Sun Belt Media Day Notes

NEW ORLEANS -- There could be a championship playoff game in the Sun Belt Conference’s future but two things have to fall into place first.


First is the NCAA has to lift the restriction on the minimum of 12 teams for a conference to have a title game and the second has to be for the SBC membership to approve.

“We could have a title game as early as December 2016 if the conference member vote it in,’’ said SBC Commissioner Karl Benson. “We would present it first to the coaches and athletic directors to see and if they approve take it to the school presidents.”

Coaches and ADs seem mixed on the issue.

“I’m not against it but I would have to see what benefits it has for the conference,’’ said A-State AD Terry Mohajir. “Studying the last few years 40 percent of the games have been negative for the conference.’’

Mohajir added if the game was played it would likely be at an on-campus site.

The league regular season ends the first weekend of December and the league’s four bowls have all moved to the third week of December.

RED WOLVES: Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson addressed the Red Wolves’ offensive line during his media session.

Anderson said Devin Mondie has been moved back to guard and Brandon Berg and Daniel Keith will battle at center. Colton Jackson has moved inside to right guard while Kyle Harris and Joe Bacchus will work at the tackle spot beside him. Backing up at guard will be Austin Tank Moreton and Steve Stevens. The other tackle spot is manned by Jamar Clark.

“I really think our offensive line will be a lot better,’’ said Anderson.

Berg and Bacchus are junior college transfers who came in mid-semester.

STADIUM UPDATE

Mohajir said all is good and everything is on schedule for the Aug. 1 deadline for the completion of the Centennial Bank Stadium renovation.

I feel great about it being ready for the opener and we are still on track for the completion on August first. That is what I am told by our contractors. The press box itself, if you gone inside, the walls are up and they are painting. They putting the tile down. They are getting after it.

“The outside where the rest rooms are, we are putting 42 new restrooms in for the women. The new ticket office and the new team gear store, the kitchen commissary; that is going to be a little after because we started that later.

“I know people are going to be it is not going to happen. No one thought we were going to build a new press box. But we are doing it. When we started building a new press box people said we are not going to get it done. Well when we get it done what is the next thing people are going to say?

“We have to continue to create a sense of trust that we can get things done. We’ve had a lot of challenges this year because of the weather and rain.”

Cost of attendance

Arkansas State is one of the leaders in providing cost of attendance funds for its student-athletes. Mohajir announced across the board that A-State athletes will be paid $4,000 per semester.

Bowl reps

All four of the bowls – the New Orleans Bowl, The GoDaddy Bowl, the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl and the AutoNation Cure Bowl – had representatives at the media day event.

All-Conference

The Sun Belt released its preseason all-conference team. A-State had the most representatives with 11 All-Conference selections, six on the first-team and five on the second-team. Leading the charge were offensive standouts, quarterback Fredi Knighten and wide-receiver J.D. McKissic. McKissic holds the most career receptions in the nation (237) amongst active NCAA players. A Johnny Unitas Gold Arm Award Watch List member, Knighten averaged more than 300 yards per contest last year, both through the air and on the ground for an offense that averaged 36 points per game and 477 yards per game.

Joining Knighten and McKissic on the first-team were defensive ends Ja’Von Rolland-Jones and Chris Stone, linebacker Xavier Woodson and kick returner Blaise Taylor. A-State also had five on the second-team as senior running back Michael Gordon, senior tight end Darion Griswold, junior offensive lineman Colton Jackson, senior defensive back Rocky Hayes and senior punter Luke Ferguson were all named to the team.