CU football opens Saturday
The Bulldogs were scheduled to pull out for Dyersburg around mid-day Friday with a final walk through and a kickoff dinner on tap for later this evening.
You can hear a big sigh of relief because were ready to finally play a football game. Its been a very busy summer. We took control of the Nokes-Lasater football facility on June 4 and our players reported August 10 -- so that wasnt a lot of time to get the move completed.
Cumberland will feature the biggest, strongest football team in Alexanders seven seasons as head coach.
Theres no questions weve got size and strength up front, Alexander said, every single member of our offensive line checks in at 300 pounds or better, our tight end is 6-4, 240 -- so weve put a lot of focus on pounding the football, playing to our strengths.
In 2011 CU won six straight and were ranked as high as No. 14 nationally before dropping the last two games of the year and just missing the NAIA playoffs for the second straight season.
The team finished with seven victories, setting the mark for the most victories in a two-year span (15) and tying the record for wins during a four-year period (26) in program history.
Cumberland was ranked fifth in the MidSouth Conference in scoring offense last season, averaging 31.1 points per game, and were fifth in the conference in scoring defense allowing 26.5 points per game.
Quarterback Reed Gurchiek along with running back Lemeco Miller and four starting offensive linemen return for the Bulldogs on offense.
Gurchiek completed 61.7 percent of his passes in 2011 while throwing for 1167 yards and eight touchdowns. Miller led the Bulldogs in rushing, carrying 95 times for 473 yards and five scores last season.
Seniors Allante McLemore, Cody McCallister and Connor McChurch return to lead CUs defense in 2012.
McChurch, an honorable mention selection in the Mid-South in 2011, ranked second on the team in tackles with 83 and led the NAIA in forced fumbles (0.4). McCallister was third on the team with 71 tackles, and was one of two players with four INTs last season.
The Bulldogs return 14 starters from 2011 and 42 letterwinners.