SMU great Eric Dickerson grabs flamethrower, torches Mustangs

18 Comments

It’s been a rough last couple of days on the Hilltop.

Monday, June Jones abruptly and unexpected stepped down as SMU’s head coach. A day later, the Mustangs lost starting quarterback Neal Burcham to a season-ending right (throwing) elbow injury. That same day, one of the greatest players in the program’s history broke out a flamethrower to torch what’s left of the 0-2 team.

During an interview with KRLD Tuesday, Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame former SMU running back, was asked about the recruitment of Ricky Seal-Jones. The current Texas A&M wide receiver is a cousin of Dickerson and picked the relative’s brain when SMU showed interest a couple of years ago.

Dickerson’s response is not exactly something you’ll see in a recruiting brochure for the program at any point in the future.

“When he was getting recruited, he told me SMU had sent him a letter and asked me ‘do you want me to take a visit?'” Dickerson said. “I said no, do not take a visit. Don’t even waste your time going there. I didn’t want him going there. For what? It’s just a waste of time. I wanted him to have an experience in college with football that he really enjoyed like I had like when I went to SMU. He wouldn’t have that there. He’s at the right school at Texas A&M.”

That one will leave a mark. Dickerson, though, didn’t stop there. Here are some of his other choice comments on his alma mater, courtesy of a pair of Dallas Morning News blog posts that can be viewed in their entirety HERE and HERE:

On the state of SMU
“It’s a shame that my university has gone 10 steps backwards. It’s hard for me and all the players that went to SMU. A lot of guys that played in my era still feel like they are not welcomed there because of what happened. I could care less if I go to another football game, but when I do, I want my university to be competitive.”

On the talent level at SMU
“It’s nothing against those kids because those kids are give their all, but I guarantee you there are some high schools around the country that could beat them. There is no doubt. They don’t have the talent to compete with Baylor or Texas A&M. They would get killed.”

On if it’s too late for SMU to compete with Power Five conferences
“I think we had a shot, but it’s gone. I really do believe it’s gone. It’s like Texas and Alabama, those are big schools you can’t compete with. At one point, they were going to join the Big East. If I’m the Big East, if I’m the Big 12 or the Pac-10, I would look at SMU and ask ‘what do you have to offer us?’ You have 3,000 people that come to your football games. You’re winning maybe five games a year. What’s the appeal for us to want to split $12 million? There is no attraction. Yes, you are in Dallas, Texas, but that’s all you have. You can’t even compete.”

Dickerson also defended Jones… by bringing race into the equation.

“In some instances there, I didn’t think they did enough to help the students get in,” Dickerson said in response to the question of what the university was doing to hold Jones back. “Recruiting is right there in Dallas. I mean, you have to make the students and their parents feel like they’re welcome. I’m talking about black athletes to come play at the university.”

Regardless of what exactly Dickerson meant by that, it’s not a good situation for a football program when an icon like him comes out and tears the team to shreds so publicly. It’ll be interesting to see who takes over for Jones, although one of his first tasks to accomplish is already known: mend the fences with former players in general and Dickerson specifically.

Oh, and getting a new coach with Texas ties wouldn’t hurt. Chad Morris, anyone?

(Photo credit: SMU athletics)

Middle Tennessee State brings back ex-Blue Raiders RB Shane Tucker as grad assistant

Midle Tennessee State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There will be a very familiar face in the Middle Tennessee State football building when the Conference USA school reconvenes.

Memorial Day, Middle Tennessee State announced that Shane Tucker has been added to the extended football staff.  Specifically, Tucker will serve as a graduate assistant for Rick Stockstill.  Tucker will work on the offensive side of the ball for the Blue Raiders.

From 2013-2017, Tucker was a running back at MTSU.  And a wide receiver as well.

In 39 appearances, Tucker started 17 of those games.  He started contests in 2013 (three), 2014 (two), 2015 (four) and 2017 (eight).  The Memphis native’s 2016 season ended before it started because of an offseason injury.

During his time in Murfreesboro, Tucker ran for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns on 271 carries.  He also caught 67 passed for 869 yards and another seven touchdowns.

In 2014, Tucker earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors.  As a fifth-year senior in 2017, he was named a permanent captain.

Middle Tennessee State is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  That was the program’s worst record since going 2-10 in 2011.  MTSU also saw its school-record streak of bowl appearances end at four in a row.

One of the players Tucker Will Likely work with?  Martell Pettaway.  The West Virginia running back transferred to the Conference USA school in January.

Ex-Georgia State RB Gerald Howse, 28, found dead in his home

Georgia Southern football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Georgia State is mourning the loss of a member of its football family.

Sunday, Georgia State announced the passing of former Panther football player Gerald Howse.  Howse was just 28.

According to one report, Howse was found dead at his home in Cookeville, Tenn.  A cause of death has not yet been released.

From GSU’s release:

Howse, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Siegel High School, lettered at running back for the Panthers in 2013-14 after transferring from NE Oklahoma A&M.

After graduating with his degree in sociology, he entered the coaching profession, beginning with stints at Oklahoma Baptist (2015) and NE Oklahoma A&M (2016-19). He was honored as the NJCAA Top Assistant Coach in 2017.

In January of 2020, Howse was named as the running backs coach at Tennessee Tech of the FCS.  The football program’s head coach, Dewayne Alexander, released a statement addressing his assistant’s passing as well.

Gerald was a first-class young man. He was highly thought of by so many people. His coaches at Siegel High School – Greg Wyatt and David Watson – always brought him up whenever we had positions come open. He displayed a very positive attitude. He was a man of character who lived out faith, family and football. He was so close to his family – his mom, dad and sister – that it was one of the biggest reasons he came here to Tennessee Tech: coach in the area, be back in Middle Tennessee and be close to his family. He was an outstanding coach and a man every coach would want on his staff. Gerald made a huge impact on our players in the short time he was here. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as well as the Tennessee Tech football family. Anytime you lose a staff member, it affects a lot of people.

Pac-12 targets June 15 for return of players for voluntary in-person workouts

Pac-12
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Pac-12 is the latest to contribute to the measured return of college football.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. Friday, the SEC announced that it will allow players to return starting June 8.  That same day, the Big 12 announced its target date is June 15.

Monday, the Pac-12 followed the Big 12’s lead, with that Power Five confirming a return date of June 15 for voluntary in-person athletic workouts. The league came to its decision to allow student-athletes to return to campus following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier in the day.

The conference also made sure to note in its release that the universities will “determine whether and how to open its sporting facilities in accordance with relevant county and state guidelines.”

“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

The ACC and Big Ten are the only Power Fives to not announce a uniform plan for a return.  Both Ohio State and Illinois, though, will allow players to return June 8, for example.  Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.

Arizona’s leader in receiving yards underwent surgery on a fractured foot earlier this month

Arizona football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A key piece of the passing game for Arizona football is recovering from a health issue.  Fortunately, it doesn’t appear it will impact his availability for the upcoming season.

Prior to Arizona shuttering spring football practice because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jamarye Joiner suffered a fractured left foot.  It was reported at the time that the wide receiver was “believed to have suffered a Jones fracture, which is a break between the base of the foot and the fifth metatarsal.”

According to The Athletic, Joiner underwent surgery to repair the damage May 12.  The procedure was delayed as elective surgeries were scuttled because of the pandemic.

The same website reported that the receiver will be sidelined for a period of 6-12 weeks.  Such a timeline would extend, at the long end, to early August.  Arizona is scheduled to open the 2020 football season Aug. 29 against Hawaii.

Joiner was a three-star member of the Arizona football Class of 2018.  The Tucson native was rated as the No. 6 prospect regardless of position in the state of Arizona.

Originally signing as a quarterback, Joiner completed three of his four pass attempts for 17 yards in two games a true freshman.  Playing in less than four games allowed Joiner to preserve a year of eligibility.

Prior to the start of summer camp, Joiner made the move from quarterback to wide receiver.  In his first season at the position, the redshirt freshman led the Wildcats in receiving yards with 552 and receiving touchdowns with five.  His 34 receptions were third on the team, while his 16.2 yards per catch was second among the nine players with at least 10 receptions.

Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin this month became one of a handful of coaches to take a pay cut.