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 d3football.com 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 D3football.com 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?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Link to Thursday's Show

The show will be at 6 p.m. edt, and will last 15 mins. All future broadcasts will last 30 mins. There will be no call in's tomorrow night, but that is something that will be available as of August 31.

FCFR Week in Review Intro show

Introducing.....

Beginning tomorrow night (6 pm Eastern Time), I will launch a internet talk show to supplement my blog. The show, called Ferrum College Football Report's Week in Review will have its first full segment on August 31st. Tomorrow is a dry run. More details will be discussed tomorrow night. Hope you can listen in. I will post a link to the show as soon as I receive it....It will be on the blog, as well as the fb Fans of the Ferrum College Football Report page. Stand by, it should be fun

Friday, August 1, 2014

Stay Tuned- Something New is Coming

While I cannot give details right now, I am anticipating a "new deminsion" to my blog, The Ferrum College Football Report. I am hoping to post details this week.

Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 USA South Media Day Poll is Out

The conference football coaches convened today at Maryville College for the yearly media day gathering. After a coaches meeting, Coaches voted on how they felt the conference standings would shape up. This "preseason poll" is set up so that coaches get to vote, but cannot vote for their own team.

The results are below:


2014 USA South Coaches Preseason Poll
RankInstitution (1st Place Votes)Pts.
1.Maryville (5)60
2.Christopher Newport (3)55
3.Methodist (1)54
4.Huntingdon45
5.LaGrange34
6.Ferrum29
7.N.C. Wesleyan22
8.Greensboro16
9.Averett9

In comparing this to my poll from yesterday, the only difference is that I have Methodist second, and CNU third. In the coaches poll, these two teams are separated by only one point.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 USA South Predictions

Once again, I have poured over numbers, rosters, schedules, and tried to incorporate any recruiting information I could find, in an effort to put together my predictions for this season. What I have learned is that there is very little separating the #1 team from the #9 team. I think there will be upsets, and I think that likely the championship will be decided in the last week of the season. It will be exciting.

So here we go. Here are my 2014 predictions for the USA South.

(scroll down)






 
 







9.  Averett- For the Cougars, it's a new day, with a new head coach, and hopefully a new direction. With only one win last season, Averett replaced their head coach with former Ferrum player, and defensive coordinator Clieve Adams. I do think Averett will grow as a team, and will likely improve in the near future, but I see this season holding similar results as last year. 


 
 






8.  Greensboro- The Pride should show a noticeable improvement this year, but the one thing that may make their season an uphill climb, is that all of the teams are expected to be better. With only eight gone from last year's roster, their depth and experience will be a definite plus. Look for the Pride to be close on many games, and could pull an upset.





7. North Carolina Wesleyan- While the Bishops had an apparently weak 2-8 record in 2013, They were in many of the games that they played. Their offense was quite capable both on the ground, and in the air, but too many times their defense struggled. This is a young team, stronger than you may think, and with a lot of potential. Look at this team to pull off an upset or two.


                                 



6.  Ferrum- In what appears to be a rebuilding year for the Panthers, I would say that this year will be an "iffy" one for Ferrum. With many changes on the sideline, and what seems to be a fruitful recruiting campaign, I have not given up hope that this could be a promising season. If the offensive line can dominate their role in the offensive scheme, and if the defense can show a pronounced improvement and consistency, and if the special teams is solid in all areas, then Ferrum will be in the mix. Time will tell, and they will have to pull more than one upset, but this team has some strong players, and may just be a dark horse.

5.  LaGrange- With a strong core of returning players, LaGrange will try to build on a season that showed a lot of promise, but finished short of where they wanted to be. 5-3 in the conference, and 5-5 overall, look for this team to be a strong contender for the conference championship. The month of October will tell the tale for the Panthers. If they can play solid in October, they may be in the mix to make the playoffs. It is important to note that this team lost fewer players to graduation (7) than any other team in the conference.

4.  Huntingdon- This team, like LaGrange, will try to bounce back from what ended up being a disappointing season. The Hawks suffered an unexpected loss at the hands of LaGrange, and also fell to Methodist before ending the season with a win over Maryville. Look for them to again field a strong team, especially on offense as they ended the season with the #1 ranked offense in the country. They will have to start fast as their first two conference games are at Methodist, and at Maryville.

3.  CNU- The Captains will begin their final year in the USA South, and will look to rebound from their non championship season of last year. This was indeed a rare occurrence, and I am sure the Captains will look to go out on top. The possibility of their hopes coming to fruition may be told in their first 5 games as they face a gauntlet of talented teams which include Salisbury, at Hampden-Sydney, at North Carolina Wesleyan, Methodist, and Ferrum. Look for them to right in the mix, and could close out on top.



2.  Methodist- The Monarchs will look to pick up right where they left off, and could be a dominate team in the conference this year. With their star quarterback returning, look for their offense to be solid.(Their offense ended the season ranked #2 nationally) They will have challenges, among them is that their defense will have to step up in a big way. The defense was ranked 235th nationally of 242 teams. Without improvement on the defensive side of the ball, they could struggle. I do believe their D will improve to keep them in the hunt.

 



1.  Maryville-The Scots are looking to make a return trip to the playoffs, but the numbers lost to graduation may make this difficult. I am certain that the depth of this team will fill the holes nicely, but may leave this team somewhat younger and inexperienced. Look for the Scots to be in the mix throughout the season, and expect a shootout for the title in the last week against Methodist.

Conference Summation:
In all honesty, the separation of talent between all of the teams is razor thin. I expect the margin of victory to closer than ever for almost all results, and I expect more overtime games this year than probably ever before, and lastly, I expect that the team with a strong special teams program, will be in the mix at the end.
Any of these teams could win, but the top five teams listed  will likely have the best shot. It should be a really fun season to be a fan.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

10 Reasons for Optimisim

Yes, we all know last year was difficult to endure. I would not be surprised if there are not those who see last year as a sign of things to come. We had two new teams in the conference, who I believed would really cause difficulty for many conference teams. LaGrange and Huntingdon, I felt, would make the conference stronger, but worried this may be at the expense of any and every team in the conference. Of course, there was always CNU, and we know what a challenge they can always pose, but then out of nowhere, comes a resurgent Maryville team, and Methodist....That means that last year, of the 9 teams in the conference, 5 of the teams were really in the hunt well into the season.

The bottom four, Greensboro, Averett, N.C.Wesleyan, and Ferrum, all had a rough time. So why will this year be different?  Well I cannot speak to what every team has done in the off season, and I cannot promise that it will be different, but I can tell you why I am optimistic about Ferrum's chances for improvement.

1. Phil Elmassian- New defensive coordinator with multitudes of coaching experience, and a proven record of success. I cannot help but think that his hiring will pay big dividends.  Elmassian Bio

2. Jeff Hanson- Another new hire on the sidelines. Again with great experience, and a proven track record.  Hanson Bio

3. Tim Reynolds- Returning for his Senior year, Reynolds has proven he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. Offensive player of the Year in 2012, Reynolds will be looking to close out his college career with strong numbers, and a strong finish. Reynolds Bio

4. Dominique Lesine- A name that may be familiar to many Panther faithful, "DL" has returned to the Ferrum gridiron, and will bring plenty of speed and power in the offensive backfield.

5. Tarrell Owens- A very consistent player in the defensive backfield, Tarrell had 64 total tackles from his safety position, and will be a huge contributor in his Senior season.  Owens Bio

6. Justice Gilbert (Recruit)- Should arrive on campus this fall, and could earn a starting job early on if his high school career is any indication.  Article on Gilbert

7. Josh Bare (Recruit)- Strong High School Career. Should be an asset for the Panthers
Article on Josh Bare  (Two stories on one link- look for a small picture below the article and click on it to read Bare article).

8. Jaquan Martin (Recruit)- Very accomplished High School career. Article on Martin

9. Stephen DiCenso (Recruit)- Could play on either side of the ball.  Article on DiCenso

10. Shyron Smith & Kwajay Witcher (Recruits)- A 1-2 punch to the defensive backfield. Article on Smith and Witcher

First, keep in mind, that these listed as recruits are not bound to attend Ferrum. The fact that they have "committed" is not binding. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they arrive on campus this fall.

Second, keep in mind that this is a short, partial list of recruits. Some very solid athletes will hopefully become Panthers this fall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where are all the Ferrum Fans?

Just in case you are not aware, d3football.com, hosts discussion boards for every conference in every region in the country. The USA South page has had some quite lively discussions on it, but I am sad to report, there are very few people who post on behalf of Ferrum....for the most part it is just me. There have been a couple of others, but no real consistency.

If you would like to get in on the discussions, click on the link below, and set up your free account. Simple, and fun.

http://www.d3boards.com/

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Tradition of Champions-
1977

Before 1985, Ferrum's football program competed at the Junior College level. Between 1955, when the program started, and 1984 Ferrum won four Junior College National Championships. In 1977, Ferrum won its last of those four.

I enrolled at Ferrum in 1978, and many of the players from the '77 championship team were still there. I saw Ferrum have a great '78 season, but cannot report directly as to the '77 championship team, because I was not there. Rich Moscarello was the Equipment Manager at Ferrum at the time, and I as a Freshman, worked with Rich as a student equipment manager. This was my work study assignment. During the '77 season, Rich also wrote sports articles for the Iron Blade, the Ferrum College newspaper. Below is an article that Rich Moscarello wrote about the 1977 season. (This is printed with permission of Ferrum College, and Rich Moscarello.)


"THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON, 1977"
by Rich Moscarello
Team Equipment Manager

Ferrum had had three great National Championship teams in the past (1965, 1968 and 1974 ) but none had more character than the 1977 National Championship team.
In a year that for the first time in recent memory saw not a single team in the nation go undefeated, and saw the Number One ranking change hands eight times with eight different schools holding the coveted position and only two of them, (Navarro Texas and Golden Valley Lutheran from Minnesota) holding it as long as two consecutive weeks, the Panthers had character.
In an interesting bit of polling, Ferrum was ranked 10th in the NJCAA pre-season poll which was higher than any other Coastal Conference school, but was not considered the favorite to win the Coastal Conference Football Championship.
Each week found the Panthers getting stronger and stronger with opening victories over Newport News Apprentice, 21-0, and 53-0 over the same Nassau team that beat Ferrum 19-0 the year before. In their third game of the season the Panthers handed Wesley, a school which hadn't suffered a defeat since the waining games of the 1975 season, a 24-6 setback. Then came the straw that was to have broken the camel's back, but did it?
A fluke touchdown in the last minutes of the game gave Grand Rapids Junior College a 16-14 upset victory over Ferrum which seemingly shattered all hope the Panthers had of winning a National Championship, and more certainly shattered their quest for an undefeated season.
The Panthers, knowing only a major miracle would give them a chance at winning all the marbles for the national title, bounced back and showed their true character. Instead of cracking, which they could easily have done, they came back and carved out the Coastal Conference Championship for themselves by dumping high scoring and then undefeated Chowan 16-0. They then proceeded to topple Hudson Valley, Potomac State, Lees McRae, and Liberty Baptist by margins between 14 and 47 points.
As the Panthers opponents fell, so did the national powers of junior college football as they all tried their hand at being the undefeated Number One team in the nation. All were unceremoniously defeated the same week as their No. 1 rating.
By now the Panther machine was nearing the end of a season that would see them score six shutouts (one shy of of the NJCAA record held by the 1965 Ferrum National Championship team), allow only four touchdowns (again one shy of the record held by the '65 Panthers), yield only 36 points (second in school history to the 19 points yielded by the 1965 team), set a school record with 2751 yards rushing offense, and set new NJCAA and school records by allowing on defense an average of only 32 rushing yards a game and 95 yards of total offense. But the day of reckoning had come.
It was a cold snowy day that November 12th in Baltimore, and the Panthers were about to take on the undermanned but brave Baltimore Red Devil team that hadn't won a game all season.
The Panthers knew they had to win and win big to have any chance at the National Championship. They knew they had a bonifide shot at a national title since the Number One team of the past two weeks, Golden Valley Lutheran of Minneapolis Minnesota had to play an in state championship game against a team that wouldn't play dead for them. The team was Normandale from Bloomington.
So the Panthers played like champions, and had Baltimore down 33-0 at halftime. Everybody was experiencing a good feeling, despite the bitter cold.  Ferrum slacked off a little bit in the second half, scoring only 23 points, but came up with the big must victory in true style. Panthers 56  Baltimore 0.
On the bus coming back home, there was only one question that was going through everybody's mind a thousand times. "How did Golden Valley do?" It's hard to tell how many might have thought Golden Valley had won based on the fact that the Ferrum team bus ran out of gas 40 miles from home in the middle of what was then early Sunday morning, but as the song in the Goodyear tire commercial starts "Don't you know there's good news round the corner..."
The next morning we all found out that Normandale most certainly didn't play dead as they whipped Golden Valley Lutheran, 31-0, to win the Minnesota State Championship. We had to wait two more days for the official word from Hutchinson Kansas (NJCAA Headquarters), but when it arrived, there was two minuets of the most deafening hollering and shouting like the weight room at Swartz Gymnasium had never heard before.
Call it what you will. How about with a song, Englebert Humperdink's "I Believe In Miracles" or Barry Manilow's "It's a Miracle" or how about comparing it with the feat of the 1967 Boston Red Sox who were counted as being down and out from the beginning of the season, but when that day of reckoning came, that final day, they won and claimed the championship that would be called the "Impossible Dream."
Another important thing which will probably go unnoticed in history about this great Panther team is that eight of their ten games were played in inclement weather, either rain (like the monsoon experienced at the Liberty Baptist game), or extreme cold (like at Hudson Valley which turned the bubble gum the team chews into jaw breakers), or cold and snow (like at Baltimore). Now it wouldn't be correct to say that anybody could win the national title with ten perfect playing days weather wise, but when you consider that only two games were played in what could be called ideal conditions, that is another example of the Panthers' great character.
Who knows? Maybe it was the prayers of our fans and faculty. Maybe we can say what Paul Newman said in the Rocky Graziano movie he made "Somebody Up There Likes Me." What ever the case, it was the true character of our team that got us where we are, and hopefully it will keep us on top next season.

Ferrum Junior College
1965 National Champions

In looking over some of Ferrum's statistics, I was really blown away when I started reading about the 1965 National Junior College Champion Panthers. To put it simply, that team was unbelievable.Some things that stand out are:


The team record was 10-0.
They won Ferrum's first National Championship.
Offense averaged 26 points per game
7 of their 10 games were shut outs.
Their largest margin of victory was 48 points.
Average margin of victory was 24.1 ppg
Defense only allowed 19 points....THE ENTIRE SEASON!
(That is worth repeating)
Defense only allowed 19 points....THE ENTIRE SEASON!
Average points scored against Ferrum was 1.9 ppg

Here are the season's results:

vs. Shenandoah  46-6

vs. Newport News Apprentice  44-0

vs.  Wesley 27-7

vs.  Potomac 14-0

vs.  Chowan  37-0

vs.  Gardner-Webb 6-0

vs.   Montgomery 15-0

vs.  Lees McRae 7-6

vs.  Univ. of Richmond (Freshman) 48-0

vs.  McCook (Nebraska) National Championship Game 16-0


Not only did this team win Ferrum's first National Championship, they set the standard for a program that would become known for it's defensive ability. Ferrum over the next 12 years would win three more national championships, and all of those teams would use their defensive prowess as a significant part of their success.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

USA South Media Day Monday July 28th
My Predictions Come Out on the 27th.

Once again, I will post my predictions for the upcoming season just prior to the USA South media day, which is scheduled for July 28th. Hosted at Maryville College this year, there will be a live video feed through the www.usasouth.net website.
My predictions will come out sometime on Sunday the 27th. This year, will likely be the most difficult year for predictions, as it seems that most conference teams can legitimately contend for the title.

One of those teams is obviously CNU. Always competitive, the Captains will be looking to end their stint in the conference with one last championship. Along with CNU, Maryville, the defending conference champion, will look to win back to back titles. Methodist, who was co champion with Maryville, will again be in the mix, and a serious contender for the championship. Huntingdon, North Carolina Wesleyan, Ferrum, LaGrange, Averett, and Greensboro, will all have a shot to win the title, and all can affect the final standings.

As for Ferrum, This year, like last year, I see a lot of question marks. While last year, the question marks centered around the  defense, I see more of them centering around the offense this year, specifically the offensive line. Lots of holes to fill, but there is some experience returning. Size is one area that concerns me, and I am hopeful, they will be more comparable to their opponents D-line.

The good news for the offense is that I see Ferrum's offensive backfield being pretty darn quick. I look for them to have a good deal of speed, and a passing game that could cause problems for opponents. The success of any of the offensive attack however, starts with the effectiveness of the offensive line.

Do not think that this means the defense is appearing to me to be a solid, rebuilt unit, because that is just not the case. 5 members of the defensive unit have graduated, and while it looks like Ferrum has picked up some talented incoming freshmen, one of the
best acquisitions was the hiring of Phil Elmassian. Coach E, brings a wealth of experience, and I believe, over time, will turn the unit around. I have no idea what type of defense the Panthers will run, but there is nowhere to go but up. I do not expect miracles, but I do think there will be a marked improvement, and this will help to make Ferrum competitive.

Finally, I want to comment that Ferrum, I believe has had a very good recruiting effort. It appears that most all areas have been addressed, and what I would call some very high caliber athletes are coming to Franklin County to strap on the black hat. Ferrum will be a better team this year, but whether is shows in the won/loss column , only time will tell. While I am hopeful, I believe that there will be a cross conference improvement  Stay tuned, it could be a wild season.