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How to Connect with the Pylon for Your Ball State Spring Game Needs

OTP Logo 200In case you were unaware, this Saturday is the Ball State University 2015 Spring Game for the fighting football Cardinals. That’s a decidedly good thing, given that we’ve lived a virtual football-free existence since the Super Bowl and a Cardinal-free existence since before that. That is too much time between touchdowns, big tackles, and Pete Lembo platitudes that could range anywhere from ancient Greek philosophy, to Churchill, to some classic rock line. The weather looks stellar (mid-70s and sunny) and there’s a bevy of things to check out at The Scheu.

But let’s say you can’t make it up to Muncie for some reason. Maybe you have family in town (there are 51 other weekends they could have come). Maybe you’re painting the living room a beautiful cerulean blue (nice choice!). Perhaps you are running some form of mini-marathon (no thank you). The point is sometimes life gets in the way of our absorption of Ball State football. However, should you find yourself in the weeds this weekend but still needing some access or some info about the goings on in Funcie, then brothers and sisters of Cardinal Nation, you have found yourself a home. Jason and myself will be making the trip to Muncie so you don’t have to, and it wouldn’t be an OTP roadshow without some slick things to keep you informed. Drone footage? Live video? Behind the scenes tomfoolery? Yes, yes, and yes.

Here’s just a few of the ways you can connect with us this weekend and beyond:

Periscope OTP

Periscope: The newest addition to the OTP social media arsenal, Periscope is your live video app where Jason and I will be broadcasting random things on our Spring Game journey. Live podcast on the way to Muncie? Likely. Thoughts on Spring Game goings on? Very likely. Footage from the field? Also likely. And the best thing is the ability for viewers to interact with us as we broadcast. Have a question? Share it in the app. Love Jason’s beard? Share it in the app. The virtual world is your virtual oyster. Download the app to your smartphone or tablet and then find us at “OverThePylon”.

Snapchat OTP logo

Snapchat: Everyone (or just about everyone) knows Snapchat and its benefits. Photos and videos are quick hit pieces that don’t last forever. Instead of sending inappropriate selfies (follow J’s personal account for that) we’ll be putting up stories of people we come across on Spring Game Saturday, short messages from people we think you’d like to hear from, and other fun goodies that will make your Spring Game experience that much better. Follow along, enjoy the ride, and don’t screencap. Poor etiquette, bro. Username to find is “OverThePylon”.

The Twitter Machines: If you’re not a member of the OTP Twitter army you are definitely missing out. You can follow along with all things Cardinal related and some things that aren’t, all while interacting with your fearless OTP editorial staff. Toss a follow to @OverThePylon.

Instagram: More of a photo person than a live video awesomeness person? Then you should be following the Pylon on Insta. Admittedly our Insta game has been lacking to this point, but it’s time to get in on the ground floor for the rebirth. Toss a follow to OverThePylon.

Facebook: I remember back when Facebook was only for college people or alums and you could Poke people in peace without having to worry about someone’s Farmville crops or Candy Crush levels. Those were the good old days and we didn’t even know it. So to clean up your Facebook existence from all the insignificant garbage, connect with the Pylon and consider it a good day.

YouTube: The home of stellar OTP videos from last spring game and the home of videos in the coming days of our Spring Game experience with a more professional polish and shine than the Snapchats or the Periscope. But still well worth your time and attention. You can check that out here.

Most of you are already following on some but not all, and a couple of the things above like Periscope and Snapchat are new things for the Pylon to try out in this kind of setting. It’s going to be a hoot and a half for the Spring Game so join us whether you’re there or not. We’ll make it well worth your while.

It’s Pete Lembo’s Birthday. Break Out the Celebratin’ Shoes

birthday-cakeThey say the older you get the less fun your birthdays become until that magical age where you can give zero f**ks and just drive on the sidewalk on the way to your senior discount at Marsh. Coach Pete Lembo isn’t in that stratosphere yet as today is only his 45th birthday. But it is his birthday all the same even if instead of Jagerbombs or Scotty’s pitchers it’s prepping for the Spring Game and recruiting, though the Cards are off today in terms of formal practice.

So who knows what fun and festivities are rocking and rolling at the Lembo household. Knowing CPL, he probably considered today worthy of some rest and relaxation. In Lembo-speak that means he slept in until 6:15am, only worked out for two hours, read just two books before lunch, limited his recruit notes to under 200, and then had a healthy lunch full of green leafy vegetables and lean protein. Yes, CPL takes it easy on the day of his birth. There’s also always the possibility of ice cream cake. Mmmmm, ice cream cake.

Ball State Students Get to Be a B Next Fall

Not that kind of Bea

Not that kind of Bea

Let it not be said that Ball State administrators and campus leadership aren’t trying whatever they can to increase student buy-in and support for athletics events. Proposed by SGA, starting in the fall, students can head on down to the field after the first home football game, hop on the field, and make a “B” of people. A “B” that will be professionally photographed and suitable for framing for all your students-as-letters needs as a Cardinal or Cardinal supporter.

Some will cynically say this is stupid, but even though I am a cynic of the highest order, that’s not the camp I’m in. I’ve worked at several campuses that have done something similar, and even if the students involved in it don’t love it (though they usually do), it’s still a great photo-op that makes the rounds through social media and something I’ve only seen pulled off well at bigger schools (the University of Maryland in my experience, though theirs was an “M” and then a “B1G” but that’s another story all together).

Here’s a similar kind of thing at another place close to my heart, University of Kentucky’s K Week….

KWeek

I’m all for anything that can give athletics more eyeballs and hopefully more support. Logistically, a B seems much harder to pull off, too, so let’s put those protractors and slide rules to good use, boys and girls.

Ball State Sports? There’s an App for That

Winkelvoss Twins

The Winkelvoss Twins may have thought up Facebook, but the BSU Athletics app is all Cardinal ingenuity

It’s obvious by you visiting this site that you have a love for Ball State athletics. What’s not clear is whether or not you have a tablet. If you do, then the BSU Athletics app is a must download sort of thing for you, especially since this week saw Ball State football added to the app.

What you’ll get from this product of BSU’s journalism program is an app that truly takes you behind the scenes of BSU athletics. Immerse yourself in gameday action, read recaps, bios, rosters, and all sorts of other cool stuff to make you the most educated and rabid Cardinals fan you can be. I mean, you’re already here at the Pylon which sets you apart from 99% of the “normal fans”.

Have an iOS device like an iPad? That means you’ll want to click here to install the app.

If you have an Android then you’ll want to click here. You’ll also want to sooner rather than later go to an Apple Store and buy an iPad and then hit the link above, but that can wait for now.

Football joins men’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, baseball, gymnastics, softball and soccer as teams digitally represented with the goal of all Cardinal sports teams making their app debut eventually. Oh, and don’t go swiping right on Joey Lynch’s photo. That’s another app entirely.

Spring Has Sprung for Ball State Football

Lembo Bouquet

 

The old adage says April showers bring May flowers, and if those are the flowers that pop up in your garden come Derby Day then I’d imagine the Muncie police would like to have a chat with you. But one thing that has popped up in recent days is Spring Practice for the football Cards. Here’s what you need to know…

  • There’s a new motto selected by the leadership council: “Earn it today” which they have said deals with the urgency of performance and daily excellence. I like it. It’s not a retread and it doesn’t suck nearly as bad as IU’s Kevin Wilson brainchild of Win Today Tomorrow Eventually Sometime Maybe
  • The Spring Prospectus is out along with the first depth chart for the spring. You can check that little jewel out at Ball State Spring Prospectus.
  • The Cards have added a home game with Eastern Kentucky and a home and home with Florida Atlantic. That might have gotten lost in your shuffle of @ Notre Dame in 2018 and a Bloomington-Indy-Bloomington in ’18, ’19, and ’20. EKU shouldn’t be a surprise given that the Cards just stole their AD in Mark Sandy. Thank you card payday helps ease the pain I would imagine.
  • In sad and sucky news, running back Horactio Banks’ career with the Cards is over thanks to a stress fracture in his leg. Last season saw an ACL tear and now this, and I can’t say the running back position is going to be one that is anything close to cemented. Teddy Williamson is probably your odds on favorite but there is room for someone to step up.
  • Also no longer with the team is Kyle Kamman, walk on junior QB. After last season’s bumpy ride to find a starter and with Jack Milas lightly penciled in as QB1 for spring ball with Ozzie Mann and redshirt freshman David Morrison fighting for a chance. This also doesn’t include Riley Neal who will be there in the summer, so it’s safe to say that the opportunities for QB snaps is waning by the day. Good luck to Kyle wherever his path takes him.

Of major note is the gains in the weight room the Cards has made. Let the Voice of the Cardinals Joel Godett explain what we mean…

Ball State Football Announces Awards at Postseason Banquet

BSULogoWhen I was younger and actually played sports rather than blogging about them in an attempt to escape the soul crushing reality of working for a living, the postseason banquet was always one of the best things about the season. There were trophies, a good meal, the coaches did something other than scream their ass off about the mistakes you made, and really the toil and effort from the season seemed to be worth it regardless of the outcome of the season record. (That’s a good lesson for the Colts today too, and I hope Chuck Pagano has orange slices and ribbons for all his guys)

On Sunday, the Ball State football team officially put a wrap on their 2014 campaign with their own version of a fancy dinner at Ryan’s Steak House by hosting the annual Honors Banquet at the Horizon Convention Center in beautiful downtown Muncie. Aside from gathering this group of young men and Cardinals together for what is more likely than not the last time (which is a bit sad in and of itself) there was a plethora of hardware handed out as well:

  • John Magnabosco Award (Team MVP): Jahwan Edwards
  • John Hodge Award (Most Valuable Freshman): Corey Lacanaria & Dedrick Cromartie
  • Bill Reynolds Special Teams Award: Scott Secor
  • Gene Booker Academic Award: Taylor Hoke
  • Mark Hays Inspiration Award: Brian Jones
  • Paul Schudel Strength & Conditioning Award: Nick Miles
  • Bill Meitzler Scout Team Player of the Year: David Morrison & Joshua Posley
  • Dave McClain Leadership Award: Jacob Richard
  • Ray Louthen Award (Most Improved): Dylan Curry

I’d say there are approximately zero surprises in the above. Quake as the MVP, Secor as the Special Teams MVP, and Lacanaria and Cromartie as newcomers of the year were how I would have voted it as well. I can’t speak for the weightlifting and conditioning prowess of Nick Miles but I won’t question his award largely because he looks like he could deadlift a Smartcar and I’d like to see my kids grow up. The rest I’ll just take the staff’s word on.

There was also a new award given out, the 12th Man Award, presented to Ball State’s deputy AD Pat Quinn. Quinn’s career at BSU is long and distinguished, ranging from a remarkably successful tenure as the baseball coach and now a fruitful 20 years in compliance and administration. Quinn spoke to one of my grad school classes about athletic administration and he was informative and engaging along with incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his field. When good professionals and better people get deserved recognition that’s a good thing. Congrats to Pat and all the award winners!

Ball State 2015 Schedule Taking Shape

MACThough it’s January, there’s still football in the air as the Mid American Conference announced which of their MAC brethren the Cardinals will take on in 2015. Ball State will host Central Michigan, Toledo, Massachusetts and Bowling Green, while playing at Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Ohio.  Dates for the 2015 league schedule will be announced at a later time. Get yourself ready for payback, UMass.

The Cardinals’ non-conference slate is set to start Sept. 5 at home vs. VMI.  Ball State still needs to add one non-conference tilt, but will play at Texas A&M Sept. 12 and at Northwestern Sept. 26. As for the final non-conference game, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. My hope is a home game against an FBS school, but that’s going to be hard to do on such short notice. Selfishly, there’s a gap in the home schedule for the University of Kentucky next fall thanks to UAB shuttering its doors, but I doubt either party would be exceptionally jazzed about playing that game.

The rumor of the month so far is that Ball State was going to fill out their schedule by playing at Florida State. Number one, FSU doesn’t need another game as their schedule as full. Number two, I’d be not ok with playing three FBS games all on the road. Number three, we are already going to be witness to a curbstomping when A&M opens their new stadium, so let’s try not be a MACrificial lamb in Tallahassee, mmmkay?

Football Adds Three as Second Semester Begins

BSULogoSince we’ve taken some time off from the blogging happy fun time for the holidays, allow us to give you the cursory “We hope you had a great holiday…” kind of sentiment. With that, though, time for some Cardinal news as 2015 dawns. To the BSU release!

Ball State head football coach Pete Lembo has announced the arrival of three student-athletes who have signed grant-in-aid papers to play football for the Cardinals.

James Gilbert and Morgan Hagee graduated from their respective high schools in December and have enrolled at Ball State for the beginning of the 2014 spring semester. Jacob White, who signed a national letter of intent with the Cardinals last February, sat out the 2014 fall semester and has enrolled in classes this spring.

“We are pleased to welcome Jacob, James and Morgan to Ball State as we begin the spring semester,” Lembo said. “These three young men are truly excited to join our football program and the Ball State community. By enrolling midyear, they will have an opportunity to begin bonding and competing with our returning players this winter and spring. We look forward to working with them in the weeks and months ahead to help them successfully adjust to life as an NCAA Division I student-athlete.”

Gilbert graduated from Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis after playing football for Coach Anthony Henderson. A 5-10, 190-pound running back, Gilbert set the school’s career record for rushing yards with 4,817. He was the Indianapolis Public Schools Player of the Year in 2014 and earned all-state honors this past season. A three-time All-City player, Gilbert was named Tech’s Most Valuable Player as a sophomore and junior.

Hagee graduated from Plainfield High School in Indiana after playing for Coach Brian Woodard. He earned three letters for the Quakers and was named to the All-Mid-State Conference First Team and Academic All-Conference squad as a senior. Hagee, a 5-11, 165-pound placekicker and punter, made 11-of-14 field goals with a long of 49 as a senior. He connected on 25-of-26 extra point kicks and averaged 35.8 yards per punt in his final season. In his career, Hagee made 16-of-21 field goals and 58-60 extra points while averaging 36.0 yards per punt. He set the Plainfield school records for field goals in a game (3), field goals in a season (11) and field goals in a career (16). Hagee was named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association Top-50 All-State Team plus was selected All-Hendricks County as a senior. With a 3.76 grade-point average in high school, Hagee plans on majoring in interpersonal communications at Ball State.

White is a 2014 graduate of Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois where he earned three letters in football for Coach Rich Tarka. An All-West Suburban Silver Conference selection as a junior and senior, White was Hinsdale Central’s Most Valuable Player in his final season. The 6-0, 215-pound, linebacker was a team captain as a senior and tallied 69 tackles while also rushing for 429 yards with four touchdowns. He managed 137 tackles with five sacks and four quarterback hurries in his career. White tallied a 4.23 GPA on the school’s 5.0 scale (equivalent to a 3.23 GPA on a 4.0 scale) and plans to major in entrepreneurship at Ball State.”

So welcome to those new Cardinals and we’re only like 8 months away from the 2015 season. Let’s go!

Quake Edwards Heading to NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Quake EdwardsNeed some more Jahwan Edwards in your life? You’ll have the chance on January 17 because a Quake warning has been issued for Carson, California and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Jahwan Edwards, a senior running back on the 2014 Ball State football team, has been selected to compete in the National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl Jan. 17 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz will serve as head coaches for the American and National teams, and the game will air live on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. Practices from the all-star game will be broadcast live the Wednesday and Thursday of game week on ESPNU.

Edwards finished his Ball State career as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,558), rushing touchdowns (51), total touchdowns (51) and rushing attempts (884). He ranks fifth in Mid-American Conference history in career rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, while ranking sixth in rushing attempts. The 5-10, 219-pound senior rushed for 100 or more yards six times in his final season and 18 times in his career.

In 2014, Edward tallied 262 rushes for 1,252 yards and 12 touchdowns, while averaging 104.3 rushing yards a game in his 12 starts. He became only the second player in Cardinals’ history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons after rushing for 1,410 in 2012, 1,110 in 2013 and 1,252 in 2014.

The Matthews, N.C., native is one of the draft-eligible seniors competing in the all-star game after helping Ball State to 30 wins and two bowl appearances in his four seasons.

It should be noted that that is the same complex that does some kind of Crossfit games or something. Quake also probably plans to win that too. You’ve been warned, Crossfitters.

AFCA Honors Ball State Football for Graduation Rate

BSULogoLet it not be said that Ball State football doesn’t put the “student” in student-athlete. Sure, other institutions may be competing for national championships and Bahamas Bowl berths, but some of those programs have athletes that I would assume probably wear Velcro shoes and can’t spell their team name correctly without looking at their sweatshirt. Not the case in Muncie, sports fans, as today the American Football Coaches Association honored your Ball State Cardinals for their graduation rate being over 90% for the football program.

Think that’s not impressive? You’re wrong. The Cardinals are one of only 13 teams in the country to achieve that kind of classroom success. To the Ball State release!

Ball State’s football program was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association as one of only 13 schools in the country to graduate at least 90 percent of its student-athletes in the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate Report.

Of the 13 football playing Mid-American Conference schools, Ball State was one of only two to have a GSR score of at least 90 and is the only state school in Indiana to graduate over 90 percent of its 2007 class in the six years allowed for GSR purposes.

Among the football student-athletes including in this time frame for Ball State were Capital One Academic All-Americans Briggs Orsbon and Zane Fakes. Twenty-one of the Cardinals during this six year time frame were named to the MAC All-Academic team, while six were honored on the Capital One Academic All-District squad.

Congrats to the Cards and I hope someone put some of those good grade cards on the football office’s refrigerator.

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