Archive for February, 2014

Citadel quarterback Aaron Miller ready for his turn

February 28, 2014
Is this Aaron MIller's year?

Is this Aaron Miller’s year?

Jeff Hartsell , The Charleston Post and Courier
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 7:39 p.m.

Ben Dupree was on the sidelines in street clothes for a recent Citadel spring practice. Aaron Miller was on the field, running the Bulldogs’ offense. It was a stark reminder that it’s a new era in Citadel football in more ways than one. The Bulldogs will have a new coach, Mike Houston, and a new starting quarterback when they line up for their 2014 season opener Aug. 30 against Coastal Carolina.
Dupree was the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback for the last three years, finishing second in school history with 36 rushing touchdowns. Miller played plenty of snaps as Dupree’s backup, but has never started a game in his career. By all accounts, Miller is ready for his turn.
“No doubt about it, and I would be too if I was him,” said Houston, who tried to recruit the 6-0, 220-pound Miller when he was the coach at Lenoir-Rhyne. “You always tell kids, work hard and you will get your turn. Well, he’s done that and now it’s his turn. I firmly believe he will take advantage of it.”

Houston says all starting jobs are up for grabs, and Miller is competing with redshirt freshman Cam Jackson at quarterback. But, barring injury, Miller will be the starter next season and likely won’t be sharing the job as he did with Dupree. “We probably won’t be interchanging quarterbacks if we can help it,” said new offensive coordinator Brent Thompson. “That means Aaron’s going to have to develop into an every-down player instead of a guy who’s coming in just to change things up.”

Miller, a rising senior from Clover High School, is not the type to make grand pronouncements like, “It’s my team now.” But his coaches say he’s already leading the Bulldogs. “I think he’s doing a great job of being composed and being a leader on offense,” Houston said after the first week of spring drills. “I just think he’s got a good head on him and he had a really good day.” Said Miller, “I don’t look at it like it’s my turn. I look at it as my opportunity to lead the team. Ben and I split time for three years, and we were both leaders on and off the field. This is just another opportunity, only I might get to play more snaps.”

During three seasons as a backup, Miller has rushed for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 3.6 yards per carry. He’s also hit 81 of 164 passes for 1,038 yards and three touchdowns with eight interceptions. He won’t be the home-run hitter that the shifty Dupree was, but is also more likely to run over a cornerback or safety and has a stronger arm. “Having a pre-existing relationship with Aaron, we knew what we were getting, which is a good player,” said Thompson, who was Houston’s offensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne. “But they’ve also done a good job of developing him as a quarterback since he’s been here. The one thing I didn’t know is that he has such good leadership qualities. He can run the huddle, he can run the offense, and they listen to him.”

Though the basics of the triple-option offense remain the same, Miller will have to learn to run Thompson’s no-huddle system – which produced an NCAA record 5,563 rushing yards last season at Lenoir-Rhyne – and to operate at a faster pace. “We’re going to ask him to play faster, and I don’t mean necessarily a hurry-up tempo,” Houston said. “I mean faster in his operational mechanics, faster out of the mesh, faster to the line of scrimmage to put pressure on the defense, faster with his decisions to deal the ball or keep it. “We want to put pressure on the defense to make quick decisions, and hopefully force them into a mistake.”

For his part, Miller admits he was relieved when he learned who his new coaches would be. “Nobody wants to go through coaching staff changes, especially before your senior year,” he said. “But it helped that I knew their background, that I knew they were honest and bring a lot of energy to the table.

“I really like Coach Houston’s quote: ‘Champions don’t do extraordinary things, they do the ordinary things better than anybody else.’ We’ve got to live by that.”


Citadel football still recruiting for 2014 class

February 28, 2014
Tristan Reeves' Dad played ball at The Citadel but will he walk away from USC?

Tristan Reeves’ Dad played ball at The Citadel but he is not yet in the fold.

by Jeff Hartsell

Posted on February 27, 2014

Signing day has come and gone, but new Citadel football coach Mike Houston and his staff are still busy signing up players. A recap:

Josh McCoy, a 6-3, 220-pound wide receiver at York High School, signed a national letter of intent with the Bulldogs this week. McCoy caught 64 passes for 673 yards and six touchdowns for York last season, but says The Citadel plans to use him at safety. He also considered Western Carolina, Campbell, Newberry and Charleston Southern.

Running back Michael Pascoe of Orangeburg Prep plans to sign next week, according to the Orangeburg Times and Democract. At 5-9 and 190 pounds, he rushed for 1,484 yards and 13 touchdowns last season for his SCISAA Class AAA team. Pascoe said he was inspired by the success of Orangeburg Prep grad Walker Smith, who was The Citadel’s special teams player of the year last season.

And the Bulldogs have offered Tristan Reaves, a 6-4, 215-pound wide receiver/safety from Harmony High School near Orlando. Reaves had previously committed to South Carolina as a preferred walk-on, according to this story in the Orlando Sentinel. He made 34 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns last season, and also averaged about six tackles a game from his safety spot, with three interceptions and eight pass break-ups. He’s also had a preferred walk-on offer from Central Florida and is getting attention from Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern as well, according to his father, Rob Reaves. Rob Reaves, Citadel fans might recall, played football and wrestled for The Citadel from 1992-95.

Final 2014 Schedule w/kickoff times

February 28, 2014


2014 schedule & Kickoff times

Aug. 30 Coastal Carolina 6 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Florida State TBA
Sept. 20 at Charleston Southern 6 p.m.
Sept. 27 Gardner-Webb 6 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Wofford TBA
Oct. 11 Charlotte 2 p.m.
Oct. 18 Chattanooga 1 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Mercer TBA
Nov. 8 Furman 2 p.m.
Nov. 15 Samford 1 p.m.
Nov. 22 at VMI 1:30 p.m.

Guards performing at Mardi Gras: Feb. 28 – March 4

February 27, 2014


The Citadel’s Summerall Guards, an internationally-known, silent precision drill platoon, will be performing in New Orleans, La., as part of that city’s Mardi Gras festival. The Summerall Guards have become a regular feature in numerous parades, where they have appeared at the invitation of the festival’s organizers for years.

Earning a spot as a Summerall Guards is one of the highest honors a cadet can receive at The Citadel. Only those demonstrating the highest levels of honor, integrity, loyalty, leadership, self-discipline and patriotism are considered for the Guards. Consisting of 61 members, the Summerall Guards are first-class (senior) cadets who go through a rigorous physical training and initiation process and are chosen for their physical stamina and drill proficiency.

The Summerall Guards will be appearing in the following parades:
• Fri., Feb. 28, at 6p.m.- D’Etat Parade
• Sat., March 1, at 3:50 p.m. – Endymion Parade
• Sun., March 2, at noon- Thoth Parade
• Tues., March 4, at 10a.m. – Rex Parade

18th Bulldog Challenge

February 27, 2014


Talk about lions; you have to have true courage to take on the most challenging and longest running “mud run” in the Charleston area.

The 18th annual Citadel Bulldog Challenge starts at 9 a.m. Saturday March 1st with four-person teams being sent out in two-minute intervals. The event requires the teams, made up of military, police, fire or civilian members, to perform more than a dozen physically and mentally challenging tasks on a nearly six-mile course while the team manages to carry three 20-pound sandbags.

Participants also have to navigate, as a team, through a military-style obstacle course. Among the “highlights” is the “Battle of Inchon,” where participants “low-crawl” under rope through pluff mud for a distance of about 50 meters.

As of last week, race director Marine Capt. Marcus Gillett said about 110 four-person teams had signed up and that he expects more before the deadline at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

New Citadel football coach: “We’ve got to play with an edge”

February 26, 2014
Coach Houston want the Bulldogs to have "the Edge"

Coach Houston want the Bulldogs to have “the Edge”

Posted on February 25, 2014 by Jeff Hartsell
on his blog “Bulldog Bites”

I caught up with new Citadel football coach Mike Houston on Saturday as the Bulldogs wrapped up the first week of spring practice. Here’s his review as the team gets started on the second week Tuesday (Feb. 25).

How has spring practice gone so far?
Houston: “Saturday was our first test day, our first day to find out a little bit about ourselves. I want to take a look at the film before I say a whole lot, but I will say is that we have to learn to play with the edge that I stood up at the press conference and said we would play with.

“I’m not a liar, so we are going to play that way. So we are going to have to develop the mentality as a team to practice that way to learn to play that way on game day.”

There’s been a couple of fights so far in practice. Does that mean they are developing that attitude? “Well, I don’t like chicken fights. No chicken fights. If it’s something that happens because of intensity, in the heat of the moment, that’s one thing. But I don’t like chicken fighting.”

Are there two or three guys standing out so far?
“I thought Aaron Miller was outstanding today. I think he’s doing a great job of being composed and being a leader on offense. I just think he’s got a good head on him and he had a really good day.
(Wide receiver) Brandon Eakins has had a good week starting out, not only catching the ball but blocking. Defensively, (linemen) Mitchell Jeter and Cam Mobley inside, I thought they had a good week. Cam improved a lot from a sorry day on Tuesday to a pretty good Friday and Saturday.”

How about the offensive line?
“They are coming along. Victor Hill is showing some leadership as the senior guy in the fray, and Isaiah Pinson has had a really good week, a young redshirt freshman from Byrnes High School. Really pleased with the week he’s had.”

In the secondary, there are a lot of new faces. How are they coming along?
“They are all over the place. (Safety) Nick Willis is battling a quad injury but still practiced and has had a good beginning. Julian Baxter is showing some flashes and Malik Diggs, a young safety, has had a good week. But I’m challenging those guys. We’ve got to learn to play with an edge in the secondary. I’m not about a finesse bunch back there. We’ve got to play with some heart.”

At slotback, how’s it look?
“We’ve got a couple of older kids in Jake Stenson and Dalton Trevino who have played a lot of snaps, and I think Dalton has improved a lot since Tuesday. DeAndre Schoultz has a lot of ability, and Jonathan Dorogy is a young kid who has a lot of ability. I’m not really sure where they are all right now, but they can all play a part and they will need to.”

Brett Tompkins Shines on the Mound as Bulldogs Trim Rhode Island

February 26, 2014
Brett Thompkins  (photo by Kim Connell photography)

Brett Thompkins (photo by Kim Connell photography)
Charleston, S.C. – Brett Tompkins turned in the best outing of his Bulldog career, allowing only two hits and one run in a career-long six innings to lift The Citadel to a 4-3 win over Rhode Island Tuesday evening at Riley Park. The Bulldogs (3-5) snapped a five-game losing streak in the opener of an eight-game homestand. The Citadel hosts Charlotte on Wednesday at 5 p.m. before Nebraska visits Riley Park for a three-game series beginning Friday.
In the eighth start and second victory of his career, Tompkins threw only 67 pitches with 48 strikes to get through his six innings. The Rams reached him for a pair of one-out singles in the second and scored their lone run against him on an RBI ground out by TJ Lynch.
Only three Rhode Island batters reached over Tompkins’ final four innings including a leadoff walk in the sixth. But the junior right hander proceeded to get a pair of infield pop ups to second and a fly out to center to finish his night with The Citadel in front 4-1. The six innings bettered by one his longest previous mound stint of five hurled against North Florida on May 1, 2012.
David Rivera worked a perfect seventh before the Rams scored a pair of runs offZach Sherrill in the eighth on two walks and a two-run double to left center by Pat Quinn on which Hughston Armstrong just missed making a running catch on the warning track. Closer Skylar Hunter ran into some trouble in the ninth, allowing a two-out double and a walk, before striking out pinch hitter Chase Livingston to finish off his second save of the season and 15th of his career.

The Citadel stranded five runners in the first two innings against Rhode Island starter Milan Mantle before taking the lead with two runs in the third. After Calvin Orth doubled for his first extra base hit of the season and Bo Thompson walked,Drew DeKerlegand drove in the tying run when his single plated Orth.
Johnathan Stokes followed with another hit to load the bases, and Bailey Rushgave the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish on a sacrifice fly to left.Mason Davis doubled and scored on a Griffin single in the fourth, and an inning later Stokes doubled and came across on a single by Rush.

Davis, Stokes and DeKerlegand each had two hits, and Davis swiped three bases, one shy of his career high set against Davidson during his freshman season in 2012. The Bulldogs had a total of five stolen bases on the night, including one by Thompson, the third of his career.

Citadel basketball snaps 17-game skid

February 25, 2014
The spell is broken & they're back in the win column.

The spell is broken & they’re back in the win column.

By: Jeff Hartsell, The Charleston Post and Courier
Monday, February 24, 2014 9:32 p.m

As court-stormings go, The Citadel’s celebration after an 81-71 victory over Samford on Monday night won’t make the ESPN top 10. But when a small throng of cadets rushed the court to mob Citadel players at McAlister Field House, the cheers were loud and the grins were genuine, and for good reason. The Citadel won a basketball game for the first time since before Christmas, snapping a 17-game losing skid and earning its first Southern Conference victory of the season.

“It was a long time coming and it was a lot of fun,” said Citadel sophomore Matt Van Scyoc, who scored 19 points to support 24 from guard Ashton Moore. “I’m glad most of the Corps came out, a lot of our classmates. It was unexpected that they would come out on the court like that, but it was a lot of fun.” The Citadel improved to 5-25 overall and 1-14 in the Southern Conference with one regular season game left to play, at home Saturday against Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs avoided becoming the first Citadel team to go winless in the SoCon since the 1955-56 team went 0-10. “Just to get a win, it feels so good,” said Moore, who has averaged 24.3 points over the last four games. “The storming of the court, it was a great feeling. I was so happy, I didn’t know who I was grabbing. It was a joyous moment.”

A joyous moment that was well-earned. The Citadel had not won since a 79-68 victory over Division II Brevard on Dec. 18. Since then, the Bulldogs had broken a 60-year-old school record for consecutive losses in one season, dropping their first 14 league games by an average of 12.2 points. “It definitely weighed on us,” Moore said. “We put forth a lot of work, and to not get rewarded for what you are doing . it feels good to get that weight lifted off.” But through it all, coach Chuck Driesell said, the Bulldogs never stopped working hard, even if their play on the court didn’t always reflect that.

“I’m really proud of them,” Driesell said. “It’s difficult when you lose the number of games we’ve lost. But the thing that’s unique about these young men is they work hard every day in practice. I give them a lot of credit for never wavering on that idea. “I know it’s just one win, but it’s a big win for our guys and one that we can build on.”

Just as the losing streak was a team effort, so was Monday’s win. Samford (11-18, 5-9) had posted SoCon wins over contenders Elon and Chattanooga, and got 24 points Monday from freshman guard Isaiah Williams and 20 points from big man Tim Williams. But The Citadel shot 53.1 percent and hit 9 of 20 from 3-point range, led by Moore (3 of 5), Van Scyoc (2 of 7) and reserve Rae Robinson (2 of 3 for six points). Point guard Marshall Harris had 13 points and four assists before fouling out; freshman Warren Sledge backed him up with six assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes.

But it was Moore, a 6-0 junior from Suffolk, Va., who took over in crunch time as Samford cut a 16-point deficit to five on two occasions. Moore scored the Bulldogs’ final 10 points, including a clutch drive with 1:39 left that doomed Samford at 74-65. “Coach said the other day Ashton’s been playing like a pro, and he definitely has,” Van Scyoc said. “His confidence is high – he’s hitting everything. I’m in awe, too, of the shots he’s making. Credit his work ethic. He went through a little slump but kept grinding and is now playing extremely well.”

No matter their final record or the program’s future, these Bulldogs never quit on this particular losing season. “I’m proud of these guys for not having folded and packed it in,” Driesell said. “There might be some teams across the country that if they’d gone though what we have, might do that. These guys never did, and that means a lot.”

Citadel Corps of Cadets returning to home side

February 24, 2014


By jeff Hartsell
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 11:41 a.m.,

A campaign by Citadel fans and alumni to return the military school’s Corps of Cadets to the home side of Johnson Hagood Stadium for football games has proven successful. “We won!” one fan posted on a message board after the school announced Monday that the cadets will be seated on the west (home) side of the stadium for games starting next season.

“After considering the logistical issues and determining that we can accommodate season ticket holders, we decided to move the Corps back because of the benefits of creating a livelier atmosphere for our fans,” athletic director Larry Leckonby said in the school’s announcement.

Cadets had been seated on the east side of the stadium, behind the opposing team’s bench, since renovations to Johnson Hagood were completed in 2006. Some Citadel fans and alumni argued that moving the cadets back to the home side would energize the game-day atmosphere and help the Corps feel more connected to fans and alumni and to the team. Alumni flooded the administration and school’s Board of Visitors with e-mails and messages supporting the move.

“The move should provide the Corps with a more enjoyable game day experience while also allowing more camaraderie and connection with fans and alumni,” Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa said.
The move will not displace any current season ticket holders on the west side, the school’s statement said.

Before the stadium was renovated in 2004-05, cadets sat on the home side near the south end zone. During the 2004-05 seasons, while construction was on-going, the cadets sat in temporary bleachers on the west (home) side while fans were seated on the east side. Starting in 2006, fans and season ticket holders returned to the west side while the Corps of Cadets moved across the stadium to the east side, where they’ve been ever since.

Citadel wrestlers close out dual slate with wins

February 24, 2014
The Bulldogs are headed to the SoCon tourney with a win

The Bulldogs are headed to the SoCon tourney with a win Staff reports
Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:11 a.m.

Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Citadel wrestling team earned Southern Conference dual wins over SIU-Edwardsville, 34-3, and Campbell, 21-16, on Saturday at Carmichael Arena to close out its dual slate with an 11-3 overall record and 6-1 Southern Conference mark.
The Bulldogs opened the day with a dominant win over SIU-Edwardsville, winning all but the heavyweight bout. Aaron Walker and seventh-ranked Turtogtokh Luvsandorj extended their winning streaks to 15 and 16 straight, respectively, as Walker earned the pin over Logun Taylor before Luvsandorj collected a 4-2 decision over Matthew Lester.

In the second match, the Bulldogs avenged a loss to Campbell suffered last season. After falling behind 7-0, the Bulldogs won their next four bouts, including a win by 12th-ranked Ugi Khishignyam, followed by a major decision victory by 149-pounder Matt Frisch.
The Citadel will take the next two weeks to prepare for the Southern Conference championship on March 9 in Buies Creek, N.C.