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Getting To Know Gardner-Webb

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Gardner-Webb University
Founded: 1905
Enrollment: ~4,000
Fun Fact: Formerly Boiling Springs Junior College, the school changed its name to Gardner-Webb in 1942 to honor former North Carolina governor Oliver Max Gardner and his wife.  Gardner played football at both NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill and was the only person ever to captain both teams.(Update: Coincidentally, Tim Peeler wrote a piece about Gardner today.  Seems to confirm he was a State guy, so there go all my John Edwards jokes.  Sigh. HT: James.)

 

Gardner-Webb Football
Affiliations:
Division I-AA, Big South Conference
First Game:
1970
All-Time Record:
209-215-5
Head Coach:
Steve Patton (13th season; 79-54 at GWU).
Fun Fact:
The Bulldogs are 1-54 all-time against Coastal Carolina.
All-Name Team: Quantavis Jackson, Oluwadamilola Teniola
Last Week: Beat Western Carolina 27-20.
Returning Starters: 23 between the offense, defense, and special teams.

The Bulldogs have finished 5-6 or 6-5 in each of the last five seasons; a true rock of mediocrity, this program.  In terms of both their recent track record and their position in the I-AA polls, they're pretty similar to Murray State.  Patton even went so far as to admit, "there’s probably not a lot of difference in the talent we have and Murray State."  So in terms of the overall challenge--or lack thereof--the picture remains the same. 

But they do offer different looks from Murray State both offensively (spread) and defensively (4-3), which hopefully will be helpful to the Wolfpack in some way.

Offense
2008 Vitals: 68th in rushing, 16th in passing, 47th in passing efficiency, 27th in total offense, 69th in scoring. (All ranks I-AA.)

Quarterback Stan Doolittle (6-3, 224) has thrown for more than 3400 yards in 27 career appearances but doesn't have the sort of TD-to-INT ratio that suggests a good decision maker.  On the Hunter Cantwell You-Should-Consider-A-Lower-Profile-Position-Unless-You're-Awesome Scale, he rates somewhere towards the middle.

At running back, the Bulldogs have four guys who've run for a combined 3600+ yards in their career. Senior Phillip Peoples (6-0, 220), who ran for 602 yards and six scores in 2008, figures to get most of the work.

There's plenty of experience back at receiver as well, though Gardner-Webb returns just one guy who has been a major contributor in the past: James Perry III (6-0, 184).

Defense
2008 Vitals: 30th in rushing, 93rd in passing, 78th in passing efficiency, 54th in total defense, 52nd in scoring. (All ranks I-AA.)

Linebacker Mario Brown (6-2, 239) was the Big South's 2008 pre-season Defensive Player of the Year but ended up missing the majority of that season.  Jeffrey Williams (6-0, 229) led the unit without him; Williams has piled up 100+ tackles in each of the last two seasons.  They're both back.  Returnees Marty Patterson (6-3, 220) and Oluwadamilola Teniola (5-11, 227) were also in on a bunch of stops in '08, and together they form an extremely experienced group.

It's a similar story at the other positions--plenty of returning experience.  None of it matters, but it's there.