Holloman's absence will be a big blow for Southeast football

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's not a surprise, but Southeast Missouri State's confirmation last week that tailback Timmy Holloman would miss the first five games of the football season does not bode well for the Redhawks' hopes of a turnaround campaign.

Holloman was one of Southeast's few game-breakers last year, with the potential to go the distance virtually every time he touched the football.

Holloman rushed for 655 yards and scored six touchdowns in Southeast's first five games of 2007 before being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for reasons that were never disclosed.

At the time, Holloman led the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing yards per game and ranked high nationally.

Holloman enters his senior season with 1,996 career rushing yards, which ranks fourth in school history.

Holloman has been the Redhawks' top rusher each of his first three years in the program. He has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his college career, including 5.7 last season.

Until Holloman gets back, much of the Redhawks' rushing load likely will fall to sophomore Mike Jones, who gained 291 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a true freshman.

Another true freshman from last season, Alfred Reese, rushed for 190 yards and averaged 3.7 per attempt.

Holloman has to remain ineligible for one calendar year, meaning he can return for the Redhawks' Oct. 4 game at Jacksonville State, which is Southeast's second OVC contest.

Holloman has been permitted to practice with the team since being ruled ineligible, and he is participating in spring practice, which is in its final week.

It's common knowledge that a Division I-AA school is paid a big sum of money when its football team visits a Division I-A squad.

For instance, Southeast is receiving $250,000 from the University of Missouri for the Sept. 6 game in Columbia. Southeast picked up the same amount for playing at Cincinnati last year. That's pretty standard.

Well, some people have wondered, in comments on my blog, what Southeast pays a lower-division opponent to come to Houck Stadium for a game.

The answer is generally in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman told me the university is giving Division II Southwest Baptist $25,000 for the Redhawks' Aug. 28 season opener.

In addition to the Southeast football team having its spring game at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Redhawks' coaching staff is inviting adult fans to a party that night at Kimbeland Country Club in Jackson.

The party will begin at 6 p.m. There will be free food and drinks, and Southeast coaches tell me it will be a good opportunity for community members to get to know the coaches better.

I recently wrote a story about sophomore forward Jajuan Maxwell informing Southeast men's basketball coach Scott Edgar that he was planning to transfer out of the program.

Now word is going around that Edgar has talked Maxwell out of leaving the program and that he will remain with the Redhawks.

But there's nothing that says Maxwell won't change his mind again once or twice before the end of the semester, so I think it's best to just sit back and see how the situation winds up playing out.

If Maxwell is still enrolled at Southeast after the current semester, then I'd say he's for sure going to stay with the Redhawks.

Maxwell, who missed the 2007-08 season with a knee injury, averaged 5.1 points per game as a freshman while mostly playing in a reserve role.

If Maxwell stays at Southeast, he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

According to the Union City Messenger, Southeast men's basketball is in the running to land a point guard from Union City (Tenn.) High School.

The newspaper recently reported that MJ Brown will decide between Southeast and fellow OVC-member Tennessee-Martin.

Brown, a two-time Mr. Basketball winner in Tennessee, twice helped Union City High School to Class A state championships. He averaged 20 points and nearly four assists as a senior for a 37-0 team.

According to the newspaper, Brown visited nearby UT-Martin last month and was scheduled to visit Southeast over the weekend.

What an NCAA South Central Regional it was for Southeast women's gymnastics.

A fifth-place showing in the rugged six-team regional held April 12 at the University of Oklahoma featured beating 19th-ranked Arizona State and figures to vault the Redhawks to No. 30 in the final national poll.

In addition, junior Sandra Blake tied for fifth in the all-around and was named an alternate for this week's NCAA national meet. She is only an injury away from gaining a spot in the competition at the University of Georgia.

And last but not least, Tom Farden was named South Central Region head coach of the year, beating out the coaches from Oklahoma and Arkansas.

That is some impressive stuff, and considering the Redhawks lose only one gymnast to graduation, they could be primed for an even better season next year.

Farden sure has the program rolling.

I'm not surprised that former Southeast assistant Keno Davis bolted Drake for Providence after one season as the Bulldogs' men's basketball coach.

What Davis did this year was amazing, but I don't know that Drake has the kind of program where you can have consistent success.

Davis' stock would probably never be higher than it is right now, so he capitalized on his national coach of the year season by getting a huge pay increase — he'll reportedly receive a million dollars per over seven years — in one of the nation's top conferences, the Big East.

It looks pretty much like it was a no-brainer to me.

I wrote last week about Sikeston's Jacob Priday closing in on the University of Missouri's career home run record.

Priday has since reached the top spot. His two homers during Wednesday's win over William Woods gave him 46 for his career, breaking the previous school record of 45 held by Mike Rogers.

Priday has also broken the school mark for all-time runs batted in. He now has 224 for his career.

Priday, a senior, is batting .364 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.

And Priday's former Sikeston High School teammate, Blake DeWitt, is still up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. DeWitt is batting .260 during his first season in the major leagues.

The stock of Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has recently risen so much that he's now almost a lock to go in the first round of Saturday's NFL draft.

Rodgers-Cromartie, who would become the first Division I-AA player selected in the first round since 2000, could climb as high as the top 10, according to media reports.

What's interesting is that Rodgers-Cromartie is no Division I-A transfer. The Florida native came to the Tigers straight out of high school.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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