12:09 p.m. Hope you are on your way to the game or cozying up to your radio or, if in fact the game is on channelsurfing.net, firing up the laptop (though I can’t see how it would be, as I don’t believe the game is on TV anywhere except the end zone video boards.
Anyway, hope you read the Brent McClendon story in Saturday’s paper. He could be a star in the making, and as I wrote, I think it really says something that coaches put him at Gator (which I wrote about – it’s basically a roverback sort of position. In the words of defensive coordinator John Thompson, he can “sandlot” from that position. (One reason I appreciate Thompson is that he has no problem with making verbs out of nouns.) If you’re watching, if McClendon isn’t lined up over a wide receiver, he’s probably playing Gator. He played about 30 snaps there last Saturday.
One thing I will (hope to remember) to watch is how NCCU does on first down. North Carolina Central, I think, has a running game to be concerned about. If the Eagles can consistenly punch out four yards a pop on first, I think it’ll be trouble and it could be one of those 35:00/25:00 time of possession games that GSU played earlier in the season.
I’m also interested to see how the Panthers run the ball. In my opinion, they’ve yet to run it consistently, which I think rankles Bill Curry more than a little. NCCU has given up an average of 174.6 rushing yards per game (a number pretty significantly inflated by giving up half a billion to Appalachian State). I think 175 is something to shoot for.
Your fact of the day from sports information staffer Mike Holmes: Among the school’s alumni is former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson. (Mike apologizes that his fact is not up to his typically high standards. He has been busy putting together the GSU basketball media guides.) I will add that my AJC colleague Ernie Suggs is an NCCU man. He is supposed to be at the game and I was supposed to meet him at a tailgate, but I wasn’t able to make it. They had fried fish, apparently, and I am full of regret for not being able to make it.
(An aside: I was in Hilton Head a year or two ago, and I was at this restaurant and ordered salmon. I was thinking about having it fried, and I asked the woman taking orders if she’d had the salmon fried before. She said something like, “No, but everything tastes better fried.” Pretty solid logic, I thought.)
GSU alumni might be interested to know the good work the school is doing today. The athletic department is hosting 14 kids from Make-A-Wish Foundation. They’ve been on the field and are being hosted by the softball team. They’ve gotten a tour of the dome and some will take pictures, some will watch the game from the sideline with the team and others with the cheerleaders. Surprisingly, none of them wanted to help me send out in-game Tweets.
I think that’s about all I’ve got. Teams are warming up on the field (12:24 p.m.). That’s about it. Enjoy the game.
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