mississippi will finally get to play in the Georgia Dome making Vanderbilt the only current SEC to have never played at the site. If you can't make it to Atlanta to watch the Rebels take on Boise State, there is a place you can go to watch with fellow University of Mississippi fans.

Below is a full press release of times, where to watch and other information:

Are You Ready for August 28th?

Jackson, Miss. (August 26, 2014) –The Ole Miss Rebels are ready to buck the broncos. They will be facing Boise State for their first game of the season on August 28th. While the Rebels will be gearing up at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, the Central Mississippi Ole Miss Rebel Club (CMOMRC) will be cheering them on in Jackson.

The CMOMRC will host a watch party for the game at 7 p.m. at Fondren Public. There will be door prizes and a Rebel of a good time. Anyone is welcome to come watch the game with their fellow Rebels and cheer on the football team.

“We are very excited to kick off another great football season. The CMOMRC is a great organization that celebrates all Rebel things,” said Bob Box, President of the Club. “We hope everyone will join us and come out to Fondren Public to cheer on our team.”

To learn more about your local Ole Miss Rebel Club, please visit OleMissAlumni.com/Clubs and Facebook.com/CentralMississippiOleMissAlumniClub. For more information on Fondren Public, visit their website at FondrenPublic.com.

August 23, 2014

Saints Stay Preseason Perfect with 23-17 Win Over Colts: Quick Thoughts

By bryanflynn

The Saints stayed perfect on the preseason with a 23-17 win over the Colts. New Orleans dominated the first half as Drew Brees saw action for the first time in the preseason.

Indianapolis couldn't get much going on offense and the Saints defense played pretty well the whole game. The Colts played their starters into the third quarter but New Orleans had pulled most their starters by halftime.

As always, the score doesn't matter in the preseason, so here are my quick thoughts:

Brees looks rusty but good

Drew Brees only played one quarter and completed 9 of 15 passes for 128 yards with two touchdowns. Yes, Brees was impressive but he also had some under throws, he almost threw an interception and had a few throws he would like to have back.

Still even a rusty Brees is better than half the starting quarterbacks in the league. And that is way Brees will be wearing a gold jacket when his career has been over for five years.

Rushing attack

New Orleans had a strong rushing attack tonight. The team rushed for 125 yards at halftime but 35 of those yards came from three rushes by backup quarter Luke McCown and Brees add another 10 yards on one rush.

Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas combined to rush for 80 yards on 19 carries. The rushing attack allowed Brees to take advantage of play action passes. Thomas was also the leading receiver on the night with 66 yards on four catches.

The Saints finished with 160 yards rushing but the offense struggled in the second half. Not a bad night on the ground as it looks like New Orleans is going to commit to the run a little more this season.

Great defense

New Orleans played pretty tough defense most of the night. The Saints either forced a field goal or punt most of the night.

Indianapolis scored their first touchdown because of sloppy play by the Saints defenders by miss tackles and committing penalties to keep the Colts drive alive. New Orleans busted coverage to lead a wide open receiver to tie the game at 7-7.

After that score the Saints defense shut down the Colts until the early fourth quarter. Indianapolis used a big run and a big pass to score their second touchdown of the night.

New Orleans had two goal line stands. The Saints forced a field goal during one goal line stand and stuffed the Colts offense on four down on their other goal line stand.

The Saints even forced a turnover after third string quarterback Ryan Griffin threw an interception. Brian Dixon returned the favor back using tight coverage to get his own interception.

If I was giving the New Orleans defense a grade, I would have to say they were a B+ tonight overall.

Penalties, penalties and more penalties

It was another game filled with penalties for the ...

August 15, 2014

Saints 2-0 in Preseason with 31-24 Win Over Titans: Quick Thoughts

By bryanflynn

The score never matters in the preseason but it is always good to get a win. It is even better to win on a night where the Saints were sloppy on offense and defense.

New Orleans was once again without Drew Brees. That doesn't matter unless he doesn't play in the third or fourth preseason game. Sure, Brees doesn't need a ton of preseason work but some action with a live defense being thrown at him is a good thing.

The Saints get to head to Indianapolis knowing they are 2-0 after their 31-24 win over the Tennessee Titans. That should be a good dress rehearsal game against the Colts who were in the playoffs last season.

Here are my quick thoughts on tonight's game.

Both offense and defense was sloppy

New Orleans started the game sloppy and it ended the game sloppy. The team piled up penalty yardage like they were trying to break a record.

Jimmy Graham had two 15 yard penalties himself after he dunked after his two touchdown grabs. Hopefully Graham was getting the dunking out of his system before the season starts. Sean Payton won't be happy if he does that in a game in the regular season.

After the first quarter the Saints had five penalties for 44 yards. They broke the hundred yard mark before halftime and ended up with 14 penalties 109 yards after the first 30 minutes.

The Saints had eight penalties for 68 yards over the third and fourth quarter. Overall, the Saints had 22 penalties for 177 yards. That doesn't even count all the penalties that were declined.

New Orleans must clean up this sloppy before the season starts. The Saints were lucky and good to win tonight with this type of penalty yards.

Saints defense forces five turnovers

I can count five reasons why the Saints did win tonight. That is five turnovers the defense forced tonight.

New Orleans almost had a turnover on the Titans first drive but it was overruled by replay. The Saints would allow Tennessee to score thanks to penalties and poor defense.

On a play were Cam Jordan missed a sack, a New Orleans defensive back missed an interception. That was two turnovers among a few others the Saints could have had on the night.

In the second quarter, New Orleans got a forced fumble from Kenny Vaccaro and Cam Jordan would get a strip sack to cause a fumble. When the Saints didn't get turnovers in the quarter the Titans got a touchdown and a field goal.

In the second half, New Orleans got a interception that ended up as fumble by Stanley Jean-Baptiste on a wild play. The Titans receiver bobbled the ball and popped it into the air right into the waiting hands of Jean-Baptiste.

Vinnie Sunseri got into the act with a interception in the fourth quarter. The final turnover came in the fourth quarter ...

August 8, 2014

Saints Beat Rams 26-24: Quick Thoughts On First New Orleans Preseason Game

By bryanflynn

The New Orleans Saints defeated the St Louis Rams 26-24 in the preseason opener for both teams. While the win is great if you are a Saints fan, in the preseason the final score doesn't really matter much.

What does matter is how individual players look in game action. As New Orleans looks to build this year's team, questions must be answered, jobs must be won and future stars need to shine.

Here are my quick thoughts:

Ingram shines in first half

Mark Ingram looked like he was entering a contract year. The running back out of Alabama looked lighter, had more speed, quicker feet, made defenders miss and finished off runs.

Ingram had 30 yards on his first three carries of the night and he finished the night with 83 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown. His night was done before halftime but he looked impressive and picked up where he left off late last season.

New Orleans didn't pick up Ingram's fifth year option. The reason Saints declined to pick up the option because they would owe Ingram $5.2 million (way too much to pay for a running back in today's NFL) and Ingram hasn't played like a first round pick due to injuries and being inconsistent.

Tonight Ingram looked like he wanted to be the lead man in a crowed backfield. Another running back Khiry Robinson also had a good night with 23 yards on five carries.

New Orleans has plenty of talent at running back. Ingram is not just playing for this season but for next season as well when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Backup quarterback battle

Drew Brees didn't play tonight while he recovers from a strained oblique. Brees will be fine as long as he gets some work before the season begins.

The injury does give the Saints a chance to figure out their backup quarterback situation. Veteran Luke McCown is battling second year player Ryan Griffin for the right to sit behind Brees.

Tonight, McCown got the start, he didn't look terrible as he got to play with the starters but he wasn't super impressive either. His final line of the night was seven for ten for 49 yards with no touchdowns.

McCown did have an ugly interception that killed the Saints first drive. New Orleans had been moving the ball very well on the St Louis starting defense.

Griffin replaced McCown and went 11 for 16 for 103 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions at the half. In the second half, Griffin went five for seven for 76 yards and a touchdown (Saints first touchdown of the preseason).

I have been hearing how the Saints were impressed with Griffin. Tonight he looked impressive with a strong arm, the ability to avoid the rush, nice pocket awareness and some quick feet.

If Brees doesn't play or plays sparingly in the next preseason game, New Orleans should give Griffin some work ...

June 26, 2014

U.S. Loses 0-1, Advances in World Cup

By Todd Stauffer

The United States lost a slow-moving, rainy match against Germany, where the Germans appeared to dominate time of possession and hold the U.S. to very few scoring opportunities.

Despite the loss, the Portugal win over Ghana by a single goal, 2-1, kept the United States is second place in Group G, meaning the U.S. and Germany will advance.

January 31, 2014

More Super Bowl Numbers and Other Oddities

By bryanflynn

When working on this week's Super Bowl preview and prediction, I came across more information than I could fit in a single article for the paper. So, I figured with the big game just a couple of days away, why not share some of the rest of the information I found that I couldn't use in print.

Between the print article and the paper, you should be able to have plenty of stats and information to spread around at any Super Bowl Party you are attending. If you missed the print article here is the link.

Also, if you missed my rant this week, here is a link to it as well.

If anyone is hoping for the weather to warm up on Super Bowl Sunday, it is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. In the playoffs when the temperature is under 40 degrees, Manning is 0-3 (to be fair as well all three of those games were on the road).

The coldest non-domed Super Bowl was at Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24-3. The game was played in New Orleans at Tulane Stadium and the high was 43 and the low was 24.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, has only played in one game under 40 degrees. That was week 15 of this season against the New York Giants, in what will be stadium the game will be played in this Sunday. The Seahawks won that game 23-0.

Manning and Wilson will set a Super Bowl record when the game kicks off. The two quarterbacks will set the record for biggest age difference between two quarterbacks. There is a 12 year and 250 days difference in age between the two starting single callers.

At 25, Wilson would join both Joe Montana and Joe Namath also won the big game at the age of 25. The Seahawks quarterback also has the most wins at 27 (including playoffs) for a second year quarterback starting the Super Bowl.

Manning has the Super Bowl experience, which is good but Wilson has some recent Super Bowl numbers on his side. Quarterbacks with previous Super Bowl experience have been in 19 Super Bowls and those quarterbacks have a 10-9 record.

Wilson has the recent history on his side. The quarterbacks with experience haven't fared so well as the quarterbacks without experience have won the last three straight (Eli Manning over Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers over Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees over Manning).

Both these teams meet in the preseason this year. That is important if anyone tells you the preseason meeting doesn't matter.

This will be the seventh time, since 1994, teams who faced off in the preseason play in the Super Bowl. The team that won the meaningless game went on to win five of the six previous Super Bowls.

In the preseason Seattle beat Denver 40-10.

These two teams have meet 52 times in ...

January 23, 2014 | 2 comments

Richard Sherman: 'Thug' = Racial Epithet

By Todd Stauffer

Richard Sherman surprised some NFL fans in his post-game interview with Erin Andrews after batting down a last-minute pass in the end zone to deny the San Francisco 49ners a game-winner and sending his team, the Seattle Seahawks, to the Super Bowl. (I thought it was basically funny, and chalked it up to him being in trash-talk war with his opponent and helping deliver his team to the Super Bowl.

Today he gave a press conference to tell his side of the controversy that's gone viral, making a good point about the [use of the word "thug" in modern parlance][1]. As quoted in Business Insider:

"The only reason it bothers me is that it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling people the n-word nowadays. … What’s the definition of a thug, really? Can a guy on the football field, just talking to people — maybe I’m talking loudly, or doing something I’m not supposed to be. But there was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey, they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and I thought, 'Oh man, I’m a thug?' So I’m really disappointed in being called a thug."

Sherman's personal story has been in the news this week -- he was a good student as a youngster who overcame his Compton background to play football and get a degree form Stanford -- and he makes a point that folks who slide a little too easily into calling him a "thug" may be doing it out of a habit that they need to break. Food for thought.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-sherman-thug-2014-1#ixzz2rGQ4a1EX

January 17, 2014

Mumme's the Word on New Belhaven Football Coach

By R.L. Nave

See the following press release from Belhaven University:

Belhaven University and the Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that Hal Mumme will be the next Head Football Coach. Mumme comes to Belhaven from Southern Methodist University, where he served as an Assistant Coach and Passing Game Coordinator under Head Coach June Jones in 2013.

“I heard for years Hal Mumme’s reputation as a football genius and innovator,” said Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott. “Then when I got to know him personally, I was amazed at how what we as football fans see on the field is just the tip of the iceberg of this remarkable coach and leader. I am excited for our students, our players, and our alumni, because Belhaven football is going to join the “Air-Raid” and soar, with Hal Mumme coming to be our head coach.”

Under the coaching of Mumme, SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert set multiple single game and single season records during the 2013 season. Gilbert racked up 635 yards of total offense against Temple, seventh most in a game in NCAA history. Gilbert also recorded single season school records, second for most total offensive yards (3795), second in passing yards (3528), and first in completions (335). As a team, the Mustangs recorded 5,222 total yards with 4,097 of those yards coming through the air in 2013.

“I want to thank Hal for his work over the past year,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “He is an innovator and a friend. I really enjoyed the time we spent together. We wish him well at Belhaven.”

Mumme not only brings experience as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, but has been a head coach at Division I Kentucky, New Mexico State, and Southeastern Louisiana. Mumme was also the Head Coach at NCAA Division II Valdosta State, Iowa Wesleyan (NAIA), and most recently McMurry (Division III and now Division II).

Mumme spent four seasons at McMurry and led the team to a 27-16 record, including three consecutive winning seasons. Mumme resurrected a McMurry program that had lost 13 consecutive games and had not had a winning season for eight years prior to his arrival. In 2011, Mumme posted a 9-3 record with the team and secured McMurry’s first postseason victory since 1949 by beating Trinity in the first round of the Division III playoffs.

Mumme began his coaching career in the NAIA at Iowa Wesleyan in 1989 and led the Tigers to the playoffs in 1991. In 1992, he moved on to NCAA Division II Valdosta State and then to Kentucky in the SEC where he coached Number One NFL Draft Pick Tim Couch. In 1998, the Wildcats went 7-5 and played in the Outback Bowl, becoming the first coach to take the team to a New Year’s Day bowl game since Bear Bryant in 1951. He is the only coach in the modern era at Kentucky to beat Alabama and numerous college head coaches’ are part of his coaching tree, ...

December 18, 2013

Comegy Fired As JSU Football Coach

By Tyler Cleveland

Jackson State University will replace head football Coach Rick Comegy, the university announced today.

A search for Comegy’s successor will begin immediately, JSU Director of Athletics Vivian L. Fuller said.

“We are grateful to Coach Comegy and his staff for their service to Jackson State,” Fuller said. “We appreciate the work he has done with JSU athletics and we wish him well.” Comegy was 55-35 in eight seasons at JSU.

A press conference to discuss Comegy's dismissal is scheduled for 2 p.m.

November 27, 2013

Gabe Jackson Wins Inaugural Hull Trophy

By Tyler Cleveland

Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, an All American guard rated at the top of his position by NFL draft experts, has been selected the first winner of the Kent Hull Trophy as Mississippi’s most outstanding collegiate offensive lineman.

Jackson will receive the Kent Hull Trophy at the C Spire Conerly Trophy banquet Tuesday night at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Jackson, a fifth-year senior from Liberty, also has been named State’s finalist for the C Spire Conerly Trophy.

"The Conerly" honors Mississippi's most outstanding collegiate football player.

October 18, 2013

JSU's Homecoming Game Cancelled

By Tyler Cleveland

Jackson State will not play a homecoming game this season. Here's what is happening instead.

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