Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-01-14

January 14, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show 

Joey Jones, Lee Shirvanian, Haven Fields and Daniel McCarthy were all at Wing’s Sports Grill in Mobile today for the Joey Jones Show. Most of the episode was dedicated to recruiting talk since we are in the home stretch before national signing day.

This weekend is a recruiting weekend at the University of South Alabama. About 13 prospects and their families are coming to tour campus and what Mobile has to offer. Most are verbally committed but there are some in the group who are not committed. They wil lbe housing them at the Battlehouse Hotel in downtown Mobile and will take them to a coupld good restaurants to eat, including Wing’s for lunch one day. While they are at USA they will have a chance to meet with some of the academia at USA. What the staff wants is for the recruits to leave USA and not have any unanswered questions.

USA is actively recruiting about 50 students heavily in order to fill their 30 scholarship alotment for the 2009 signing period. When asked, Coach Jones said that there are about 20 more students that are sort of on the fence. In the case of oversigning, one option is a gray shirt. A gray shirt is when a scholarship is held for them the next signing season and they agree not to enroll into school until that next spring. So, a 2009 recruit would hold off from enrolling at USA in the fall of 2009 and would enroll the spring of 2010. He would still get a scholarship and would then count against the 2010 scholarship alotment.

Haven Fields is the assistant athletic director for football, he was hired by athletic director Joe Gottfried. He was a former linebacker for Auburn from 1996-1999. He was associate director of athletic development at Auburn University before coming to the University of South Alabama. He works for the football program on the school side to work out things so Coach Jones and his staff’s day-to-day life is much easier and so they can focus on working with the student athletes and prepare for gameday.

Keith Ayers, in the Office of Public Relations for USA, stopped by for a few minutes to talk about a couple things. First he wanted to let the listeners know about the schools plans for national signing day on February 4th. At 4pm in the Mitchell Center they will announce the schools first signing class and they will have some video to show to everyone in attendance. This will be a historic moment for the University and the football program. Free T-shirts, autographs and much more will be available.

The second thing Mr. Ayers wanted to let everyone know is that ticket sales have been ramping up and wanted to urge everyone to call 461-1USA to get their season tickets before they are all gone.  The third and final thing is that tomorrow evening the USA Men’s Basketball team will host Troy and it will be K-12 appreciation night so kids in K-12 will get free admission and the first 1,000 will get free USA Football T-shirts as well. This is all tomorrow night at the Mitchell Center.

Daniel McCarthy’s former team in Richmond just won a national championship for Division I-AA football. Lee Shirvanian asked if a playoff would work in Division I-A since it seems to work fine in Division I-AA.  Mr. McCarthy said that going through it with his former team was probably the most exciting thing he has ever gone through. Just like every game in the Division I-A regular season is like a playoff game, every game in the Division I-AA is also like a playoff game as well because there are only a limited number of spots available in the playoff for schools to get in.

Mr. McCarthy is the compliance officer for USA, so he is the go-to guy on questions about proper and improper conduct by the staff on recruiting visits. Coach Jones says that when recruiting, “Its pretty much just use your common sense.” But he and the staff do sit down with Daniel from time to time in order to ask him questions, not to try to find a loophole, but to make sure everything is done within the rules set forth by the NCAA.

Mr. McCarthy said he would like to see football recruiting treated more like the other sports in college and have it opened up somewhat. Other sports are much more open than football so the kids get to know the coaches much better and he thinks this would help cut down the number of transfers by students to other schools. This will help players choose the right school and program for them and would allow the school of find good players that fit well in their program.

When asked about how they educate their student athletes about rules, both Mr. McCarthy and Coach Jones responded that they have meetings to go over what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. The caller who asked the question mentioned the Andre Smith situation with the University of Alabama before the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Mr. McCarthy said that it has gotten to the point where agents have to be approved by the NFL and in some states they have to be approved and licensed by the state legislature to operate in that state. Sometimes they employ a back door runner, someone who might want to get into the agent market or whatever, to work their way into befriending student athletes to steer them to their ’employer’. It can start out innocently by giving them a few dollars then it can easily escalate to more and eventually becoming an NCAA violation. The staff and everyone involved work hard to make sure nothing like this happens.

It was mentioned in the show that Coach Jones is working hard trying to find the right person to fill the offensive coordinator position left vacant when Les Koenning left for Mississippi State recently. Lee Shirvanian made light that if people knew who has been contacted, interviewed or even were interested in the position, we would be amazed. But one person who was interviewed by Coach Jones for the position was former Hoover High School head coach Rush Probst. However, since his interview he has since let Coach Jones know that he is uninterested in leaving his position at Colquitt County High School, at least that is what he has told the local newspaper. We will see what transpires over the next few days.

So come out and support your Jaguars tonight as the Women take on Troy and tomorrow night when the Men host Troy both in the Mitchell Center.

GO JAGS!

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