Friday, September 19, 2014

Black And Gold

Just want to do my part to let everyone know about a new book that has just come out. It's titled Black and Gold...A History of Athletics at Ferrum College. The book, written by Ferrum Sports Information Director Gary Holden takes a comprehensive look at the history and importance of athletics at Ferrum College. With a special forward by legendary coach Hank Norton, the book will give the reader insight to the beginnings of athletics at Ferrum, covering the growth of the athletic program until today.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please use the link below:

Click Here to Purchase Your Copy Today!

Week In Review Show

The Week in Review Show, which had been postponed due to technical difficulties, has now been rescheduled for today at 5:00 p.m. Today will focus on the E&H game, and look ahead to this Saturday's game at Shenandoah. The regular schedule of the show will resume Sunday at 5:00 p.m. to review the Shenandoah game and look ahead to Homecoming on Saturday the 27th against North Carolina Wesleyan.

The link to listen to today's show is below:

Ferrum College Football Report's Week in Review

Game Preview: Ferrum @ Shenandoah

After a bye week, I am expecting Ferrum to come out of the gates hungry, and looking to be more consistent on both sides of the ball. Shenandoah comes into the game with a 1-1 record. After a 20-0 shutout win over Galludet of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, The Hornets faced off against the Frostburg State Bobcats. FSU and Shenandoah were fairly even statistically, but Shenandoah did out gain FSU by over 100 yards on the ground. In the end, Frostburg took the win, 20-10.

For Ferrum, The offense has the heat on they must find a way to protect the quarterback, and open holes for the running backs. The offensive machine has some strong parts, but every part must work in a synchronized manner for success. We have to put the ball in the end zone.
 As for the defense, Ferrum has, I understand, made some adjustments with the linebacker corps, but I am not aware of the complete details. Hopefully these adjustments will allow for better coverage in the flats, and when needed, allow for pressure on the quarterback.

This game will provide more preparation for the conference schedule. I think a win is possible for Ferrum. Mainly, I think this because they have had an extra week to practice and learn. They have worked to correct issues from week one, and surprisingly, I believe Emory and Henry is a better football team than I, or anyone thought. After coming from behind to beat Maryville on the road,
it became clear that the Wasps are no last place team. Ferrum's performance  in week one may have been judged too harshly. No matter, the Panthers have to improve this week.
Look for the improvement, but also, look Shenandoah to try to establish their offense through their running game. Watching their game against Frostburg, their offense seemed simple...They will run off tackle a lot of the time. Just good old fashioned hard nosed football. They will incorporate some mis-direction from time to time, and when they pass, it seems like they mainly throw short, safe passes. Short sideline patterns, and screens.
Overall, I think this will likely be a very even match up. If Ferrum can clog the middle, and deal with the screens successfully, I think they can win. Watch for Ferrum to have a kick or punt return for a score.....maybe not this game, but soon.....maybe it will be this game.

My prediction:

Ferrum 24
SU        21

The rest of the conference......

CNU @ NCW....(Game was played Thursday, before  I posted this article) While I would have picked CNU, I have to count this one as wrong.  In case you missed it CNU came from behind to win 31-28.

LaGrange @ Greensboro

Maryville @ Averett

Huntingdon @ Methodist

Last week, I went  6-2, missing the North Carolina Wesleyan win over Lincoln, and missing Emory and Henry over Maryville. I am, in a way, surprised at what NCW is doing. They are just 1-2, but they beat Lincoln (PA) 20-0, and took CNU deep into the 4th quarter before falling by 3 points. They are an up and coming team.

Next week, Ferrum gets to host the Bishops. Should be a good game.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Predictions for this week

With week one in the books, and an open week for Ferrum, I am posting week two picks. Last week, I was 6-3, missing Ferrum, Averett winning over Washington and Lee, and LaGrange defeating Birmingham Southern. Some interesting games this week will be

Averett @ Randolph Macon
CNU @ Hampden-Sydney
Emory and Henry @ Maryville
Methodist @ Guilford

Here are the week 2 picks:

Averett @ Randolph Macon
CNU @ Hampden-Sydney
Emory and Henry @ Maryville
Methodist @ Guilford
North Carolina Wesleyan @ Lincoln (PA)
Berry @ LaGrange
Greensboro @ Bridgewater
Birmingham Southern @ Huntingdon 

Looks like a big week for the home teams-

Bye Week- A Chance to Re-Group

This may be a really good time for a bye week. After last Saturday, this open date will give the players and the coaches a chance to re- evaluate all aspects of the game, and make positive changes. One game does not a season make, and Ferrum is ok. They have some work to do, but they are not in trouble. Of course some of you loyal readers will completely disagree with me, but Ferrum is not in trouble. Do I see them contending for the conference is possible. If they can get a win next Saturday against Shenandoah, it will re shape things. I say this as I have now had the chance to watch the video of the game from last week, and frankly, there were a lot of bright spots. Ferrum's defense was much improved over what I had seen from the last few years. I have come to some conclusions about that game.

The E&H quarterback, a DI transfer from Appalachian State is a very talented athlete. He made two, major league throws for touchdowns, under what I would call very good coverage.

Ferrum's defense was overall vastly better, and several freshmen had very solid games. Rashad Johnson, freshman from Manasses VA, led the Panthers with 14 tackles. Next were Freshmen Al Mathews, Shy Smith, and Senior Jatavious Adams each with 10 tackles. Next was another freshman, Montel Lee with 7 tackles.

I think Ferrum's defense had difficulty with the pace of the Wasps hurry up offense, but I am doubtful they will face that style all that often this season....not to that degree. This was right out of the Chip Kelly playbook, and it is something that I think caused problems for Ferrum, both in adjusting to it, and causing fatigue.

I was very pleased with the kickoff/punt return efforts....while there were no touchdowns, Ferrum had better starting field position, and one really nice return by Harvey Taylor. This was a needed improvement from last year. This will get better.

With less than 2 mins. left in the first half, Ferrum trailed by 4 points. A penalty against Ferrum on a kickoff return damaged the momentum, but the offense looked good as the second half opened.

All in all, Ferrum had solid gains over last year, but the offense must improve. Specifically, the O line has to provide better protection, and get holes opened for the running backs. There is talent in the running back corps, and I think that will show through soon, but that breakthrough will largely depend on the offensive line.

Take this one, learn from it, make necessary adjustments, and move on. Shenandoah awaits.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week In Review Show Postponed

In keeping with the struggle I was having with technology during yesterdays game, last night, my cell phone declared itself useless. I will likely have to replace it, although it is less than 2 months old. Until it is replaced, I will not be able to broadcast as it is done through my phone....I will keep you posted.

Panthers Fall to Wasps 41-12

In what turned out to be a totally exasperating experience, I ran into technical difficulties trying to watch the broadcast of the game online. After repeated attempts failed, I was forced to listen to the Emory and Henry online radio broadcast. While this gave me access to the game, it was like drinking vinegar to quench my thirst....It got me what I needed, but the experience was more than unpleasant.
It was not until about half way through the 4th quarter was I able to figure out that I needed to update my Adobe flash player, to view the game.......By the time I got online to watch, it was all but over.

If the futile attempts to watch the game did not dole out enough frustration, the game itself, more than made up for any that was lacking. Having to listen to the game from the perspective of what I would say are harshly biased announcers was miserable. I was not surprised at their loyalty to the Wasps, I am sure the broadcast over the Ferrum website is similarly one sided, but the fact that Ferrum was not able to make this a contest made it even tougher to hear.

In a lot of respects, the Ferrum defense looked good. They recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, and blocked a field goal. The very first Emory and Henry series was a three and out, and the next to last drive was a three and out also, so there were bright spots on the defense....overall however, Ferrum was unable to keep up with the fast paced, no huddle offense the Wasps employed. The numbers do not lie....Ferrum gave up 329 yards and five touchdowns through the air, and 229 yards on the ground and one touchdown. If the take away from this game is that the defense had bright spots, then you may want to stop reading now, because it does not get better.

The offense was anemic to say the least. They ran the ball 46 times for 168 yards. an average of 3.7 ypc. (Yards per Carry) Tim Reynolds had 89 of those yards on 16 carries averaging 5.6 ypc. The other 30 carries covered 79 yards, averaging a little over 2 ypc. Passing, Reynolds had a rough day. He was 8 of 26 for 114 yards and 1 interception. Ferrum scored no touchdowns....running or passing.... NONE. A team that does not score touchdowns, will rarely win.  I can say with confidence however that Hunter Ferguson looked good as he went 3 for 3 on field goals.

I am at a loss to explain this. It would not be realistic to say that the opposition did not have something to do with it. E&H played a solid game, but they are not all that and a bag of chips. They are predicted to finish last in the ODAC.

To summerize this, I had really been holding out hope Ferrum was going to be a better team. Believing that with time, that the Panthers will get on track, and have some wins. Remember, I picked them to finish 6th in the conference, so I was not expecting miracles, just hopeful that they could contend in some of their games. I realize that this is the first game of the season, and there are still things to do to get ready for conference play, but if Ferrum is going to be in the hunt, something has to change right away. This Saturday is a open date for Ferrum, so I am sure there will be a lot of tweaking to say the least. I am still on the bandwagon, and likely nothing will change that, but Ferrum has a lot of work to do to get ready for Shenandoah....their game yesterday was postponed until today due to weather. Tune in Ferrum, watch the game online.....couldn't hurt.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

GAMEDAY Spotlight: Defensive Coordinator- Phil Elmassian

One of the keys to Ferrum turning around from the woe's of last season, will have to come from an improvement in their defense. In the off season, a former Black Hat returned for what is his third stint at Ferrum. Coach E brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, and while no one should look for overnight change, Ferrum will likely improve quickly under this guy.

Coach E's Bio:

Phil Elmassian first came to Ferrum in 1969 when he played football for Hank Norton when the school was a junior college.  After playing two seasons at Ferrum, in which the Panthers posted a 12-4-1 mark, Elmassian transferred to the College of William & Mary, where he played for the Tribe under Lou Holtz in 1971 and under Jim Root in 1972.

Elmassian returned to Ferrum after a 31 years away from the Panther gridiron program when he joined the coaching staff in the spring of 2014.  Elmassian is Ferrum's Defensive Coordinator.  One of the most sought-after defensive coaches in the country returns to his roots to help give back to the school where he started.

Elmassian began his coaching career at William & Mary, serving as quarterbacks and running backs coach from 1974-75.  He spent the next three years as an assistant coach at the University of Richmond before joining Norton on the Ferrum coaching staff from 1979-82.  He has coached at five Virginia schools, including Ferrum, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, University of Virginia (ACC Champions) and University of Richmond.

Elmassian's career includes stops at East Carolina, Minnesota, Syracuse, Washington (Pac 10 Champions), Boston College, Wisconsin (2X Big 10 Champions), LSU, West Virginia, Marshall (MAC East Champions), Perdue, Nebraska, Louisiana-Monroe, Illinois State and most recently at U-Mass.  He has coached in many post-season bowl games, including the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Gator Bowl, Sun Bowl, Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Motor City Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, GMAC Bowl, Independence Bowl, Citrus Bowl, All-American Bowl and Hall of Fame Bowl.            

Ferrum is fortunate to have Coach E back home. Go Panthers!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The 10 Keys to a Ferrum Win

Over the last seven seasons, Ferrum has found the going tough against the Emory and Henry Wasps. Some games have been close, and others have been blowouts, but all have ended in the loss column for Ferrum. Tomorrow Ferrum will look to stop a trend that has gone on for way too long. In some circles, I think people have come to accept this as a foregone conclusion, that Emory and Henry will prevail against the Panthers, and I am guessing that they believe it will not be close.

To say Ferrum struggled last year is an understatement. Ending with a 2-8 record, Ferrum allowed 39.4 ppg, while only scoring 22.3 ppg.

While there are many statistics I can point to that would show the ineffectiveness of last season, in my opinion, it is in the past. The 2014 Panthers need to focus on this season. A new start that will, likely bring renewed optimism to players, coaches and fans. Ferrum has to approach this season, one game at a time, one possession at a time, one play at a time. For tomorrow, here is what I see as "musts" for Ferrum to win:

1. OL, and DL must dominate. Every play.

2. They have to win the turnover battle. More takeaways than giveaways.

3. Penalties must be anywhere from minimal to non existent. You cannot give this, or any team anything.

4. Tim Reynolds needs to take charge of the offense as he has shown he can, and be prepared to run the show. Let the running game set up the passing game.

5. Overall, the defense has to improve, and will ultimately be the foundation of any hope of winning.

6. There needs to be immediate improvement in kickoff and punt returns. Ferrum did not score on a single punt of kickoff return last year.

7. BFS- Ferrum needs to be bigger, faster and stronger than their opponent. Coaches should  not be hesitant to play freshmen if it will accomplish this.

8. Ferrum has to be the initiator. They have to make the Wasps react to their actions. Aggressive where appropriate, keep them on their heels.

9. Listen to your coaches

10. Believe, and do not stop trying....Ever.

Ferrum can win this game, and I think they will.  Go Panthers!

Emory & Henry @ Ferrum

In 2008, after the Emory and Henry game, I started this blog. It was born from frustration, after listening to a game on the internet that I thought Ferrum had a chance to win, but came up short. The final that day was E&H 26, Ferrum 21. It featured a strong come back by Ferrum, that in the end was not enough.
This Saturday will mark the 30th meeting between the schools in football, and it has been a while since Ferrum has beaten the Wasps. 2005, was the last win for Ferrum over E&H. That day Ferrum won 29-13. That was the third of three wins in a row over the regional rival.

So what about this weekend? Ferrum comes into this game with some solid,  experienced players on both sides of the ball, and some very capable recruits, that I think will see a good amount of playing time.

Led by Tim Reynolds on offense, look for Ferrum to be successful moving the ball. The backfield will have Reynolds and Dominique Lesine who will both provide plenty of speed, but also look for Jaquan Martin to get some playing time. This freshman will likely see some action, and could be a boost to the offense. Through the air, WR Matthew Kennell will be a favorite target of Reynolds, as well as tight end Marzai Terrell.

On defense, Ferrum welcomes back Jatavious Adams at linebacker. I look for the linebacker corps to be strong, and could also be supplemented by a freshman Dorian Gonzalez. He should get some playing time. Adams will bring strong experience back to this group. Also look for the defensive backs to have Tarrell Owens back at Safety, along with Senior DB Anthony Orton.

Ferrum will face a young Emory and Henry squad under a new head coach, that has been picked to finish last in the ODAC. Do not let this fool you. This team will bring their "A" game, and try to keep the win streak alive for the Wasps. They will have a strong linebacker corps featuring all returning starters. Beyond that there are a couple of returning starters on both sides of the ball, but this is a young team.

If Ferrum can gel early, they may get back in the win column against this team. This is an important game, and although it is non conference, A win will provide a huge spark to a team trying to get itself back on track. Look for a close game, that could come down to the wire.

Ferrum 24
E&H    21

The rest of the conference-

Southern Virginia @ Methodist
Washington and Lee @ Averett
Berry @ Maryville
Huntingdon @ Louisiana College
Salisbury @ CNU
Stevenson @ NCW
Greensboro @ Guilford
LaGrange @ Birmingham Southern

Saturday, August 30, 2014

And So It Begins

With camp over, Ferrum has posted their roster, and had a scrimmage against Guilford. While I have no specific information, I understand that Ferrum struggled somewhat against a strong Quaker team. Guilford, who until last year had not had a lot of recent success with football, turned things around last year, and were in the mix for the ODAC title. This year, they received votes in the top 25 pre-season poll. As long as there were no serious injuries, Ferrum benefited from the scrimmage.

What Should We Expect This Season?

As I see it, Ferrum has some real positives coming into the season. They also have some areas that I would call unknowns. I read today in the publication of Kickoff, that Ferrum is predicted to finish last in the USA South with a record of 1-9. I was a little shocked by this, but with the parity in the conference, anything is possible.

I think we can look for Tim Reynolds to have a very good year, and in general for the offense to be effective. The offensive line will be young, and they will need to develop quickly for Ferrum to contend, but Ferrum will be better on offense. On defense, I am at a loss as to what to expect. I do believe the defense will improve for three reasons. One is Phil Elmassian. Coach E is solid, and will have these guys on point. Second, I think this has been a good recruiting season, and I look for some solid freshman help on defense, and Third, there is nowhere to go but up. Ferrum's defense will be a work in progress, but I am confident, they will improve.

Ferrum can contend for the conference, but they will have an uphill battle. Look for this to be a rebuilding year. A strong foundation is being built, but patience is key.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fall Camp Starts Saturday
Are You Ready?

In the last few seasons, from where I sit it seems that Ferrum has needed some time to get it's engine warmed up. It's been as if those three non conference games have served as a chance to blow all of the dust off, and re-acclimate to playing football. To a certain extent, this is not surprising. and this year will likely be much the same. With a host of freshmen coming in, the fall camp will be their introduction to Ferrum football. It is not the freshmen that I am concerned about ....not all that much anyhow. It is the returning players that have to be prepared to pick up where they left off if they want to contend for a conference title. There must be a laser focus on the part of the returners if Ferrum is to come out of the gate strong...and you must come out of the gate strong.
This year is different. This year, you do not have the luxery of 3 non conference games. You will only play two non conference opponents, and will play eight conference games, not seven.
This year you open against what may be a weaker Emory and Henry team.., if the ODAC coaches poll is to be believed, They are predicted to finish eighth. Personally, I doubt they will be a lot different, so it is you that has to be different. You cannot afford to use the non conference games as a warm up, you must look at these games as must wins. This game against Emory and Henry will set the tone. It is not the end of the season if you lose, but what a boost a win will bring.
Ferrum has not won an opening game since 2005, and this is one streak that needs to be ended. Put down the cell phone, and pick up the black hat. Strap it on tight, and prepare yourself for success. Tune up is fall camp. On September 6th, it's on!

Are you ready?