JSU notebook: Gamecocks' football team leaves without Koegel
by Al Muskewitz
Dec 12, 2013 | 3216 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville State football team left for the biggest game in its Division I history Thursday without its biggest supporter.

While the Gamecocks were flying to their FCS quarterfinals game at Eastern Washington, athletics director Warren Koegel was resting at home after being released from a local hospital following a heart procedure.

Koegel went to the emergency room at Regional Medical Center early Tuesday morning after experiencing chest pains and had one stent placed in an artery.

Koegel appeared fine when meeting with reporters before the Gamecocks’ weekly news conference Monday and seemed in good spirits after the procedure.

“I told Coach (Bill) Clark and the team that I’ll be fine and to go out and keep playing at a high level and bring back a W,” Koegel said.

Senior associate athletics director Greg Seitz will handle the athletics department’s day-to-day operations until Koegel feels strong enough to return to work.

HONORS BEGIN: Bill Clark thought two weeks ago kicker Griffin Thomas had a good chance to be an All-American. Turns out he was right.

On Thursday, Thomas and running back record-setting running back DaMarcus James were named to the Beyond Sports Network FCS All-American teams.

Thomas was a first-team selection, while James made the third team. The more recognized Associated Press and Sports Network All-American teams have yet to be announced.

Thomas set school and Ohio Valley Conference records for field goals (23) and points by kicking (128), while hitting 59 of 60 extra points. Earlier in the day he was named one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Award that goes to the country’s top kicker.

James, currently second in the nation in rushing, continues to build on JSU’s single-season rushing record (1,431 yards) and has an OVC-record 28 rushing touchdowns. He has scored at least one touchdown in the Gamecocks’ last 11 games.

BETTER THAN NUMBERS: Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin cautions people from reading too much into statistics.

The team Jacksonville State plays in the FCS quarterfinals Saturday is the No. 3 seed in the tournament, but in the Musky Index that ranks teams based on their overall statistical profile, the Eagles are eighth among the eight teams remaining in the field. Jax State is sixth.

Taking the average of their place in each of the 25 statistical categories listed by the NCAA, the Eagles register a score of 56.20. The Gamecocks are at 46.72.

The rest of the field in order: North Dakota State (12.72), Eastern Illinois (38.56), Southeastern Louisiana (38.96), Towson (43.76), New Hampshire (44.68), Coastal Carolina (51.84).

EWU’s average is skewed by some weak defensive numbers — 103 in total defense, 115 in passing yards allowed, 121 in first downs — but Baldwin would agree his group is underrated. The Eagles rank in the top six in four of the five major offensive categories.

“People get caught up in reading statistics,” Baldwin said. “A couple of things that get lost in the statistics is with exception of Portland State we were in control of almost the other seven Big Sky games by the end of the third quarter.

“I think you can get caught up in looking at some of the total yards and points, but those yards and some of those points are scored when the game is in hand. I have total confidence and I understand how good our defense is and what we can do defensively.”
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