Frances delays Citadel opener
Jeff Hartsell, Post and Courier
Sept. 1, 2004
With the help of Hurricane Frances, The Citadel Bulldogs will have one of their longest preseason camps ever.
Senior running back Nehemiah Broughton
will have to wait two more weeks before he and his Bulldog teammates can kickoff their 2004 season.
Update on Defense and Offense
The postponement of The Citadel's football season opener with Charleston Southern, originally scheduled for Saturday and put off Tuesday until the end of the season, means the Bulldogs will practice for almost six weeks before playing a game.
With an open date already scheduled for Sept. 11, The Citadel won't open its season until a Sept. 18 game at Appalachian State. The Bulldogs won't play their first game at home until Oct. 9 against Benedict.
"It's a little disappointing," senior quarterback
said during practice Tuesday, after the Bulldogs learned they would not play Charleston Southern this weekend. "We were excited to play our crosstown rival, and now it will be a couple of more weeks before we get to play."
"They were disappointed. A few heads went down when I told them the news. But we talk all the time about how football is a game of distractions, and this is one we can't control."
With Hurricane Frances bearing down on the Southeast coast, football took a back seat to safety considerations as Citadel administrators considered their options Tuesday. The school opted to cancel Friday's military dress parade and two women's soccer matches as well as the football game.
"Given the circumstances, it was decided that this is the appropriate decision to make to ensure the safety and security of everyone at The Citadel," school president Maj. Gen. John S. Grinalds said.
Citadel officials had considered moving the game up to Thursday night at Johnson Hagood Stadium. But athletic director Les Robinson said that as reports of Hurricane Frances' direction became more dire, the decision to postpone the game became easier.
"What changed during the day is that the hurricane picked up speed and keeps coming this way," Robinson said. "Unfortunately, that made the decision a lot easier. I feel bad for these players, but they will still play the game later in the season. And by Sept. 17, they will be in the middle of their season."
Charleston Southern athletic director Hank Small said he agreed with the decision. The Bucs now are slated to start their season Sept. 11 at Presbyterian.
"I think it is a big picture kind of thing, with state involvement and government involvement and things like that," Small said. "Football and sports take a back seat to situations of such potential consequence."
Robinson said the game, the third meeting between The Citadel and Charleston Southern, will be played later in the season. The first open Saturday for both teams is Nov. 27.
"I think football in November is great," Small said.
Said Robinson: "That's what we are talking about, but we both have our whole seasons in front of us. We have plenty of time to talk about that."
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will do what they've been doing since Aug. 10 -- practice.
"We're ready to play, but as a coach you'd like to see a few more days to get ready," Zernhelt said. "Now, we've got a whole extra week. We'll make it a positive. We have enough young players, especially on offense, that we have enough work to do before we feel really good."
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