Monday, June 18, 2018

Anybody Have A Spare Crystal Ball?

As we start to see Ferrum fade into the sunset of the USA South and emerge as a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, there will be many new aspects to get use to for the players and the fans. First and foremost, do not be fooled.......the ODAC is overall, a stronger football conference than the USA South. This past season, the USA South faced off against the ODAC seven times only winning twice. Ferrum and Maryville both defeated Emory and Henry. While that in and of itself may not mean much, Ferrum will be looked at as the new kid on the block and in ODAC fans eyes, will have to "prove themselves" worthy of the new membership. Fortunately, I think Ferrum will do that right out of the gate.
Be prepared for larger visiting crowds. (May want to add another section of bleachers on the visitors side) ODAC fans will travel, and will support their school. While they may not have come to Ferrum for a non conference game, they will now. Every team in the conference is from Virginia except for Guilford, but the Quakers are the closest school in the conference to Ferrum. (Greensboro N.C.)
Ferrum fans have to show up too.....both home and away. The home schedule this year is awesome as Ferrum opens the season at home against Emory and Henry in the third edition of the Crooked Road Classic. Ferrum has won the first two games of the named series, but look for the Wasps to be hungry to turn the recent series around after last years loss. Remember, this is a conference game! Fan support is crucial. 

Other home games include Homecoming against Washington and Lee. This is the defending ODAC champion who lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual national champion Mount Union 21-0. North Carolina Wesleyan also played Mt. Union last year.....they lost 58-0. Washington and Lee will be a tough match up. This will be the Generals first trip to Ferrum since the Panthers moved up to a DIII program.
Look for Hampden-Sydney to come to Adams field the following Saturday. To my knowledge this will be the Tigers first trip to Ferrum for a regular season game.

Up and down, the ODAC has talented teams. Besides those already mentioned, Randolph Macon, and Shenandoah have very strong programs. So how will Ferrum stack up?......this is why I need a crystal ball. Its really hard to say, but I want to try to dig a little deeper into the 2018 Panthers.

At a quick glance, I see an offense that, while missing four of eleven starters from last year, has quite a large bit of talent returning. This group of returners is led by rising junior Brian Mann at running back. Mann in his first two seasons set the rushing mark in a season in his freshman year, and followed that up in his sophomore year by breaking his own record. He is quite a talent, and will prove a tough test for any defense in the league.. While Mann has made most of the headlines in the backfield lately, he is not alone back there. 9 other running backs are expected back this season besides Mann.

Look for Quarterback Zach Clifford to again have another strong showing passing as he is slated to have all of the same weapons available to him this year as in 2017. Last season, Clifford posted very strong numbers. In ten games, he threw 249 times, completing 133, while losing twelve to interceptions. That is a 53.4% completion percentage, with a passing yards total of 1858 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Clifford's targets will again include Johnny White,  Ne'Shaun Gill, and Nick Pearce. Dre Davis will also see a good amount of time on the field. Oh and don't forget Brian Mann, he doesn't just run, he will pull a pass down too.
On the ground, Clifford can and will turn it up field, as he kept the ball 63 times last year.

So that leaves the offensive line....
Starting with the Tight End position, Ferrum has little if any experience returning. Both Josh Bare and Marzai Terrell have graduated, and this position starter will likely be determined in fall camp. While it is an important position, Ferrum mainly uses it as a blocking position. Last year, duties were mainly split between Bare and Terrell, and combined, they only hauled in 10 passes, resulting in one touchdown.
On the interior, Look for some holes to be filled. The roster is plump with returning offensive linemen, and a quick scan of recruiting successes leaves me with the impression that while a couple of linemen were lost to graduation, Ferrum is not really rebuilding an O-line, they are just reloading.

Next post:  Defense and Special Teams

Go Panthers!!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lee Named All America by AFCA

Montel Lee Named All America!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ferrum Finishes With "W" #8
Comeback Over Scots Seals Season Ending Win

This was the swan song for many players, and just the end of the season for others. At any rate, this was a huge game for Ferrum. A win meant a two game improvement over last year, it meant at least a tie for second place in the conference, and a win would close the USA South run for Ferrum on a positive note.

While it was not easy, and I did not think it would be, the Ferrum offense really answered the bell in the second half. After going into the halftime locker room trailing 14-10, The Scots lead grew to 17- 10 after an Ian Hubbs 32 yard field goal with 9:10 left in the 3rd period.
Ferrum's next possession ended in a punt, and the Scots ensuing possession also ended in a punt.
Ferrum took over with 6:11 left in the third. After Clifford was dropped for a seven yard loss, Ferrum faced a 2nd and 17. Clifford passed to Freshman Dre Davis for a 1 yard gain. On this play, Maryville was flagged for face masking, giving Ferrum a 1st and 10. Clifford then hit a streaking Nick Pearce down the sideline for a 54 yard touchdown. The extra point by Brad Green tied the score at 17.

With 13:36 left in the game, Ferrum pulled ahead when Zach Clifford hit Josh Bare for a 12 yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was no good, and Ferrum led 23-17.
Ferrum's final touchdown came on a fake field goal when Johnny White was holding, and ended up passing to Sam Martin for the touchdown. Clifford connected with R.J. Lee for the two point conversion, making the score 31-17. Maryville would score late in the quarter, but by then, Ferrum had salted this one away.

Final: Ferrum 31  Maryville 24

Next Up for Ferrum........the ODAC!!!

It has been an exciting year. Ferrum is on the right track, and is steadily improving. While graduation will take a lot of talent with it this year, and Ferrum will have a lot of holes to fill, I fully expect Ferrum to be very strong and competitive next season. Next season will come with new challenges, along with new opportunities. The roar is restored. Now it is time for the Panther to rest, heal, and take pleasure in your successes. Soon, it will be time to begin the process of sharpening the claws for next season. Hit the weight room boys, stay true to your off season workout regimen. Next year is not the same as this one. Who will fill the shoes of those Seniors? How will Ferrum stack up in the new conference? Lots of questions to be answered.........stay the course that the coaches set for you.

Go Panthers.....On to the ODAC!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

GAMEDAY: Ferrum @ Maryville

The last bus ride of the season for most, and for their football playing days for a few others. Ferrum travels to Maryville TN. to take on the 5-4 Scots. I picked Maryville to win the conference, but they have not had the success that they have known in recent years. Make no mistake about it, Maryville is a solid team, and would like nothing better than to end the season with a win over Ferrum at Lloyd Thornton Stadium.
For Ferrum, this will be a tough game. Both teams on paper, match up pretty evenly. Ferrum's losses came to Averett and Huntingdon, while Maryville lost to Berry (non conf.), Huntingdon, Averett, and N.C. Wesleyan.
It's not an easy team to play, nor is it an easy place to play. The crowd will be very much involved in the game throughout.  This could come down to Special Teams. Look for Ferrum to try to pin the Scots deep in punting situations, and look for Maryville to try to exploit Ferrum's punt protection, as it will likely be seen as a chink in the Ferrum armor.

It will be a hard fought game, and I believe a relatively low scoring one. Ferrum's defense should prove too much for Maryville, while Clifford and company should be able to come through while maintaining the time of possession. Look for a Panther win. A win  to close the season, to close the career of a very special Senior class, and to close the Ferrum chapter in the USA South.

Go Panthers!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ferrum @ Maryville
Biggest Game Of The Year!

There are no playoff implications. There are no more games this year. For Maryville, this has been a far less successful season than they had hoped for, but they are a very capable team. For Ferrum, there have been moments of elation, and moments of disappointment, but the Panthers are looking to go out on a winning note. I see this as the biggest game of the year for the following reasons. If Ferrum wins Saturday, they will:

-end the season with a six game winning streak. This has not happened since 2011, when Ferrum went 0-2 before reeling off 6 straight wins.

-finish the season undefeated in all away games, and extend their road win streak to 7, going back to the 2016 season.

-earn 8 wins......something that has not been done since 2005.

-send the Senior class out with a win over the Scots. The last win over Maryville occurred in 2011.

Go Panthers!

Predictions: Week 11

The final week of the season, means the final group of predictions. Ferrum is listed in the USA South standings as second place, or maybe tied for second with Averett. Can Ferrum get 2nd place all is how I see it working out.

Ferrum @ Maryville

Huntingdon at LaGrange

Averett @ Greensboro

N.C. Wesleyan @ Methodist

Gonna be a tough time for the home teams this week. If there is an upset, it may be Methodist hosting NCW..........but I am doubtful of an upset here.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Panthers Roll Over Pride 52-13

This should not have been a surprise to anyone. The struggles that Greensboro has had this season have been well documented. Ferrum's strength on offense and defense are also well known. To illustrate, let's look at some national statistics from comparing the two schools.

Going into yesterdays game....... Out of 243 division III teams, Ferrum was tied for 79th in the nation for rushing offense.......Greensboro was ranked 226th. As for Total Defense, Ferrum was ranked 27th in the nation, and Greensboro was again ranked 226th. That alone should indicate how this one was going to end, but in case there was any question, the rushing defense for Greensboro was ranked 237th.....Brian Mann was the 6th ranked running back in the nation.

All in all, Ferrum's dominance was expected, and so was the win. It is next week, the last game of the season, that will be interesting. Looking at those same statistics, Going into yesterday, Maryville had the 84th best rushing offense in the nation.....only 5 spots below Ferrum. The Scotts total defense was ranked 43rd, and as for rushing defense, Maryville will attempt to stop Brian Mann with the 70th ranked defense against the run. By the way, Ferrum's defense against the run is ranked 55th.
This will be a very tough game. The fact that is being played at Maryville does not help.....This is a very difficult place to play as a visitor.

Look for this to be a hard fought game on both sides of the ball. It will take everything to go right for Ferrum to win.......but they can.

Go Panthers!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

GAMEDAY: Greensboro @ Ferrum

Senior Day. The last game at Adams Stadium for the Seniors on the roster. Its a bitter sweet day, as the players realize an end is near, but a new beginning is in the offing. For the fans, it's a chance to thank those Seniors for all of their efforts.

Today's game should serve as a great send off from Adams Stadium. Greensboro is having a rough year. With only one win, the Pride has had very little success as far as W's and L's go.
The odds are this will be a yawner. Ferrum should out duel the Pride in all phases of the game, and end their home season at 3-2.

Look for Brian Mann, and Montel Lee keep the momentum going. Mann will likely go over 200 yards for the fourth week in a row. In fact, 200 yards will, for the second year in a row, set the program record for most yards in a season.

For Montel Lee, his consistency is amazing. He leads the USA South[n quarterback sacks, and is only 2 sacks away from setting the most sacks in a season record for Ferrum.

I think both of these records will fall today.

Enjoy the game...... 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Predictions: Week 10

Greensboro at Ferrum

Look for the Brian Mann records to continue to pile up as the Pride of Greensboro comes to town.
The 1-7 Pride has struggled to say the least. They rank last or near last in most every important statistical category. They as a team have accumulated just 680 yards rushing. They as a team have scored 68 points.....the entire season.......They are giving up 46 points per game.

Can you say blowout? Look for this to get ugly early, and look for mass substitutions as the day goes on. 

Ferrum 48
Greensboro 10

The rest of the Saturday games look like this:

LaGrange @ Maryville

Averett @ Brevard

Methodist @ Huntingdon

NCWC - Bye

Ferrum Gets Out of Fayetteville with a "W"

In what I thought would be a blow out, Ferrum had to scratch and claw for a come from behind win over the Methodist Monarchs Saturday. The Panthers, in my mind were heavy favorites.......someone forgot to tell Methodist.

Saturday was another highlight reel day for Brian Mann, (41 carries, 232 yards, and 1 touchdown), but Ferrum still found themselves in one heck of a battle. Methodist played much better than their 1-7 record. This is a good football team that has a bright future in the USA South. 
The Panthers trailed 14-3 in the third quarter before Brian Mann finally found pay dirt at the 6:54 mark of the third quarter. This made the score 14 -10 Brad Green connected on his second field goal of the day and Ferrum cut the lead to one point at 14-13 with 8:46 left in the game.
Freshman Dre Davis caught what would be the go ahead touchdown on a 33 yard strike from Zach Clifford with 1:55 left in the game. Ferrum at that point led 19-14, and with so little time left, it looked like it was in the bag........again, someone forgot to tell Methodist.
The Monarchs offense took the ensuing kickoff to their own 23 yard line, and set out to try to put together one last drive to win the game. As they trailed by 5, the Monarchs knew they needed a touchdown to win. Their drive started with 1:49 left in the game. In five plays, they had the ball on the Ferrum 6, 1st and goal. It was time for the defense to step up, and they did not disappoint. The next four plays netted only two yards, and Ferrum took possession on downs. Clifford took a knee, and this one was in the books....Ferrum 19  Methodist 14

Saturday is Senior Day, and Ferrum will be hosting the Greensboro Pride who is also 1-7. Come out and support this great group of Seniors as they take the field at Adams Stadium for the final time.

Go Panthers!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

GAMEDAY: Ferrum @ Methodist

As Ferrum takes to the road again, they are entering their easier couple of weeks of the schedule. Today's opponent Methodist has one win on the season, and has not been particularly effective at stopping the run. Opponents are averaging 256 yards per game against Methodist, but on the other hand, the Monarchs can and will throw the ball. They are averaging 182 yards per game through the air. Overall, they have put up some good numbers, with their best game coming against Greensboro in a 41-16 win. They also battled hard against LaGrange, losing 39-30.

Look for Mann to have a superb day, and expect Montel Lee to be in the Methodist backfield most all day. This should be an easy win for Ferrum.

On a side note, Huntindon should easily win today against Greensboro. That will eliminate Ferrum from the conference title. Maryville will be at Averett. A win by the Scots, and Ferrum should take over third place, possibly second place depending on the NCW game. Should be a fun day!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Predictions: Week 9

As we are in the home stretch of the season, Ferrum finds itself in 4th place, just behind Averett. This is an important week. Of course Ferrum has to win, but so does Huntingdon. A win by the Hawks will end Ferrum's chances for a conference championsip. Let's face it, it would be beyond miraculous if Ferrum won the conference, but I would be very happy for a more realistic second place finish.

Here is how I see this week ending up:

Ferrum @ Methodist- Another road game for Ferrum, but this one should present little difficulty. The Monarchs are sitting at 1-6 with their lone win coming against Greensboro. Ferrum is looking for win number 6, and hopefully to take over third place in the conference....maybe even second.

Ferrum 34
Methodist 0

Maryville @ Averett

Brevard @ North Carolina Wesleyan

Huntingdon @ Greensboro

LaGrange - BYE