Brian Jenkins Football Press Conference (8/28)
Bethune-Cookman football head coach Brian Jenkins would like nothing better than to see the Wildcats’ series with Tennessee State continue.
“Get the ink, get the paper, let’s sign the dotted line,” Jenkins said at his first media luncheon of the 2013 football season Wednesday afternoon. “What’s the hesitation? Let’s get it done, and let’s stop talking.”
Sunday’s meeting with the Tigers in the John Merritt Classic concludes a two-year home-and-home deal between two prestigious HBCU football programs. There’s a healthy respect between the two teams.
“This game is a big attraction,” Jenkins said. “We respect everything [TSU head coach] Rod Reed has done there, and this is a game that features two top programs. You want to face top competition. We’ve worked to make this happen, and hopefully this isn’t the last time we play.”
Once Sunday’s 8 p.m. kickoff commences, it’s another game on “green grass between white lines,” but having his team participating in a game that honors the TSU coaching legend pleases Jenkins, now in his fourth season at B-CU.“In Coach [John] Merritt, you’re talking about one of the pillars – not just in Black College Football, but all of football, period,” Jenkins said. “He won many games and affected many lives. In a way, we’re representing him [Sunday night]. He was a tremendous man who made a tremendous effort. You have to praise him for it.”
This game we see the same as every other game. There’s no difference – classic or not, Tennessee State or not. We see everyone the same. We respect everyone the same. And we prepare for everyone the same. It just so happens that this first game is going to feature two top programs. We like to consider our program a top program. Rod Reed has done a great job at Tennessee State, and they’re considered by some a top program as well. So, you have two top programs in FCS that are going to line up and start the season. It’s exciting, and we’re preparing and looking forward to it.
On the legacy of John Merritt…
You’re talking about one of the pillars of black college football, and in the history of black college football. You’re talking about a guy that’s done many things; won many games; and affected many lives. Whenever you have a gentleman like that, and you’re playing a game that represents him, you know you’re playing for a legend. I can’t say enough about what he’s done for college football, period. Regardless of how people try to tab it – black college football or what have you – he was just tremendous for the game of football. And he was great for touching the lives of a community and so many young men.
On the attitude of the team ready for week one…
They’re just like everyone else. They’re ready to get after it, but we’re going to stay in the moment. The moment that we’re in at this juncture is staying in the moment of now and the process. We understand that preparation is part of the process. That’s where we’re at right now. When it’s time for us shift our focus in full to Tennessee State, then we’ll do that. But right now it’s all about us preparing and going through the process.
On a possible future Tennessee State series…
Let’s sign the dotted line and stop talking about it. If that’s what they want to do, and that’s what we want to do – let’s sign the dotted line. Let’s get it done, and sign it for the next couple of years.
On the mindset of the team playing a top opponent in the opening week…
You know me. It’s the same mindset that we would have if we were going into week two, four or five. We’re focus on who we have to focus on, and we will focus on the same thing we would for anyone else.
On establishing the running game…
It’s just important for us to operate our offense. Whatever that is – running or throwing, it’s just important for us to operate our offense well. We have many parts in our offense, and we want to use all of them to their full potential. So, just trying to establish a running game isn’t a main thing. We want to establish the entire offense and do what’s productive for us, and what’s going to put us in the best position to win the ballgame.
On the upcoming season’s excitement …
There is a lot of excitement around the town, and it should be. We are a team that worked to create this excitement. The young men on our football team have done a tremendous job of building this excitement and getting people interested in this program. Our players are excited because they’ve put in a lot of hard work for a long time. But I keep telling our young men to stay in the moment, and don’t let the excitement cause you to drift off and get ahead of yourself and stop paying attention to the detailed things that need to be done.
On his accolades and coaching record through three years…
I don’t think about any of that. I don’t look at any of it, and I’m not concerned with any of that. The main thing I’m concerned with is maximizing the full potential of our program. I hope to continue building men in our program, and to continue having success that represents Bethune-Cookman and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune at the highest level.