The Morgan State University football team held its final scrimmage of the season in a 90-minute session at Hughes Stadium on Aug. 22. The Bears will take on Army in their first game of the season on Aug. 30, and coach Don Hill-Eley made them play at night under the lights, as the game against Army will be played on a Friday night.
“What we tried to do is show what they [Army] do in different field zones as far as down and distance, and getting them used to what they’re going to see next week,” Hill-Eley said. “For the most part I thought it was good and we were able to simulate what they do and we’ll be able to look at it. We’re not going to be able to gauge the speed that they're going to run things, but at least we'll have an idea and be familiar with what they’re doing.”
Hill said his team still hasn’t fully developed its identity, but the coaching staff is doing everything it can to prepare the players for their upcoming season.
“As far as our team’s identity it still has yet to truly be established,” he said. “We’re going against each other everyday in practice, to get used to what the offense is running and what the defense is running, so within the first three games of the season we should have developed some kind of identity as a team.”
Just a few weeks earlier, the team was visited by several former Morgan State football legends. According to MSU Assistant Media Relations Director Kevin Paige, the former Bears players included Mark Washington, who played for the Dallas Cowboys; retired U.S. Army General William “Kip” Ward; and New York Times sportswriter and novelist William Rhoden, among others.
“They each addressed the team with inspiring messages about their experiences while at Morgan State and also touched on the historical significance and importance of playing against Army in the season opener on Aug. 30 in West Point, N.Y.,” Paige said. “The game will mark the first time that a Historically Black College or University football team will square off against the United States Military Academy.”
Paige said the former players also talked about one of the greatest games played in school history.
“[They] took a trip down memory lane with a discussion and showing of the DVD documentary featuring the 1968 Morgan vs. Grambling Football Classic game played in Yankee Stadium, which was put on by the New York Urban League,” Paige said. “The current Morgan State players were also introduced by the former athletes to the Morgan
‘Grizzly’ tradition (‘Claim to Fame’), which is a football team function.”
Morgan State’s game against Army will air live on the CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports. Morgan State will then play three more games on the road before hosting their first home game of the season against Norfolk State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) match-up on Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.