Monday, April 7, 2008


Volume One, Number Seven
April 7, 2008
Editor: Tom James,
ISU Football Alumni Blog Page:

Miles is pleased with ISU football's scrimmage

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis stops by with his son Marcus to watch

By David Hughes, Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A couple of head coaches liked the effort they saw during Indiana State’s first football scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium.

One of them was ISU’s first-year coach, Trent Miles.

“The enthusiasm was there,” Miles assessed. “Some of our execution wasn’t. I was happy with the way they ran around and tried to do things, but our execution was shoddy. It leaves a lot to be desired.

“We’re just so thin up front [in player numbers]. It’s unbelievable to me that you have so few offensive and defensive linemen in a program at the [NCAA] Division I level. We’re doing everything we can to fix it, but there are certain guys who have to play every single snap every day [in spring practice]. It’s unbelievable. But we’re fighting through it … and that’s all we can ask for now. Now we’ve just got to learn the techniques and get the execution down and pay attention to all the details.”

The other was not there to act as a head coach, but as a future player’s father — Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals. His son, linebacker Marcus Lewis of Cincinnati, will be an ISU freshman for the 2008 season.

“I thought the guys were flying around, being aggressive, hustling from drill to drill and spot to spot on and off the field,” the elder Lewis said. “I think, as a coach, that’s what you’re looking for.”

Asked if Indiana State was the right school for his son, Marvin Lewis replied: “It’s a good place to keep him in step and get him going.”

Saturday’s scrimmage lasted close to two hours and featured four completions from quarterback Chuck Dowdell to tight end Josh Jones, a former linebacker playing a position that has not been featured in the Sycamores’ offense since 2005. Three of the Dowdell-to-Jones hookups covered 34, 43 and 27 yards respectively.

“We’re gonna use the tight end,” Miles emphasized. “We’re gonna use one tight end, two tight ends. And in goal-line and short-yardage [situations], we’ll use three tight ends. We just have to go find them. We’ve signed a couple and Josh is definitely in the mix.

“Josh is having a really good spring. He’s a tough guy that plays hard and it matters to him. He’s got a lot of that pride to go out and do things the right way… We’re expecting big things out of Josh.”

“If one of those guys coming in [this summer] can be what we’re looking for in a tight end, there’s probably another position that Josh can go to, whether it be a second tight end or whatever,” ISU first-year offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick mentioned.

“But he’s really proven so far that he has the ability to play and I’m kinda pleased with how he’s progressed.”

Dowdell, a sophomore-to-be who redshirted in 2006 before starting much of last season, also is receiving positive reviews from the Indiana State coaching staff.

“Chuck’s making progress,” Miles said. “He’s learning the system. There’s a lot to learn. It’s a whole new system he’s never dealt with. This is his third position coach in three years. Once he starts to understand what coach Diedrick and the rest of the offensive staff are asking him to do, he’ll be fine, as will all of them.”

“I was really pleased with his decision making,” Diedrick added. “A couple little mistakes. One was with the depth of his drop. The other thing was the ball placement and location. Those things, we’ll continue to work on. But I’m happy with the growth that he’s made so far.”

“Things are going pretty well,” Dowdell noted. “We still had some little mental mistakes, but things are coming along.”

Backing up Dowdell were a pair of former Vigo County high school standouts — Matt Seliger of Terre Haute North and Kyle Toney of Terre Haute South.

Most of the running duties Saturday were handled by Antoine Brown, a transfer from the University of Kentucky, and Darrius Gates.

“I think they run pretty well,” Miles said. “I think you’ve got two guys that are pretty good football players and that you can go out and win games in the Gateway Conference with. Darrius can run and Antoine can run and run with power. I like what I see from those guys.”

Defensive highlights included interceptions by Elliott Thomas and Quinton Scott.On special teams, Corey Varnadore converted a 44-yard field goal that bounced off the crossbar before falling through the uprights.

All in all, Miles sounded pleased with his players’ progress after their fifth practice of the spring.“They’re seeing a better understanding of the schemes,” he said. “I think you’re seeing them apply some better techniques than the first day.

“You know, we’ve got a long way to go. But they’re starting to learn how we expect them to practice. They’re not there yet. Our tempo needs to be fast-paced and we need to run everywhere we’re going and do all the little things the right way. And they’re starting to learn how to do that. So it’s still a work in progress, but at least they’re starting to understand our expectation level.”

ISU’s next scrimmage will start at about 10 a.m. next Saturday. The final spring practice will be April 19 with the annual Blue/White Scrimmage.The Sycamores will open their season Aug. 28 at Eastern Michigan.


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State Sycamores closed out the first week of spring football practice with a spirited one and a half hour scrimmage earlier today (April 5) at Memorial Stadium.

The team went through various situations, including goal line, down and distance and several game simulated drives.

Throughout most of the workout, sophomore Charles Dowdell saw the lion’s share of the snaps at the quarterback position and played well, completing 7-of-13 pass attempts, including four to converted tight end Josh Jones.

“Dowdell is really getting better each day,” first year head coach Trent Miles said. “He is working with his third position coach in as many years, so he is really trying to absorb a lot of information. Once he totally understands everything that we want him to do, he is going to be just fine.”

Jones, who has spent time during each of the past two seasons at linebacker, caught four passes on the day. He made a pair of spectacular 34 and 43 yard catches plus a 27-yard catch and run, all of the arm of Dowdell. The highlight of Jones’ day was a nine-yard grab just inside the goal line for the first touchdown of the day.

In the offensive backfield was Darrius Gates, who put together back-to-back 18-yard rushes during the game-like portion of the scrimmage and then finished the drive with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone on fourth and goal.

Also strong at tailback for ISU was transfer Antione Brown, who scored twice on the day with a 32-yard scamper early in the scrimmage and then a 1-yard drive to pay dirt in the goal line portion of the workout.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Williams also scored on the day with a 1-yard touchdown in the goalline drills as did Dowdell, who plowed through the pile for a 1-yard score during the same drill.
Sophomore kicker Corey Varnadore went 4-for-6 during the field goal portion of the day, including a best of 44 yards that split the uprights. Gabe Mullane got in several punts as well during the special teams portion of the day’s drills.

Defensively, the Sycamores acquitted themselves well holding the offense to limited success on most drives. Junior Elliott Thomas recorded an interception of Matt Seliger during skeleton drills while junior Quinton Scott posted a diving interception as well during the scrimmage portion of the day.

“We are seeing a better understanding of our schemes,” Miles commented after practice. “We still have along way to go, but the team is starting to learn exactly what we expect at practice. The guys still need to pick up the tempo a little bit, but I have been very pleased with the enthusiasm.”

Indiana State will practice on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and will also workout on Friday at 6 p.m. before holding its second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.



--Two former Sycamores, Doug Arnold (defensive tackle) and Pat Duncan (wide receiver), were in attendance at Saturday’s scrimmage at Indiana State.

ISU head coach Trent Miles introduced both Doug and Pat to the team after the two-hour scrimmage session and had both of them say a few words to the team. Duncan was there with his son, who may have an interest in playing for the Sycamores in 2009.

Miles referred to both Doug and Pat as members of the ISU football family, which is a large one and growing every day. As mentioned in past editions of this newsletter, all former Indiana State players, coaches, student managers and athletic trainers are invited and are welcome to attend all practices, workouts and scrimmages and to meet the current roster of players.

Miles is working hard to try to re-establish the connections between former players and the ISU program.

--Of the four quarterbacks on the Indiana State spring football roster, two are from Terre Haute. Seliger, currently No. 2, attended Terre Haute North High School while Kyle Toney (Terre Haute South) is No. 3. First on the depth chart, sophomore Charles Dowdell, attended Fort Wayne Northrop High School. Sophomore Evan Parker (Merrillville, Ind./Merriville HS) is the fourth quarterback on the team.

--In addition to the visit by incoming freshman linebacker Marcus Lewis and his father, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, on Saturday. Several other freshman-to-be also attended the scrimmage with their families. In fact, it seems as if a handful of incoming freshmen have been spending a lot of time watching the Sycamores during the first week of spring practice.

--One interesting sight after the scrimmage was Bengals coach Marvin Lewis in the coaching office at Memorial Stadium, standing at the whiteboard with a couple of the ISU coaches and diagramming some defensive alignments.

Except for that rare exception, Marvin Lewis was at the workout as a father with his son, watching intently from the sidelines. He also spend some time with former ISU head coach Dennis Raetz, who is now working as a part-time defensive assistant, and Sycamores athletic director Ron Prettyman.

-- Just one quick final note. I have started an ISU Football Alumni Blog Page. Here is the link: Feel free to add it to your favorites list for easy reference and to check it out every day or every few days for any last-minute notices or information on ISU football.

I will attempt to keep it updated on a regular basis. While it's largely a work in progress, the blog will allow for you to make comments or ask me questions as well looking at previous editions of the newsletter. I will continue sending out a newsletter, but the blog page will also allow me to put more current information up rather than doing a quick email to everybody.

Also, if anybody has anything that they would like included on the page, just let me know.


There appears to be a good group of former Indiana State players who have signed up to take part in the ISU football golf outing, which is scheduled for Friday, April 18 in Terre Haute. The golf outing is a fund-raiser for the Sycamore football program and everybody’s help is needed to make it a success.

As of Saturday, nearly 60 people had contacted assistant athletic director John Sherman. Those 60 do not include any members of the ISU athletic department, so there is a chance that there will be close to 18 foursomes ready to tee it up.

Time is running out to get your reservation in. So if you still have an interest in playing some golf, or even doing what I am planning (hanging out, seeing old friends and partaking of some cool beverages), call John Sherman ASAP (812-237-3047 or


Editors note: I recently received this email from a friend of former Indiana State defensive end Ed “Poncho” Martin extolling his credentials to become a member of the Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame.

“If there is any athlete that is deserving of induction into the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame, it is Ed. “Poncho” Martin, a former Defensive End/Outside Linebacker that played for the Sycamores from 1980 to 1984. You see, though Indiana State’s football program had produced All-American honorees in the past, Ed Martin earned the unique distinction of becoming the first football player in the school’s history to be named to the 1st Team of a Division 1 or 1AA All-America Football Team. After the 1983 football season, he was selected 1st Team NCAA Division 1AA All-America for both the Kodak and Associated Press’ All-America Teams. Being recognized by both of the premiere selection committees was also a first for a Sycamore player. Prior to Ed, no other ISU player had received such recognition from both of the voting bodies.

You could say that distinction alone would merit being honored by the Sycamore Athletic Department, but it is Ed’s body of work over his career at Indiana State and beyond, that really makes him a worthy Hall of Fame inductee. Ed arrived as a freshmen in 1980 with pretty impressive credentials. He was a Special Mention All-State football player at Evanston Township High in Illinois, as well as captain of his high school basketball team. He also made the National Honor Society academically while in high school. The coaching staff at ISU knew they had a tremendous student-athlete on their hands when Ed accepted his scholarship to Indiana State. Over his four year career at ISU, Ed would demonstrate just how tremendous his football talents were.
The awards were numerous and included other firsts besides the aforementioned All-America selection. The accolades included:

Kodak 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Associated Press 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Sporting News Magazine 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Chicago Sports Magazine All-America Team 1983
Indiana State University “Defensive Player of the Year” 1983
Indiana State University “Defensive Player of the Year” 1982
Associated Press 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1983
Associated Press 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1982
United Press International 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1983
United Press International 2nd Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1982
Named Missouri Valley Conference “Defensive Player of the Week” Six (6) times during collegiate career
Drafted 7th Round Dallas Cowboys National Football League 1984
Drafted 6th Round Pittsburgh Maulers United States Football League 1984

Ed finished his career at Indiana State as runner-up for the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year (he lost out to Terry Taylor of Southern Illinois University). Additionally, Ed’s play on the field was the key ingredient in leading ISU to it’s first ever 9 game winning season and the school’s first ever post-season playoff appearance, as well as, ISU’s first ever Top 10 Division 1AA National ranking. The 1983 football team finished the year with a record of 9 and 4 (still tied for the most wins in a single season in the school’s history), finished the year ranked 5th nationally in Division 1AA, and made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 1AA National Championship playoff (where they lost to eventual National Champions, Southern Illinois University).

The uniqueness of Ed Martin didn’t end when his college football career ended. Following the 1983-1984 football season, Ed became the first football player in ISU’s history to be drafted by two professional football leagues. In 1984 he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League (USFL) and the Dallas Cowboys of the National football League (NFL). Due to the competitive bidding for athletic talent, Ed actually ended up signing and playing with the Los Angeles Express in the USFL.

Unfortunately for Ed, a common enemy of football players everywhere prevented him from maximizing his opportunities in the pros. He suffered two knee injuries and was forced to retire early on in his pro career, before he could make his mark in the pro ranks. After the USFL folded in 1985, he joined the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, but due to the restricting effects of his knee injuries, his time in Dallas was all too brief. Not being able to be an impact player with the Cowboys, Ed left Dallas and returned to Indiana State where he completed the academic requirements to graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from ISU. After graduating, he gave the NFL one more try, this time with the Indianapolis Colts. But once again, his bad knees prove to be too much to overcome. After a brief stint with Indy, Ed decided to retire from professional football permanently.

Always having the attitude of a winner, and the determination of a true warrior, Ed has made a success out of life after football. Following his playing days, Ed spent almost 10 years working in Hollywood, California in the field of Sports Commercial, Film, and Television Production. He worked as both a Technical Consultant and as a Stunt Utility Actor in commercials, films, and television shows that had a sports/football theme. Some of the projects that he was involved in included the movies “Jerry McGuire” with Tom Cruise, and “Executive Decision” with Halle Berry. Television projects have included “The John Laraquette Show” and HBO’s “Arliss.” Commercials have been for companies and products such as Snickers, Nike, and Coca-Cola. As well as contributing his talent to a live-action CD-ROM football game called “Mike Ditka’s Quarterback Attack.”

Having moved away from California in 1999 and returning to his birth place, Ed is now a Real Estate Investor and a licensed Real Estate Agent in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is the father of three kids. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Sports Management. Ed will become the first person in his family to earn a Masters Degree. Given Ed’s penchant for first time accomplishments, there is no doubt that his family will soon be honoring him as their first Maters Degree recipient.

Ed has been the embodiment of what a successful student-athletic from Indiana State University is all about. The spirit of ISU athletics has been glorified through him, both in his professional career and his personal life. His accomplishments trumpet Ed’s worthiness of induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.”

(Editors note: I also received this response from Ed himself. While he appreciates his friend’s attempt to sing his praises, Poncho himself would rather let the process take its own course.)

“Hello Tom:

It's been a very long time. I take it that all is well with you. Michelle told me that she was starting a "writing campaign" for the school's hall of fame on my behalf. I told her not to frustrate herself, but she feels it's unfortunate that I have not been selected. I tell her It's just all apart of life.

Feel free to add me to your list of alum. My contact info is listed below. I see that Trent Miles has taken over the football program. I would love to see him be very successful. That would be a great 'feel good' story. Trent has great football knowledge. If he could get some recruits like the ones that came through around my time, he'll do extremely well. Maybe he could get Kevin Ramsey and Quintin Mikell to come back and coach with him.

As far as the ISU H-O-F goes, I don't hold be breath on what other people do. Like I told (his friend), I've got no control over those things. My accomplishments speak for themselves. If they don't compare favorably to other football players that have been selected ahead of me, then such is the opinion of those that vote on these matters.”

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