Eargle's Team Ready for Season Opener
FOOTBALL: MARSHALL, Texas (9/12/13) – The chase for greatness in the East Texas Baptist University football program starts on Saturday in Sherman as they open the 2013 season against Austin College. This game will be a historic game for new head coach Joshua Eargle as it is his first as a head coach at the collegiate level.
"There will be some juices flowing for me on Saturday,” quotes Eargle. "It comes down to preparation and I fill have a great group of men that have prepared this team and worked extremely hard and will be confident going into this game on Saturday.”
Eargle was hired in late January and hit the ground running as he has 125 players on the squad. He assembled a coaching staff that brings several years of coaching from NCAA Division I and II programs with some coaches playing at the NCAA Division I level.
Putting together a team that lost several offensive and defensive starters has been a challenge for Eargle as ETBU did not report for camp until August 15. Due to the late starting date of the 2013 season, ETBU had to start later than most NCAA Division III programs as their bye week came in the first week of football.
The key position on offense to fill is the quarterback as four players battled for the starting position. Sophomore Brooks Holder received the nod as to lead the team vs. Austin College after a fierce competition the past two weeks. Holder, from Beeville, was a member of the JV team last year and is receiving his first-ever start at the position. Another large hole to fill is at wide receiver with Kwame’ Spikes finishing up his career in 2012. With the season-ending injury to Roy Denbow, ETBU will be relying on several players to fill in at that role. Sophomore Tyler Bates and junior Roy Butler both return as wide outs with senior transfers D.J. Williams and Jamaine Sherman also starting.
All-ASC performers and seniors Jacob Alford and Michael Garcia will anchor the offensive line. Alford, who was voted a preseason All-American, is back in his second year as a starter at center while Garcia begins his third year as starter at left guard. Rounding out the offensive line is junior Charles Williams, who started six games in 2012, transfer Alex Shetter (junior), and senior Avante Smith who will be starting his first game.
Juniors Toi Glover and John Gable will be splitting time as the running back. Both saw action in 2012 as Gable finished with 508 yards and one 100-yard game and Glover added 298 yards rushing. Looking to help at the H-Back position are juniors transfer Chris Frazier from Cisco Junior College and Evan Simpson.
Five starters return on defense as senior All-ASC selection Dewon Davis will lead the defensive line. Davis started all 10 games in 2012 and had 31 tackles. Dylan Maxwell is one of the five returning starters as he will be back as a defensive end. The junior also started 10 games finishing with 45 tackles and 4.5 tackles-for-loss. Junior transfer Rashieed Jeffrey (Southern Arkansas) and senior Quinton Thomas are the final two line man receiving the start vs. Austin College.
Dylan Benge started nine games last year and finished with 55 tackles will be the starting weak linebacker. Sophomore Bryce Hale is receiving his first career start as the middle linebacker and played in seven games in 2012.
Two starters will lead the secondary in All-ASC selection sophomore Dominque Bailey and junior Dylan Bethea. Bailey led the team with six interceptions in 2012 starting all 10 games and picking up 38 tackles. Bethea started eight games and was fourth on the team in tackling with 66 tackles. In his final four games last year he posted 10 or more tackles in all of them. Sophomore Layne Bethea, freshman Austen Parker and sophomore Romeo Botelua are the final three starters all seeing their first collegiate start. Botelua played in eight games in 2012 collecting 23 tackles.
The kicking game will be covered by senior Cory McNeil as he will be the punter and the kicker. He recorded 52 punts last year with nine that fell inside the 20-yard line. He went 4-of-6 in field goal attempts and was 24-of-27 in PATs.
A new era of ETBU football will be ushered in as Eargle leads his team onto the Austin College field on September 14th. They will begin their chase for greatness at 2:00 p.m. in Sherman, Texas.