SBC Holds Basketball Media Day

October 30, 2014 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Jags_bballThe University of South Alabama held its annual basketball Media Day. It featured all 11 head coaches including USA head men’s basketball coach Matthew Graves. Here are some highlights from the event.

Graves’ opening statement
“I’m very excited about my second year in the Sun Belt. I’m looking forward to the improvements that we can make to our program, and excited to be competing in what looks to be another outstanding year in the Sun Belt.”

Graves spoke about where the team is going to turn this season after losing the team’s top three scorers from a year ago.
“We don’t know where we’re getting our scoring. That’s probably our biggest concern this year. You’re not going to replace an Augustine Rubit with one or two guys, it’s going to take a committee. Antoine Allen had his moments where he could score 20 points on a given night. To get that kind of consistent production, it’s going to be by committee. We’re still feeling that process out. We’re an extremely young, inexperienced basketball team, and it’s one I am very excited about and I think we have a bright future, but right now we’re still really trying to see what guys can do and how they’re going to fit together with all of the pieces that we have. That’s going to take place in the games, for us to get that under our belt and have a great feel.”

Graves talked about what he already knows about his team.
“Ken Williams has had a great offseason. I really look for him to be a key player for us this season, as he grows and develops into a role where night in and night out, he’s probably going to get one of the better defenders on him. He’s going to have to adjust and be able to handle that, but I’m really excited about his development. The thing I’m probably most excited about is we have a group of guys that are starting to understand and embrace what we’re trying to teach them as a coaching staff. There is a lot more buy-in from player No. 1 all the way through player No. 13 and the managers and staff. There’s a better vibe and more togetherness and that’s what I’m really excited about, because when you have that, you have a team that is capable of getting a lot better throughout the season and making things happen.”

Graves was asked about what newcomers have stook out to him.
“John Brown, our junior-college kid, has come in and done a nice job. Where he can help us is giving us some size on the wing. We really lacked that last year and he going to come in and play some minutes for us at that small forward spot. With his size and athleticism, that’s really going to help us, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Taishaun Johnson, a freshman point guard, has really shown bursts in practice of giving us a little more quickness on the perimeter and getting the ball into the paint. With his size at 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11, and his quickness, it’s really added an extra element to our offense that we didn’t have last year. Out of the newcomers, those two have really stood out early. Tafari Whittingham is still coming back from off-season surgery, so we’re bringing him along slowly. He’s full-go at practice, but just watching him, you can tell with his conditioning that he’s still several weeks away.”

Graves was then asked about the starting point guard position.
“That’s Barrington’s (Stevens) position right now, and as I tell all the players, you have to earn your spot and your minutes, and once you do, you have to keep producing and keep that. If we were going to play today, Barrington would be our starting point guard. The nice thing about our roster is we do not have a lot of depth this year. Guys are going to have a lot of opportunities to play and contribute. We have 10 scholarship players, so we have five guys that I feel like are basically our 1s, 2s and 3s, and we’ve got five guys that primarily will play the 4 and the 5. Playing time should not be an issue. Guys will get opportunities, and what they do with those opportunities will ultimately determine how many minutes they play.”

Graves answered a question about his team and if they will play more up tempo this season.
“That’s one of the areas that we’ve put an emphasis on—trying to score and do a better job out of our transition offense. Last year, statistically we were one of the worst teams in the league in scoring out of transition opportunities. We’ve put a major emphasis on taking advantage when we have 3-on-2 or 4-on-3 opportunities in transition and looking to push the ball and play a little faster to help offset some of the scoring in the halfcourt.”

South Alabama hosts University of Mobile in an exhibition game on November 6 at the Mitchell Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05pm.

South Alabama Looks To Sour Cajun Homecoming

October 30, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Jags_vs_ULLSouth Alabama rides a four-game winning streak into Lafayette to face the Ragin’ Cajuns* on Saturday as their homecoming opponent. The Jaguars are just one win away from being the first Sun Belt team to reach bowl eligibility**. But this game is not a gimmie.

South Alabama began the season with a road win over Kent State, then tough losses to current #1 Mississippi State, and conference newcomer and Sun Belt leader Georgia Southern (6-2, 5-0 SBC), both at home. They responded with wins over Idaho, Appalachian State, Georgia State, and Troy which have a combined record of 5-25 overall and 3-14 in conference play. Not the best resume to hang your hat on.

The Jaguars schedule gets considerably more difficult in November. The Jags have games against Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Texas State, South Carolina in Columbia and the season finale against Navy which are a combined 16-14. But it all begins with Lafayette (4-3, 3-0 SBC).

USA is undefeated on the road and have been touting their 30-8 season finale win over Lafayette last season which spoiled the Cajuns outright championship and gave Arkansas State a share of the title. But the Cajuns were without star quarterback Terrance Broadway in that game. A win would have also given them the most wins in school history. In the end, it was Lafayette who ‘won’ as they were one of only two Sun Belt teams (the other was co-champion Arkansas State) to earn a bowl invite in a conference that had seven bowl-eligible teams.

A year later both teams are trying to keep up with Georgia Southern, but the Cajuns have revenge on their mind as they are set to host the Jaguars for a Homecoming matchup at Cajun Field.

The Cajuns have rebounded from losing three-consecutive games to win their last three games. Those three losses were against Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Boise State. Not bad losses, mind you. The three wins came against Georgia State (okay, maybe not so good), Texas State and Arkansas State (both 4-3, 2-1 SBC). Not bad wins and it makes you glad that South Alabama does not have the word “State” in their name.

Lafayette cleared a big hurdle with a 55-40 win over Arkansas State last Tuesday. They have one of the easiest conference schedules of any Sun Belt team.Their remaining schedule begins with the Jaguars (5-2, 4-1 SBC) and continues with New Mexico State, ULM, Appalachian State and Troy which are a combined 8-22 overall and 5-10 in conference play. Only one of those last four has a real shot at being .500 or above for the season.

By the numbers

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Monday Press Conference – Cajun Invasion Edition

October 28, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 
Head coach Joey Jones observes the Jaguars scrimmage on Saturday, August 15 2014 at St. Paul's Episcopal School.

Head coach Joey Jones observes the Jaguars scrimmage on Saturday, August 15 2014 at St. Paul’s Episcopal School.

South Alabama football head coach Joey Jones met with the media on Monday along with defensive back E.J. May and running back Xavier Johnson to reflect on the Jaguars 27-13 win over Troy and to preview their upcoming trip to face Louisiana-Lafayette. Below are highlights from the press conference.

Coach Jones’ opening statement: “That was a big win on Friday night for us, I thought our guys played really well. Obviously there are some things we could have done better, but overall our players fought and got after it. We’re looking forward to this week, Louisiana-Lafayette was the unanimous choice to be No. 1 in the league — rightfully so — because they have really good players and a great coaching staff. [ULL head coach] Mark [Hudspeth] has done a tremendous job with that program.”

Jones spoke about the offensive effort by the Jaguars against Troy. “I thought the offensive line played great, they had a look in their eyes that they wanted to play some physical football; that was real good to see. Our running backs played lights out, Kendall had the best game of his career and Xavier came in as a freshman and ran the ball really well. That was a plus on that side of the ball to have those guys play like that.”

He then turned his attention to ULL by talking about the Cajun offense. “Elijah McGuire, in my opinion, is the best player in this league. Then you look at all the other talent they have around him, it’s not like you can just focus on him. Terrance Broadway is a great player, a three-year starter who understands their offense and has played in a lot of big game, and they have big linemen; they probably average 320 [pounds] up front. Our defense is looking forward to the challenge.”

Jones on ULL’s defense. “They are very good and very big on the defensive front, they are probably the biggest defensive front we will face. I haven’t looked at South Carolina yet, but I know the size of these guys is bigger than anybody in the Sun Belt. They’re well-coached and run to the football, they play with a lot of passion as you would imagine. They are a very good defense.

“When you have a team with a good offense that’s all people want to talk about, but their defense plays very well.”

Speaking about the challenge this game will present, Jones had this to say. “This is why you play football. As we were going through our conference schedule a couple of weeks ago I told them the next game is the most important one, I know it’s cliché but it’s the truth. I believe if Louisiana-Lafayette doesn’t have the best environment in the Sun Belt then it is top two, they have great crowd support. Last time we went over there it didn’t go very well, so we’d like to go over there and play better this time.”

Jones was asked what he attributes his team’s success on the road this season to. “That was a point of emphasis for me, I stressed it to the players during the offseason, I’m not taking credit for it, I’m just saying it started there. We took two trips during the summer to different high schools to get ready for a game, so to speak, and I think that helped us. And there is a mental toughness aspect to it, our strength staff did a great job with those guys in the offseason; no matter what happens, our guys are going to come out ready to compete.”

Jones talked about his team being one game away from bowl eligibility. “It enters your mind, but the truth is we have to focus on what we have to do to win this ballgame or any ballgame. That’s one of our goals and something we certainly want to get done, but what we are focusing on is practice every day so we can achieve those goals.”

Defensive back E.J. May talked about the team’s confidence. “The difference I see is that we’re playing more as a team, everyone is playing for something. We’re just more of a family, and that has helped build some of our confidence coming into this week’s game.”

“I have so much confidence in our front seven; I feel like we have one of the best defensive fronts in the country. That’s what it’s going to come down to, but the defensive backs are going to have to hold it down in the back too.”

May continued by talking about the team’s success on the road. “That was kind of our weak point last year, but we made a commitment as a team to win on the road. We just have to prepare like we have every other week. We’re playing great football right now.”

He then talked about ULL. “We just have to prepare for them like we do every other opponent. They have a one-two punch at running back, and the quarterback is very good too. But we just have to watch film and do the same thing we’ve been doing to prepare.”

On being just one win away from eligibility, he said “It’s just a boost to know that we’re that close, right there on the edge. We just need to keep working hard. It’s going to play out.”

Redshirt freshman running back Xavier Johnson, who wore #8 in honor of Jay Jones who suffered a season ending knee injury against Georgia State, began by talking about the win over Troy. “We blocked well Friday night. Coach (Jones) told us at halftime to just keep grinding, and we came out in the second half and executed offensively.”

Johnson addressed the team’s confidence by saying, “We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. We are playing with a chip on our shoulder, and each week we’re playing for (injured running back) Jay Jones. We just need to come out with good intensity and a good attitude this week at practice.”

Johnson talked about the offensive units improvement throughout the season up to now. “We’ve made a big improvement from game one. We weren’t playing selfish in game one, but we weren’t playing like brothers. We realized as the season progressed that if we play together then we can have more success.”

South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette are scheduled to kickoff at 4pm on Saturday from Cajun field. Pregame and play-by-play can be heard locally on Lite Mix 99.9FM or iHeartRadio. The game will be televised on ESPN3.com.

Jaguar Volleyball Ends Three-Match Skid

October 27, 2014 · By · Filed Under Sun Belt Conference, Volleyball · Comment 

USA_VolleyballThe Jaguar volleyball team snapped their three-match losing streak on Friday in Monroe against the Warhawks 3-2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-13).

Mechell Daniel posted her team-leading eighth double-double of the season. But she wasn’t the only Jaguar in double-digits. Mallory Moore added 16 kills, Jessica Lewis had 15 kills, and Nikki Gittens had 11 kills.

Junior setter Emily Hundt posted her seventh double-double with 60 assists and 10 digs. While senior libero Jenna Hassell posted a season best 26 digs. Kelly Little added 14 digs off the bench for a season best for her as well.

The Jags had an 87-71 advantage over the Warhawks in digs as well as a 67-38 advantage in assists. The Jags had 73 kills to ULM’s 44.

Unfortunately on Sunday the Jags fell in straight sets to Arkansas State 3-0 (21-25, 22-25, 17-25) in the second of three-straight road matches for the Jaguars.

Sophomore Mechell Daniel led the team offensively and defensively with 14 kills and 15 digs, both team highs, for her ninth double-double of the season. Nikki Gittens had 10 kills while Symone Stephenson added six kills and hit .385 in the match. Jenna Hassell carded 14 digs.

South Alabama falls to 10-12 overall and 5-7 in conference play. Arkansas State improves to 13-8 overall and 8-4 in conference play.

The Jags will finish their three-match road trip on Friday, October 31 at Georgia Southern before returning home to host Texas State.

Jags Pick Up Pair of Wins, Claims SBC Regular Season Title

October 27, 2014 · By · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

USA_SoccerThe South Alabama soccer team had a very successful road trip through Arkansas over the weekend.

On Friday afternoon the Jaguars used four goals from four different players to defeated Arkansas State 4-1 to clinch the Sun Belt Conference regular season championship.

They overcame an early 1-0 deficit after six minutes with a quick doublestrike from freshman Danielle Henley and Steffi Hardy. Henley’s goal game in the 20th minute of play and went in off the goalkeeper. Hardy’s goal came on a free kick from 20 yards out in the 22nd minute.

After halftime, the Jags added two more insurance goals. Charde Hannah converted a pass from Chelsea Followwell in the 81st minute. Then freshman Rio Hardy completed the scoring at the 89:13 mark on a breakaway.

Sarah Hay made eight stops in the victory.

On Sunday, the Jags finished out their regular season schedule and extended their unbeaten streak to 15 matches with a 2-1 win over Arkansas State.

Nini Rabsatt-Smith started the scoring when she took a bad back pass to the goalkeeper and put it in the net at the 6:22 mark.

The Trojans tied the match in the 34th minute of play.

Freshman Rio Hardy broke the tie just over four minutes after the equalizing goal. Freshman Charde Hannah had a shot on goal but was saved by the UALR goalkeeper. The rebound went to Hardy who headed it into the net for the game winner.

Sarah Hay made five saves in the net for the Jags and allowed only one goal.

Next up for the Jaguars is the Sun Belt Tournament beginning November 5. The tournament will be hosted on the South Alabama campus at The Cage. The Jags will open play with a rematch against Arkansas-Little Rock at 7pm on November 5.

Jaguars and Houston Run Over Troy For 27-13 Rivalry Game Win

October 25, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, News, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 
The South Alabama offensive opened huge holes for Jaguar running backs in the second half against Troy en route to a 27-13 win.

The South Alabama offensive opened huge holes for Jaguar running backs in the second half against Troy en route to a 27-13 win.

South Alabama used 241 rushing yards in the second half to pull away from conference and in-state rival Troy, 27-13. The win extends the Jaguars winning streak to four games.

The win improves the Jaguars to 5-2 overall, 4-1 in conference play. Troy falls to 1-7 overall, 1-3 in conference play and 1-2 in the ‘Larry Blakeney farwell tour’.

The Jaguars opened the scoring with a 38-yard field goal by Aleem Sunanon on their first drive. They added to their lead late in the first quarter when Brandon Bridge scrambled around and found Shavarez Smith for a 45-yard touchdown pass.

The second quarter was mostly a stalemate until Troy’s Ryan Kay connected on a 43-yard field goal with 5:48 left until halftime. The Trojan defense forced a three-and-out and Brandon McKee’s punt was downed at the Troy 8 with 4:41 left. Troy would then put together a drive that would move them down to the Jaguar 37 with :22 left until halftime.

After a time out, Trojan quarterback Brandon Silvers pass intended for Bryan Holmes fell incomplete in the end zone, but a roughing the passer call on Davin Hawkins would give them a new set of downs at the Jaguar 22 yard line. After another incomplete pass, Theo Rich would flush Silvers out of the pocket and he would run be tackled in the field of play allowing time to expire on the first half and avoiding the scoring threat.

In the second half the Jaguar offensive line and running backs took over the game. Kendall Houston and Xavier Johnson would gash the Trojan defense for big gains.

Troy added another field goal after blocking a punt by McKee and getting the ball on the Jaguar 23, but unable to even get into the red zone.

On the ensuing possession, the Jags showed their ground superiority with Houston running for back-to-back first downs of 14 and 13 yards. Then Johnson came in for a six yard run, then two plays later he would go mostly untouched for the 14 yard touchdown.

After the South Alabama defense forced another Trojan three-and-out, the running game gash the Trojan with big run after big run. Houston would put the dagger into the Trojans when he broke tackle after tackle to score on a 41 yard run.

Houston, getting the start after Jay Jones’ season ending knee injury last week, put up a career-high 178 yards, including the 41 yard touchdown. It was his first 100-yard game since September 17, 2011 against NC State and his seventh 100-yard game of his career. Xavier Johnson added 107 yards and his first touchdown as a Jaguar.

“Losing Jay Jones is a kick in the gut, but sometimes life is tough and he has to move on and so do we,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I thought our guys really picked it up. Kendall Houston is about as dependable of a guy as I have ever coached, when you put him in the game he’s going to get the job done. We put Xavier in there and he did a heck of a job, he made some great runs and made people miss. And our offensive line really took over, they knew we had to run it, and I thought the offensive line did one heck of a job in the second half.”

“I knew I had to play a big role when Jay Jones went down, all the running backs had to do it for him,” Houston said after the game. “We wanted to dedicate this game to him. We just stayed patient and kept running the ball hard, and we were able to bust loose for some big plays later in the game.”

It was the first time two Jaguars rushed for over 100 yard since Houston and Brandon Ross combined to do it on September 18, 2010 against Nicholls State.

Brandon Bridge went 9-of-11 for 106 yards and a touchdown in a game where he did not look spectacular, but didn’t need to be. He had several overthrows in the game. He went down late in first half and looked to be in lots of pain and even went into the locker room with the training staff. But he would return to start the second half with no problem.

Shavarez Smith led the receiving corps with two catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Wes Saxton also had two catches for 14 yards, but he would be held out of the second half as a precaution due to an ankle injury he suffered late in the first half.

For the second consecutive game Jereme Jones went without a catch. Last week’s game ended his 49 game streak with a catch, a school record.

Antonio Carter led the Jaguar defense with 14 stops, tied for the season high. Theo Rich added a sack for his team-leading seventh of the season.

Trojan running backs Jordan Chunn and Brandon Burks rushed for 53 and 50 respectively as the Trojans rushed for 164 yards total. Trojan quarterbacks combined to go 13-of-24 for 145 yards. Silvers started for the Trojans and went 9-of-18 for 62 yards. Dontreal Pruitt came in late and went 4-of-6 for 83 yards and the only Trojan touchdown. Teddy Ruben led a trio of Trojans who all caught three passes each with 65 yards.

“They were hurting us with that speed sweep and some different things outside — we made some adjustments at halftime, and we did a great job of boxing it in,” observed Jones. “That was big. They didn’t throw the ball on us as much tonight, our guys did a great job in coverage as we usually do. It was just a great overall job defensively.”

Interesting notes:

  • Since coach Jones started growing out his goatee, the Jags are 4-0. His team may need that extra help in November as the Jaguars schedule is: @ Lafayette, @ Arkansas State, Texas State, @ South Carolina, and Navy.
  • Xavier Johnson wore number 8 in honor of Jay Jones, who’s season and Jaguar career ended last week with an ACL tear.

USA v Troy Tonight and Other Jaguar Action This Weekend

October 24, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Softball, Sun Belt Conference, Volleyball · Comment 
Shavarez Smith holds up the SISU War Hammer at midfield prior to their homecoming game against Georgia State.

Shavarez Smith holds up the SISU War Hammer at midfield prior to their homecoming game against Georgia State.

Football

This evening the Jaguars will host Sun Belt and in-state rival Troy for a 6:30pm kickoff at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags 4-2 (3-1 SBC) look to keep extend their three game winning streak with a win over the Trojans 1-6 (1-2 SBC).

Last week the Jaguars defeated Georgia State 30-27 on a late touchdown drive. Troy was completely dismantled at home by conference newcomer Appalachian State 53-14 which gave the Mountaineers their first FBS and Sun Belt Conference win.

South Alabama will be without senior running back Jay Jones as an MRI confirmed that he suffered a torn ACL against Georgia State. Being a senior, that will end his college career. Kendall Houston, Xavier Johnson, Terrance Timmons and T.J. Glover will move up to help fill his cleats in the backfield.

Another player that may miss the game on Saturday is cornerback Quadarius Ford. Ford, a 5’9″ 170-pound senior, suffered a concussion against Georgia State and at last word, has not been cleared by the medical staff for tonight’s game. Ford is tied for seventh in total tackles with Theo Rich and Jerome McClain.

If you go by the Sagarin rankings as published by Jeff Sagarin, the Jags are currently the fourth best team in the Sun Belt and the 107th best in his rankings of all 252 FBS and FCS teams. Arkansas State (57), Georgia Southern (102), and Louisiana-Lafayette (102) are ranked ahead of the Jaguars (107).

The rest of the conference is ranked: ULM (136), Texas State (145), Appalachian State (150), Idaho (176), Troy (189), Georgia State (191), New Mexico State (195).

Meanwhile USA’s non-conference opponents are ranked: AP and Coaches Poll #1 Mississippi State is 4th, South Carolina (33), Navy (93), and Kent State (173). It’s also worth noting some of the other teams in the state: Alabama (2), Auburn (3), Jacksonville State (78), UAB (106), Samford (151), Alabama State (206) and Alabama A&M (238).

South Alabama and Troy start at 6:30pm, Jaguar Prowl will be at 4:10pm. Pregame and live Play-by-Play can be heard on LiteMix 99.9FM locally and on iHeartRadio on your smart devices. It will also be televised on ESPNU nationally.

Soccer

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Hannah Named SBC Offensive Player of the Week for Third Time This Season

October 22, 2014 · By · Filed Under Soccer, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 
Freshman Charde Hannah earned Offensive Player of the Week honors for the third time this season after her two goals against Georgia Southern. Photo: usajaguars.com

Freshman Charde Hannah earned Offensive Player of the Week honors for the third time this season after her two goals against Georgia Southern. Photo: usajaguars.com

Charde Hannah was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Tuesday for the third time this season. She earned the weekly award on September 16 and 23 this year.

She helped lead the Jaguars to shutout victories over Georgia Southern and Georgia State with two goals and seven shots on goal.

Against Georgia State she accounted for both goals to help the Jaguars set a new school record for consecutive games without a loss. She broke the scoreless tie in the 85th minute and added another in the 90th minute.

Hannah leads the conference in points (2.38) and goals (1.0) per game and is tied for sixth in assists.

This is the seventh time a Jaguar has been awarded player of the week honors.

Monday Press Conference – Rivalry Week

October 21, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

usa_vs_troyHead coach Joey Jones, offensive lineman Melvin Meggs and linebacker Davin Hawkins met with the media on Monday to recap the Jaguars 30-27 win over Georgia State and the preview their game against Troy on Friday.

“I was really pleased last week with the win, when you can finish a ballgame like we did — the defense stops them, we drive down and score, we stop them again and we kill the clock — it makes you feel good,” said Jones in his opening statement. “The guys kept their poise and composure late in the game, those last four possessions were in our favor. We took over the latter part of the fourth quarter, I was real proud of that.”

Jones talked about what he has been the most pleased about over the last three or four games. “We’ve played extremely well on the road, I thought that was a big step forward for our program. Maturity is probably the biggest thing, we are maturing. Even though we have a lot of starters back from last year, there are still a lot of new players who are coming along really well. Those guys have grown up and are playing good football right now.”

Jones also spoke about the competition in the Sun Belt and ignoring Troys 1-6 overall record this week. “This conference [the Sun Belt Conference] is very tough from top to bottom, you look at Georgia State and what they’ve done last year compared to this year and they are a much-improved team. I know our record, but we don’t keep up with things like everyone else’s. I look at film and watch athletes, how they play and how they are coached because we have to have a good plan to be able to defeat somebody. That’s our plan, I could care less about what record they have.

“We just know we’re playing a good football team this week with a lot of tradition. They know how to win. That is all we are focusing on.”

He then spoke about his concerns about Troy. “Kenny Edenfield is their offensive coordinator, he has done a tremendous job over the years, traditionally they are one of the top offenses in the league. He understands how to distribute the ball around the field and comes up with different kinds of what I call ‘trick’ plays during every game that are new. He just does a great job of play calling.

“Defensively, they are big and physical up front and really run to the football. They are very sound in the way they line up.”

Jones also mentioned the importance of the game for the program. “It’s obvious this is a big game, it’s an in-state game, but Louisiana-Lafayette has become a rival as well. But Troy is there because of the tradition and success they’ve had, it is certainly a big game for us.”

Offensive lineman Melvin Meggs reflected on the Jags win over the Panthers. “We had some things we wanted to accomplish coming off of a bye week, things like improving fundamentals and becoming stronger in our technique. It was a tough win Saturday, but we battled back in the fourth quarter and got the job done. This Friday’s game is big just because it is the next game. We’ve made the corrections from Saturday’s game, and we are preparing to limit those weaknesses and become stronger in our technique for the game Friday.”

He also spoke about getting the team’s first home win of the season. “We owe it to our fans, because they come out and support us regardless of the situation. We have some faithful fans, and to be able to finally get a win at home and give them something to look forward to Friday means a lot.”

Meggs then spoke about the offense’s consistency in the last few games. “I think it all started at practice with some of the seniors who spoke up when things weren’t going right – not in a way to down a teammate but to encourage them. And it spread quickly. Everyone just started trying to pick each other up, and it’s been rolling.”

Finally Meggs spoke about the Trojans defense that he and his teammates will face on Friday. “Their defensive line moves pretty well. They are quick off the ball. The linebackers flow hard – they’re a pretty good football team. We just have to play our technique and play as hard as we can.”

Linebacker Davin Hawkins reflected on the team’s win over Georgia State. “Defensively, we were just trying to get back to the little things like tackling, getting your head across and taking good angles – just the fundamentals. It was a tough win Saturday, but it was a good win. Any win in the Sun Belt (Conference) is a good win. We’re happy for that.”

Hawkins, who was injured earlier in the season, spoke about getting back on the field after missing some games. “It felt amazing. I don’t know what I would do without football. Being at home while everyone was in North Carolina playing was not a feeling I enjoyed at all. It was just great to be on the field. I thought it would be a little worse. I thought I’d be a little timid going back out there but it was just like I never left. I thank God for blessing me to be back on the field. It is a blessing.”

He talked about the team earning their first home win of the season as well. “It was big. I felt like we owed it to our fans. We performed on the road, but we weren’t performing for them when we came home. So I felt like it was great to give them a win, and also for ourselves to know that we are able to win at home.”

Similar to Meggs, Hawkins spoke about the defense’s consistency this season. “(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Travis) Pearson preaches consistency in performance. We felt like we weren’t doing that at times earlier this season, but we just want to be consistent in our performance.”

South Alabama will host in-state rival Troy for a nationally televised game on Friday on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Jag Volleyball Drop Match to SBC Leader UALR 3-1

October 20, 2014 · By · Filed Under Sun Belt Conference, Volleyball · Comment 

USA_VolleyballThe Jaguar volleyball team dropped their third consecutive match on Sunday as they lost to conference leader Arkansas-Little Rock 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 15-25, 13-25) in Jag Gym.

Mechell Daniel led the Jags with 14 kills and added nine digs. Deanna Canfield had 13 kills, one shy of tying her career high, off the bench. Jenna Hassell led the team with 16 digs.

UALR (17-4, 11-0 SBC) won its 12-consecutive match. During the streak they have only lost six sets.

All-conference duo Sonja Milanovic and Edina Begic led the Trojans offensively with 17 kills and hitting .417 with 15 digs and five blocks for the former and 14 kills for the later.

The Trojans entered the match leading the Sun Belt and ranking 13th in the nation in blocks, which was key in their victory over the Jaguars.

South Alabama (9-11 overall, 4-6 SBC) will open a three-match road trip on Friday when they travel to Louisiana-Monroe with first serve scheduled for 6pm.

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