Scouting Report: The Citadel

A little history, key players and thoughts about tomorrow's opponent - The Citadel. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Citadel was founded in 1842 as the South Carolina Military Academy. In 1910 the school became The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, with a current enrollment at 1,800. They played their first football game in 1905 and had their only undefeated-untied season in 1906, going 3-0.

The Citadel has only had one double digit victory season, that was in 1992 when they went 11-2. The Bulldogs all-time record is 426-463-32 and they play in a stadium that seats 12.500. The largest crowd The Citadel has ever played in front of was 85,061 in 1998, at Florida.

The Bulldogs greatest margin of victory came in 1909 when they defeated Porter Military Academy 99-0, their biggest margin in defeat was a 58-3 loss to Clemson. The Citadel has claimed victories over two current members of the SEC, South Carolina and Arkansas. The win over Arkansas in 1992 cost then Arkansas head coach Jack Crowe his job.

The Citadel joined the Southern Conference in 1936. Ole Miss was a member of the Southern Conference from 1922 through 1932, when the SEC was formed in 1933. Current members of the Southern Conference with The Citadel are Appalachian St, the College of Charleston, Chattanooga, Davidson, Elon University (NC), Furman, Georgia Southern, North Carolina Greensboro, Western Carolina and Wofford (SC).

The Bulldogs enter the Ole Miss game with a 2-2 record. They opened the season with a win at home over Charleston Southern 28-14, lost at Florida State 62-10, lost at home to Appalachian State 45-13 and last week won their second game of the season at Western Carolina 17-7. It was a costly win for the Bulldogs as they lost their starting quarterback, Duran Lawson, for the season with a torn ACL. This game at Ole Miss will be the first meeting ever between The Citadel and Rebels.

Kevin Higgins is in his first year as the head coach at The Citadel. He is in his eighth year as a head coach with a lifetime record of 56 wins, 25 losses and no ties. He is in his seventeenth year coaching and for the last four years was on the NFL Detroit Lions coaching staff as a quarterbacks then receivers coach. Higgins is a 1977 graduate of West Chester. The most famous assistant coach ever atTthe Citadel is current NFL owner Al Davis, who coached there in 1955-1956. Other current college head coaches who worked as an assistant at The Citadel include Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Bill Doba (Washington State), Ralph Friedgen (Maryland) and Mike O'Cain (NC State).

Statistically, The Citadel and Ole Miss are almost mirror images, neither has generated much offense and both have given up a lot of yards. Should make for an interesting game from that perspective.

Offensively, the Bulldogs run the spread option, trying to create confusion and hesitation for the defense. Their offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach is Toby Strange, a 1998, graduate of West Georgia who served on Nick Saban's staff at LSU in 2002. He will start against the Rebels one senior, six juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Their offensive line averages 291 pounds tackle-to-tackle. The Rebels defensive front goes an average of 279 pounds per man. The Bulldogs run three plays for every two they pass based on four games, 154 rushes to 97 passes. Here are the key Bulldog offensive players:

- QB # 13 Justin Knox ------ rFr. 6-0, 175 - is 2-of-2 passing for 9 yards and 0 touchdowns

- TB # 20 Montrell Lee ----- So. 5-8, 182 - averaging 4.6 yards per carry

- TB # 22 Chris Gibbs ------ Sr. 5-8, 205 - averaging 3.2 yards per carry

- TB # 41 Nuru Goodrum - Jr. 6-0, 225 - averaging 3.1 yards per carry

- WR # 17 Ta'Mar Jernigan, So. 6-0, 170 - has 18 catches for 158 yards

- H # 9 Rontreal Tyler --- So. 5-11, 185 - has 10 catches for 51 yards

- Others include: #1 Gary Domanski WR and #81 Kinta Palmer WR

Defensively, The Citadel is a 4-3-4 team like Ole Miss. Their defensive coordinator/defensive secondary coach is Dick Hopkins, a 1974 graduate of Florida State. Hopkins has experience against the Rebels as he coached at Vanderbilt between 1985 and 1989. He will start on defense five seniors, one junior and five sophomores. The Bulldog defensive line averages 246 pounds per man, the linebackers 218 and the defensive backs 188. Ole Miss should have a significant advantage as the Rebels offensive line averages 307 pounds per man. The Bulldog defense has four fumble recoveries and four interceptions. Key Citadel defensive players include:

- WLB #18 Shawn Grant ------- Sr. 5-9, 215 - All-Star Candidate, 23.5 tackles

- SLB # 40 Porter Johnson ---- Sr. 5-10, 220 - has 24.5 tackles

- LDE #42 James Wilson ------ Sr. 6-2, 240 - 3-Year Starter... Fastest Player...

- RDE # 98 Deon Douglas ---- Jr. 6-3, 230 - has 3 sacks

- LCB #28 Brandon Hawkins - Sr. 5-10, 180 - Leading Tackler in 2004

- FS # 31 Josh Lawson -------- So. 5-11, 190 - has 25 tackles

The special team players for the Citadel include:

Punter - # 88 Mark Kaspar ----------- Fr. - 32 punts for at 39.0 yard average

KO Returna - # 43 Melvin Davis ---- Fr. - 11 returns for 226 yards - 20.5 average

Kicker - #33 Blake Vandiver --------- Jr. - 2-4 field goals, 8-9 PAT's, 0 touchbacks

Punt Returns - # 1 Gary Domanski - Jr. - 5 returns - 2.4average

THOUGHTS - As a Military School, The Citadel should be a well disciplined team and scrappy. The Rebels have to pound the Bulldogs on offense with a 61 pound per man advantage. Defensively, the front four have to pressure their redshirt freshman QB in order to disrupt his timing and reads. Against an option attack, every defender must be assignment-sound.

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