Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian are in the studio for the final episode of the Joey Jones show. Coach Jones lunch choice of the day: the Joey Jones Special Black & White chicken. Lee’s choice of the day is the fish and broccoli. Plus, to celebrate the end of this years run of the Joey Jones Radio Show, they enjoy some of Wing’s delicious banana pudding. But don’t worry, the Joey Jones show will return in August for more Jaguar Football goodness.
A caller asked what kind of volunteer work that can be done for the team or sideline work that needs to be done? Coach Jones urges anyone who wants to volunteer to call the office because there will be some volunteer work that can be done on the sidelines and they have the list of what needs to be covered.
Lee asked about yesterdays first practice in pads. Coach Jones loved the intensity and said it was good to start to see who were the tough guys are. They had some full team stuff and had a couple players catch the coaches eye (I saw a huge hit on a running back that got the sidelines and the 30 or so spectators really excited).
When asked about the uniforms, Coach Jones said that the president has approved the uniforms and will hopefully be able to introduce them in two weeks. They are still working out how the home and away situation will be with the fall schedule this season in terms of uniforms. But they are considering doing something different that most schools but similar to what LSU does and wear a white top for home games. Coach Jones also said that he had thought about going with the silver helmets like he had mentioned before on the Joey Jones Show, but he thinks the latest version really stands out to him and will represent the school well.
Today’s practice will be similar to Tuesdays practice but it will have more special teams time before getting into full team practice sessions. They did not really do much special teams practice yesterday and want to start adding more of that starting today.
Men’s Basketball player Ronald Douglas is going to try out for the team. He is 6’8” and is a very good athlete as Coach Arrow told Coach Jones. So he should be out in pads today and will start working out with the team. They are thinking about putting him at the defensive end position. Douglas played football back in high school, so this is not something new for him.
Lee and Coach Jones talk about some of teams on the schedule this season. Coach Jones mentions that the first thing that came out (about the football teams) was that the Jags were going to play 4 or 5 games. However, Coach Jones wanted to increase the number of games and also increase the level of competition. With the schedule that they put together, both he and Joe Gottfried have put together a good schedule of games that will challenge the players to work hard and play hard. Initially they were going to play club teams, but Coach Jones pushed to raise the competition level to test the kids and also recruit some of the good players that come out of these schools. Hargrave Military Academy turns out lots of really good players that transfer to SEC and other Division I schools and finished 10-1 last season. Huntingdon College is the only Division III school on the schedule, the rest are prep, military or junior colleges. Huntingdon finished 8-2 last season and were considered for an at-large bid to the Division III playoffs after starting the season 8-0. They also outscored their opponents 417 – 158 with three shutouts and finished the season ranked 5th in scoring offense.
Some of these teams will have better athletes than a lot of SEC schools signing classes. They have kids that were recruited by schools from all of the BCS conferences and they are getting players from all over the country. Hargrave is probably the number one prep school in the country with the number of players going to Division I schools. Most people do not recognize the number of future NFL players who come out of prep schools.
Most of these kids that go to the prep schools are just under the cut-off for a Division I school. So it’s not the case that these kids just could not cut it in Division I academically, but rather they may have made a C in an English class and just barely missed the cutoff. So they go to these schools and work hard to better themselves and after two years, hopefully sign a Division I scholarship to play and get their education.
Lee asked Coach Jones what do these schools think of South Alabama recruiting these kids. Coach Jones said that these schools are happy, they want to have more of their kids signing Division I scholarships. It looks better for them and helps them to get better kids into their program as well.
When a caller asked about scrimmages and how Alabama has the ‘A-Day Game’ Coach Jones said that every Friday from here through the end of spring practice will be a scrimmage. But, he also said that every day they are out on the practice field, they are doing 11-on-11 plays.
Lee asked what Coach Jones vision for this program is. He then qualified that question to be mainly about stadiums. With a proposed stadium being built by a group that will be out I-10 West that is supposed to seat 50,000, is that something the USA is going to look at or is something on campus is the ultimate goal for the school? Coach Jones said that probably an on-campus stadium should be the ultimate goal because it adds to the atmosphere of the campus and whenever any other team has transitioned from an off-campus to an on-campus stadium, their attendance doubles.
Back to the schedule this fall, the times are all stated at 4pm except for a lone 11:30am kickoff. Lee asked if these times were set in stone or are they subject to change? Coach Jones said that they are subject to change of course, but this year will be time to test different kickoff times and see what works out best for South Alabama versus Alabama and Auburn obviously.
Lee said that he has had people ask him what is the best way to get their son recognized and possibly help them get a scholarship to South Alabama to play football. Coach Jones said that the biggest and easiest way to mass publicize a player is for a high school coach to make a highlight reel for a player. But USA is getting over 2,000 DVDs and they at least look at them all for some amount of time, but it’s hard to pick players from video. While their highlight reel may show their two good plays from a game, they may have had 5 bad plays in the game and they want to know this. A really good way for a kid to be recognized by the coaching staff at USA, or other schools for that matter, is for that kid to go to a football camp. Some schools may not sign a player unless they have either been chosen as a ‘blue chip’ recruit or have gone to at least one of their football camps. Coach Jones also said that he will not sign a quarterback without actually seeing him play in person.
That wraps up this season of the Joey Jones show. Keep visiting Thunderjags.com for more football news. Also check us out for information from other sporting news from the Jaguars. Also come out and support all of the South Alabama sports, including baseball and softball, which are going on right now.
In addition to yesterdays announcement of the 2009 Football schedule, the University of South Alabama announced a deal to play N.C. State three times in the coming years.
The contract has three games, two in Raleigh and one in Mobile. The Jags will visit North Carolina on September 17, 2011 and September 15, 2012. Then the Wolfpack will travel to Mobile for a September 5, 2015 matchup.
This announcement adds to the previous announcements of big games against Tennessee in Knoxville in 2013 and a four year, home-and-home series against the Navy Midshipmen.
Coach Jones was quoted saying, “The most important thing about the contracts we’ve signed is that it shows where the program is going and the vision that the administration has.”. He continued, “We know there are steps to get where we want to be, and we’re doing it as fast as any school in the country ever has.”
The University of South Alabama Jaguars continue on their road to playing Division I football today with the release of their first football schedule and their first practice of the spring in full pads.
South Alabama’s 2009 football schedule currently has games against a Division III school, two junior colleges and four prep schools. The Jaguars will have about 40-45 scholarship players on the roster in the fall but they will need a minimum of three seasons to reach the NCAA Division I-A/FBS limit of 85 scholarship student-athletes since the school can offer no more than 30 scholarships in one year from 2008-2010.
So, for the first two seasons of play, the jaguars will be an unclassified NCAA program before beginning a two-year transition to the NCAA Division I-A/FBS level and will count as a NCAA Division I-AA/FCS school on opponents schedules in 2011. But the following season (2012) they will be considered an NCAA Division I-A/FBS opponent for schools. Then in 2013, the Jaguars will be eligible for a bowl game and the Sun Belt Conference Championship for the first time in the schools history.
The Jaguars 2009 Football Schedule:
- September 5th 4PM Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy
- September 26th 4PM Army Prep School
- October 10th 11:30AM Georgia Military Junior College
- October 17th 4PM Louisburg (N.C.) Junior College
- October 31st 4PM Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy
- November 7th 4PM Milford (N.Y.) Academy
- November 14th 4PM Huntingdon (Ala.) College
Coach Jones and his staff put the players through a good workout on Tuesday with Coach Jones not wasting any time getting into contact drills. Even though the team was coming off a 10 day layoff due to Spring Break, it only took about 15 minutes to get into the contact.
Most of the time was devoted to actually running plays. The offense dressed out in blue jerseys while the defense dressed out in red jerseys.
After some warm-up drill periods, similar to what the Jags went through in the opening week of spring practice, coaches put defenders against skill position players in a pair of excercises. First were one-on-one tackling drills then later defensive players were forced to take on a blocker before reaching the ball carrier.
The first group contact drills started around half way through the workout. Offensive and defensive linemen battled each while they ran through inside handoffs. Later the running backs departed in order to take part in 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills.
Then with about 45 minutes left in the practice, they lined up for some 11-on-11, full contact drills for the first time. The defense intercepted three passes while knocking down several others while playing against both running and passing plays.
The offense and defensive squads were on opposite sidelines while practicing the formations and plays. They started with first and ten plays which leaned more towards shotgun formations and passing for a while. Then they transitioned to third down and four plays. These seemed to have a good mixture of running and passing both from the shotgun and from under center. Finally, they ended the practice working on red zone plays.
Coaches were rotating squads of players in and out depending on plays. Coach Craig would prepare a group to go in, then cycle them in and the other group off the field. They would repeat this cycle for a while to not only to teach the plays but also to work on getting groups onto and off of the field in game-like situations.
Overall the players seem to progressing at a good rate, which is very good considering how short spring practice is and how much this time means to the Jaguars new program. Coach Jones was pleased with the intensity level. He also like how the defense stepped up, which they should do the first day in pads. Coach Jones also said, “We improved a little bit offensively, but their timing was off because of the break.” However, what he was looking for was the intesity level and that was there.
Coach Crain had a few words to say about the defense and his linebackers, “We take a lot of pride on defense that we’re going to outhit you. If you’re going to be a great defensive football team, you have to win the contact battle. I saw good contact today, guys hitting with their head up and I didn’t see anyone hit a player low. Football is not for everybody. It’s a very physical, violent game.”
Coach Crain also commented on how excited the coaches are to finally have contact drills: “It’s been such a long haul. It seems like we have been in shorts forever.” He continued, “I told my guys that this is like going to Disney World. It’s a chance to be out doing something that has never been done at South Alabama. If that doesn’t get you excited as a player or a coach, you shouldn’t be here.”
Probably the most important part of practicing in full pads is that the coaching staff can start to truly evaluate the players. Coach Jones said, “We’ll be able to watch tape tonight and tomorrow morning to evaluate each player.” He cautioned, “But, where they are right now is not where they are going to be. Every one of them has to know that. I don’t care if they thought they did well today or if they played poorly, they just have to keep getting better.”
This week the Jaguars will continue practicing Wednesday and Thursday before taking part in the program’s first scrimmage on Friday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
With the Jaguars win on Friday night, they won their first SBC game 12-1 over New Orleans, however they would lose the next two games of the series with a combined score of 22-7.
These losses put the Jaguars record overall at 8-13 and a mere 1-5 in the Sun Belt Conference and half game behind Troy who is 12-10 overall (2-5 in the SBC).
The Jaguars have shown that they are capable of winning by defeating the #6 ranked Ole Miss Rebels at Stanky Field back in late February. But since then, when the lose they give up lots of runs and sometimes when they win they give up lots of runs too.
Lets hope Coach Kittrell can get the team back on track and the pitching staff under control. They have 33 games left in the regular season with such teams as Mississippi State, Auburn and Alabama all coming to Mobile.
|From South Alabama Football First Spring Practice|
Coach Joey Jones, Lee Shirvanian and Tommy Perry are in the studio at Baumhower’s Wing’s sports grill on Airport Blvd for today’s radio show. This is the next to last Coach Joey Jones show so go out and tell the people at Wing’s that you love the show and would hate to see it leave the airwaves. They also have their Grills Gone Wild specials going on right now so make sure to ask for that menu when you go. Joey Jones choice of the week is the Ragin’ Cajun chicken wings with the sauce on the side.
The first caller had another question about the release of the football schedule. However, this week we got some really good news when this was asked, not what we have been getting. Coach Jones said that the schedule will be released on Tuesday with seven games, probably an eighth and quite possibly a ninth and all of the confirmed games (seven) will be home games.
The caller followed up with a question about what kind of teams USA will be playing against come football season? Coach Jones said that USA will be playing smaller teams and schools, like he said before, but he can’t mention names until Tuesday. They will be teams that USA could recruit from in the near future which indicates possibly junior colleges and smaller Division II schools. They are moving towards Division-I as fast as they can and will be playing Div-I teams in three years, which when they release the schedule for the fall they will also talk about some of the upcoming Division-I teams that they have contracts to play in the coming years. The eighth game may be a road game for USA to wet their feet with traveling.
They took a few minutes to joke about Lane Kiffin at Tennessee and some of the questionable remarks he has made since he was hired at Tennessee.
Lee wanted to look back on the practices held last week. Coach Jones said he likes how the players and coaches were over their first week of practice but they cannot tell anything about the players until they put pads. But they improved from day one to day two but they really improved from day two to the third day of practice as expected. They start to internalize the drills and just get back into moving like a football player again.
When asked about some standout players so far, Coach Jones mentioned Courtney Smith and Ralph Turner as some good looking Wide Receivers with good routes and such. He aslo mentioned Richard Ross, Anthony Mostella and Santuan McGee as some good looking running backs. Starting next week they will be wearing pads and will start hitting and there will be some sort of scrimmage on April 10th but with only two quarterbacks he is trying to figure out how that will work, they don’t want to risk one or both of them getting hurt.
They have about 97 to 98 players coming out to the practices with about 28 more scholarship kids coming in the fall. He said a total of about 45 coming in the fall and for camp they can only have 105 players, but when they start fall practice they can have 130 so they can add 25 kids at that time.
Tommy Perry is the running backs and special team’s coordinator for USA. Coach Perry is from a long line of coaches, his grandfather is John David Crow and his father is a high school coach as well. He graduated from Texas A&M and then went to University of Texas to work with Coach Brown, who he credited with teaching him how to coach a player one-on-one and to how to work with them.
Coach Jones said that they could have split the special teams’ duties between the other coaches but he like Coach Perry for that position. Coach Jones said that Coach Perry was irritated after the first day of practice because everything did not go like he wanted but as the players have gotten better so has his mood (a little chuckling there from both of them). Coach Jones said he and the rest of the staff really likes Coach Perry and Coach Jones really likes that he is a perfectionist.
Special Teams is a very critical part of the game. If you look at the conference champions each year in any conference they are almost always the leader in the special teams’ categories. He was a backup full back in college so Coach Perry got his chance to play because of special teams. Some people do not think that much about special teams and coaching special teams and can almost belittle them. But your good coaches know and acknowledge that specials teams can and will make or break a game.
Continuing on about special teams, Coach Jones said he will have players that are not allowed to play on any specials teams at all. Then some players can be on some special teams but not all of them. One reason is to prevent game fatigue. One example was a wide receiver that just ran a 55 yard fly route and then has to come right back and play the gunner position on the punt team. That is a lot of energy expended in two consecutive plays.
Talking about punt returning, getting a good punt returner, like Javier Arenas at Alabama, is pretty rare. But when a team blocks a punt, that team typically wins about 95% of the time. So Coach Jones said he may not emphasize the punt return as much, but he will definitely emphasize getting pressure on the punter trying to block a punt which could yield maybe 20 yards instead the average of 8 or 9 yard punt return if he is pressured and not blocked.
Talking about the Senior Bowl possibly moving to Tampa, Coach Jones said he was sad to hear that news that broke yesterday. After 59 years in Mobile, he hopes that they don’t leave for the tradition, for Mobile and for the USA Football program.
Practice next week will be in pads for the first time. Monday will be a weight training day. Practice will be held from Tuesday through Friday from 2:30-4:45pm. Once warmed up they will start hitting, some one-on-one drills and other drills. Coach Perry says he was pleasantly surprised with group of running backs at USA. Some speed guys and some grind it out and hard hitting guys. But it’s easier to look good in shorts but when they get pads on and the holes get smaller they will really see how good they are.
Back in February the Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced a new agreement that extends their relationship through the 2011-2012 academic year. It will take affect at the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year and will expand the conference’s national television exposure to new heights.
Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters said, “The Sun Belt Conference’s negotiation with ESPN, Inc. is one of the most significant events in the conference’s 33 year history. There have been many great steps taken in the history of this league including the Sun Belt becoming a member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and the Bowl Championship Series. I firmly believe that this new deal and our partnership with ESPN, Inc. is another important step for the success of the Sun Belt Conference.”
ESPN will remain the exclusive national television home for the Sun Belt Conference and the new agreement will give the Sun Belt’s rising football league a minimum of two games on either ESPN or ESPN2. Additionally, ESPN regional television will have the right to produce, distribute and syndicate up to five football games each year. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, the 24 hour college sports network, will also be granted additional opportunities to select games to air.
The three networks will be granted a 12 day rolling window during the season to select additional games to televise. Games available for selection are after the third Saturday of the season.
SBC teams have made quite an impression with thier appearances on the ESPN family network. Troy defeated Big 12 powers Missouri and Oklahoma State in nationally televised contests in addition to the 2006 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl that was also nationally televised. Florida Atlantic became the first SBC team to win bowl games in back-to-back years when they won the 2007 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the 2008 Motor City Bowl, both ESPN nationally televised contests.
ESPN and the SBC have a long partnership in men’s basketball as well. They televised the conferences men’s championship for the 29th consecutive season recently. This is its longest affiliation with any conference in the country.
Not only will this new agreement conintue to air the SBC championship game but will also create additional appearances for the league’s men’s programs. They will not make a minimum of four appearances annually on ESPN or ESPN2. They also maintain the right to produce, distribute and syndicate up to eight men’s games annually.
The women’s basketball is the most successful sports in the SBC and will benefit greatly from the new deal. SBC teams will make a minimum of two appearances annually on ESPNU, which marks the first time that the women’s basketball is guaranteed national exposure on an ESPN network. ESPNU will televise either the league’s women’s basketball championship or up to two regualr season games.
- Football – Guaranteed national exposure on ESPN or ESPN2 with a minimum of 2 Sun Belt controlled games a year. Upon request the SBC will make available two midweek games to ESPN/ESPN2. Through a 12 day rolling window (i.e., by the second Monday preceding each Saturday telecast date) ESPN may select additional games to air after the first three weeks of the season for inclusion on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
- Men’s Basketball – 25% increase in guaranteed annual exposure on ESPN and ESPN2. Continued relationship with ESPN for championship week and will continue to air the championship game on ESPN or ESPN2.
- Women’s Basketball – Is guaranteed national exposure for the first time on ESPNU. ESPNU will air either the women’s championship game or at a minimum one women’s regular season game.
- Olympic Sports – Will retain first selection rights on all other sports.
- Syndication – ESPN Regional Television retains the rights to produce, syndicate and distribute up to eight men’s basketball games a year. ESPN Regional Television retains the right to produce, syndicate and distribute up to five football games a year.
Way to go Sun Belt!
Several things lead to a rough first half for South Alabama. WKU begin the game with an 11-0 advantage and eventually see their lead swell to as much as 15 with 5:58 to play in the first half. The first half saw the worst of the Jaguars with plenty of turnovers and an inability to get a defensive rebound allowing the Hilltoppers to shoot two, three and sometimes four times down the court. Then in addition to the sloppy play, WKU took advantage of USA’s spotty 3-point defense.
DeAndre Coleman, who was still suffering from a stomach illness, took the Jaguars onto his back and kept them in the game for the first half. At halftime, the Jaguars were only down by ten points, 35-25.
The second half saw the Jaguars come out of the locker room determined to try to win the game, knowing that their only opportunity to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament was by winning this game.
Domonic Tilford came out and drained an early 3-pointer to cut the hilltopper lead under ten points for the first time since it was 9-0. Add a DeAndre Coleman layup and another Tilford trey and the jaguars were within four points with 16:29 left in the game.
Sherrer connected with Coleman for another layup and a foul on Magley of the hilltoppers. Coleman connected on the free throw to get the Jags within one points of the lead 37-36 with 15:48 left in the game. Then Coleman gave South Alabama their first lead of the game 41 seconds later on a tip-in.
Tilford would extend the Jaguar lead to 43-39 on a three pointer with 12:17 left. However the lead was short lived after a layup and a trey by the hilltoppers retook the lead with 10:58 left in the game at 44-43.
The Jaguars would tie the game up one more time at 46 on a DeAndre Coleman free throw with 8:34 left in the game. However the Jags ran out of fuel and could not keep pace with the hilltoppers. Each time the Jags would start to get close, Orlando Mendez-Valdez would drain a 3-pointer. The Jaguars were within four points with 2:52 left but free throw shooting, turnovers and shots that would not fall would end the game. The final score was 64-56.
Brandon Davis would lead all scorers, coming off the bench to score 27 points on 11-16 shooting, 5-6 from the free throw line and adding 9 rebounds. Domonic Tilford, the Jaguars leading scorer, could only score 12 points on 4-10 shooting, 4-6 from beyond the arc.
A.J. Slaughter would lead the hilltoppers in scoring with 18 points on 5-14 shooting, 2-8 from 3-point range and 6-6 from the free throw line. Steffphon Pettigrew added 15 points and Orlando Mendez-Valdez added 10 points and eight assists. Mendez-Valdez only hit two shots from the floor, but they were both 3-pointers to seal the game.
The Jaguars shot 50% from the floor for the game compared to 42% for the hilltoppers. The Jags shot 50% from 3-point range while the hilltoppers shot 35%. The Jags went to the charity stripe 8 times and made five of them while the hilltoppers made all 14 attempts.
South Alabama will have to wait and see if they receive an invitation to play in the NIT Tournament.
The seniors DeAndre Coleman, Domonic Tilford, Brandon Davis, B.J. Ford, Ronald Douglas and Jamal Harris played a great season for the Jaguars. They fought hard through injuries, a tough last second losing streak and illness to have a good season. Hopefully they will go on and do good in whatever comes of them after their time at South Alabama.
|From South Alabama’s Football First Spring Practice|
(Photo gallery coming soon, until then the above link will have to suffice)
Brien Straw is in the studio with Coach Jones at Wing’s Sports Grill on Airport Blvd. in Mobile. Lee Shirvanian is traveling back with the basketball team who lost last night in the SBC Title game to Western Kentucky. I would like to add that The Joey Jones Show was only renewed through the end of March, so if you like the show and our recaps of the show, please support them and the other sponsors. Go to Wings and order the “Joey Jones Special” or if you don’t like the Black & White Chicken at least let the manager know why you are there and that you enjoy the show each week.
Coach Jones is now two practices into his first real ‘season’ as Head Coach for South Alabama. He said everyone has been ready to get out on the field and are glad that the time has finally arrived. While they are ready to hit and have fun, the NCAA requires them to have 2 or 3 days in shorts before suiting up in pads. When asked about soreness of the players, Coach Jones said that they are getting a bit sore just from getting back to working on the field and moving in new ways or moving in ways they haven’t moved in a while. But its nothing like they will be soon when they are hitting with pads. Currently they have 105 players out there, then they have about 30 coming into the team in August. They will have to cut some of them to make room under the NCAA rules which is that they can start with 105.
Each coach has a list so to speak. For instance at receiver they have eight scholarship positions and will also have to fill six more for that position for a total of about 14 receivers. Each position has some number of slots for players so at receivers they will have to whittle down nine people to make room for the incoming freshmen.
Coach Jones wants to make sure and keep numbers fairly even because they have to be able to practice. But they could keep an extra receiver if they don’t particularly look too good at defensive back and they think keeping an extra receiver may be more valuable at the time. Coach Jones is the one most concerned about keeping even classes. They don’t want to be like other programs, mentioned was South Florida and Florida Atlantic, who over sign to basically get numbers but then they graduate 40 seniors and the team really falls off for a year or two. So USA has signed a good number of Junior College players that will graduate in two years and incoming freshmen that will be graduating in 4 years. Coach Jones said next year they are going to be much more picky and may only sign about 25 players or less.
In addition to South Florida, Coach Jones also looks to Florida Atlantic and their head coach Howard Schnellenberger for insights at starting up South Alabama’s football program. Coach Jones took two assistants to meet with Coach Schnellenberger at Florida Atlantic. He is very well known coach from his time at University of Miami and as offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama in the 60’s under Coach Bear Bryant and has started (or restarted) a couple programs over the years. They mainly met with assistants because he was very busy, as expected, but they did get an hour with Coach Schnellenberger which was great he said.
Brien asked about the economic affect on football. Coach Jones said that the budget will be cut back some of course, but the initial outlay was there so its not going to be too bad. Its not like they are going to have to buy all new equipment again. The money was already there for the practice fields and the field house. But it was mentioned that the economic problems might, in some ways, be good for South Alabama Football. That maybe people will reconsider and think they cannot afford season tickets to UA or AU plus the fuel and lodging but yet South Alabama season tickets are quite affordable without the long drive to Tuscaloosa or Auburn with lodging and food costs associated with travel.
Brien mentioned a Mobile Press-Register story saying that Coach Jones is going to be emphasizing the passing game over the running game during these practices. Coach Jones said that whenever you are in shorts, and not pads, you can’t really get into a team formation and run with full blocking and such. But they still have to install the run. The players can get out during the summer and throw the ball 7 on 7 but the players are not going to get out there and work on the running game. Now the coaches can’t get out there help, but the players can work on it on their own.
Defensively they are installing a lot of blitz packages. Since they are not lining up in the base 3-4 and trying to stop the run because they are in shorts and have to limit the hitting. What they are doing is working on the blitz’s first. Coach Jones philosophy is to throw a lot at them and then come back after some amount of time and break those things down. So what they are doing is using blitz’s to teach the defense while the offensive lineman are trying to figure out how to block it. So what they are seeing is that the players are asking more questions and when they come back to break it down and give them information sometime in the future, they have already been through it and seen the play before so they understand why they are doing what they are doing now.
Brien then asked about special teams. Specifically, how much time is spent on special teams? Coach Jones said that when you break a game down you tend to see that about 1 out of 6 plays is special teams. So that breaks down to about 10 minutes every 60 minutes. So they spend about 20 minutes a practice on special teams. They have been working on the punt team over the last two days because nothing can get your team beat quicker than problems in the punt team. However, tomorrow (Thursday) they are going to start working on field goals. Which Coach Jones said they have two kickers on scholarship already so they basically have those positions covered for now.
When asked if he uses scripted plays or trick plays Coach Jones said yes, he has plays that he calls get it in his hands plays (roughly that’s what it was called). He has plays that are meant to get the ball into players hands that can make a difference in the game.
Go Jags and don’t forget to visit Wings Sports Grill and the other sponsors to help keep this show going (as well as these recaps on Thunderjags.com).
The Jaguars knew they needed to win four in a row in order to get into the big dance that is the NCAA Tournament this year. So far they have done what they have needed to in order to get it done. Now comes the final step, win game four against their sworn rival, Western Kentucky.
The Jaguars came out and jumped onto the UALR Trojans from the beginning. Starting the game with a 15-3 run and eventually going up 20-5 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. The largest lead of the game was 16 as late as 6:15 left in the first half. The Jags went into the locker room with a 13 point lead at 32-19 to end a spectacular half of basketball.
The second half would be more physical and most of it was very low scoring. Through the first 16 minutes of the second half the Jaguars could only manage ten points while the Trojans could only manage 11 points keeping the Jaguars in the lead by 12.
South Alabama shot terribly through the rest of the game scoring ten of their final 12 points from the free throw line. Nonetheless, Coach Arrow and the Jags will still take the 54-44 win.
Domonic Tilford and Bryan Sherrer lead the way with 17 points each. Brandon Davis came down with 12 rebounds, ten of the defensive while Ronald Douglas came away with 11 rebounds, eight of the defensive.
UALR only had two players scoring in double digits. Mike Smith and John Fowler both scored ten points each, with Fowler adding ten rebounds for a double-double.
Both teams shot terrible in the second half with UALR shooting slightly better 22.9% to USA’s 22.2%. But for the game the Jags shot 41% to UALR’s 26.2% for the difference.
Jaguars play Western Kentucky tonight on ESPN2 for the Sun Belt Championship and the right to represent the Sun Belt Conference in the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately the Women’s team lost a tough game against Middle Tennessee State 77-71.
After losing both meetings to the Trojans during the regular season, South Alabama finally found a way to win at the perfect time. With strong performances by key players, including a very visibly sick DeAndre Coleman, and Troy’s inability to hit clutch shots in the final minute of the game lead to the 78-75 victory.
The game started rough for the Jaguars with the Trojans hitting two 3-pointers and four missed shots by the Jags in the first 70 seconds of the game to jump out to an 8-0 lead. Coach Arrow quickly called a 30 second timeout to regroup his team.
At the 14:54 mark of the first half the Trojans again stretched their lead to eight points 16-8 but the Jaguars would start to come alive finally. The Jags would take the lead with a 10-1 run over 2:36. But the Jaguars could not go ahead by more than a single point, trading the lead several times in the first half. However, Troy would eventually regain a narrow lead and go into the locker room up by four, 41-37.
The second half would see more close play with the lead changing hands a couple times before USA was able to push out to a four point lead with 14:37 left in the second half. However that lead would be short lived and a few more lead changes would occurr before USA would take the lead for the final time of the game at the 11:31 mark.
USA would go out to their largest lead of the game at eight points with 3:57 remaining but they could not put Troy away for good. Ronald Douglas would get fouled and he would make both of his free throws at the 2:13 mark and DeAndre Coleman would be fouled and make both of his free throw attempts at the :34 second mark, but the Jaguar free throw shooting would be abysmal for the rest of the game.
After Coleman’s free throws the Jaguars were up 77-73 and a potentially costly fouled by Bryan Sherrer allowed Troy to pull back within two points with the clock stopped. The inbounds play saw DeAndre Coleman get fouled by Kenny Ware of Troy but Coleman missed his first attempt but sunk his second to give the Jaguars a three point lead with 28 seconds to go at 78-75.
In the final 28 seconds there were three missed shots by Troy and four missed free throws by the Jaguars. However its still a win for the Jaguars.
Troy’s Brandon Hazzard had a game high of 22 points going 8-20 from the floor, 4-12 from 3-point range and 2-4 from the free-throw line. Michael Vogler and Richard Delk both added 12 for the Trojans.
Domonic Tilford scored 20 points to lead the Jaguars going 7-20 from the floor, 2-8 from 3-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line. LaShun Watson added a career high 18 points. A sick DeAndre Coleman scored 17 points. Finally Brandon Davis scored 11 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double.
The Quarterfinal games for the Men’s Bracket will have #1 Western Kentucky squaring off against #4 North Texas at 6:30pm then the #6 Jaguars will take on #2 UALR at 9:00. With two more victories the Jaguars will automatically receive a berth in the NCAA Tournament.