Mickles: Coach Ron Roberts, Lions enjoy being the favorite

Advocate file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southeastern running back Rasheed Harrell races toward the goal line during last year's FCS playoff game against Sam Houston State at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.

LAKE CHARLES — One year ago, Southeastern Louisiana University football coach Ron Roberts came to Southland Conference media day with a team that was flying well under the radar. Coming off a 5-6 record in 2012, Roberts’ first season at the school after a highly successful five-year stay at Delta State, SLU was picked to … Continue reading →

Early slate will test Tech

IRVING, Texas — Louisiana Tech’s early schedule is absolutely brutal. The Bulldogs were 4-8 overall (3-5 Conference USA) in 2013, the first season under coach Skip Holtz. This season, they play four of their first five games against bowl teams from last season in Oklahoma, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, North Texas and Auburn. … Continue reading →

Holtz seeks more ways to use Dixon

Associated Press photo -- Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon, left, smiles during a playful interview by coach Skip Holtz at the Conference USA media day Wednesday in Irving, Texas.

IRVING, Texas — Skip Holtz is glad to have junior running back Kenneth Dixon, who missed three games last season with a knee injury, healthy for 2014. But the second-year Louisiana Tech coach would like to find more innovative ways to use Dixon, who rushed for 917 yards last season, within his offense. … Continue reading →

All-Conference USA preseason Offensive player of the year: Rakeem Cato, Sr., QB, Marshall Defensive player of the year: James Rouse, Sr., DL, Marshall Special teams player of the year: Hunter Mullins, Sr., P, UAB OffenseContinue reading →

Louisiana Tech schedule Coach: Skip Holtz (4-8 one season, 92-79 overall) 2013 RECORD: 4-8 (3-5 Conference USA) Aug 30: at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. Sept. 7: at UL-Lafayette, 6 … Continue reading →

Four downs: Southland Conference media days

After having eight football-playing schools in 2013, the Southland Conference will welcome three new members this fall. Houston Baptist will be eligible for SLC honors this season, but Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word will have to wait until at least 2017 to be fully eligible. All 11 schools will play eight league games — one … Continue reading →

Southland media day preview: Team capsules

Southland Conference logo

Abilene Christian COACH: Ken Collums PLAYERS: DE Nick Richardson and TE Jonathan Parker WHAT TO WATCH FOR: When Abilene Christian won in 2013, it won big. Though the Wildcats only went 6-5, they outscored their opponents 370-114 in their victories. During his junior campaign, QB John David Baker … Continue reading →

15 Southeastern Lions on preseason All-Southland football teams

Advocate staff file photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southeastern quarterback Bryan Bennett prepares to throw under pressure from Sam Houston State safety Desmond Fite in December 2013.

HAMMOND – Let by senior quarterback Bryan Bennett, the defending Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana football team earned a league-high 15 selections on the preseason All-Southland teams. The teams were released by the league office on Wednesday. Southeastern, which finished No. 6 in the final Football Championship Subdivision polls in 2013, returns 15 starters from last … Continue reading →

Ex-teammates Marcus Mariota and Bryan Bennett meet again

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

THIBODAUX — It could have been a family get-together. In a way, it was. Only one seat separated Marcus Mariota and Bryan Bennett during Friday’s interview session at the Manning Passing Academy. They were clearly glad to see each other. Mariota, reserved and quiet off the field, is the standout quarterback for Oregon, possibly … Continue reading →

SLU’s Harlan Miller on Buchanan watch list

SLU Public Information photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Southeastern defensive back Harlan Miller returns an interception against McNeese State for 30 yards during a Nov. 2 game.

Southeastern Louisiana junior defensive back Harlan Miller is one of 20 student-athletes on the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Miller is the latest Lion to be named a preseason candidate for a national award. Earlier this week, SLU senior quarterback Bryan … Continue reading →

College football notes: Tiger Stadium voted top venue

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- The LSU team comes onto the field prior to the first half at LSU's Tiger Stadium.

Tiger Stadium was ranked as the best college football stadium along with the best game day atmosphere, in a poll conducted by Athlon Sports that was released Monday. In a poll of 15 college football experts, LSU easily outpaced Ohio State (Ohio Stadium) as the best in college football. Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, Texas A&M’s Kyle Field … Continue reading →

Bryan Bennett, SLU offense roll at spring game

SLU public information photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Southeastern quarterback Brian Bennett passes Saturday during the spring game at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.

Southeastern Louisiana football fans got their first taste of the upcoming football season Saturday in Strawberry Stadium, where the Lions offense defeated the squad’s defense 79-27 in the team’s spring game. Led by senior quarterback Bryan Bennett, SLU’s offense became known for its explosive nature last season. That versatile offense made its grand reappearance Saturday. … Continue reading →

SLU excited, ready for spring football game

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- A Southeastern Louisiana helmet is seen on the sideline this season.

HAMMOND — Even in the heart of baseball season, one sound resonates throughout Southeastern Louisiana’s campus that excites people for the fall. During past offseasons, some Lions football fans would have ignored the echo of helmets colliding in Strawberry Stadium. But following an 11-3 campaign and its first trip to the Division I playoffs in … Continue reading →

Southeastern Louisiana football team to begin spring drills

HAMMOND — The defending Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana football team will begin its on-field preparation for 2014 when spring practice opens Tuesday. The Lions, who finished 11-3 overall, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and finished ranked No. 6 in the final national polls, will take the practice field for the first … Continue reading →

Dennis Waldron takes over as Sugar Bowl president

Advocate staff photo -- Archie Manning stands with Dennis Waldron.

It was fitting that Dennis Waldron’s first public function as the 57th president of the Sugar Bowl was at the Riverside Hilton. That’s where Waldron, a recently retired criminal court judge, did his first volunteer duty as a committee member, working the hospitality suite for the teams that stayed there the week leading up to the game, … Continue reading →

Southeastern class highlighted by transfers, prep players

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Jerqwinick Sandolph (43), seen here as an LSU freshman in 2012, has transferred to Southeastern Louisiana.

Jordan Batiste, DB, 5-8, 169, Gramercy/Tulane Second-team All-Louisiana selection last season with four forced fumbles, seven sacks. Micah Eugene, DB, 5-11, 188, Lafayette/LSU Had 62 tackles in two seasons at LSU. Byron Smith, OL, 6-8, 260, Ontario, Calif./Citrus College Earned All-West honors at Citrus College — the same school former SLU defensive lineman Greg … Continue reading →

Southeastern roster deepens with transfers, signees, walk-ons

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- Southeastern Louisiana coach Ron Roberts paces the sideline during the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal against New Hampshire on Dec. 14. New Hampshire won 20-17.

Southeastern Louisiana’s football program reached new heights last season, and Lions coach Ron Roberts is hoping this year’s signing class will help bring greater success in the future. The additions total 31 players, including seven with Division I experience and five junior college transfers. Eleven players were midyear additions, and the remainder of the class is … Continue reading →

Southeastern finalizes list of football transfers

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU cornerback Derrick Raymond (19) keeps his eyes on the ball during drills as the LSU Tigers have their third preseason practice Wednesday at McClendon Practice Facility in Baton Rouge.

The Southeastern Louisiana football team finalized its list of midyear additions Thursday, when coach Ron Roberts announced two players who previously participated at the Football Bowl Subdivision level would continue their athletic endeavors in Hammond. The newest Lions are defensive back Derrick Raymond (6-1, 175) and wide receiver Chris Briggs (6-5, 214). Raymond, who comes to … Continue reading →

SLU football program adds six junior-college transfers

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southeastern wide receiver Tony McCrea, center, and the rest of the team celebrate stopping Sam Houston State's offense on fourth down to win the game during the FCS playoff game between Southeastern University and Sam Houston State University on Saturday at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.

HAMMOND — Six junior-college players will be joining Southeastern Louisiana, the school announced Wednesday. Offensive lineman Bryon Smith (Ontario, Calif.), Copiah-Lincoln Community College defensive lineman Philanteus “PJ” Jarrett (Hollandale, Miss.), Iowa Western defensive lineman Ashton Henderson (Tulsa, Okla.), Ventura College defensive back Jordan Howard (Ventura, Calif.), Holmes Community College defensive back Terrious Triplett … Continue reading →

Southeastern aims to build on ‘special’ season

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southeastern running back Xavier Roberson keeps New Hampshire Wildcats kicker Mike MacArthur away Ssaturday's game.

Ron Roberts began to answer the question — Is the Southeastern Louisiana program ahead of expectations? — just like any other coach. “I don’t know if it’s ahead …” he began before trailing off. Because he’s unlike any other coach, Roberts then searched for the truth: OK, yeah. It’s ahead. “This team has exceeded my … Continue reading →

Monday Morning Rewind: Southeastern Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNONSoutheastern coach Ron Roberts, right, talks with New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell following the Lions' 20-17 FCS playoff loss Saturday.

An exciting offseason awaits a program that had the best season in school history. Sure, it ended bitterly — a 20-17 home loss in the FCS quarterfinals to New Hampshire on Saturday — but that won’t dull the buzz around Hammond. Coach Ron Roberts heads into a promising third year … Continue reading →

Surging Southeastern, New Hampshire square off

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southeastern wide receiver Marquis Fruge dives into the end zone for a touchdown against Sam Houston State on Dec. 7, 2013.

One thing’s for certain in Saturday’s Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal between Southeastern Louisiana and New Hampshire: One team will see its winning streak — and season — come to an end. “It’s a one-game playoff,” Southeastern coach Ron Roberts said. “It’s one at a time. There it is — all the marbles on the table. That’s the … Continue reading →

Quick read: New Hampshire at Southeastern

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Southeastern running back Rasheed Harrell runs the ball in for a touchdown during the FCS playoff game between Southeastern University and Sam Houston State University on Saturday at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.

Top storyline: Are the jitters gone? Coach Ron Roberts candidly said this week that his Southeastern Louisiana football team appeared on edge in its Football Championship Subdivision playoff opener against Sam Houston State last week. Worse, three miscues netted the Bearkats 16 points: a pick-six, a muffed punt inside the SLU 5-yard line that set up … Continue reading →

Depth, smart players fortify Southeastern secondary

SLU Public Information photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Southeastern defensive back Harlan Miller returns an interception against McNeese State for 30 yards during a Nov. 2 game.

Two years ago, Pete Golding administered a final test during Harlan Miller’s official visit to Southeastern Louisiana. Miller was an undersized quarterback from Kentwood, and the Lions’ defensive coordinator pondered a position switch for the 6-foot prospect. Instead of throwing passes, Golding had Miller try to blanket receivers and make interceptons. Golding also wanted to test … Continue reading →

Early tests prepared Southeastern for playoff push

SLU Punlic Information photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Southeastern running back Xavier Roberson shakes a tackle from Samford linebacker Justin Shade on a 57-yard run in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 21. Southeastern defeated Samford 34-31.

Southeastern Louisiana may be the new kid on the Football Championship Subdivision playoff block, but Lions coach Ron Roberts is hoping his team’s regular-season schedule works to the team’s advantage as the Lions host New Hampshire in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Game time is 6 p.m. at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond. Roberts pointed to a pair of three-game … Continue reading →

Southeastern receives NCAA infraction penalties

SLU Public Information photo by Randy Bergeron -- Southeastern Louisianaa defenders, from left, Trenon Trosclair, Drew Misita and A.J. Bowen tackle Samford running back Jeremiaha Gates in the second half of Southeastern's 34-31 win Saturday at Seibert Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.

Southeastern Louisiana University received NCAA penalties for a lack of institutional control after self-reporting 137 athletes were academically ineligible over a five-year period, but was largely spared severe punishment Tuesday. The school, which first reported the violations in late March, self-imposed a myriad of penalties, including scholarship reductions, a two-year probationary period and vacating victories from … Continue reading →

Southeastern is next for surging New Hampshire

SLU Punlic Information photo by RANDY BERGERON -- Southeastern running back Xavier Roberson shakes a tackle from Samford linebacker Justin Shade on a 57-yard run in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 21. Southeastern defeated Samford 34-31.

Thirty-six hours didn’t dull the edge in New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell’s voice. Euphoria can leave a residue when advancing in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs means knocking out a rival at the same time. So in the wake of the Wildcats notching a 41-27, second-round victory Saturday against No. 5 seed Maine, McDonnell’s raspy … Continue reading →

Lewis: Bama-OU: Preview of bowl games to come

Death to the BCS! — and other post-Selection Sunday thoughts:

The final Sugar Bowl as we’ve come to know it will look exactly like the one we’ll come to know over the next dozen years.

Well, two out of three times, at least.

Alabama against Oklahoma is what the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 had in mind when they came … Continue reading →

Alabama, Oklahoma set for Sugar Bowl clash of titans

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) catches a pass over Auburn defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6) and defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (9) and runs in for a 99 yard touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The last time Alabama played in the Sugar Bowl, the Crimson Tide was coming off a bitter defeat that knocked them out of the BCS championship picture. And when the team reacted with a dispirited 31-17 loss to BCS-buster Utah, Nick Saban famously said he was “responsible for the whole kit and caboodle.” Now the … Continue reading →

Monday Morning Rewind: Southeastern Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELDSoutheastern's Justin Church, left, and A.J. Bowen, right, take down Sam Houston State's Timothy Flanders.

Southeastern Louisiana lives to see another week of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. And the Lions (11-2) get another home game at Strawberry Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday against New Hampshire in the quarterfinals. The program’s first foray into the postseason was almost short. The No. 4 overall seed trailed by … Continue reading →