JSU Notebook: Slota may return Saturday, but Crowe has little hope for Pope
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
Sep 24, 2012 | 3272 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Troymaine Pope, shown here playing against Chattanooga, hurt his knee in Saturday's game against Eastern Kentucky. Coach Jack Crowe doesn't expect him to play against Southeast Missouri. (File photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Troymaine Pope, shown here playing against Chattanooga, hurt his knee in Saturday's game against Eastern Kentucky. Coach Jack Crowe doesn't expect him to play against Southeast Missouri. (File photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
slideshow
JACKSONVILLE – Coach Jack Crowe holds some hope fullback Jerry Slota could play in Jacksonville State’s OVC home opener against Southeast Missouri this week, but he has no expectation freshman Troymaine Pope will play.

Pope, a 100-yard rusher in the Chattanooga game and beyond the window for redshirting, injured his left knee in the first quarter of Saturday’s 51-21 loss at Eastern Kentucky. Slota hurt his wrist later in the game.

It’s likely a matter of weeks before either is back to full strength.

“I think there may be a role for (Slota),” Crowe said Sunday. “I don’t think there’ll be much he can do, but I think we’ll find out … Tuesday how functional he can be. He’s going to be extremely limited at best.”

Pope got hurt on the first play after a 73-yard Gabe Chambers kick return set up the Gamecocks at EKU’s 20. He watched the second half in sweats and walked to the dressing room after the game with a noticeable stiffness in his leg.

“I have literally no expectation of him playing this week,” Crowe said.

If Slota can’t go, his duties will fall on freshman walkon Darrius Stephens. With Pope out, Washaun James and Damarcus James will become more prevalent in the offense. The Gamecocks had only 112 yards rushing against Eastern Kentucky.

Crowe also said Sunday the Gamecocks are looking at position changes on defense this week because some players have not progressed through the open week.

The Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1 OVC) have slipped to 106 or worse in all five major FCS defensive categories this week. They are 121 – last -- in pass efficiency defense and 117 in total defense.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @JSUSports_Star.