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Morehouse FB Team Predicted to Finish 3rd in SIAC

Last-place finish forecasted for CAU

By Hal Lamar Contributing Writer | 8/9/2013, 9:11 a.m.
The Morehouse Maroon Tigers are the pre-season pick to finish third in the Eastern Division rankings of the 11 football-playing ...
The predictions -- made by conference coaches and athletic directors -- were announced Tuesday at the annual pre-season media luncheon held at the Holiday Inn Perimeter in northeast Atlanta.

The Morehouse Maroon Tigers are the pre-season pick to finish third in the Eastern Division rankings of the 11 football-playing colleges of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). Meanwhile, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is expected to finish in the basement of the conference’s Western wing.

The predictions -- made by conference coaches and athletic directors -- were announced Tuesday at the annual pre-season media luncheon held at the Holiday Inn Perimeter in northeast Atlanta.

The typical highlight of the annual meet-and-greet is statements from the coaches themselves about their upcoming seasons. The conference added a slight twist Tuesday by having questions tossed at them by a moderator: Doug Stewart, who is one half of the jocular talk show duo known as “The 2 Live Stews”.

Morehouse head football coach Richard Freeman -- who is entering his seventh season at the helm -- told the capacity crowd that his biggest worry is filling his quarterback slot, but he’s encouraged by the number of junior college transfers and true freshman candidates reporting to camp. Freeman also indicated that senior running back Shelton Hamilton will capably replace star running back David Carter, who was lost to graduation.

“We had a lot of injuries to key players last season, and early in the season.” Freeman said.

That partially explains why Morehouse had its first losing season (3-7) under Freeman as head coach. The Tigers open 2013 on the road September 7 against the Bison of Howard University in the third annual AT&T Nations Football Classic. Last year, costly turnovers put Morehouse on the losing side of a 30-29 contest of wills.

The predicted last-place finish in the SIAC East for CAU came as little surprise to the Panthers’ first-year head coach Kevin Weston. The former assistant from Tennessee’s Tusculum College who was hired eight months ago to replace Darryl McNeil told the crowd that he plans to run his offense from the Wing-T formation. And he reiterated the promise he made when introduced to the CAU family back in January that he would focus his recruiting on local talent.

“We spread out over the metro Atlanta area and are bringing 25 local players to camp this year,” Weston said. “Our focus this year will be on fielding a disciplined, physical team which executes.”

The Panthers finished 2012 with a 2-8 record, which gave them fourth-place in the SIAC East. They open their season on the road against West Alabama on September 7.

The Coaches’ Poll picked the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University to finish first in the SIAC West, as they did last year with a 10-2 overall mark. Tuskegee is also the defending conference champion. The Tigers will also get the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time as a result of dropping their annual Turkey Day clash with Division I Alabama State from their schedule.

The predicted finishers in the rest of the West are Miles College, Stillman, Kentucky State, Lane and Central State of Ohio, which joined the conference this year. In the Eastern wing, Albany State is predicted to finish first, followed by Fort Valley State, Morehouse, Benedict College and CAU.

Meanwhile, conference officials solidified Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium as the location for the third annual SIAC championship football game on November 16.