Last updated: August 14. 2014 9:22AM - 593 Views
Staff report

UNCP AthleticsThe University of North Carolina at Pembroke officially started its season on Tuesday when more than 100 players reported to Caton Fieldhouse for meetings. The team started practice on Wednesday.
UNCP AthleticsThe University of North Carolina at Pembroke officially started its season on Tuesday when more than 100 players reported to Caton Fieldhouse for meetings. The team started practice on Wednesday.
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PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolin at Pembroke football coach Shane Richardson welcomed more than 115 football players to campus on Tuesday morning as the Braves reported for preseason drills to officially kick off the 2014 football season.

More than 40 freshmen and newcomers arrived on campus to check into their dorms on Monday, with the remainder of the squad reporting to the Bob Caton Fieldhouse shortly late Tuesday morning. Following a late afternoon team meeting, the Braves underwent physicals and had their first team dinner.

Day one activities also included a team meeting where “big brothers” were assigned to the fresh faces in hopes of a quicker and smoother adaptation to college life. The team also got the first lack at its new black matte helmets which will replace the traditional golden dome helmets this season.

The Braves practiced for the first time on Wednesday for the first of five sessions in the NCAA-mandated acclimatization period. All practices are open to the public, but spectators are asked to remain outside the fenced area surrounding the practice fields behind Grace P. Johnson Stadium.

Season tickets have already begun to sell for the five-game home schedule which includes tilts a pair of former national champions, North Alabama and Valdosta State, as well as the sixth installment of the Two Rivers Classic against Fayetteville State. Season tickets are $100 and can be purchased by calling (910) 521-6361 or emailing braves.club@uncp.edu.

Rodriguez joins UNCP staff

Richardson has announced the addition of Louie Rodriguez as an assistant coach for the Braves.

Rodriguez, who spent the last three seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Boise State, will be the offensive line coach on Richardson’s staff. In addition to his coaching duties, he will also serve as a lecturer in the health, physical education and recreation department.

“Louie brings a unique ability to prepare players to be at their best and he takes great pride in the fact that he is very detail-oriented,” Richardson said. “His passion for the game and the energy that he brings on a daily basis is infectious for our program as well. Louie has experience at multiple levels and that gives him diversity in connecting with our student-athletes. I’m excited about the future of our offensive line.”

With Rodriguez serving as a graduate assistant offensive line coach over the last three seasons, Boise State showcased one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. During that span, the offensive line allowed just 1.1 sacks per game and led the country in sacks allowed during a run to a 12-1 record and a dominating MAACO Bowl win over Arizona State in 2011. In addition to a multitude of scouting responsibilities, Rodriguez also made integral contributions to one of the nation’s top recruiting classes over the last three years as well.

Prior to his stint in Boise, Rodriguez served as the associate head coach at Ellsworth Community College and helped lead the Panthers to more than 25 wins over a four-season span (2008-11). While in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Rodriguez molded a trio of all-Americans and personally recruited 11 starters on the 2010 edition of the squad.

Candy Sue’s hosting Two Rivers Classic event

Candy Sue’s will be the title sponsor of the sixth annual Two Rivers Classic against Fayetteville State and will host a press conference on Sept. 11 that will be open to the general public.

The press conference, which is open to fans of both schools, will be preceded by an all-you-can-eat buffet and drink for $12. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is set to begin at 11:45. The event will be highlighted by a press conference featuring UNCP coach Shane Richardson and Fayetteville State coach Lawrence Kershaw, as well as select players from both schools.

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