Jaguars Wrap Up Week One And Begin The Critical Week Two Of Practice

August 11, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football 

Saturday August 8, 2009

Saturday morning the Jaguars hit the field for their fifth consecutive day of fall practice. But this day the Jaguars took the field in full pads for the first time this fall.

They started the practice with about an hour of drills then the offensive and defensive units played against each other in a full-contact ‘mini’ scrimmage.

Myles Gibbon took the majority of snaps with the first-team offense, however Coach Jones was quick to say that its still too early to name a starting quarterback. “We’ve got three guys working,” he said. “Kyle Stewart would be involved, but he’s injured right now. With the other three it’s close. Some guys do things better than others, but I’m really holding back until we see them for a couple of weeks because you don’t want to make a comment based on one or two practices.”

Gibbon was quoted after practice saying, “We all have different abilities that we excel in, so we’re all just battling for that spot. Every time we make a good throw it boosts us up, or every time we make a good read it boosts us up. Coach is right, it’s really close right now.”

The Jaguars offensive line opened some holes to help create a couple long runs and also helped Sophomore running back Brandon Ross score a 12-yard touchdown (an the only touchdown) at the end of practice.

Coach Jones thought the defensive unit was pretty good at times but also mentioned they gave up too many big runs. He continued, “If we can stop that, stop the 25 or 30-yard run, and make that a seven-yard run, then I’d feel a lot better about what we’re doing. But we can’t give up 25 and 30-yard runs.”

The practice ended with a bit of competition for the kickers. Each of the four place kickers lined up for 42-yard field goals to determine how many gassers the team would have to run. The offensive and defensive units formed a tunnel down the hash marks to cheer them on, and also to give them some pressure. combined they went 2-for-4 but Coach Jones gave them a double or nothing opportunity, which the team accepted. However the final attempt was just a little wide right, thus the team had four gassers to end practice.

Coach Jones commented about the end of practice competition by saying, “We want to continue to do that with our kickers. We want to constantly put pressure on them, because that’s what it is – they have to run out on the field after standing on the sideline for 30 minutes to kick a game-winning field goal. We’re trying to get them used to that situation. If you apply a lot of pressure on the kids in practice then the games are easy.”

The real challenge is coming in the second week of practice according to Coach Jones. “The first game is going to depend on how we do this second week. I’ve been coaching for about 18 years now, and that second week is vitally important for us to get better. It’s like I told the players, we’re in a tunnel right now and there’s not a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve just got to keep working and working and working until we find some light, and hopefully that’s going to be here in about two or three weeks.”

Sunday was the teams first day off of fall camp but they returned to the field on Monday at 7am.

Monday August 10, 2009

The Jaguars are entering the second and most critical week of practice according to Coach Jones. This week ushers in the first two-a-day practices and their first fall scrimmage. “We’ve challenged the team,” Coach Jones said. “This second week has to be the best week of practice we’re going to have. “What we do this week is going to determine our identity. This is not a fun week – there’s no game coming up, they’re tired, we have two-a-days; all reasons for them to quit and give up – so if we can do it this week we will be able to do it throughout the year. If we can fight through that this week I know that we will get better as a football team during the rest of the season.”

The staff has several goals this week according to Coach Jones. They need to develop a depth chart, make progress with the playbook and focus on a segment of special teams that did not receive a lot of work in the first five practices. Coach Jones wants to hone the Jaguar kicking game. He said, “We’ve worked on parts of it so far, but we need to start putting that together so we have our base packages in by the end of the week. We also need to find out who our special teams players are going to be, and that goes back to the depth chart. We want to find guys who are backups, but good athletes who want to play – I’d rather have those guys on special teams in the game if they can earn the spot.” Coach Jones continued, “In an ideal world you want every special teams guy to be a backup player, but we are going to put our best players out there on special teams because we want to win. This just opens a door for backups to get on the field.”

Improvement was the running theme after practice from several players. Redshirt freshman linebacker Josh Chestang commented that the depth chart can change every day, so they have to continue to improve every day and not give up. Also redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trey Clark said, “Despite the heat and the two-a-days, we need to get better every day.”

Monday’s practice went from 7am until about 9am but starting on Tuesday, they will begin two-a-days with the first starting at 7am and the second starting at 3:30pm with each expecting to last about two hours.

After five straight days of practice last week, Sunday was a good day of rest for the team. Defensive coordinator Bill Clark said, “It was nice. We went to church and had a nice lunch before coming back for some meetings,” It gave us a chance to get our legs back underneath us, so it was good to have the day off. We needed it, especially after three days of hitting and getting after it.”

After five grueling days of practice, Coach Jones knew that the team needed a break. “Any time you go through a long week of practice, your body and your mind get worn down,” said Coach Jones. He also followed that up with a good compliment about Monday mornings practice by saying, “But, they responded great this morning.” Furthermore, he gave the team some high praise to begin this critical and challenging week by saying, “This is one of the best groups I have ever been around as far as coming out prepared mentally and physically for practice. I haven’t been around a group like this in a long time.”

The practice started with about 15 minutes of kickoff coverage adn return drills. Then this was followed by about 25 minutes of position drills. Next the offense and defense broke off into two units to square off in the next drill. Offensive line and running backs against the defensive front seven and safeties while the quarterbacks and receivers worked against defensive backs.

Around mid way through practice, the offense ran 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills against linebackers and db’s for about 15 minutes. The final 50 minutes of practice was situational work. About 20 minutes was devoted to running plays against scout teams.

The offense had three downs to get the first. On its first three attempts, they were successful. It was started with an eight yard run by Brandon Ross on the first snap. Nick Owens hit Corey Besteda on third down to get a first down. Then Gibbon hit Ralph Turner with a pass for another first down. But then the defense responded with three stops in a row, which included with two possessions ending with fumble recoveries. The second fumble was forced by Matt Saucier and recovered by Alex Page.

The day ended with about 10 minutes of third down situational drills.

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