Q & A with Jesse Godding

Assessing spring results and recruiting needs

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  It has been said that spring is when nature gets back on its feet and fights again. So it is with football teams.

The Southwestern Assemblies of God University team, who are coming off of back-to-back 4-6 seasons, the added impetus to rise above the .500 hump is compelling. It would be the Lions’ first since joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which has between 250-300 member schools.

Veteran Head Coach Jesse Godding and the Lions just completed their spring camp, which was capped with an on-campus scrimmage, is as optimistic as ever.

There was a strong cast of players who took part in the drills, giving credence to that enthusiasm.

The defensive secondary, the linebacking crew, kickers, a core of wide receivers, and a veteran, returning quarterback has Coach Godding as a happy as a raccoon in a smokehouse.

If a young offensive line returns in the fall with a steelworkers attitude, and providing a bolstered defensive front lives up to their billing, the Lions will be as "dangerous as hammering dynamite," as James G. Huneker once said.

That’s an “if” that effects control at the line scrimmage.

Running back appeared to have more questions than answers when camp ended.

The coming summer months, until the start of fall camp in August, will determine how long the stays on its feet and fights.

Recently Coach Godding took a few moments to answer questions about the team.

Q1) The three-week spring camp ended with a good scrimmage on Saturday. How would you grade the performance of the team?

Coach Godding: Overall, I was OK with the progress through the spring. We had much of our focus on the offense. The defense and didn’t do as much scheme implementation as we have done in past years. But, in what we wanted to focus on, I felt we progressed through spring ball.

Q2) What were the areas of play that graded best?

CG: The young men playing in our defensive backfield and at the OLB’er (Outside Linebacker) position have an opportunity to be very special (this fall). That group of individuals has worked hard over the winter to become better and it showed this spring.

Q3) The coaching staff targets growth in strategic places in camp. What were those and what elements were you most satisfied?

CG: On the offensive line our goal was to develop a little more of a “lunch pail (blue collar) attitude,” a desire to knock people off the ball. Those guys are big but we were absorbing too many blows and not delivering enough (of them).

We had a couple runningbacks that we wanted to see run. Unfortunately they had nagging injuries toward the end of spring that slowed them down. But that gave us an opportunity to see some younger guys run.

There were some new faces on the DL (defensive line) that we needed to see and we really wanted to develop some younger guys.

Q4) Were there any injuries of note during the camp? If so, will they be healed by August?

CG: There were the normal spring ball injuries but luckily nothing that will prevent participation beyond the spring.

Q5) Care to list some individual players who performed well in camp?

CG: Our quarterbacks had a good camp. Reid (Golson, Grandview, Tx / Howard Payne Univ., Grandview HS) has grown so much in his command of the game and his patience in the pocket was impressive this spring.

I have already mentioned our defensive backs. Those guys are hardworking and consistently put in a good day’s work.

Q6) How many players participated in spring camp, and how does that number compare to recent years?

CG: I believe on the campus we had 61 players to start the spring. Between injuries, baseball players, and other commitments there were 52 that went completely through the spring drills.

Retention remains a key for us. For SAGU to be successful in football we need to retain players and develop them. Certainly spring ball is a great part of that process.

Q7) In terms of those who caught your eye - revealing the fruit of a strong off-season - who stepped up?

CG: Deonte Morrison (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS), Glendez Matthews (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS), are two that immediately come to mind. Trevor Van-Kempen (Henderson, Nv / Mtn View Christian) is another.

Deonte put on about 20 pounds and continues to progress. Glendez was hurt much of the fall and, in part, that was a strength issue. Trevor has blown up over the winter and was, all-around, a better player this spring.

Q8) How would you describe the attributes of the defense you hope to see on the field in September - based on what you saw this spring?

CG: In terms of yards allowed per game and pass defense, last year was the best in school history. This defense was fast and actually got faster this spring with a couple of transfer and redshirt freshmen additions to the defense.

If they continue to work hard over the summer they have a chance to be the best unit this institution has seen defensively.

Q9) The offensive and defensive lines, a senior starter at QB, experience at WR, an All-America candidate at K and some gifted cover guys in the secondary... where do we look strong as we head into the next four months?

CG: Our offensive line should be capable of producing in the fall. There are five starters returning with no seniors and that group includes a lot of people who have game experience. QB makes a team go or not and we have a competitive winner in my estimation.

Our kicking games should be solid. James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) became so consistent last year and continues to work hard to get better in terms of accuracy and distance.

Bonus Q) How is this year's recruiting class shaping up?

CG: The beauty (or curse) of NAIA football is that recruiting will end for us about August 1st. Our coaches have done a good job attempting to recruit the need areas.

We wanted help in our DL and feel that we have accomplished that in the upcoming class.

We seem to be stockpiling receivers, and we can use the weapons.

We’re bringing in two or three runningbacks that will either have an immediate impact or we feel will develop into quality NAIA players.

We are still beating the bushes for an O-Lineman or two and a linebacker.

The Lions play an 11-game schedule that begins with a pair of home games on September 7 against Bethany College (Ks) and Sept. 14 when Howard Payne University (Tx) visits the 10,000 seat Lumpkins Stadium.

Contact: Mark "Link" Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.
 

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Coach Godding Talks Howard Payne

Sep 12, 2012 - Football News

Lions' 27-17 victory reveals much about team Turnovers, NAIA-leading players, offense growing pains WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  In the aftermath of a thrilling road victory, So...

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Shakeem Taylor, Nat'l Player of the Week

Shakeem Taylor, Nat'l Player of the Week

Sep 11, 2012 - Football News

  Lions cornerback has four picks and a TD SAGU defense ranked #8, yielding 13.5 ppg WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association selected Shakeem Ta...

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Ekanem chosen for Holiday Bowl

Ekanem chosen for Holiday Bowl

Sep 11, 2012 - Football News

Cornerback to play in nationally televised game Pre-Season All-American in Dec. 17 All-Star game WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Nick Ekanem ...

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Lions win, 27-17; score 24 unanswered points

Lions win, 27-17; score 24 unanswered points

Sep 09, 2012 - Football News

Leuschner bounces back with winning TD Taylor returns INT 100-yds for touchdown BROWNWOOD, Texas  --  Saturday night’s college football game between Southwestern Assemblies...

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Lions travel to play Howard Payne

Lions travel to play Howard Payne

Sep 07, 2012 - Football News

Game kicks off at 6pm in Brownwood Follow the play-by-play, audio (links posted here) WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The last time the Southwestern Assemblies of God University footbal...

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New Offensive Coordinator Introduced

New Offensive Coordinator Introduced

Sep 05, 2012 - Football News

Football Lions welcome Frank Tristan Target is utilizing playmakers WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  When it comes to great ideas, the excitement they cause in people is often a tru...

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Coach Godding talks Bethany game

Coach Godding talks Bethany game

Sep 03, 2012 - Football News

Quotes after 13-12 season-opening setback Positives, surprises, working areas targeted WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  After taking the nation’s #24 ranked team, Bethany College (Ks), t...

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#24 Bethany rallies past Lions, 13-12

#24 Bethany rallies past Lions, 13-12

Sep 03, 2012 - Football News

Late TD overcomes solid SAGU effort Lions yield 238 yds, force four turnovers WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The hunger games of college football go beyond who is most hungry. Oft...

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Hungry Lions begin new season today

Hungry Lions begin new season today

Sep 01, 2012 - Football News

2012 Team and Season Preview SAGU welcomes #24 ranked Bethany College WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  With the appetite of a farmhand at haytime, the football team at Southwestern Assem...

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Lions take to the gridiron today

Lions take to the gridiron today

Aug 13, 2012 - Football News

SAGU eyes winning football season 13 starters return to power Team Purple WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The sounds are unmistakable. The shrill of constant whistles may give it away, ...

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Football Lions to face 2 ranked teams

Football Lions to face 2 ranked teams

Aug 07, 2012 - Football News

SAGU meets #24 Bethany in opener NAIA announces Pre-Season Top 25 Poll WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The 2012 college football season kicks off for Southwestern Assemblies of God Univ...

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Pre-Season All-America team includes 3 Lions

Pre-Season All-America team includes 3 Lions

Jul 31, 2012 - Football News

USA College Sports and NCCAA selects trio Ekanem, Golson, Johnson counted on to lead SAGU WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team had...

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In good hands with All-Stater

In good hands with All-Stater

Jun 27, 2012 - Football News

Godley running back transfers to SAGU Landry Martinez loads up Lions backfield WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University, whose spread option offense has become as d...

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Recruit has earned his stripes

Recruit has earned his stripes

Jun 25, 2012 - Football News

Grandview HS Zebra named All-State Austin Martinez signs to play football and baseball WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Austin Martinez comes to Southwestern Assemblies of God University having...

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Football Lions eager for 2012 season

Football Lions eager for 2012 season

May 15, 2012 - Football News

NAIA lists Pre-Season Football Poll SAGU opens camp on August 13 WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics released the 2012 Pre-Season Football Top 25 Coac...

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Football game moved to OPSU

Football game moved to OPSU

Apr 08, 2012 - Football News

Game was to be played at Lumpkins Lions to face Aggies in Goodwell, Oklahoma WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s scheduled football game on Saturday, October 27...

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Football Schedule Announced

Football Schedule Announced

Mar 26, 2012 - Football News

Lions have six home games Homecoming is set for October 13 WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University football team has announced their 2012 schedule, and it include...

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David Howard: A Prize Catch

David Howard: A Prize Catch

Feb 01, 2012 - Football News

Wide Receiver named to the All-NCCAA team Making a catch in every game during his career, including 30 for TD's WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association...

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Football Lions hungry for 2012 season

Football Lions hungry for 2012 season

Dec 26, 2011 - Football News

Unfinished business drives offseason plans Plus, NAIA, NCCAA post-season results WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- After staying in the playoff hunt in both the National Association of Intercollegiate A...

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Kallal named Academic All-American

Kallal named Academic All-American

Dec 17, 2011 - Football News

LB is one of two CSFL players honored ROME, Georgia  --  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced Friday that 244 football student-athletes have been nam...

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SAGU ranked 8th in NCCAA football

SAGU ranked 8th in NCCAA football

Nov 26, 2011 - Football News

Campbellsville wins Victory Bowl, 21-7 Two member teams still alive in NCAA D2 and NAIA playoffs WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The National Christian College Athletic Association’s most recent...

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CSFL All-Academic Team names 10 SAGU Lions

CSFL All-Academic Team names 10 SAGU Lions

Nov 25, 2011 - Football News

Rice, Heathcock lead group who made the grade(s) WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Making the grade means something entirely different to members of the 2011 All-Academic Team in the Central States Football...

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Lions hook Horns in finale, 31-20

Lions hook Horns in finale, 31-20

Nov 14, 2011 - Football News

Defense saves the day, scores 2 TD's Rice scores game-winner, connects with McKinley for TD TYLER, Texas -- Stories with heroes always find a place in the hearts of people. Whether ...

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