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Aug. 14 – MSU Bears Football Report

Head Coach Terry Allen Comments on Fall Position Battles
Coach B.J. Stotser Previews the Bears’ Cornerback Group

Day 13 of the Missouri State Bears fall camp featured just one afternoon practice, as cooler temperatures continued to give the gridders a needed boost. The Bears focused on special teams and positional work early in the workout before shifting into the team-oriented portion of the practice agenda.

Head coach Terry Allen indicated the highly competitive quarterback race remains a dead heat, like several other positions, and refrained from identifying a target date for settling those debates.

“I think the obvious question centers around Ashton (Glaser) and Kierra (Harris) at quarterback,” the seventh-year head coach said. “They both handled things well Saturday. We’ve just got to wait and see.”

One unit to which the Bears’ coaching staff will look for leadership and growth this fall is the cornerback group. Talented junior Sybhrian Berry headlines the MSU corners after he started nine times as a sophomore and notched 44 tackles with a team-high seven pass break-ups. Berry has impressive speed and will continue to improve in the secondary while providing a solid return man on special teams.

Also back is junior Howard Scarborough, whose sophomore year ended prematurely after an injury in week five sidelined him for the remainder of the year. He started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2010 and will be counted on for big things at right cornerback this fall in his fourth season in the program.

“Everybody coming back has played and has experience,” said B.J. Stotser, MSU’s secondary coach. “Sybhrian is instrumental to what we’re doing, Howard has some quality experience, and James Caine is starting to pick things up. I’m excited about what we have.”

Caine played in 10 games as a first-year transfer in 2011 and will look to add to his playing time this fall behind Scarborough and newcomer Jeremiah Plowden, a juco standout from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College who Stotser thinks will push for immediate playing time.

Backing up Berry will be Webb City product Jarvis Jones who is a tremendous athlete and true freshman talent who has the ability to contribute right away.

The Bears tackle the first of two remaining two-a-days Wednesday, with practices slated for 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.

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Aug. 13 – MSU Bears Football Report

WR Coach Mike Chandler Talks About the Bears’ First Scrimmage, New-Look Offense

With their first scrimmage of the 2012 preseason camp in the books, the Missouri State Bears returned to the practice field Monday with a pair of workouts to kick off the final week of two-a-days before the start of the fall semester. The Bears got back to the basics in a pair of 90-minute sessions, focusing on building on the positives from Saturday’s initial scrimmage.

One group that has plenty to be excited about from Saturday is the MSU receiving corps. In all, 15 different players recorded receptions in the 115-play scrimmage, as the Bears racked up more than 500 yards through the air and scored four times on passing plays.

The Bears will return four of their seven top receivers (induding TE Matt Thayer) from 2011 and should benefit from the team’s new-look, up-tempo offense. Gone is All-MVFC first-teamer Jermaine Saffold, who signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns in April, but leading the charge of returnees is three-year starter Cadarrius Dotson. Dotson snagged 22 receptions for 214 yards a year ago and has 88 career catches. He led the club with 14 receptions for 170 yards this spring and is the early favorite to start at the slot receiver position this season.

Julian Burton, who played eight games as a redshirt freshman last year has been one of the squad’s top return men the last two years, but will move to outside receiver this fall in hopes of better utilizing his speed.  He had 11 receptions for 94 yards in 2011 and averaged 7.3 yards per punt return, but has been hampered by a hamstring injury in fall camp.

Dorian Buford posted 10 receptions for 98 yards last fall and earned three starts in his first season at MSU. He’s the preseason favorite to take over the Z-receiver spot permanently this fall and has the size and speed to be a game changer.

“Our depth looks good, but we lack a lot of true playing experience,” said wide receivers coach Mike Chandler. “I’d really like to see Julian Burton step up this season, and I think we’d all like to see Cadarrius Dotson make strides for his senior year. Dorian Buford can play all three positions, and that is big for us.”

Backing up the big three will be senior Adrian Williams who had a bounce-back spring after struggling for playing time the last couple of years. He started four games in 2009, and rediscovered some of that magic in April with a game-high 6 receptions for 53 yards in the Maroon and White Spring Game. Redshirt freshman Eric Christophel also had a good spring and is a fundamentally-sound slot man who is one of the team’s best blocking receivers.

Returning squadman Duane Atteberry is also versatile and rugged enough to see some playing time this season, while newcomers Tre Kelley, Zac Hoover, Marvell Saffold, Eric Brown and Adam Judnich will all get their opportunities to impress. Kelley was the star of Saturday’s scrimmage, hauling in a pair of long touchdown passes and totaling a team-high 160 yards on six receptions.

“I’m not afraid to play freshmen,” said Chandler. “I’ve done that the last couple of years, so those guys will get their chance. Of the new players, Eric Christophel has all the tools. He’s scrappy, mixes it up in run blocking and just makes plays.”

MSU will practice at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in its lone workout of the day.

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Costa Rica Day 6

Hey everyone it’s Sunday and our last full day here in Costa Rica! Today we are going white water rafting!

We started off the day by waking up super early. We ate breakfast at the hotel as usual. The bus picked us up and we made a two hour bus ride into the mountains to the white water rafting place.

The whole rafting experience was really fun and exciting! The river we were rafting on ran through the mountains and we saw some beautiful sights. The rapids were not too bad. There were stretches that threw you off balance; I even fell into the water once. That was probably the most fun part! We had lunch on the side of the river. The guys that were our guides made sandwiches with fresh fruit and vegetables. After lunch we got back on the river and finished the rafting up.

Once the rafting was done we made the long bus ride back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel we basically had free time to ourselves for the rest of the day. I decided to just get some food, hit the hot tub and chill my the rest of my teammates!

This whole trip was so much fun. I just want to thank everyone who was involved with making this happen. It’s truly a blessing and I just want to thank everyone! We have to get up early to catch our flight back to the states. Goodnight and God bless!

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Costa Rica Day 5

What’s up everyone?! It’s Saturday and day 5 of our trip to Costa Rica! Today we play our last game while we are here. We also did a basketball clinic for some local kids and visited a school to meet some special needs children.

The day started off by us eating breakfast at the hotel. It was beautiful outside in the morning with no clouds and about 80 degrees. But by the afternoon it was raining. It’s rainy season here right now so it’s rains every day.

After breakfast we boarded the bus to the gym to help the kids at the clinic. At the gym we did some drills with the kids and had a good time interacting with them. Eddie our manager put on a dance show of his own for all the kids. That was hilarious! At the end we took a ton of pictures with them. We then headed over to the school which was right down the street. While at the school we meet some of the kids. They really appreciated us coming by. We gave them some shirts and other school supplies. It felt good to help out some people who are less fortunate than yourself. This whole experience has taught me that I am very blessed and that I really have a great life.

After the clinic and visiting with the kids at the school we went to eat and then headed back to the hotel. As soon as I got back to the hotel I fell right asleep! I took a really long nap! When I woke up it was time to get ready for the game we had that night!

We played our game at the same place we did the clinic with the kids at. The team we played was probably the best team we played this whole trip. We ended up winning by 40 but at first we didn’t start out as fast as we wanted to. The game was full of fans and kids from the clinic. We took pictures with fans after the game and headed out to get dinner once we were done with that. The place we ate at was a really nice steak house! It was delicious!

After the steak house we went back to the hotel. I feel asleep right away because we had to get up the next morning really early for white water rafting! Goodnight and God bless everyone!

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Aug. 11 – MSU Bears Football Scrimmage

Sophomore QB Kierra Harris Discusses the Bears’ First Scrimmage
Head Coach Terry Allen Reviews the Bears’ Saturday Scrimmage

Saturday’s 115-play intrasquad scrimmage at Plaster Field offered a glimpse of the future for the Missouri State football Bears. Highlighting the hour-and-a-half morning session were a series of standout plays from the Bears’ new-look offense, which racked up 502 passing yards and four scoring strikes through the air.

Freshman Tre Kelley enjoyed a strong debut effort, totaling six catches for 160 receiving yards, thanks in large part to a pair of long touchdown receptions. Early in the scrimmage, Kelley hauled in an Ashton Glaser pass at his own 45 yard line and raced to paydirt for a 75-yard touchdown. He also hooked up with sophomore signal caller Kierra Harris on a 52-yard strike later in the day.

The Bears’ four quarterbacks looked comfortable in the retooled MSU offensive attack, combining to go 37-of-66 through the air, as 15 different receivers recorded at least one catch. Harris was an efficient 16-of-20 for 221 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 17 yards. Glaser, meanwhile, led four different scoring drives and racked up 248 yards by completing 16-of-30 passes, three of which went the distance for touchdowns. The junior transfer hooked up with senior Cadarrius Dotson on a 66-yard strike and sophomore Eric Christophel for a three-yard score in the red zone portion of the scrimmage.

Dotson also turned in a solid day, finishing with four receptions for 99 yards, while senior Adrian Williams and junior Dorian Buford combined for nine catches and 63 yards.

On the ground, the Bears got a team-high 51 yards on nine carries from freshman Cedric Miller II, and two rushing TDs by junior Mikael Cooper-Falls. In all, MSU totaled 120 rushing yards on 49 attempts.

With the offense doing its fair share of damage, the defense stepped up its game late in the session to record four of its five takeaways in the final 20 plays. Junior defensive back Zac Rasmussen and senior linebacker Nate Davis each picked off a pass, and Bear defenders totaled seven sacks and broke up six passes on the day. Additionally, the MSU defense recovered three fumbles.

On special teams, sophomore kicker Marcelo Bonani converted all four PAT attempts, and junior Austin Witmer booted a 40-yard field goal.

The Bears will take a break from the practice field Sunday before returning with two workouts Monday.

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Aug. 11 – Intrasquad Scrimmage Stats

OFFENSE
RUSHING (49-120, 3 TD):Cedric Miller II 9-51 (TD); Ryan Heaston 6-28; Benny Jones 5-22 ;Josh Mattes 7-18; Kierra Harris 7-17; Vernon Scott 1-9; Mikael Cooper-Falls 6-7 (2 TD); Alex Lawson 1-0; Ashton Glaser 6-(-16); Team 1-3;

PASSING (66-37-2, 502, 4 TD): Ashton Glaser 30-16-1, 248 (3 TD); Kierra Harris 20-16-0, 221 (1 TD); Brodie Lambert 11-3-1, 24; Alex Lawson 5-2-0, 9.

RECEIVING (37-502): Tre Kelley 6-160 (2 TD); Dorian Buford 5-26; Adrian Williams 4-37; Eric Christophel 3-44 (TD); Cadarrius Dotson 4-99 (TD); Stacey Thornton 3-15; Matt Swan 3-12; Vernon Scott 2-45; Matt Thayer 2-18; Eric Brown 1-15; Ryan Heaston 1-11; Cedric Miller II 1-8; Marvell Saffold 1-7; Richard Darden 1-3; Mikael Cooper-Falls 1-2.

SCORING PLAYS:
Mikael Cooper-Falls 1 run (PAT failed)

Tre Kelley 75 pass from Ashton Glaser (Marcelo Bonani kick)

Cadarrius Dotson 66 pass from Ashton Glaser (PAT blocked)

Cedric Miller II 5 run (Marcelo Bonani kick)

Tre Kelley 52 pass from Kierra Harris (Austin Witmer kick)

Mikael Cooper-Falls 1 run (Marcelo Bonani kick)

Austin Witmer 40 FG

Eric Christophel 3 pass from Ashton Glaser (Marcelo Bonani kick)

DEFENSE:
PBU (6): Jeremiah Plowden 2; Christian Hoffman 1, Rodney Kelly 1, Geoff Stanford 1, Team 1; Interceptions (2): Zac Rasmussen 1; Nate Davis 1; Sacks (7- [-28]); Fumbles Forced/Recovered (3/3).

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Costa Rica Day 4

Hey how’s it going everyone? Its day four of our trip in Costa Rica! We are having a great time here and really bonding as a team. Today we went zip lining in the forest and then had a game later.

We started the day off by eating breakfast earlier than usual. We had to leave early from the hotel to get to the zip lining. I slept on the way to the zip lining tour.

The zip lining tour was really fun and I think everyone had a great time. Some people, whose names will remain anonymous, were kind of scared to do the zip lining at first. By the end of the tour they loved it though! We ate lunch at the zip lining place too. The food was really good. I had some trout and chicken along with some vegetables.

After the zip line tour we made the long bus ride back to our hotel. We had time to get something to eat and then rest up for the game we had that night.

Our game was at a bigger gym this time. It’s was sort of like a stadium this time. The only bad part about it was that the court was concrete. Normally we are playing on wood floors so it was something different.
The good thing was it didn’t matter what kind of gym we were playing on because we were still going to win.

We ended up winning by about 40. So that was good. After the game we took pictures with all the people that came to watch. We even signed some autographs for some of the little kids.

After game we got on our bus and headed home. Once we got home we showered and we all ate pizza! Now I’m just hanging out in my room with Dorrian.

I’m about to email my family and then call it a night. Tomorrow we get to go teach some kids some basketball stuff at a camp. That should be lots of fun! Goodnight everyone and God Bless!

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Aug. 10 – MSU Bears Football Report

Coach Wayne Chambers Discusses Senior Leadership, Development of Outside Linebackers

With just one day to go before their first scrimmage of the preseason, the Missouri State Bears hit the practice field early Friday for their lone workout of the day.

Fine tuning on both sides of the ball remained the focus, particularly in game-type situations, as all three units enjoyed standout moments during the portion of practice devoted solely to red zone work. The offense sparkled early, putting the ball in the end zone on each of its first three series during the period, as both Glaser and Kierra Harris hooked up for long scoring strikes, before freshman Brodie Lambert led a third TD drive.

Not to be outdone, the Bears’ defense and special teams finished the day by coming up with some key stops and a blocked field goal attempt to thwart several scoring chances down the home stretch of the two-hour practice.

Key to the Missouri State defense’s ability to stop the opposition deep in its own zone in 2012 will most certainly be the outside linebacker corps. On a team with just 11 seniors, two projected senior starters will anchor outside linebacker jobs this fall for the Bears at a position that includes just four returnees.

Nate Davis burst onto the scene a year ago as a transfer from Garden City (Kan.) Community College and started the last two games of the season while compiling 44 tackles and recovering a pair of fumbles. Fellow senior Rodney Kelly’s rise to the top of the depth chart came in 2011 when he started all 11 games and collected 46 tackles.

“I’m looking for the two seniors to go out with a bang this season,” said outside linebackers coach Wayne Chambers. “They know what we’re looking for, and they should be finishing my sentences in position meetings. I think Kelly is ready to make an impact, and I hope he can pick up where he left off this spring.”

Junior Nick Canavan will also be in the mix after he started nine games as a sophomore and has compiled 103 tackles in his first 19 college games.

Another of the team’s seniors, Pat Fornadel played all 11 games a year ago, including special teams assignments and will add depth and a solid frame.

Westminster transfer Marcel Roberson and local standout Dylan Cole round out the outside linebackers and bring a wealth of physical talent and athleticism to coach Chambers’ troops.

“I’m hoping Nick (Canavan) will come out of the shadows and ready to take over,” said Chambers. “Pat (Fornadel) brings strength, power and determination every play. Those guys will play a lot, and we will bank on them and our senior leadership to get it done.”

Up next, the Bears will square off against each other in a controlled scrimmage Saturday morning at Plaster Field, beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m.

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Costa Rica Day 3

Hey what’s up everyone!? It’s our third day here in Costa Rica. Today was catch up on some rest day. We didn’t really have anything planned before our game.

We all woke up and ate breakfast in the morning. The women’s team was leaving so we said goodbye to them. For the rest of the morning we had free time to do whatever we wanted. Some of us went to swim, others were on their computers skyping with their families and friends and others did what I did and went back to sleep.

When I woke up we decided to go get something to eat and then go watch a movie as a team. The movie we watched was The Dark Knight Rises. I had already seen the movie so I slept through the whole movie. I like to sleep in case you haven’t notice.

When the movie was over it was time to get ready for the game we had later that night. We had a pre game meal of a sandwich and some chips.

The gym we played our 2nd game at was a gym just like the previous game. It was an outdoor pavilion that was closed in. It was really hot! We all had steam coming off of our bodies.

We started out fast against the team we were playing. At one point it was 25-2. After that point we pretty much knew we were going to win the game, now it was just about improving on the little things as a team and as individuals. When you are winning by that much it is easy to let up but we still needed to stay sharp. We ended up winning by 60 points.

After the game we went to eat at TGI Fridays. We had a really good time and the food was good. Once I got back to the hotel I pretty much showered and hopped into my bed. I was so tired!

It’s getting late now and we have to wake up early to go zip lining tomorrow. That will be really fun and interesting! I can’t wait to do it! Goodnight and God bless everyone!

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Aug. 9 – MSU Bears Football Report

Head Coach Terry Allen Talks Weather, Early Surprises
Sophomore Andrew Beisel Discusses Depth at Inside Linebacker

With Wednesday’s weather abbreviating what was supposed to be the first set of two-a-days for the Missouri State football team, the staff shook up the schedule a bit Thursday in order to get in some much-needed work. While head coach Terry Allen admitted the brief respite from the brutal August heat was welcomed by all, the Bears’ seventh-year boss was quick to assert that it was time to get back to work Thursday.

With that message in mind, the Bears picked up where they left off with a previously unscheduled morning workout, then moving off of the Plaster Field turf to the grass practice field for their afternoon session. On the more forgiving surface, they devoted a good deal of attention to short-yardage and goaline situations in anticipation of their first scrimmage on Saturday morning.

One group to which Allen’s Bears will look to come up big in those situations this fall will be the inside linebackers, led by a pair of regulars who grew up in a hurry last season. With MVFC All-Newcomer selection and returning starter Andrew Beisel serving as the cornerstone of the Bears’ middle linebackers, the foundation looks solid for 2012 up the middle.  Also, fourth-year standout Ryan Callender figures to provide the squad with solid experience after he started a pair of ball games last fall and brought down 47 ball carriers.

“Obviously Beisel and Callender are our top guys,” said ILB coach Taiwo Onatolu. “Beisel has accepted a leadership role and that is a very big step. He does everything right on and off the field.”

On the field, Beisel posted a team-high 84 tackles, with six for losses, and a pair of forced fumbles as a redshirt freshman last year. He ranked 10th in the conference in total tackles, becoming the first freshman to lead the Bears in that category since 1998.

Onatolu says Beisel’s presence will push everyone and raise the bar for performance and playing time for a number of players.

“Last year we lacked depth,” Onatolu said. “This year, we’ll hopefully have a good rotation and the depth to keep guys rested and healthy.”

Onatolu likes juco transfers Seginald Chaney and Tim Piccarreto to challenge for playing time right away. Chaney was in camp this spring and impressed enough to earn the top spot on the Buck LB spot. Piccarreto is a high-energy player stays active and leads by example.

Redshirt freshman Christian Hoffmann has added size over the off-season and appears poised to play a key role this fall. Meanwhile, sophomore Geoff Stanford enters his third season in the program after an impressive spring kept him in contention for serious playing time. Johnny Onoh rounds out the group after transferring from Southwest Baptist University, where he played in eight games as a freshman in 2010.

The Bears will practice two more times Friday (8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m), before scrimmaging at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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