The University of South Alabama announced two additions to future football schedules on Thursday. Joe Gottfried, South Alabama’s Athletic Director, announced details of three-game contracts with Kent State and Mississippi State. The Jags will play in Starkville September 12, 2012 and September 10, 2016 in addition to hosting the Bulldogs in Mobile on September 13, 2014.
Coach Jones was quoted saying, “To be able to bring Mississippi State to Mobile is a great plus for our program. These two-for-one contracts are very important early on as we continue to build for the future. I’ll never forget when Missouri visited Troy a few years ago, that was a big deal when they went down there. Any time you can do that you’re advancing your program, and that’s where we’re going.”
Joe Gottfried added, “With the contractual agreement with Mississippi State to play in Mobile, we are clearly sending a message to the community that we are committed to football and to provide our fans an opportunity to see the Jags play teams like MSU, North Carolina State, Navy and others.”
South Alabama will travel to Ohio to play Kent State on September 1, 2011 and September 6, 2014. Kent State will travel to Mobile to face the Jaguars in their first season in Division I-A, also known as the Football Bowl Subdivision, on October 19, 2013 as well. The 2013 season will be the first season that the Jaguars will compete in the Sun Belt Conference and also will be eligible for a bowl game. USA also has previously announced that they will be playing Tennessee in Knoxville and begin a four-game home-and-home series with Navy in 2013. Also the Jags will play a three game series with North Carolina State, two in North Carolina and one game in Mobile.
The Jaguars will take the field for their first game on Saturday, September 5, 2009 to face Hargrave Military Academy at 4pm. Get your tickets now for this historic event.
The Jaguars swept the weekend series 9-5, 8-6 and 7-4 for their first sweep of ULL since 1999 and the first at ULL since 1995.
The Jags got a great effort from Brandon Sage, who went 7 innings and allowed three runs. Lance Baxter came in for the last two innings for his fourth save of the week.
After the weekend sweep the Jaguars have improved their record to 18-20 overall and 8-10 in the Sun Belt.
The Jaguars will make a stop in Thibodaux, Louisiana on Tuesday to face Nicholls. Then come back to Stanky Field to host the Alabama Crimson Tide for a 6pm matchup on Wednesday, April 22nd. They will also host a weekend series against Middle Tennessee State.
The scrimmage ended with a look at the Jaguars’ first uniform with Ralph Turner as the model. It was an all white uniform with blue and red stripes down the sides of the jersey that wrapped around and met below the numbers on the back. The pants and helmet were all white with the Jaguar logo on both sides of the helmet and the hip of the pants. “I wanted to go with a traditional look,” Coach Jones said, “We came up with a uniform that we are very excited about.” Then after an opportunity for photos of the uniform, and a few words from Travis Toth, the fans were allowed to enter the field for autographs from the players and coaches.
I think Coach Jones summed it up best when he addressed the estimated 8,000 fans who turned out for their final day of spring practice. “When you look back a year ago, we came here in February and started putting this program together. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen how all of our players, managers, trainers and staff have been involved. To come to a game like this, where I was expecting 1,500 people to be out there, to see 8,000 fans is a great testament to the city of Mobile and how they are going to support this program. I think that this town is ready for football, and they are excited about Sept. 5 coming soon.”
The first team offense dominated their second team opponents in the defense on Friday. Richard Ross and Matt Saucier both scored twice as the first team offense scored points on all five of its possessions. Similarly, the first team defense dominated its opponents in the second team offense by only allowing six total yards and no first downs.
The first team offense did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard. They drove 70 yards on four plays in 1:47 with Ross bouncing off two tackles to finish a 25 yard run for a touchdown. Turner sparked the possession with a 36 yard gain on a reverse to open the series.
With just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Ross scored again on a one yard pludge into the endzone to cap off an eight play, 59 yard drive. On third down, Saucier found Lim Windham for a 14 yard strike to keep the series going. Later, Saucier set up the Ross score with a 12 yard scamper.
On the first units’ next drive Saucier accounted for most of the yards running the ball. He had a 14 yard run early in the series. Then one play after Saucier ran for 33 yards down the sideline, he hit Kevin Helms for an eight yard touchdown pass. The 2:13 drive spanned 60 yards on five plays.
The first team offense also put together a long drive that ended with a field goal. The drive lasted for more than eight minutes with Saucier keeping the drive alive with two big plays on third down. First was a scramble for a first down and the second was a key thrid down completion to Paul Bennett for another first down. Lawson McGlon capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.
Saucier would score the final points of the game with a one-yard quarterback sneak with 4:08 left in the ending quarter. In all on the final drive, Saucier ran four times. The drive covered 47 yards on eight plays including a 27 yard pass to Anthony Mostella.
The only first down the second team offense saw was on a pass interference call on its first play from scrimmage. Then two plays later they came the closest they would all game to gaining a first down when they faced a third-and-one at their own 44 yard line. Dunn hit Marquis Chapel and dropped him for a two yard loss forcing them to punt.
In total, USA gained 278 yards of offense on 43 plays with an average of 6.5 yards per snap. However, the first team offense accounted for 272 of those yards. Saucier was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 10 rushes including a touchdown. He was also 7-13 for 78 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Santuan McGee gained 41 yards on three attempts and Ross had 29 yards on three rushes while scoring twice. Ralph Turner gained 52 all-purpose yards, running for 35 and catching two passes for 17 yards. Turner was the only Jaguar player to have more than one reception.
Justin Dunn and Eric Dalgleish each had four stops, both accounted for two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, in leading the first team defense. With Dunn and Dalgleish leading them, the first team defense forced five three-and-outs with the last one seeing Richard Courtney score on a fumble return of 21 yards, which was forced by Dalgleish.
Following the scrimmage, Coach Jones announced the winners of the program’s first ever spring awards as voted on by the coaches. Trey Clark (offensive line), Andy Dalgleish (defensive line), Justin Dunn (linebacker), Tim Harvey (defensive backs), Kevin Helms (tight ends), Santuan McGee (running backs) and Courtney Smith (wide receiver) were presented with the Outstanding Performance Award at their position with Michel Chapuseaux, Eric Dangleish, Jordan Means, Anthony Mostella and Ralph Turner sharing the honor on special teams.
Paul Bennett (tight end), Josh Chestang (linebacker), Chris Cooke (linebacker), Lamontis Gardner (wide receiver), Anton Graphenreed (defensive back), Cory Pittman (offensive line), Richard Ross (running back), Matt Saucier (quarterback), Anthony Taylor (defensive line) and Lim Windham (wide receiver) were named the most improved players at their position.
The Jaguar Leadership Award was given to Bennett on offense and Harvey on defense. Dunn, Brian Krauskopf, Jerron Mitchell and Erling Riis earned the Jaguar Strength Award. Bennett and Clark were also given Outstanding Academic Awards.
Donor Appreciation Day was a very good event, but if you ask about the practice itself, you might get a slightly different answer. In coach Gregory’s opinion, Wednesday was one of the worst offensive days since the beginning of practice. They were plagued with interceptions and fumbles throughout the afternoon.
However, it was not all bad. Courtney Smith made several good catches and the running backs showed that they could make some nice cuts and make the defense miss.
It was clear that the defense had a pretty good day causing fumbles and falling on the ball and defensive backs intercepting passes. Tim Harvey was guarding a slant pattern when the quarterback overthrew his receiver. Harvey, with his hands outstretched, managed to haul in the pass one handed much to the jubilation of the defense.
But the defensive backs have definitely been tested over the course of spring practice. They show their competitiveness when they have a bad play or get beat one-on-one, it clearly bothers them. But they realize that it was just one play and they are able to move on.
It also helps that they are physical and can hit too. With Coach Clark’s aggressive defensive schemes, they can’t sit around and only be cover guys. They have to be able to come up and make a play too. The safeties have to be able to come up to the line of scrimmage and be able to fill holes around the defensive line and linebackers.
But Coach Walker admits they have to work on defending the pass better, in particular deep passes. With so many teams running the spread offense similar to what USA will be running, completions will happen and occasionally a big play is going to occur. But as Coach Walker said, they will have to learn how to let it roll off their back and get focused on the next play.
All of the coaches like how well the players have progressed this spring. Some are more impressed that they are as farther along then they anticipated. But each coach was also very excited about the incoming players this fall. Implying that if you like what you see now, just wait to see what they have in store in the near future.
The Jags will have Thursday off from the practice field to gear up for the scrimmage on Friday evening. Gates will open at 4:30 and the scrimmage begins at 5:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. They will start with drills and end with a half of play, offense vs defense. They don’t have enough players in several spots to have a team on team scrimmage like you would you will see from Alabama or Auburn. So the scoring will be different with the defense getting points for turnovers and such.
So make plans to join the Jaguar Nation at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Friday evening for this historic event. Wear red to show your support and to give the players and coaches a taste of what is to come from the Jaguar Nation. Also they will finally introduce the Jaguar uniform for the first time to the public.
After writing about the scrimmage taking place on Friday, April 10th an idea came to me. The USA Outlaws typically wear their red shirts to events and red is now the primary color for USA sports. So we challenge Thunderjags.com readers to help spread the word to everyone. Wear red to Ladd on Friday to support the Jags.
These guys are working their tails off trying to secure a spot on the team going into Fall practice (only 85 can be brought in at this time). That means some of these kids who worked out all semester for these three weeks of spring practice to try to win them a spot on the team, will have to go. Walk-ons and non-scholarship players are what will determine the face of this team for the next year or two while they build up the number of scholarships to Division-I levels.
Lets spread the word to wear red or as the other slogan goes, lets “Bleed it Red” for South Alabama. We want these guys to look up into the stands when they take the field at 5:30pm and actually feel like they are a part of something special. We want them to know we support them. We want the coaches to know we support them. We want the players to get a taste of what Ladd-Peebles Stadium is going to look like when September 5th, 2009 finally arrives. We want them to see a sea of red in the stands.
So help to spread the word to everyone you know, “Wear red to Ladd, lets Bleed It Red”.
Go Jags! Bleed it Red!
This is the last week of Spring practice for the South Alabama Jaguars and this week will culminate with a big scrimmage similar to what you would see with Alabama and Auburn. It is free to the public and the gates will open at 4:30pm.
Students will be tailgating starting at 3:30pm with the gates opening at 4:30pm. The scrimmage will begin at 5:30pm. However, the scrimmage is not the only exciting thing going on at this event. At 7:00pm the new uniforms will be unveiled to the public for the very first time. Then around 7:15pm you can go onto the field for a meet, greet and autograph session with the coaches and players.
The USA Athletic Department will have season tickets available for purchase on-site during this event. Also, the USA Bookstore will be there with new merchandise and souvenirs for purchase.
So set your calendars today, make whatever excuse you need to get off work early or out of work for the night to come out and see the Jaguars in a game like environment and to be present when they unveil the uniforms the Jaguars will be wearing on the field come this fall.
The squads first scrimmage was a historic event, however the offense looked a big lack luster, managing only 86 passing yards. The second scrimmage saw the passing game come alive with 356 yards and four touchdowns.
Courtney Smith lead the way with six pass receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. Also Frank Walker and Lim Windham added three catches each while Danzel Harris and Erling Riis both catching a pair each. Another 13 Jaguars contributed to effor on Friday. Coach Jones said, “We have some playmakers out there, and Courtney had a great day today. He really stepped up, not just with the touchdown but catching a couple of slant patterns too.”
The quarterbacks would combine for 47 attempts with no interceptions. Matt Saucier was 16-of-26 passing, racking up 216 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Burgess was 11-of-21 with 140 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, the offense did not lose a single fumble after committing three in last weeks scrimmage.
Matt Saucier was quoted saying, “The defense was bringing a lot of pressure, we had to throw the ball.” He continued, “Overall, the offense did very well today. We’re way ahead of where we thought we would be at this point in the spring, we’ve learned so many plays over the last three weeks.”
Coach Jones on the quarterbacks, “We’re just trying to get our quarterbacks a little more confidence. They’ve gotten better, but there’s still a long way to go throwing the football down the field. We want to give all of them, as well as our wide receivers, a fair chance to evaluate everyone fairly.”
This weeks scrimmage was a bit different from last weeks outing. Previously the first and second team offensive units ran plays eight at a time. The series would end no matter the down and distance after the final play. The second scrimmage was set up to closer mimic a game situation. Each offensive unit would continue running plays until the possession was ended by a defensive stop.
The first team offense, lead by Saucier, gained 160 yards on its first five drives. This included a 40 yard completion to Smith on the very first play. They connected again for a 60 yard touchdown pass on the first play of their second possession.
The first team would advance inside the defense’s 30 yard line on two of its next three drives. Anthony Mostella capped off a 45 yard drive with a 14 yard touchdown run on 3rd and 6. Turner and Saucier would cap off a three-play red zone drive with an 18 yard touchdown pass. Then Saucier would hit Taylor Noon on a 32 yard touchdown pass while moving out of the pocket to finish off a 50 yard, seven play series.
The second team did not look as good. It opened with a 10-play possession covering 30 yards but would go three and out on the next two consecutive drives. They would get 62 yards on 22 plays before moving to red zone drills.
The second team would get their first score when Burgess found Donte Rome free after the cover man fell on the play for a 30 yard touchdown pass. Its next possession, which started at the defense’s 20 yard line would see Lawson McGlon hit a 29 yard field goal.
The second teams success would continue with a third scoring drive. Burgess connect with Gardner for a 44 yard completion then Burgess would sneak in from the one yard line to finish the 60 yard drive.
Turning to the defense, Justin Dunn lead all players with nine tackles. Tim Harvey had seven, Chris Cooke and Richard Courtney each had size and five other players would have five tackles each. Cooke and Sean Greenwood would each be credited with 1½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The defensive unit tightened up on the ground game from the first scrimmage. They allowed 230 yards in the first, but would only give up 76 on 50 attempts in the second scrimmage. Marquis Chapel lead with 27 yards rushing on 10 attempts. Santuan McGee added 20 yards and Richard Ross had 18 yards.
Coach Jones remarked about the running backs by saying, “Earlier in the week we were running the ball well, but that dropped off today. Our backs are a little dinged up — I’m not making any excuses for them, but they weren’t 100 percent today and we didn’t block as well for them either.”
“Overall, I thought the intensity was great,” Coach Jones commented. “We’re still making mistakes that will get you beat, like putting the ball on the ground or jumping offsides defensively. But, I’m real pleased with their effort and they have gotten better.” As the scrimmage went on the number of offsides flags grew in number.
Monday, the Jaguars will return to Ladd for at 2:30pm to kick off their final week of spring practice which will culminate in their final scrimmage on Friday, April 10th beginning at 5:30pm.