Jaguar soccer lost their second game of the season on Sunday afternoon to Auburn at Auburn Soccer Complex 3-0. USA drops to 1-2-0 while Auburn improves to 1-0-2 early in the 2009 season.
This weekend the Jags have played two outstanding teams in Auburn and Florida State. While their performance against the number 5 ranked Seminoles was a bit lack luster, they came back and played better against the Tigers. Head coach Mike Vargas mentioned this by saying, “It was a tough weekend. We played two very good teams this weekend. We competed a lot better in the second half today. We gave away two goals, but after that, we competed better and created some chances the other way. Hopefully, we learned some lessons in playing some very good teams this weekend. Florida State is a potential Final Four team, and Auburn isn’t far behind that.”
The Jags next game will be at home against Mississippi State on Friday, September 4, 7pm at The Cage.
The lady Jaguars volleyball team continued play in the Lady Techster Invitational tournament in Ruston, Louisiana on Saturday. After two opening day wins on Friday, the jags split their two matches on the second day. Their first match was against Tennessee-Martin which they won 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 25-18).
However they dropped their evening game to the tournament host Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters 3-0 (25-20, 27-25, 25-22). Louisiana Tech won the tournament championship with South Alabama capturing second place for the tournament. Lindsay Schwartz and Jennica Hagberg were named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Jags (3-1) will play again on Friday and Saturday when they head to Athens, Georgia for the Georgia Dawg Invitational. The Jags open the tournament against Tennessee State on Friday then will face Duke and Georgia on Saturday.
The South Alabama volleyball team traveled to Louisiana for the Lady Techster Tournament to open play in the 2009 season. On Friday, they notched two wins to begin the season downing Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-13) and Centenary 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-19).
Also on Friday, the Lady Jaguars soccer team traveled to Tallahassee to take on #5 ranked Florida State. The Jags came out on the losing end, falling 8-0 to the Lady Seminoles.
This evens their record for the season at 1-1-0 with their next game on Sunday, August 30 at Auburn Universtiy against the Lady Tigers starting at 2pm.
The Jaguars lining up for a field goal attempt in Friday’s practice.
South Alabama’s final preseason scrimmage saw limited contact and the final hour focused primarily on situational drills. After a very physical four weeks, the Jaguar staff decided to cut the workout short, only going four an hour and a half, and not as physical because oh how physical they have been all summer.
Another reason is that the Jags have a number of players that are questionable going into Monday. “We’ve got a lot of kids banged up,” said Jones “We’ve got some hamstrings we don’t know about and will find out Monday. Nobody is just out as far as the starters or second-teamers, but we’ve got guys that will be questionable this week and we’ll find out about them Monday.”
The Jaguars scrimmage covered almost every special teams situation from kickoff coverage, kick returns, onside kicks, punt coverage, punt returns and punting out of their own end zone. The offense then practiced on driving for game-winning scores with the time running out.
They started the timing drill in their own half of the field. The drill started on the 50 yard-line with the first team offense led by Myles Gibbon with 18 seconds to get into field goal range. After two quick crossing pattern competions to Courtney Smith to get into field goal range. They then sent in, in order, Michel Chapuseaux, Jordan Means and Lawson McGlon to attempt field goals from about 45 yards out. Both Chapuseaux and Means missed their attempts wide while McGlon made his.
The next drill started on the 40 yard-line with 3rd and long with 18 seconds to go. Brennan Sim completed a 16 yard pass to get into field goal range. Lawson McGlon came in for the field goal attempt from 41 yards, which he made.
The offense then moved to red zone drills. Facing 3rd and goal from the 10 yard-line, Gibbon threw an incomplete pass that was almost intercepted at the goal line. But on 4th down he found Corey Waldon over the middle for a touch down. McGlon added the PAT.
Next was a goal line situation on 4th down on the 2 yard-line. Gibbon handed it to Brandon Ross on a draw play, which he scored on. Nick Owens then led a situational drive starting on the 10 yard-line. After two plays, they got down to around the 2 yard-line before Ryan Scott was stopped in the backfield to end that scenerio.
Then to end the scrimmage the defense saw one play of prevent defense so the DB’s could knock down the ball. They had the offense practice one play of being backed up at their own goal line, using the quarterback to follow the linemen to give gain a couple yards. Then for the final practice play they practiced one snap of probably the coaches and fans favorite plays, the victory kneel. After the victory kneel, the players rushed the field and huddled around Coach Jones for his ending remarks.
While most of the practice was focused on game situation drills, which have not been covered frequently since camp began, they also used the practice to begin preparation for their opponent in the programs first-ever game against Hargrave Military Academy. “It was a pure situational scrimmage, but it was one that I think you need to cover mentally before the week of a game,” head coach Joey Jones said. “Things like punting out of the end zone, taking a knee at the end of a game, prevent defense – all those odd situations you don’t work on as much, we saw those this week and will work on them again next week so that if they come up in a game we’re ready for those situations. We did a little bit of work against the scout team today. We tried to sneak a little of that in here the last couple of days, but Monday will be devoted to that.”
“We tried to put them to as close to a game situation as we could on the sideline and with how we warmed up,” Coach Jones continued. “I kind of had to get on them early, but we really focused after that. Once that happened, they really paid attention – I kept checking the sideline to make sure their eyes were on the field. We want to look good warming up, and we want to be organized on the sideline. We’ll continue working on that next week so we’ll be as prepared as we can be when we get out there for a real game.”
Coach Jones said he was very pleased with how his players have performed during preseason camp. “It’s been a great preseason camp,” he commented, “but we’re just ready to go out to Ladd Stadium and have a great time. I think that we are a good bit ahead of where I thought we would be originally. The staff has done such a good job installing the offense, defense and special teams in a way that the players could learn.”
“I’m real pleased with how the coaches have put a good amount of the game plan in, but not too much,” Jones continued. “I’m also happy with how the kids have responded to that – they’ve learned, and they’ve paid attention. They really have been a focused group. Plus, looking back a year and a half ago, the athletes on the field are much better than what I thought they would be at this point.”
This weekend will mark the first time the Jaguars have not been on the field for two consecutive days since before preseason practice started on August 4th. But the Jaguars will be back on the field on Monday for game week preparation for Hargrave. “I’m ready for game week to get here, and I think the kids are too,” Jones commented. “As coaches we like practices, but we’re a little different from the players. We are ready to prepare for an opponent, obviously beginning Monday we will be getting ready every day and every minute for Hargrave Academy.”
T-Minus 7 days until kickoff of the University of South Alabama’s inaugural season of football. GO JAGS!!
Joe Gottfried was honored today for his 28 years of service to the University of South Alabama. University President Gordon Moulton hosted the ceremony held on Thursday afternoon at the Mitchell Center. Gottfried served the last 25 years at athletic director before he stepped down from this position on August 1st.
He is a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and would earn his master’s degree from Morehead State in 1969.
Coach Gottfried, a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and 1969 graduate of Morehead State where he received his master’s degree, came to USA as an Assistant Athletic Director in 1981. He served in that position through 1984 when he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director. Previous to USA he had successful coaching stints at Ashland and Southern Illinois. In addition to being in the USA Athletic Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Ashland College and Crestline (Ohio) High School Halls of Fame.
The Jaguars athletics experienced success both in competition as well as in the classroom under his direction. Plus he probably had the most impact on the school’s architecture in recent years, with the development and improvement of the athletic facilities. Gottfried was also very instrumental in adding football as the 17th program for the school. He initially lead discussions in an attempt to bring football to the USA campus in 2001 and was finally approved by the Board of Trustees on December 6, 2007.
Gottfrieds impact can be seen in the $30 million Mitchell Center, which is the home of the men’s and women’s basketball program as well as offices for athletic department presonnel, Stanky Field which underwent a $3.5 million renovation prior to the 2005 season, a 4,000 square-foot baseball clubhouse built in 1996, the intramural fields on the west side of campus, the softball complex built prior to the 2007 season which was the first-ever for the program, a new locker room for the softball and soccer programs, improvements to Jaguar Gymnasium, the Striplin Center, “The Cage” soccer facility, the USA Track Complex, the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts, the football field house and the football practice fields.
However just as important the athletics is the academics which also flourished under coach Gottfried. With the addition of football, the athletic department is at an all-time high of more than 300 student-athletes. In the latest Academic Progress Rate report released by the NCAA last month, 13 of 16 programs in competition at South Alabama scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. Also under coach Gottfried, 83% of South Alabama’s student-athletes that have completed their eligibility have graduated. There have been 37 individual student-athletes that have been named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List for maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA while 32 others have made the Sun Belt Acadeimc Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.
Also 75 South Alabama student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 of the schools coaches were selected the SBC Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. South Alabama has claimed the Vic Bubas Cup 10 times in a 13 year span. No school in league history has earned the award more than USA. South Alabama teams have won 104 league titles, appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, and have had 123 individual student-athletes qualify for NCAA postseason play. Including two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles. Plus, in baseball, 95 players have signed with prefessional teams including 17 who have made it to the Major Leagues.
Thank you coach Gottfried for your hard work and dedication to South Alabama Athletics, thank you for taking time to talk to students and fans, and thank you for putting South Alabama in the position continue to improve its level of competion for many years to come.
Its time to take a short break from all of the buzz around football to talk about basketball.
Head basketball coach Ronnie Arrow and his staff have started its preseason individual workouts. They will begin working two hours per week in preparation for the 2009-2010 season.
However there are alot of questions about this team that have yet to be answered and probably won’t be answered until the season starts. With the loss of DeAndre Coleman, Brandon Davis and Ronald Douglas to graduation and the transfer of DeAndrae Ross and C.J. Garner away from the program, it leave Coach Arrow with few experienced players.
Phillip Tabet, a senior, and Charles Tabet, redshirt Junior, have experience inside and are both letterwinners on the inside, but neither started a game last season. DeAndre Hersey redshirted last season. That leaves Bryan Sherrer and LaShun Watson, both seniors, as the only other experienced players left over from last season.
But Coach Arrow isn’t too worried. He said, “We will be bigger, quicker and better shooters on the outside than we were last year. LaShun Watson, Tim Williams and Martino Brock bring a lot of size and quickness to the wing.”
Coach Arrow has brought in a mixture of JC transfers and freshmen signees to fill out the ranks for the season, so its not like the Jaguars will be a group of inexperienced players. “The seniors have shown good leadership and have been able to share their knowledge in how to do the drills and what we expect of them,” Coach Arrow said. “The newcomers have put forth a good effort in learning the system.”
One of those newcomers that has put forth a good effort is Rob Phillips. He was a 2006 high school graduate that averaged 23.1 points per game, hitting 57% from 3-point range and 92% from the free-throw line at Charis Prep, one of the top prep schools in the country. He has a history of hard work off the court and leadership on the court. His outside shot will definitely benefit the Jaguars this season.
It will be interesting to see how the preseason workouts go and who Coach Arrow will replace long-time assistant Coach Andy Helton with.
Tuesday’s practice started off with the Jags working on positions drills with the defense on the grass field and the offense working on the turf field. Then both squads came together and worked on punts and punt returns before splitting once again for more positional drills. They ended the first half of practice with a period working on power running plays and another period of 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills.
The second half of practice was dedicated to working against the scout team in preparation for Hargrave, their opponent for the first game of the season. The Jags split into scout teams with the first team defense working on the grass field and the first team offense working on the turf. However, the coaches are working somewhat blind. “We’ve kind of used ourselves as competition until two weeks before and now we start trying to look at Hargrave,” defensive coordinator Bill Clark said. “Now it really starts getting into the fine-tuning of what we know. All we can base it on is what we’ve seen in the past and that’s where we’re headed right now.”
“For us it’s just about the fact that we have so many young guys and now we’re trying to show them what it takes to get prepared,” coach Clark continued. “We’re trying to say this is almost like game week to us because we’re only two weeks out and you don’t know what play it could be. It could be a running play, it could be a pass play, that could be the play that breaks, so we’re trying to get them to learn how to practice at full speed and the things that it takes to go against a scout team.”
The same uncertainty goes for the offense as well. “We’ve gotten some really good work done against Hargrave in the last two days, as far as the looks and what we expect, but they could change very easily,” said offensive coordinator Greg Gregory. “They changed quite a bit from game to game a year ago, and you just don’t know what their personnel is like. They’re going to see who they have come in this year, and last year they may have been a four-man front and the year before that they may have been a three-man front, they’re going to decide what defense they’re going to play based on what personnel they have, so you really don’t know. They’ve got some really good football players. We were looking at the roster of guys they’ve signed, and their four down defensive linemen are all big-time players – they will all be playing at the BCS level a year from now.”
“We’re to the stage now where about half of our practice is still against our own defense to get the real speed that we want, and then the other half of practice is spent working on Hargrave,” coach Gregory continued. “We’re showing them basically what [Hargrave’s] looks are against certain formations, trying to expose our guys to that a little bit, and really just trying to use this week to introduce quite a bit of what to expect from Hargrave.”
The Jags will continue working on preparation for Hargrave throughout this week and next week. Wednesday’s practice will be in pads and if they have a good practice, then Thursday will be helmets before holding their final scrimmage before their match-up with Hargrave on September 5th. Friday’s scrimmage is scheduled for 4pm at the on-campus practice fields.
On August 12, the Mobile Press-Register writer Mike Herndon wrote a commentary article titled “South Alabama football has right approach, questionable times.” He talks about the widespread thought that Mobile is not really a great sports town, but is a good sports-event town.
In the article he points to minor-league franchises that have come and gone in Mobile. Then points out how the Senior Bowl and the GMAC Bowl have both thrive as one-game commitments each year and that USA is building up its seven game home series as events in their own right.
South Alabama has several special promotions for the games such as Parents Day on September 26 against Army Prep, Military day on October 10 against Georgia Military and the first homecoming day on November 7 against Milford Academy. Even the first football scrimmage was billed as an event for Family Fun Day.
At the time of the writing of the article, more than 6,000 season tickets had been sold and the usagameday.com website showed less than 20,000 tickets were available for the September 5th season opener against Hargrave Military Academy. A look today shows that 18,743 tickets are still available for the game.
Travis Toth, USA’s associate athletic director for marketing and promotions, said that he feels pretty good that they will fill the 40,000 seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the opener. But he is not going all out and saying that all seven games are going to sell out as well. “We’re not naive. We know we’ve got our hands full with that second game, third game and afterward to maintain that momentum. We’d be comfortable with 20,000 to 25,000 from there on out.”
He then talks about how that is similar to how UAB has been faring, averaging about 19,062 fans per game last year. UAB has a big struggle against the draw for the University of Alabama as well and Auburn, which will also be problem for South Alabama as well. However, I would point out that UAB has never really fully committed itself to football. It is somewhat known for its basketball program, which isn’t garnering the attention it did a few years ago either.
Birmingham and Legion Field was huge once as being the home for most of Alabama’s big football games as well as the annual Iron Bowl contest. But Birmingham became a place that you don’t really want to go to anymore. The politics there has been sketchy for years and Legion Field’s maintenance was sorely lacking. In recent years the upper decks were condemned and had to be removed, making it a shadow of its former self.
Coach Jones makes no bones about it. Alabama and Auburn have established themselves as the top two teams in the state. They can get the players they want because of the names and exposure. The other battle could be game schedules. The Jags kickoff at 4pm on September 5th with Auburn kicking off at 6pm against Louisiana Tech and Alabama takes on Virginia Tech in Atlanta at 7pm.
USA could have set a bad precident by scheduling around those two games, but they didn’t. With national broadcasts of SEC games, kickoff times change every week and moving times around could confuse some people or become something expected every week for the Jaguars. The only thing USA really scheduled around was giving fans plenty of tailgating time and avoidance of morning youth sports.
Herndon was correct that playing chicken with SEC games is something they can’t really win. USA could have scheduled the game earlier to avoid overlap with the Tide or Tigers, but realistically, should they? At some point you have to stand up and ‘be your own man.’ Its easy to record or tivo an Alabama or Auburn game these days. But when you have college football in your back yard how can you not justify going?
Mobile’s so called ‘fickle sports market’ isn’t really as fickle as one might think. I think they are looking for something they can really get behind. When the Jaguar basketball team was having a stellar season in 2007-08, the Mitchell Center was packed. But during the 2008-09 season attendance dropped off when the Jags could not produce the same results as the season before.
But basketball, and baseball for that fact, is not what Mobile is itching for. We southerners really like our football. If you haven’t been out to Ladd-Peebles Stadium in previous seasons or UMS-Wright or McGill-Toolen for high school football games, you have missed rather large crowds out there watching them play. I think the product that South Alabama and Coach Jones will put on the field this fall and in the coming years will definitely draw the ‘fickle sports fans’ out of Mobile and into the stadium. But its a step-by-step process and Mr. Herndon and I agree that USA is starting on out on the right foot.
You can read Mike Herndon’s article in its entirety on al.com here.
This was actually released about a week ago, but has been put on the back burner due to preseason practice coverage. However, USA will be facing three fellow start-up programs in the near future. This will make for a great measuring stick as to how the program is doing in relation to other start-up programs.
The Jags will have home-and-home series against Georgia State, Lamar University and Texas-San Antonio over the next three seasons, with two starting next season.
Lamar dropped football in 1989 and is set to return to play next year and will be the first of the three play the Jaguars. South Alabama will visit Lamar on October 16, 2010 then the Cardinals will travel to Mobile the next season on September 10th. This will be the first home game for the Jaguars as they begin the two years transition to FBS play in 2011.
The Jaguars will host Bill Curry and the Georgia State Panthers on October 30, 2010 and will then travel to Atlanta for the October 22, 2011 matchup. Georgia State University announced the start of their program in April of 2008 but decided to begin play in the fall of 2010 with their home games being played in the Georgia Dome. Bill Curry who has served as head coaches at Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia Tech was hired to start their program.
The University of Texas-San Antonio announced in December 2008 that it will begin playing football in the fall of 2011 and will be on the Jaguars schedule for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Jags will play the roadrunners on October 11, 2011 then they will be the season opener on September 1, 2012. Larry Coker, the former head coach at Miami, was hired to lead the program in March.
Coach Jones spoke about this scheduling, “We felt like playing schools the first couple of years in the same boat we are starting a brand new football program would be a great thing. With Bill Curry coaching at Georgia State and Larry Coker at UT-San Antonio, I believe they will bring us some credibility with the type of programs they are going to run. We’re very excited about playing against those teams. As we move on with scheduling hopefully we will continue to play schools like these that will grow with us, maybe they can develop into rivalries.”
So far the Jaguars have two scheduled games for 2010, five scheduled games in 2011 and three for 2012. South Alabama has previously announced contracts with Navy for a four game home-and-home series, Mississippi state (a two-for-one series, two in Starkville and one in Mobile), North Carolina State (two-for-one series), Kent state (another two-for-one series) and a trip to Tennessee for 2013.
The Jaguars will be eligible to compete for the SBC Conference championship and to play in a bowl game in 2013.
There is only 11 days until the first-ever game by the Jaguars. GO JAGS!
On Monday, head coach Joey Jones as well as offensive coordinator Greg Gregory, defensive coordinator Bill Clark, and players Jon Griffin, Charlie Higgenbotham and Anthony Mostella participated in the first ever Media Day for South Alabama Football. The program included a tour of the fieldhouse and lunch before the highly anticipated interviews.
Highlights of the press conference can be read on the USA Jaguars page located here.
Less than 12 days until kickoff. Do you have your tickets yet?