Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-03-11

March 11, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show 
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


One Response to “Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-03-11”

  1. FAU Sports | Sun-Sentinel Blogs on March 12th, 2009 9:18 am

    SoBama seeks advice from FAU, Schnellenberger…

    South Alabama is starting football, and that means some Jags coaches headed to Boca Raton to study how FAU did it. They got some face time with The Voice as well as talking to a lot of assistants. Appears one……

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