Jaguars Continue To Improve Through Spring Practice

April 4, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football 
South Alabama Jaguars second scrimmage of the spring. Photo by Doug Roberts -

South Alabama Jaguars second scrimmage of the spring. Photo by Doug Roberts -

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.


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