Some things have changed since Cumberland’s last appearance on Nokes-Lasater Field in 2012, which was a 49-0 blanking of Bluefield.
Both teams have new coaches.
Some things haven’t changed. The visiting Rams are still looking for their first win since 1941 as they return to Nokes-Lasater at 1:30 p.m. today for Cumberland’s home opener.
Bluefield ended the football program at the onset of World War II and didn’t revive the sport until last season when the Rams went 0-11. They are off to an 0-3 start under a new coach in 2013.
“They got a bunch of young guys,” said Cumberland coach Donnie Suber, who was defensive coordinator under Dewayne Alexander when the Rams visited last November. “They have some talented players. They have a quarterback who runs really well, they have a couple of receivers who run really well.
“It’s a spread look but they run some option stuff out of it and they run some power stuff. They throw the ball a little bit, but not a lot.
“It’ll be tough for us. We got to come out and play our A-game and not slip up and be too complacent… There’s always somebody out there who can beat you.”
The Bulldogs are coming off a 41-31 road win at Belhaven in Jackson, Miss., last Saturday.
“We kind of got the monkey off our back,” said Suber, whose Bulldogs opened at FCS Tennessee Tech and No. 4 University of the Cumberlands. “Going down to Belhaven, that was a good win for us. We hadn’t beaten them down there since 2008 when I first got here.”
Today is the first of four straight home games for the Bulldogs.
“It’s always good to be at home,” Suber said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a good crowd and have a good environment and let the kids enjoy themselves and have a good game.”
On the injury front, safety Grant Jones remains out. Defensive lineman Simon Moriarty played well last week but re-injured his back, leaving him questionable for today. Fellow D-lineman Devin Guthrie was termed “iffy” by Suber. Linebacker Ricky Dowdy, a transfer from North Carolina State, is out for three weeks, Suber said.
“Offensively, everybody is pretty healthy, I believe,” Suber said.