Joey Jones Show Recap 2008-12-10

December 10, 2008 · By · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show, Uncategorized 

Coach Jones joined the program over the phone since he was just across the state line from Auburn in Columbus Georgia for recruiting. He left out early this morning and will return late tonight. Also Travis Toth joined Lee Shirvanian at Wings Sports Grill, he is the marketing director at USA.

First off Lee wanted to bring everyone up to date on recruiting. Coach Jones said that they are at the point where they can be more specific about what they are looking for such as defensive linemen, linebackers, getting another quarterback or so and they would be looking pretty well. They seem to be set with offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers for now.

It was brought up that a letter was sent out by the SEC and SBC clarifying an NCAA rule that they had been back and forth on for some time now. The rule maybe was a bit fuzzy so they ruled that coaches could not attend the game or practice of the Alabama – Mississippi All-Star Game coming up soon. Even though they are in a contact period with recruits they cannot go to these events. A lot of good players have played in this game and it’s a huge honor for any high school player to be selected to play in this game.

When asked about the challenges the coaches have when it comes to preparing for this game coach Jones answered that the key was offense. Defensive schemes are easier to prepare and get the kids ready for, but offense is a huge key to get prepared. They will be bringing together kids that play in a multitude of different offensive schemes. Some may have played in the Wing-T, Veer, or Spread offenses so bringing them together and creating a cohesive offense that they can run together is a huge task. The key is to keep it simple so they can learn, understand and execute it over the course of a four day period.

The holidays is coming up and Travis Toth talked about an ad they are running in the Mobile Press-Register as gifts for that sports loving fan this holiday season. They have a choice of two sideline tickets ($75 for the season) or two endzone ($48 for the season). It will come with a certificate for the tickets and a USA Football T-Shirt. So if you know a USA sports fan, this would be a great holiday gift for them to open on Christmas day.

Coach Jones said they have set dates for spring football practice and when I talked to one of the team members last night he told me that it will start February 18th. So after the holidays, they will jump right back into the grind to get ready for South Alabama Football in the fall. When asked about something like an A-Day game, similar to what Alabama and Auburn have in the spring, coach Jones said that they would have something special for the last day of spring practice. He did not indicate if it would be a full on A-Day game like experience or if it would be a more low-key scrimmage but something will be planned and we will know about it on his radio show for certain.

Daniel McCarthy has been hired as directory of compliance so he will be working closely with the football program to make sure everything is done by the book and no rules are broken accidentally. The rule talked about earlier with the All-Star game was mentioned again and he expects that it may be changed in the future. Kids may be recognized at the game who may not have received a scholarship otherwise which is a huge benefit to the kids.

Recruiting trips will continue through December 20th and then they will pick back up on or around January 4th, Coach Jones could not remember the exact date since he was on the road recruiting. USA will be able to sign up to 30 kids in February but they could receive more than those in verbal commitments. Some may not qualify academically, but they are talking to a lot of interested kids that have good grades so that may not be a concern come signing time.

Lee Shirvanian then asked Coach Jones what his first roster could look like. Jones responded that they could have anywhere from 50-60 on scholarship this fall and about 20 of those would be Junior College transfers and the rest walk-ons. He expects them to be 120-130 players by the time they start next summer preparing for the fall schedule. He started recruiting Junior College kids fairly close to home but they are now recruiting them from Texas, California and other places to find the best players they can to fill the positions they need. So far this year, 17 kids have been signed to scholarships and they have 13 more they can sign this calendar year. They have been working on some and can announce them around the December 17th deadline hopefully.

Lee brought up an interesting thing, why don’t Junior Colleges in Alabama play football? Coach Jones and others agreed it would be great for kids in our state. The economy and money are probably the biggest factors.

Coach Jones is not close to releasing the schedule yet for next year. Many of the coaches he is talking to for contracts have been in the midst of their season so negotiations have been put on the back burner for the last few weeks. They will be getting back into that soon. Currently, even the players do not know who they may be playing and I know at least one of them is quite eager to know.

Going back to the rules talk, Lee Shirvanian stated that lately he has not hear much about football rules violations. Mr. McCarthy said that rules compliance for football is much harder than for basketball. Basketball has maybe from 7-10 players they have to monitor. Football they could have 120-130 as Coach Jones indicated on their roster, that they have to monitor and make sure no rules are being breached. Its really a whole team effort to get this done. USA has a group of faculty volunteers that help advise these players when they come to see the school and it really helps that they can talk to faculty from their potential chosen majors too.

When asked about the sports dorms that the NCAA has gotten rid of, Coach Jones was outspoken about them. He likes the sports dorms for players so they are held responsible and are kept out of potentially bad situations. When he was a player at Alabama he knew that there were people there watching out for them. Kids are going to be kids, nothing has changed since he was in college. They do not need babysitting but they can sometimes use a big brother as a mentor.

Lee asked Coach Jones about how soon USA could have a senior in the Senior Bowl, which is held each year in Mobile, Alabama. Coach Jones was very optimistic and enthusiastic stating that it could be in the next few years. They are really bringing in good, talented players that could be selected. Its also a good recruiting tool to say that the Senior Bowl is located in Mobile and that they will definitely be looking at USA for potential players.

Travis Toth then mentioned that USA will be hosting our basketball rival, Western Kentucky on Thursday, December 18th and we need everyone we can get into the Mitchell Center to help kick off the Conference season with a big win over the Hilltoppers. They have been playing well and so has USA. So come out and join us for the game!

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