Locker Room: Cougars running the football – Times are about to get interesting

Pulaski County head football coach Stephen James stressed during the preseason that one of the major goals for his Cougar football program was to run the football better, a lot better. So far, he has gotten his wish. In fact, Pulaski County is presently operating a very balanced offensive attack, however, James knows that as football has changed to a degree over the years, two things have not changed. In order win big, you must be able to run the football effectively and stop the run.

To date the 2018 Cougar football team has rushed the football 153 times for 796 yards, just a percentage point short of 200 per game. Sophomore tailback Jakari Finley has went over the 100-yard mark two straight games. Pulaski County has connected on 28 of 43 passes for 528 yards and six touchdowns. One very good aspect of that is only one pass interception, a statistic that plagued the Cougars last season. The Cougars are doubling the running game numbers of last season and in the past two weeks alone have rushed for 10 touchdowns. So presently, James is getting what he hoped for, but knowing him like I do, he wants things to get better, and hopefully they will as there are battles to fight in the coming weeks.

Across Class 4, Region D, Blacksburg is a very impressive 4-0, E.C. Glass and Jefferson Forest are also impressive at 3-0, Pulaski County 3-1, GW-Danville 2-1, Cave Spring 2-2, and Salem 2-2.

The matchups are heating up in the region. Always, the most important game is the one you’re playing, but much is learned from the outcome of other games. The big question this week is will Salem lose three football games in a row? Not being a keeper of Salem statistics, I suspect it’s been a long time since that happened. The 2-2 Spartans are hosting  Blacksburg. Salem has come up short the past two weeks at Dinwiddie and at home last week to Northisde, the only team to defeat Pulaski County. There are a couple of other very big games Friday, Glass and Heritage lock up in the battle of Lynchburg, and Lord Botetourt is playing at Northside. Each week much is learned, this week will be no different. But as Al Davis, the old owner of the Raiders once said, “Just Win Baby!” That’s what the Cougars must continue to do.

Things Shaping Up:

College football is not real deep into the season yet, but there have been some surprises, yet, the top dogs are still the top dogs. Still standing at the top are Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. Certainly LSU has moved into the picture with big wins over Miami and Auburn, but I’m not quite ready to consider the Tigers a real threat, too many tough games to come. Notre Dame continues to win, but not impressively. Penn State is still there.

It should also be mentioned that sometimes good things happen when you don’t even play. No question both Virginia Tech and West Virginia would have loved to play their games last Saturday and frankly, I don’t understand why games couldn’t be moved. For instance, WVU and NC-State have a home and home the next two seasons, why not just move the game to Morgantown this year and go to Raleigh next year? Maybe that’s too simple. Virginia changed its home game and went all the way to Nashville to play Ohio at Vanderbilt, and it ended up not even being necessary. Bet that cost a few bucks.

At any rate the Mountaineers are ranked 12th in the nation this week and the Hokies 13th, and both have played very well in the early going. Hopefully both can figure out how to get that 12th game played. Not playing a 12th game could have huge negative ramifications down the road.

There have been some disappointing teams in the country, but nothing compares to Florida State. Just think that three years ago the Seminoles had one of the finest football programs in the nation. It is 1-2 with a very lucky win over Samford, not Stanford, Samford. That’s a small school in Birmingham. Last year the record was 4-8, all sorts of discipline and character issues in the off season, Jimbo Fisher takes off for Texas A&M and it sure looks like a good decision, and now you have Willie Taggart and his team appears lost. You hear it often and it’s very true. If you do not have a good offensive line, you likely do not have a good football team. FSU might have the worst Power 5 offensive line in the nation. I would not want to be the quarterback of that team.

The biggest surprises in this opinion are both in the ACC. Both Boston Coillege and Syracuse are undefeated. Even with FSU out of the photo, the Atlantic Division is still far and way the toughest aspect of the ACC with Clemson, NC-State, and now BC and the Orange. Syracuse, BC, and NC-State are a combined 11-0. The Coastal is Miami and Tech, and not much else.

The Big 10 is Ohio State obviously and Penn State. We’ll have to wait a bit and find out about Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State, but at this moment it’s the Buckeyes and the Nits. The Pac 12 will come down to Stanford and Washington. But the conference is suspect. Both Southern Cal and UCLA are bad. Maybe Oregon can slip back in the picture.

The SEC has started off just as expected. Alabama, Georgia, now LSU, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State appear to be the teams that must be reckoned with, and that’s no surprise. Auburn will hang around a while longer too. Georgia has a cakewalk in the East, but the other side of the conference will be far more competitive and it’s been that way for a few years. It might be even more so this season.

The most surprising conference has to be the Big 12. Oklahoma is very strong and is the team to beat, however, TCU was impressive against Ohio State, and West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and now Texas are off to good starts.

Enough of the Immaturity:

Could we please get rid of the chains, thrones, belts, and ropes in college football? Show some class please.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot