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F is for futile football fall finishes
JCSU has yet to turn around under Blount
 
Published Thursday, November 15, 2018 3:13 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON
Johnson C. Smith went 2-8 in 2018, the second straight season the Golden Bulls did so. They’re 11-29 in four seasons under head coach Kermit Blount.

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It’s hard to wash away the losing that’s engulfed Johnson C. Smith football.


By the time the Golden Bulls closed the 2018 season with a 60-6 loss to Virginia Union last week, one thing was abundantly clear: JCSU is entrenched in the CIAA wilderness. The loss was JCSU’s eighth in 10 games, which matched the previous season’s record. Coach Kermit Blount is 11-29  on Beatties Ford Road.


Long-suffering alumni aren’t pleased, based on their phone calls and posts on social media. They want coach Kermit Blount fired, and some are barking that athletics director Steve Joyner should stick to his primary gig – basketball coach – and leave department leadership to someone else.


Blount, who opened fall drills recovering from a broken ankle suffered in a biking accident, endured the pain of a fourth straight losing season. Since he’s under contract for five years, there’s a very good chance he’ll be back.


What will it take to make the Golden Bulls remotely relevant in the CIAA?


JCSU is lacking in so many areas, they all contribute to the bottom line, which is swimming under .500. The Golden Bulls need to shift direction, if not gears, in order to right the ship. It might mean introducing more imaginative play calling or remaking schemes. It certainly includes improving personnel on the field and perhaps the sideline as well.

The most obvious need is on offense, especially up front. Two starting linemen were declared ineligible before the season opener, and JCSU never recovered in terms of talent or depth. As a result, the Golden Bulls struggled to move the ball behind a line that included two freshmen and a sophomore.


Defenders were free to tee off on nearly every down, especially since they usually led early.


JCSU averaged just 15.3 points per game, near the bottom among all Division II programs. The Golden Bulls averaged 224.5 yards on offense, including an anemic 60.8 yards rushing.


Offensive line
Who’s gone: Left guard Da’Quan Brown, right tackle Denzel Marshall.


Who’s returning: LT Mylan Howard (Fr.), C Kenstin Oxendine (So.) and RG Donovan Gay (Fr.).


There are assets among the skill positions, but they’ll need to step up in 2019. Redshirt freshman quarterback Antonio Wallace overcame a slow start to earn a spot on the CIAA all-rookie team by hitting 114-of-241 passes for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns. An offseason of physical development and better decision-making (he was intercepted nine times) would serve him well as the linchpin.


Until JCSU finds linemen that can hold their own up front, the Golden Bulls’ best offensive option will be the passing attack. Their top four receivers are underclassmen, and with a little ingenuity in play calling create matchup issues in terms of size. There’s still no vertical threat, not because of a lack of speed, but because of protection.


Quarterback
Who’s gone: Backup Harold Herbin.


Who’s returning: Wallace and R-Fr. DeAndre Robinson (8-of-21, 112 yards, TD).


Running back
Who’s gone: Leading rusher Jachin Watkins (96 carries, 252 yards, 3 TDs).


Who’s returning: Desean Binyard (soph., 91 carries, 252 yards, 2 TDs was second-best on the team).


Receivers
Who’s returning: Braxton Gambrell (Jr., team-best 22 catches, 292 yards, 2 TDs); Janarius Hood (Jr. 20 catches, 280 yards, 3 TDs); Reginald Bryant (Fr., 18 catches, 237 yards, 2 TDs).


As has been the case all season, JCSU struggled on defense. Opponents piled up an average of 380.2 yards a game, with 202 via the pass against an overwhelmed unit that spent too much time on the field trying to play catch-up. With those kinds of issues, the Golden Bulls allowed an average of 36.3 points per outing, near the bottom in the CIAA.


JCSU was abysmal up front, unable to generate much havoc against the run or pass. Once opponents established control on the line, the Golden Bulls were exposed on the second level, where undersized linebackers and secondary were left to clean up. JCSU’s top four tacklers were linebackers or defensive backs, which is telling.


The Golden Bulls tallied 11 sacks, with 5.5 coming from defensive ends Sa’Von Williams (3.5) and Jabriel Robinson (2.0). Defensive tackle Zach Cannon was the only other lineman to record a sack.


Defensive line
Who’s gone: Zach Cannon (27 tackles, 1 sack).


Who’s returning: DE Sa’Von Williams (So.), DE Jabriel Robinson (So.), NT Jamonte Gray (Fr.).


Linebackers
Who’s gone: Marcel Toran (team-high 56 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss).


Who’s returning: David Francis (Jr.), Kyaire Bynum (Jr.).


Defensive backs
Who’s gone: CB JeJuan McCalston, S Basir Wright.


Who’s returning: CB Jahvez Mitchell, FS Cameron Ellis (So.) and SS Tyki Lawson-Oates (Jr.).


Special teams
Who’s returning: Brandon Howard averaged 36.9 yards per punt, with 13 downed inside the opposition’s 20. He also connected on 4-of-8 field goals, with a long of 40 yards. Also returning: long snapper Austin Beatty.


Sidelines
JCSU went 0-8 in games when opponents scored first and allowed at least 40 points in five games. Two opponents (Fayetteville State and Virginia Union) broke 60 points.

Comments

Smith either roll or get rolled over! Alumni want something they can attend on a regular not just homecoming!
Posted on November 15, 2018
 
Hire Highland Springs Head coach coach in Richmond Va Lauren Johnson! 3 peat working on 4 straight state Championship He is innovative creative and can coach gets the most out of his players ! If you wanna win bring Lauren Johnson in! You will get results and not insults! Let?s keep it real me and whoever is reading this can go 2&8 or better me and 10 drunks can go 2 & 8 every year. The man has a plan! Or at least get Bowie or VUU offensive Cordinator. Go JCSU get a proving winner no more settling for less ! Or at least call Tommy Knox ask Haifa he is interested all the man did was win in Charlotte!
Posted on November 15, 2018
 

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