Scouting Report: Savannah State

There really is no need to give a scouting report on Savannah State. The FCS program was 1-10 last season and got beat by Southeastern Louisiana 63-6, Appalachian State 41-6, Florida A&M 47-7 and Bethune-Cookman 59-3. The talk show jabber that OSU's third team would be favored is probably correct, but the exaggeration that Union or Jenks could beat the Tigers is just that, a wild exaggeration.

Instead of a scouting report this will serve more as a background report. Head coach Steve Davenport took over the Savannah program in January 2011 and found it to be very downtrodden.

With few seniors and below the typical scholarship limit of 63 in FCS, Davenport went to work with a staff of coaches that includes five Georgia Tech graduates, including himself. Davenport hired former NFL and Atlanta Falcons standout Terance Mathis to coordinate his offense and former Jackets teammate Saeed Khalif to be his defensive coordinator. Obviously, they took their lumps.

"We still have a young team, and we will only bring four seniors with us to Stillwater," said Davenport of his Tigers. "Last year we had to throw the wolves to the young kids and, hopefully, we will be better for it. But I'm not sure that will show up against the kind of people we're playing this Saturday.

"Long story short, we are still in our infancy and we are a long way from where this program will be in the future. One of the reasons we took the two games this season that we did (they also play at Florida State on Sept. 8) was to get some financial resources to do some of the things it will take to get this program where it needs to be competing for the MEAC championship each season," added Davenport.

Here are some mind-blowing numbers from last season. Savannah averaged scoring 12.5 points per game and gave up 40.2 points. They were outgained 6.5 yards per play to 3.7. Opponents converted 44 percent on third downs while the Tigers converted only 25 percent. They were outsacked by a count of 38 to 21.

Davenport doesn't make apologies.

"We like our receivers and with our outside guys in Bryan Lackey and Dylan Cook we think we can challenge for the best receivers in the conference," said Davenport, who adds that he has his running back (Sheldon Barnes) and his quarterback (Antonio Bostick) back too.

"I think we're going to be a little bit better on defense than we were last year. We have two of our seniors on defense in defensive end James Briscoe and defensive tackle Terrance Williams. We feel reall good about a kid at cornerback in John Wilson, who had a good season last year. We feel good about our linebacing corps. The last game of the year against South Carolina State we started eight true freshmen on defense."

Davenport, who speaks highly of Oklahoma State and brags on his former teammate and current Cowboys co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, has a good attitude about his huge underdog team playing in the game.

"We know we've got our hands full," said Davenport. "We have told our guys to go in and try to compete on an individual basis. If you just go and compete with the guy that is in front of you, it's not Oklahoma State, but it's the guy in front of you.

"If you will compete with him on each individual play and play your heart out and make him respect you as a football player then at the end of the day we're going to be just fine. If it's the broader approach of Oklahoma State versus Savannah State then we're in trouble, but if you take it individually then we'll be just fine."

They will earn some respect. However, the scoreboard doesn't go player by player but it takes cumulative effort on the field. When you add it all up, Oklahoma State will score a whole lot while Savannah State will have little or nothing.


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