About a half hour before Southern coach Dawson Odums addressed the media for his weekly news luncheon, a football team was wrapping up its practice on the A.W. Mumford turf.
That team was not Southern, but Bethune Cookman, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school from Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Wildcats were coming off a 28-23 win at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, but were unable to return home because of Hurricane Irma. Bethune Cookman coach Terry Sims said the team went into the game with the knowledge that it may have a delayed return trip.
“We knew there was a chance we weren’t going to be able to get back until Monday or Tuesday. It was already communicated for us before we got on the flight,” Sims said. “We knew it was the best thing for us to get the players out of there and give them somewhere safe to be.”
With Bethune Cookman operating out of the Baton Rouge Marriott hotel — “our home for the last four days,” Sims said — Southern opened its facilities to its fellow HBCU institution, allowing access to its weight room and field Sunday and Tuesday.
“Coach Odums and his staff … those guys did a heck of a job communicating with us and being hospitable and giving us the freedom to roam around their facilities as if they were ours,” Sims said. “We can’t thank them enough.”
Odums spent three seasons as an assistant at Bethune Cookman, and has developed several relationships with members of its coaching staff.
“The biggest thing is that we will help anybody we can, and we were fortunate to be in the situation where we were able to help them,” Odums said. “So hopefully they are able to get back home and check on their family and loved ones.”
Bethune Cookman caught a 2 p.m. flight home and landed in Orlando, Florida, around 5:30 p.m. It has a game against Florida Atlantic on Saturday, and Sims said it was crucial for his team to keep some semblance of a routine.
“It was a huge help to us, because we really didn’t miss a beat,” Sims said.
There will be no game-time decision on Austin Howard this Saturday against UT-San Antonio.
Edwards, Houston out
Add running back Herb Edwards and defensive end Simeon Houston to the list of key players Southern will be without when it travels to UT-San Antonio this weekend.
Houston suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of Southern’s 45-0 loss to Southern Miss, and Edwards left with a hamstring injury.
Edwards said Tuesday he would be ready to play if needed, but his coach wanted to ensure he’d be 100 percent for Southern’s Southwestern Athletic Conference opener at Alcorn State next week.
“We’re just going to hold him, no need to over-exert him in this football game,” Odums said. “We’ve got to try to get him healthy.”
One of the goals for the Southern defense this season is to limit the number of explosive pl…
Celebrating 20th anniversary
Southern’s 1997 Black College National Championship team will be honored at Southern’s Sept. 30 home game against Fort Valley State.
That team, coached by Pete Richardson, went 11-1 and secured its championship with a 34-28 win against South Carolina State in the Heritage Bowl.