Big Break for Former Morehouse Assistant Grid Coach
Patience, hard work and the ability to put one’s nose to the grindstone can pay off big time and that is what happened for ex-Morehouse offensive line coach Brian Braswell. The Atlanta native (East Point) and former lineman at both Benjamin Banneker High and Hampton University has been hired to join the staff of Cincinatti Bengal Head coach Marvin Lewis as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach.
BraswellBraswell caught the attention of Lewis last spring and during training camp as he participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Internship Coaching program. At Morehouse, he wore a number of hats as offensive line coach under defensive coordinator George Copeland (Tennessee State), as run game coordinator, coach for the field goal and extra point teams and developer of strength programs. “ Brian is an energetic guy who finds ways to contribute and we’re happy to add him on for 2014,” Lewis said in a statement. “We’re impressed with the work he put in for us in the offseason and camp last year.”
Former Morris Brown athletic trainer Walter Smith is getting a crack at the silver screen. He is playing the role of a bow-tie wearing referee in a film about Muhammad Ali called “The Final Punch”. Smith, an Atlanta native told INSIDE his selection was accidental. He was taking his grandson to movie tryouts at a Shriner’s Temple in northeast Atlanta when approached by staff about taking the role of referee in the flick.” I refused about three times but they kept bugging me about it because the turnout for tryouts had been poor due to weather. I finally gave in and took the part.” Smith, one of the country’s most sought-after trainers, which he has done since the age of 13, has been in a similar role with the Georgia Tech baseball team for the last 29 years. For that devoted service, the school named one of its athletic buildings for him…….
James “Cannonball” Butler, a one time sensational running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was laid to rest late last month in Boynton Beach, Florida. Butler came to Atlanta in 1967 after spending three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their 15th round pick in 1963. He graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Florida, and was cited by the school as one of its “most decorated athletes.” His number 24 at EWC is the only jersey retired. He spent four years in Atlanta from 1968 to 1972. Although most remember him for his fullback-like roughness with the oval, he is also remembered by many Atlantans as the owner of a popular nightspot called 200 South in southwest Atlanta. His relatives said EWC and his frat, Omega Psi Phi were among the closest to his heart.Butler
The same year Butler came to the Falcons in 1968, the team made former Tennessee State great Claude Humphrey their first round draft pick and the third player selected in that year’s draft overall. In 1976 through 1978, I produced the Claude Humphrey Radio Show for station WAOK-AM and we became close friends. So it was with pride that this year, I watched the NFL finally see fit to induct the brother into the Hall of Fame. There are two people I wish Claude’s close friend, former Falcon tight end Jim Mitchell (Prairie View) and his wife/cheerleader Sandra could have been around to see this triumph. Humphrey joins Richard Dent as the second “Big Blue Tiger” elected to the Hall. Ceremonies are slated for August 2 in Canton Ohio. I wonder who will Claude select to introduce him?Humphey at Tennessee State TSU Photo
XTRA POINTS; INSIDE has learned that the Atlanta Xplosion women’s tackle football team has changed leagues.They are now part of the Omaha Nebraska based Women’s Spring Football League. The switch was confirmed to INSIDE by league CEO Randall Fields. “Atlanta has four women’s tackle teams and two of them , the Xplosion and the Atlanta Heartbreakers are members of our league,” he said in a phone interview from Omaha. “The Xplosion joined us about two months ago.” He said there is also a possibility that the league championship for 2014 might be held in Atlanta. It appears the fourth women’s team in Atlanta is the Atlanta Rage said to have been created by former Xplosion longtime general manager-owner Mashonda Gilmore.
……Meanwhile, Atlanta’s other team , the Phoenix, say their tweaks during the off-season have developed them into 50 dedicated souls to the team and the sport. Last year, the Phoenix was 8-0 in the regular season and 2-1 in post season play. Somehow, after two tough playoff games last year against Tampa Bay and Miami, they went into third round play against the Chicago Force on the road and got creamed 84-0. How could that happen against a team that only allowed regular season opponents an average 7.2 points a ballgame?
They (Chicago) threw some ringers in on us at the last minute,” said General Manager and part-owner April Christler. She protested to the honchos of the Women Football Association she told us the league promised to invoke rules against last minute “roster adds”. The team meanwhile has changed home fields to Campbell High school in Smyrna Georgia and will began with a pre-season contest against the (Washington) DC Divas March 22 before their official season begins April 5th against Tampa…..
I nearly forget to render applause to the 2013 Atlanta Metropolitan College men’s basketball program. Among the more than 1000 two year colleges that sponsor field basketball teams in the USA, AMC’s 2013 hoop program was the nation’s 5th best All- Academic teams. Mind you, only five teams were picked from around the nation! Their head coach is Robert Pritchett (Albany State), AMC s first and only head coach since the school began playing b-ball in the early 1990s.
First Gobble Day game between Ala.State-Stillman draws 14,396
NEW ORLEANS, La- 14,000-plus flocked to the 90th Turkey Day classic in Montgomery, Alabama and introduced a new team to the annual football “do.” Those who travelled across state from Tuscaloosa, the hard-core Hornets who would show up regardless the opponent and the curious who wanted to get a peak at the elevens and the new state-of-the-art ASU stadium saw a pretty good game . Alabama State prevailed 41-28 to start a new chapter in the history of this game. Will it last the 89 years of the Tuskegee-Hornet contest? Will Stillman eventually decide to bow out to qualify for NCAA playoff action? Only time will tell that……..
SIAC SUPERLATIVES FOR 2013- The SIAC’s all conference team has been unwrapped for 2013 and the selections didn’t come as much of a surprise. BurroughsThree of the conference’s 11 football playing teams had three players selected to the first team. Probably for the first time in memory, Lane College joined the list of multi-superlatives which also included the player of the year, Chris Rini. I do take issue with the selection committee’s failure to name Lane’s Derrick Burroughs as coach of the year and this is with all due respect to selectee Reggie "Ruff” Ruffin, who is a brilliant coach. But Burroughs, an one time assistant under former Stillman coach Greg Thompson, took over a team that was once everybody’s preferred homecoming opponent and lifted them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2007 . The also finished third in the SIAC’s tough western division. One decision the committee made that was a damn good one was naming CAU freshman TaylorMontavious Taylor the freshman player of the year. The native Atlantan was second in conference rushing with 671 yards, averaging 75 yards per game. Check out the rest of the best at www.thesiac.com......
BAYOU AT 40- ‘Ole Southern University captured their second consecutive Bayou Classic football victory 40-17 over poor Grambling who mercifully ended their 1-11 season which aside last year’s equally abysmal 1-10, were the two worst one win seasons ever since 1945. Despite the loss, Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams accounted well for himself, throwing for 120 yards and tossing two touchdowns. Williams started in the last two Grambling games, replacing DJ Williams who played the last few minutes of the fourth period. “ I was glad for the opportunity and got in there to win.” , he told INSIDE HOTLANTA. Although the Tigers played a poor first half, they improved some in the second, scoring twice, once in the third period and again at the beginning of the fourth period. Williams was his own worst critic. “ I didn’t play well,” said the QB of few words. “ I played a bad game.” Southern’s Southern celebrates Bayou Classic victory Dray Joseph, meanwhile, was grinning like a cheshire cat following the win. He should have been. Joseph, playing in his final regular season game, threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Like Williams, he too was his harshest critic. “I give my performance (in Bayou 40) between a B plus and B minus, “ he told INSIDE, “ JosephI threw a few bad passes, some too short, others too long. I know I am going to have to play much, much better against Jackson State (December 7, Houston Texas).” Joseph has survived three coaches at Southern and some lean years but he says “it’s a process.” “Coach (Dawson) Odums took over for coach (Stump) Mitchell and he came in emphasizing discipline and accountability. It worked.”
Meanwhile, there is no word as of the posting of this column about the future fate of Grambling interim coach Dirk Winston, who took over after former head coach Doug Williams and interim George Ragsdale were fired.
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Paine College head coach Greg Ruffin’s Lion elevens showed themselves well as a club football team this season. They wound up beating three of their four opponents. They will play a full SIAC schedule in 2014 and any conference or other team who schedules them as possibly an easy homecoming opponent better think again.Ruffin
XTRA POINTS: The 47,000 –plus at this year’s 40th Bayou Classic was surprising to some, considering many Jaguar hard-cores I talked to said they expected the bulk of their fans to sit it out and save their green for Houston this weekend at the SWAC championship game against Jackson State. Actually, considering Grambling’s dismal 2013 record and its twin from 2012, I really expected to see only a smattering of Tiger fans at the game. I was pleased to see quite a few sporting their Grambling garb……….The Jackson State-Southern match for the SWAC title will feature two coaches who formally piloted teams in the SIAC. Rick Comegy was head coach at Tuskegee for many years and Dawson Odums piloted Clark-Atlanta University in the part of this century….My wife’s hometown of Hammond Louisiana is dying for a good soul food restaurant. Any enterprising soul might look into it. You’d die a millionaire !!!!!..DID YOU KNOW that former Norfolk State President Harrison Wilson ( 1976-1997) is the grandfather of poker-hot Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. No wonder the brother is so bad……
Tuskegee fights but loses first shot at NCAA Playoffs
HAMMOND, La-Well, it was close and the team played well, no, BETTER than well but ‘ole ‘Skegee nonetheless lost a heartbreaker to the University of North Alabama 30-27 in last weekend’s round one of the NCAA Division ii playoffs..
Tuskegee tied the game once in the third period and even led after the first quarter. UNA scored what turned out to be the winning points via a touchdown in the third period. Willie Slater’s Goldens responded with a 38 yard field goal at the 2:06 mark of the third probably thinking they’d have time left to mount a drive and score once more. Didn’t happen. The 4th period turned largely into a defensive battle with neither team able to score. Tuskegee had four opportunities but couldn’t get a sustained drive going. In fact, one of them was stopped with an interception. UNA had the last word with 6:11 to to go and managed to run out the clock.
This was, nonetheless, an historic contest for Tuskegee. Never before had the Goldens qualified for an opportunity to play in the D-2 post-season. But that all changed last year when Skegee pulled out of the annual Thanksgiving day game with Alabama State…So who is playing the hornets on turkey day now? Stillman stepped up to the plate..
Meanwhile, Albany State, this year’s SIAC champ, won’t get to enjoy any post- season play as a reward. What would have been the 16th annual Pioneer Bowl featuring the champ or a rep from the SIAC (Albany State) against the champ or rep from CIAA (probably the runner-up to the scheduled conference matchup between Virginia State and Winston Salem which was wisely cancelled by the conference honchos) was cancelled. Since the Pioneer started in 1997, it’s been cancelled twice before in 2002 and 2008. Last year, Elizabeth City State defeated Tuskegee 28-13.
My only concern with the cancellation is how this might affect the sanctioning. How long is the NCAA going to tolerate continued cancelling of this game, the longest enduring post-season sanctioning for not only the SIAC-CIAA but all of division II.
The late Wallace Jackson, the SIAC’s first full time commissioner, pushed the sanctioning through the right committees. SanctioningSuperman and Lamars and automatic conference bids are most coveted with rival organizations biting at the bit to snatch ups for themselves. I’d hate for this sanctioning to be lost. The chances are likely this opportunity will never come again…..
XTRA POINTS: I’ve been spending the last two weeks in the Bayou State of Louisiana celebrating Thanksgiving with Patsy’s family and while there, took advantage of a couple of games.. One was the Clark-AU- Southern contest in Baton Rouge and then the 40th Bayou in New Orleans .I also journeyed to Shreveport to look up an old friend and former Morris Brown College football player, Robert “Supermann:” Blount.
For nearly 20 years, he lived in Atlanta, became an awesome bodybuilder and a sought-after trainer. He left Atlanta before the turn of the century on what he said was a spiritual calling and returned to his native Shreveport. He gave up the lifestyle of the rich and famous, -re-married and turn his life to all things spiritual. Now an ordained minister, he established “B-Fit for Life”, a program encouraging men and women to get themselves fit, refrain from excesses and treat the physical body with the same respect they treat their spirituality. “The body is the temple of the Lord,” he said at a recent health symposium in Shreveport, “You have to start treating the temple right, If your car breaks down, you get it fixed, right? Well, what about the body? That’s the first thing we ignore.” To learn mout Supermann Blount, contact him at www.bfitforlife.org
BATON ROUGE, La-Albany State captured its first true conference title with a narrow 17-14 win over Miles College.
It was the second time that these two teams have met in the three years the conference title game has been played.. Interestingly in SIAC Championship One, Miles defeated Albany State 20-17 .ASU also won by three points.
The loss by Miles was especially disappointing for the Alabama boys since the Bears led throughout most of the contest 14-7 until the fourth quarter when Zachery Holley booted a 28 yard field goal to narrow the Bears lead to four. Then with 8:51 remaining, a 28 yard punt by ASU at the Miles 13 was muffed by Darren Fife and the fumble recovered by Albany’s Untayous Benson at the 4. One play later, Adrian Alexander romped from the four for what became the winning touchdown.
Miles had two opportunities to launch drives but couldn’t move successfully against ASU’s “dirty blue” defense.
ASU finishes 2013 with an overall 5-4 and first place in the SIAC East. Miles finishes with a 6-4 mark and second in the SIAC west. Tuskegee, who lost the opportunity to defend their 2012 title with a upset loss to Miles a fortnight ago, finished first nonetheless and with an 8-2 overall finish, qualified for the first time in school history for the NCAA Division II playoffs,. They will visit North Alabama in the first round November 23. If the SIAC decides to schedule another Pioneer Bowl, it appears that Albany State would qualify against a rep from the CIAA which will likely be Fayetteville State. SIAC officials would neither confirm nor deny reports there might not be a post-season game this year. SIAC Sports information director Calleb Obumba told INSIDE on Monday of this week that a press release would be issued sometime this week.Albany State University - 2013 SIAC Football Champs
Clark-Atlanta, its roster filled with freshmen players didn’t seem to stand a prayer against the more experienced Southern University Jaguars and it showed here in the Bayou State last Saturday night as the Panthers were shut out,albeit only their second time this season, 53-0 before 12,217 mostly partisans at AW Mumford Stadium.
There was little to applaud the Panthers over. Their only solace offensively was true freshman Montavious Taylor. The former Carver High of Atlanta running back rushed 17 times for 51 yards. CAU’s defense also accounted well for themselves with three of their down linemen finishing in double figures in tackles. Juniors Joshua Tate and pre season all conference’s Brenard Williams recorded 12 tackles, followed closely by senior Stevon McGill who had 10 tackles.
The rest of the two hour, twenty-nine minute contest belonged to Southern, however, as the Jaguars led 26-0 in the first half and then returned to the gridiron to complete the job with 27 unanswered points. Did CAU rookie head coach Kevin Weston think his hosts were trying to run up the score? “ I think so, “ said Southern head coach Dawson Odums, who coached at CAU from 2001 to 2005. But he added this. “ When you get beat like that, well, it’s the moment.” But Odums also applauded the Panthers as well. “ The wing T is a difficult offense that takes time to learn. Eventually, that offense is going to work for Coach and CAU. Remember, they are young.”
The season is over for Weston and the Panthers who finished at 3-7. It may not seem like much until you consider that last year, the Panthers finished at 2-8. Meanwhile, the season continues for the Jaguars. They take on 1-10 Grambling November 30 at the 40th annual Bayou Classic and then will represent the western division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) at the conference championship game December 7 against the east division champion Tigers of Jackson State. Note: Both Odums and Jackson Coach Rick Comegy coached at one time in the SIAC. (Comegy was once head coach at Tuskegee).
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: In the only other SIAC game last week, Central State of Ohio was all but destroyed by West Alabama 91-28. The Marauders, who only won two games this season, trailed 42-28 at the break but got shut out 49-0 in the second. Interestingly, CSU was only the second school to score 28 points on West Alabama’s defense. Valdosta State scored 30 points but lost to UWA 49-30.
The final regular season SIAC game is Thanksgiving day when Stillman takes on Alabama State.
XTRA POINTS: Kudos to whomever is responsible for the press box at Southern’s Mumford Stadium. It was spacey, confortable, well lit ,organized and run and presented us with a great view of the playing field. Although the SIAC is my beat, I will find some way to get back to Southern’s campus in 2014…….Budget axes were busy around Benedict College I’m told. Head football coach James Woody lost several assistants including former ( and original) Atlanta Falcon Lee Calland. With recruiting and competition so tough in this conference, the absence of assistants is not helping Benedict’s cause……
ATLANTA- The hard core at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama just a stone’s throw south of downtown Birmingham might scoff at my headline but they know that the odds were against them to beat Willie Slater’s Goldens. After all, they were playing the game at Cleve Abbott Stadium on Tuskegee’s campus. The old-timers call the place “Death Valley” because the bones of so many ‘Skegee opponents are scattered all over the non-lighted field. Tuskegee is defending the crown they won last year. Tuskegee was also arguably the best team in the conference. They boast the best W-L in the conference and until Miles, their only loss of this season was 35-13 to Winston Salem on the road.
But apparently Miles’ Reggie Ruffin paid no attention to that and his “winning disease” became epidemic among his Bear elevens. By halftime, Miles was leading 34-14 .. Tuskegee outscored Miles 22-7 in the second half but turned the ball over twice which Miles took advantage of.
David Thomas, the red-shirt senior, put on a scoring clinic, accounting for all six of Miles’ touchdowns, five of them in the air. In fact, the Bears were poised to score a seventh TD when time ran out. Miles returns for the second time to the conference championship game in Atlanta this Saturday and their opponents will be the team that they beat 20-17 in SIAC Championship one - Albany State. The Rams defeated Fort Valley 19-10 and also utilized the services of their now celebrated quarterback, junior Frank Rivers who threw for two touchdowns, one a game-clinching 63 yarder to Adrian Alexander I must say I was disappointed with the lack of sportsmanship and discipline displayed by some Wildcats. It forced me to the statistical chart which revealed that Donnie Pittman’s Wildcats were the most penalized team in the conference. In nine games. FVSU was flagged 125 times for 1135 yards, which averages to 126.1 negative yards per game. That, to me, is a sign of discipline meltdown. Pittman’s got to get a handle on that fast…..
ELSEWHERE IN THE CONFERENCE- The Panthers of Clark-Atlanta University will wrap up their 2013 season and the maiden voyage of head coach Kevin Weston this Saturday when they travel to Baton Rouge Louisiana to face Southern University.
The Jaguars, first in the western division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and with an overall record of 6-4, are coached by Dawson Odums who once piloted CAU in 2004.
Clark-AU travels to Baton Rouge after achieving their third victory of 2013 last weekend over visiting Edward Waters College from Jacksonville Florida. As was the case against Morehouse back in late September, Edward Waters played tough against the Panthers , racking up 21 points in the fourth period after trailing 28-7 at the break . It was too little, too late, however to overcome the CAU lead, much of which was gathered in the first period.Robinson
Morehouse, meanwhile, ended the 2013 grid campaign with a bang…..for their opponent. The Tigers were shut out by hosts Kentucky State 44-0. It avenges last year’s 55-7 pasting Morehouse handed the Thorobreds. Credit for the Morehouse whitewashing this year goes to KSU junior quarterback Adam Robinson. The California native threw for 323 yards and five touchdowns. Morehouse, racked by injuries to key players, could only get 50 yards from quarterback Joshua Harris who was sacked five times. The win was also the first for KSU’s Joshua Dean as head coach. He had been serving in the capacity as interim since March.
The season-ending loss for Morehouse leaves them at 2-8, their worst finish since a similar record in 1999. ……Central State couldn’t hold on to a 24-6 lead at halftime over Johnson C Smith and wound up losing to the Golden Bulls 26-24…..Stillman had no troubles defeating the College of Faith 42-0. All of the Tigers’ points came in the first half…..
XTRA POINTS:WyattFormer Bethune-Cookman head coach Alvin Wyatt is getting another shot at head coach. He was named interim head coach at Jacksonville Florida’s Edward Waters College last week. He got the job following the firing of Brad Bernard who ironically worked as a position coach 11 of the 13 years of Wyatt’s tenure at BC. Wyatt says he would “absolutely” accept the permanent post if offered. I believe he’ll get it if he can win the team’s final game for the season at home against College of Faith this weekend…… God willing, INSIDE will be Louisiana for the next two weeks covering CAU and Southern this weekend in Baton Rouge and staying over with family in nearby Hammond until the November 30 Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling in N’Orleans. The so-called “G men” avoided a potentially winless season when they defeated Mississippi Valley last week 47-40. Southern meanwhile, is two games away from a trip to the SWAC championship game in Houston December 7. Returning to the championship for the first time since 2004 would be a feather in the cap for Dawson Odums, who once coached at Clark-AU in 2004. The Jags have been to the big dance three times since they were one of the inaugural teams in 1999. Their record is 2-1…..Speaking of New Orleans and the Bayou, I am reminded that Harrah’s has an excellent buffet and veterans don’t have to wait until Veterans Day to get a break. They offer us military types a 25% discount off the cost of the food. You’re on your own with the gambling…..
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Southern over Clark-AU- Saturday, 6pm, Baton Rouge Louisiana
Miles over Albany State-Saturday,7pm, Lakewood Stadium, Atlanta (SIAC Championship)
(Note: This is the second meeting between these two schools for the conference crown. In championship game one, Miles used a field goal to defeat ASU 20-17……