Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

August 12, 2012

Bluefield media day 70 years in the making

BLUEFIELD — The last time Bluefield College fielded a football team was 1941. In those days media day did not exist. BC held its first media day for football, Saturday at Mitchell Stadium and Rams head coach Mike Gravier talked about the first week of practice for the new team.

“We feel good about our progress. We think the guys have caught on quite well to our offense and defense,” Gravier said. “There’s still a ways to go, but I think we’re further ahead than we were last year at this time, so that shows that they are getting into the playbook, they’re studying, we’re having more meeting time than we’ve had in the past.

This time last year the Rams team was preparing for a series of intrasquad scrimmages as the program took the first steps toward competition. Now the team is preparing for an actual game, a Mid South Conference season opener against Pikeville on August 25 at Mitchell Stadium.

While players weren’t available to be interviewed, Gravier did mention some to look for on both sides of the ball when it’s kicked off in two weeks.

“On offense, Josh Wells is a running back who is looking very good, as well as Marion Harris, another running back with tremendous speed. They are a great one-two punch for us,” Gravier noted.

“Defensively, Anthony Herring is a young linebacker who is turning some heads and doing a great job. Terrence Starckey is very steady defensively at linebacker. I think we’ve got some pretty good pieces to put together.”

As Gravier and the staff put those pieces together, once complete one can expect to see a fast-paced, no-huddle offensive unit that runs various formations.

“We line up in the I, we go to two tight ends, but we’ll go four wide, five wide,” Gravier said. “The big thing with us is we want to do it very, very fast.”

Defensively the team will play a 3-4 but again use a variety of looks and schemes.

“With Coach (Stacey) Hairston’s background, playing for Nick Saban and Bill Belichik and then coaching up in the Canadian League, seeing a lot of passing game, he has come up with some innovative schemes that I think are going to give a lot of teams a lot of trouble.”

Gravier said it has been a tough week of practice for the players, especially the freshmen.

“They’ve never been through anything like this before, so you get a lot of hurt and a lot of sore guys and guys missing practice because their legs are tired and sore, and we just have to teach them to push through it,” Gravier said. “This will be the hardest two weeks that they go through. Once we get done with fall camp, as far as hard practices go, the rest are spread out. We have about the same amount over 12 weeks as opposed to two weeks.”

By game day Gravier expects to have about 85 players on the team, as some are not currently on campus. Of that, the coach said about 15 to 20 guys are considered local, within a 50 to 60-mile radius of Bluefield.

“Heading down to Bristol and that area, eastern Tennessee, I would say 15 to 20 guys,” Gravier said. “We have several Mercer County and Tazewell County kids playing for us and that’s always been an emphasis for us. We want to give those guys an opportunity to play.”

Following a Saturday night scrimmage, Gravier has already set a plan in action for the team.

“Next week will be a mix of our own stuff and then getting ready for Pikeville,” Gravier said. “We’ll have kind of a scout team that we’ll do our scrimmage against, so we can go against Pikeville’s offense and defense.”

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