Producer of the Wes McElroy Show from 3pm - 6pm
Jesse has been with Clear Channel Media & Entertainment since 2010. He considers himself a Richmond transplant as he has lived in the River City for over 10 years now but grew up in the Western Maryland area. Deciding to attend VCU he studied Broadcast Journalism and English while spending time working at radio stations WVCW and WRIR. Jesse is currently the producer for the Wes McElroy Show as well as other shows for Sports Radio 910. Being from the Maryland area he is a diehard fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Capitals. Besides his work at Sports Radio 910 he also writes a blog for VCU basketball’s radio website.
Just like that another basketball season is right around the corner. The VCU Rams are coming off of one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history. Now there’s even more excitement down on Broad Street with the move to the Atlantic-10 conference. While times in the CAA were good, the move up in leagues will not only help the Ram’s NCAA tournament profile but it’s national one as well. On media day Head Coach Shaka Smart and a few of the players joined members of the media to discuss the team’s offseason and their expectations for the upcoming season. I will post my season preview next week along with conversations with the radio voices of VCU, Robbie Robinson and Mike Litos. I got a chance to sit down and talk to a few of the players one-on-one and you can find those conversations below.
The Richmond Spiders (4-3, 2-2) face a big test this weekend as the FCS 2nd ranked JMU Dukes (5-1, 3-0) will be coming to a sold out Robins Stadium. It has not been an easy couple of weeks for Danny Rocco's crew. Last week it was announced that running back Jovan Smith's career would come to an end due to a spinal condition, and then during their loss to New Hampshire starting quarterback John Laub was lost for the season due to a broken ankle. But even with all the issues there is all kinds of fight left in this team as the latest couple of losses have been only by single digits. UVA transfer and Sophomore Michael Strauss will take over an offense that is one of the best at the FCS level. I expect Robins Stadium to be absolutely electric as Richmond looks to make national news with the upset.
Earlier in the week I caught up with the captain and the fullback Kendall Gaskins. I asked him about the mood in the locker and got his thoughts on the new QB taking the reins. Click here for that conversation.
The Richmond Spiders returned home to a sold out Robins Stadium last Saturday. Because of the better weather the atmosphere that day made the home opener seem like it was played on another planet. The No. 4 Old Dominion Monarchs came to campus after following a week their offense made national headlines. In what was a good start for the Spiders turned into an ugly end to the first half with Old Dominion leading 38-14. Everything would change in the second half. Richmond was able to get a career long 38-yd field goal from kicker Remington Hinshaw, and then a 22 yard interception return for a touchdown from defensive back Doug Howell that provided a spark to the sideline and the stadium. The Spiders were able to outscore the Monarchs 20-0 in the fourth quarter but the rally came up short in the end as they lost ODU 45-37.
Despite not picking up the victory it was a big day for a couple of Spiders. Quarterback John Laub had a career high of 339 passing yards with 182 of those going to Ben Edwards. The junior wide receiver from Yorktown went ballistic that day as he also had a career high of 207 all-purpose yards. On the defensive side of the ball the Spiders also got a pick from defensive back Wayne Pettus and 12 tackles from safety Cooper Taylor and defensive lineman Evan Kelly. With the loss behind them Richmond is now focused on Villanova who they will take on this Saturday at Goodreau Field in Philadelphia. The Wildcats boast the 2nd best defense in the CAA but the Spiders have the 3rd best offense. Richmond is (3-2, 1-1 CAA) while Villanova is (4-1, 2-0 CAA).
After being on the road the last two weeks the Richmond Spiders (3-1, 1-0) will return home today as the 4th ranked Old Dominion Monarchs (4-0, 1-0) come to town. After the weather ruined the atmosphere in the home opener, clear skies are in the forecast for this afternoon and the Spiders are happy to know that they will be playing at a sold out Robins Stadium. Richmond comes into this game riding a 3 game winning streak. It started with the home opener and a 41-8 pounding of Gardner-Webb; the weather certainly didn’t get in the way of the Spiders. Then two road victories ensued, first a 47-6 win over VMI in Lexington and last in Saturday in Atlanta Richmond fought off Georgia State 35-14. ODU comes into this game not so quiet as well. The Monarchs made national headlines during the week after their 64-61 win over New Hampshire. In that game ODU Quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for a Division 1 record 730 yards.
To say that this game is a litmus test for the Spiders is not to far fetch as they get their first ranked opponent of the year. And to say we’ll see plenty of offense in this game is an understatement. Fans should be very busy during this game as two of the top offenses in the CAA will do battle, ODU (1st) Richmond (4th). The Monarchs not only lead the conference but they lead the nation as well in scoring offense at 59.0 points per game. The Spider defense is up for the task as Linebacker Darius McMillian has been playing lights out leading the team with 30 tackles in 4 games. In the secondary Safety Cooper Taylor has already won one CAA defensive player of the week award and has 3 interceptions on the year. On the offensive side of the ball Quarterback John Laub has been a leader for the Spiders. Against Georgia State the Redshirt Senior accounted for 4 touchdowns as he ran in 3 and threw for 1. Laub currently ranks 2nd in the CAA in passing and is the Spiders 2nd leading rusher. ODU leads the series 1-0 as the two teams last and first meeting was last season.
UFC 152 will down tonight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Two title fights and a top contender middleweight bout are featured on the card; also Matt Hamill steps back into the octagon as he comes out of retirement. The main event features Jon “Bones” Jones putting his light heavyweight title on the line against former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort. Before that the UFC will crown its first ever flyweight champion as Joseph Benavidez takes on Demterious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. The road to 152 was an unusual one. This year the UFC has been plagued by injuries that have affected cards for all kinds of events including UFC 151. When Dan Henderson pulled out of his title fight with Jones due to a knee injury, President Dana White tried to replace him with Chael Sonnen but Jones declined forcing White to cancel the event. After Lyoto Machida declined to fight Jones on short notice the UFC put Belfort against Jones and scheduled the fight for UFC 152.
The co-main event for the flyweight championship has had some controversy of its own. Back in December of 2011 the UFC decided to implement the flyweight division, which features fighters at 125 pounds. This allows fighters at bantamweight (135lbs) to drop down and fight against guys that are similar in their natural build. The organization decided that the division would crown its first champion though a quick 4 man tournament. On one side of the bracket Benavidez was able to advance to the final with a quick 2nd TKO, but then on the other side Johnson squared off against world-ranked 125lb fighter Ian McCall. It would be the first of two fights between the two after the first encounter featured a draw that most people believe Johnson won. In June the two went at each other again, Johnson was able to keep the pace of the fight where he wanted it and showed excellent wrestling skills as he won with a unanimous decision.
Earlier in the week I was able to catch up with Demetrious Johnson and we talked about his road to this event, what it would mean to him to win the belt and his advice for younger fighters. Click Here For That Conversation