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Bowton column: Positive thinking not enough

Lamonte Massie told me a few weeks ago he honestly couldn’t imagine his Livingstone football team losing its first two games. To even think that was possible, he said, would go against his philosophy as a coach.
Massie doesn’t have to imagine anymore.
The Blue Bears hit 0-2 last week and made it 0-3 with a 49-7 loss to Catawba on Saturday. The next logical step for a positive-thinking coach would be to say Livingstone is still 0-0 in the CIAA, and, sure enough, Massie mentioned after yet another blowout loss to Catawba that the Blue Bears still have a clean slate in the conference.
Give Massie credit for keeping a positive attitude, which he always does.
You see, though, a program like Livingstone needs more than positive thinking. It needs victories. And, under Massie, this program has none.
While the Blue Bears looked slightly better last night than they did last season, disgruntled fans look at scoreboards and records.
Livingstone’s cumulative record under Massie is now 0-13, and his Blue Bears have been outscored 550-121.
“We have no choice but to get it done,” Massie said. “Period. I know the average Livingstone Blue Bear fan wants us to get it done.”I’m willing to take that one step further: The average Blue Bear fan wants to stop hearing the same rhetoric every season.
For most of this decade, Livingstone fans have been hearing phrases like “we’re building a program” and “we just have to execute” and “we go out there thinking we’re going to win every time we play.”
But where’s the proof of any improvement?
Sure, Massie has some talented, physical freshmen this season. Anthony Earles, Jermaine Moore, Robert Massey-Brice and a handful of other defensive guys looked like legitimate college football players last night.
But we already saw this in 2006, when then-coach Robert Massey fielded a team that looked better than the one in 2005. The record stayed the same, however, and back-to-back 1-9 seasons got Massey fired after two years.
If any game should be used as a measuring stick for Livingstone’s success in 2008, it’s the Catawba game last night.
The Indians opened with a 14-7 loss to St. Augustine’s, a CIAA team that went 2-8 last season, and a 41-29 victory against Elizabeth City State, a CIAA team that went 5-5 in 2007.
It’s not too hard to guess that Livingstone might not be good enough to compete with those types of teams in its conference.
Catawba outgained the Blue Bears 427-163, and Indians quarterback Patrick Dennis, who came in 0-for-5 with two interceptions in limited action, threw for 242 yards and five touchdowns.
“People from the outside, they’re looking at the record, ‘Oh, it’s the same old Livingstone,’ ” senior running back Rashaad Flucker said after his fourth loss to Catawba. “But it’s not the same old Livingstone. We got better, positive attitudes on the inside of this program.”
No one’s doubting that.
But the community is still waiting to see if this team can produce the results to match the attitude.

Contact Nick Bowton at nbowton@salisburypost.com.

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