SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2007
AT&T Presents the JUSN Weekly Chat
 JU Sports Network
Join JUDolphins.com editor Joel Lamp as AT&T presents the JUSN Weekly Chat on Monday at 4 p.m. Feel free to fire your questions in early as they will answered when the room opens at 4.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Hello everyone and welcome as AT&T presents the JUSN Weekly Chat. I'll get started a few minutes early today as I've hit a stopping point on several projects we're working on for this week.

And what a week it is. First home football game of the season and it couldn't come at a better time. The guys are eager to play in front of the home crowd for the first time this year.

Now, we've got a lot of questions, so let's get started.


Jon (Jax): It seems as though it is a disappointing start to the whole JU athletics department, how is your take on it compared to last year?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Jon, I would have to disagree with you on that.

While football is 0-2, they have played two program that have a full complement of scholarship players - and we were held our own quite well, which can only help us to prepare for conference play.

Our other fall sports are building for conference as well. The women's soccer team fell in double overtime to Indiana and has one of the top players in the Southeast in Keri Zwikker.

The volleyball team is starting to round into form, winning two out of three this past weekend. They are a very young team, but they are starting to gel as they jump into conference play.

Men's soccer has some impressive results thus far as well, which bodes well when they enter league play later this month.


Jake (Wallula, Wa. ): What do you think the football teams biggest obstacle to overcome heading into this weekend's first home game?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Great question Jake. I think the biggest obstacle that we face this weekend is confidence.

While we've played well the first two games, we're not oozing with confidence right now.

This week's game will be the first time this season that the offense will have all of its weapons to use. That will give the coaching staff the opportunity to use the talent we have to create some matchup problems for the defense.

As for our defense, they are looking to Saturday as an opportunity to limit big plays and create some going the other way.

Confidence in any sport is a tremendous asset. Once we get that, I think this team will start firing on all cylinders.


Steve (St. Louis): Has the men's and women's basketball teams set their 2007-08 schedule yet? Is there any big names that we can expect heading to Jacksonville to play the Dolphins?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Steve, thanks for firing in about the upcoming basketball season. The schedule for both teams is out, the men's is available here and the women's is available here.

The schedule for both teams is going to be difficult, especially the death march the men go on the first week in December (at Mich. State, at Florida, at American, at Georgetown).

I can tell you that the coaches and athletic staff are working feverishly to get some big names to visit Jacksonville. With JU hosting the NCAA Tournament again in 2010, it is a great opportunity for a large school that wants to give its team some experience at a NCAA Tournament-type venue, this would be a great chance.


Sally (Oklahoma City, Okla.): I saw the volleyball team played hard against #8 Washington. Was there anyone's play that stood out more than others during the match?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Sally, great to hear from you.

First, let me commend our team on a great effort against the 8th ranked team in the country. We hung with Washington to 20 points, but they showed why they are ranked where they are by the way they finished those games.

Melissa Merchant had a solid match against the Huskies and held her own at the net. It was a great test for her blocking ability, which will is a great experience for her to draw on during conference play.


Kirk (Orange Park): What do you think the men's soccer teams chances are this season without Tommy Krizanovic? Has there offensive production been hurting or has there been new threats emerging?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: We're hitting all the fall sports today, which is great. Thanks for the question Kirk.

Losing Tommy Krizanovic hurts, but I think this year's team might be more well-rounded, especially defensively.

Anton Axelsson has really come on this fall, but just as a player, but as a leader.

Last year, this team was having to out score people to win games, 5-4, 4-3, etc (which is exciting soccer to the fans, but it drives the coaches nuts). This group has the ability to shut down its opponent and create opportunities in transition, which I feel like gives us a better chance to compete this year.


Mike (Jacksonville): I saw that you guys have a video link on your website. Are you guys going to televise games on your campus? If so, which teams will you be doing?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Mike, thanks for noticing the new banner at the top of the page.

The Atlantic Sun Conference has launched ASun.TV - a video channel on the world wide web devoted exclusively to A-Sun sports.

JU will be broadcasting at least 60 games this season and our final total will be probably be somewhere around 80 when the school year is completed.

The great news is that all six of our home football games will be televised locally on Comcast via tape delay, while airing live on our website.

This new addition to our website really upgraded our coverage and will take the fans closer to our programs than ever before.

Tomorrow will be the debut of the weekly coach's show for our fall sports. Those should be available on the website tomorrow afternoon.


Michelle (Indianapolis): The women's soccer team dropped three of their last four matches. Is this a sign of worry before conference play or the sign of a young team?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Michelle, I wouldn't worry about the streak just yet.

This is another young team that is still growing. There's a new goalie and several other new faces in the lineup that are still trying to find the role.

This group has played some very tough competition thus far and I expect them to step up when they get into league play.


Jeff (Jacksonville): What can you tell us about the long-range plan for new athletic facilities someday when the money comes along? Does it include building a new football stadium close to the riverfront? Building an on-campus arena/convocation center in the Valley with locker rooms, training rooms, offices, etc. to support football, tennis, softball, and other sports on the south end of campus? How about the rumored indoor practice facility near the baseball field?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Jeff, wow, you've painted a broad stroke there with one question!

I can tell you that there is a long-range facilities plan that is going through the channels of being approved. Once that gets done, more information will be available.

To answer your question though, I can't tell you much because the devil is in the details. All of this is still in the planning stage and it's tough to say what is going in and what isn't right now.


orange park: What is the real strength of the new program at UNC Pembroke? What willl we be looking for on Saturday?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: UNC-Pembroke is a balanced squad that is scrappy and never gives up.

They opened the season by taking Davidson to the wire, eventually falling 31-21. They are well coached and will be prepared to play.

Our guys can't afford to be looking ahead to Davidson because this team has some talented guys that can make plays.


BK, Atlantic Bch: After a couple games the staff has seen a lot of the kicking, punting and special teams game. What are there thoughts on the performance of this area of the squad.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Special teams has been a pleasant surprise this season, by all accounts.

Donovan Curry has handled the role as punter exceptionally well, leading the PFL in punting average and ranking nationally as well.

Cameron Abdallah has turned into a weapon on kick returns, averaging more than 30 yards per return. He's come close to breaking one early and it may just be a matter of time before he takes one to the house.

Michael Zacco came in midway during camp, won the starting kicker job and has not disappointed either. He's 3-for-3 on FG, including a 46-yarder against Gardner-Webb, the second longest in JU history.

Overall, I think this group has done a solid job up to this point. But I encourage this group not to rest on its laurels just yet.


Boca Raton: I know they are an experienced group, but the O-line gave up a few hits on Chris last week, have they done anything differently to help protect him a little more this week? And what will happen when Zak Huffmon gets back?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: You're right about Chris taking some hits in the last game. That was a big reason in him coming out in the second half was to prevent him from suffering a big injury.

The O-line saw a lot of new things as Gardner-Webb threw everything at them. Plus, they have one of the top defensive ends in the country going against a true freshman. Leonard Payton fared well, but he got beat a couple of times and it forced the offensve to fall out of rhythm.

This is a group that it is imperative for them to be more consistent. We've had some drives where Horton has had all day to throw and then other times he's been running for his life.

It is going to very important for the offensive line to play at a high level for JU's chances over the final nine games.


Joel, Liscomb: How did the JV secondary compete last week?

David, Sinclair: Have the coaches gave any thought to moving up some JV guys pending their performance this Sunday?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: A couple of questions about our JV guys this week.

The JV team opens its season on Sunday at 1 p.m. at home. This is going to be a great opportunity for these young men to show what they have.

As for the JV secondary last week, they held their own against the varsity second and third strings at practice on Thursday.

Do I see these kids moving up? I don't know. I know that if they are good, then the coaching staff is going to give them look.


Nancy, Jacksonville: Will this week varsity game win secure some starters job?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Nancy, I like your faith, but let's get through the game first! UNC-Pembroke is no pushover, they are hungry and will be ready to play.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Thanks again to everyone who stopped in to join us today. We covered a lot of stuff in a short amount of time and I appreciate the questions.

Saturday will be a fun day here on campus and I want to encourage everyone to attend. If you can't make the game, please watch the game through the website.

I'll talk to you guys again next Monday.