The Sun Will Come out TomorrowBy Craig R. Turner
Published: October 11, 2013
A&T suffered a tough loss to South Carolina State last weekend in the Atlanta Football classic 29-25 in a game where the lack of fundamentals that Rod Broadway had harped on for the first three weeks of the season finally caught up with the Aggies – loose tackling, poor decision-making in making reads, and special teams’ breakdowns. It seemed as though every shortcoming of the first three weeks of the season all came together at one time in a perfect storm at the worst possible time.
So what did Saturday’s game reveal? That A&T is not as good as many may have thought they were three weeks ago. But nor are the Aggies a bad football team any more or anything remotely close to what they were like just three years ago.
What they are a team that is almost on par with the very best squads in the conference in most respects but they are going to have to step up their mental preparation dramatically over the next three weeks. The margin for error between winning and losing is indeed very small for any team that wants to be considered in the same breath year after year at the top of the MEAC with the likes of SCSU and Bethune Cookman who continually stack championships on top of each other every year.
It seems like this has been a short week for every one and it will get a lot shorter for SCSU as they travel into Durham tomorrow night on the weekly ESPNU matchup in national prime time. This has got to be labeled as the biggest trap game of the season for any MEAC team against a surging NCCU team that has gotten past the off the field troubles of their ex-coach. The Eagles have found a prolific balanced offense and just enough of a “bend but don’t break” defense to post four straight wins after an opening loss to ACC crosstown foe Duke University.
Now the Eagles have their turn to show just how real they are as they go head to head with a SCSU Bulldog team that is fresh off their biggest win of the season. But they haven’t had but just three days prep time to get ready to face a NCCU team that is red hot and is playing with a chip on their shoulder. SCSU will have more depth and talent but the mental and physical hangover from Saturday may not be enough before a pumped up Eagle crowd on Fayetteville Street.
This is one you need to watch even if you like me and don’t really care in particular for one of the participants but it will be fun to watch and it wouldn’t bother me one bit if NCCU wasn’t throwing a big impromptu block party on campus around 11:00 p.m. Thursday night.
Hampton is in a real death spiral when it comes to its football program. Coach Donovan Rose is rumored to be out at the end of this season and after the firing of his offensive coordinator following its loss to SCSU and replacing him with his special team coach. This would clearly imply that Rose has decided that if he is going to be fired then it will be on his own terms calling most all of his own plays as Hampton hits mid- season without playing well enough to be even remotely close to a win.
The 0-5 Pirates have homecoming set for this weekend and frankly I had been Hampton I would have rather had a strutting unbeaten A&T coming into town which would have made them a ripe candidate to look past the Pirates.
Well that hope is all but gone and what I’m afraid Hampton will get will be a very unhappy and somewhat surly Rod Broadway and a A&T team that will probably be matching his demeanor come Saturday afternoon and trying to not to disappoint their demanding coach two weeks in a row.
Hampton hasn’t played very good run defense in over two years and offensively they struggle to even sustain consecutive first downs and sustain drives with a platoon of quarterbacks that have been less than average in their performance either individually or as a group.
Expect Lewis Kindle to start at quarterback but do not be surprised if backup Kwashaun Quick gets most of the snaps this Saturday because this indeed is a mismatch both on paper and on the field and give Quick so much needed playing time. A&T needs to find itself and forget last week and the rest will take care of itself. They should be able to do that barring a turnover fest and really have that bigbreakout offensively for the first time this season.
N.C. A&T – 34
Hampton – 7