The 2009 Coors Classic schedule was released on Monday. The December 19 matchup will be a doubleheader on CSS the University and the GMAC Bowl announced Monday.
The first game will tip-off at 5:30pm with South Alabama taking on UAB which will be followed by Kansas State facing the University of Alabama 30 minutes after game one concludes.
On Friday night the Lady Jaguar soccer team dropped its first Sun Belt Conference game 4-3 in Jonesboro, Arkansas to Arkansas State in overtime. However Katie Berry, USA’s goalkeeper, broke the teams single-game saves record with 18 saves against Arkansas State.
USA fell to 2-7-0 (0-1-0 in the SBC) after the loss. The Jags took and early 1-0 lead in just the sixth minute of the match on a Landi Wilson goal. But ASU would score two goals before the end of the first half to take a 2-1 lead. The Jags would answer back and tie the game 2-2 with a Wilson assist to Brandi Smith’s goal in the 49th minute.
ASU would score again to regain the lead 3-2 in the 66th minute before a second goal by Smith in the 75th minute to tie the game again at 3-3.
In overtime, ASU would score the game-winner off of a corner kick in the 96th minute.
On Sunday the Jags played the University of Arkansas-Little Rock to a tie in Little Rock, Arkansas. UALR who is 3-6-1 for the season and 0-1-1 in the Sun Belt gained a two goal advantage into halftime leading the Jags 2-0. The first goal happened in the first minute of the game with the second coming in the 36th minute.
However the Jags scored to tie the game in the second half with a goal in the 82nd minute and again in the 84th minute by Liz Clark and Brandi Smith respectively. But neither team could pull out a win and thus the match ended in a tie, 2-2.
The Lady Jags (2-7-1, 0-1-1 in the SBC) will return to Mobile to take on fellow Sun Belt opponent Western Kentucky on October 2nd with kickoff scheduled for 7pm at The Cage.
On Friday, the Jaguars volleyball team also opened their Sun Belt schedule against Florida Atlantic in Jag Gym. However the Jags would fall in straight sets (22-25, 20-25, 24-26).
Then on Sunday hosted Florida International at Jag Gym and fell for the second straight match, again in straight sets (15-25, 15-25, 17-25).
After these two losses, the Jags fell to 9-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Sun Belt after opening conference play.
The Jags will travel to Troy for a 7pm match.
Coming off of a three week layoff was nothing that the Jaguars could not overcome on Saturday. Not even a rain storm could slow them down too much. The Jaguar offense rolled up 500 yards of total offense while only surrendering 225 to Army Prep in an impressive 56-0 victory.
Of the 500 yards for the offense, 309 came from the running game but built their early lead via the passing game. On the games first series and facing a 3rd down and five, freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon found Courtney Smith on a wide receiver screen for a 63 yard touchdown pass 1:06 into the game.
Army Prep’s first series ended with a punt that was blocked by the Jaguar defense, however the Jags turned the ball back over on a fumble. After the defense forced another punt, Erling Riis returned the punt to the Black Knight 37 yard-line. The Jaguars only needed six plays to get the ball into the endzone when Gibbon hit Corey Besteda on an 18 yard slant play for the touchdown with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
After another Black Knight punt, the Jaguars used 1:31 in four plays to cover 36 yards for their third touchdown of the first quarter. It was capped off by Brandon Ross’s second and final carry of the game for the two-yard touchdown.
A fourth consecutive Black Knight punt set up the Jaguars for a third consecutive scoring drive, a four play 58 yard drive taking only 1:54 off of the clock put the Jaguars up 28-0 with 13:00 left in the second quarter. Brennan Sim came in for relief of Gibbon on this series. Sim found Ralph Turner for a 40 yard gain to start the possession and it was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run by Anthony Mostella.
Army Prep took the ensuing kickoff on an 11 play 46 yard drive before fumbling at the Jaguar 10 yard line. The Black Knight defense tightened up and forced a Jaguar punt.
The Jaguar special teams pinned them back at their own six yard line when Jerron Mitchell scored on a 27 yard interception return with eight minutes left until halftime to extend the Jaguar lead to 35-0.
The second half saw the Jaguars continue their scoring when a fumble recovery would be converted to an 11 yard touchdown run by Ryan Scott with 12:50 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguar defense would force Army Prep to punt again on their next series leading to Scott scoring again on a five yard run for a 49-0 advantage.
Army Prep would then throw another interception on their first play from scrimmage which lead to the Jaguars final scoring drive. Eddy Cabrera would intercept the pass to set up the 5 play 61 yard drive was capped off by an 18 yard pass from Nick Owens to Nick Brunson with 3:10 left in the third quarter for the final score of 56-0.
Army Prep only threatened to score twice in the game, but came away empty handed both times. In the first quarter they completed a 66 yard pass but on the very next play Justin Dunn would force a fumble that Charlie Higgenbotham would recover at the South Alabama 10 yard line. The second threat had the Black Knights in the red zone but back to back sacks ended the possession.
Four quarterbacks saw action in the game for the Jaguars. Myles Gibbon finished 6 of 7 for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, Brennan Sim went 2 of 5 for 46 yards and Nick Owens went 2 of 2 for 23 yards and a touchdown. Gabe Graham did not attempt a pass. In all the Jaguar quarterbacks went 10 of 14 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Courtney Smith led the receivers with two receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown. Nick Brunson was the only other Jag with multiple receptions with two for 23 yards and a touchdown. Corey Besteda was the other Jaguar receiver with a touchdown.
The Jaguar rushed 44 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns total while averaging seven yards per attempt. Eli Smith lead all with nine carries for 94 yards and a long of 31 yards. Ryan Scott had eight carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Pacillo had seven carries for 40 yards, Anthony Mostella had five carries for 40 yards and Santuan McGee also had five carries for 19 yards.
On defense, three Jags had five tackles: Justin Dunn, Logan Bennett and Brett Hancock. Seven Jaguars had three tackles. Clifton Crews and Randon Carnathan both had a each.
Coach Jones was pleased with his team. “It was obviously a great effort. I thought we’d play well, but I didn’t know we’d play that well,” he said. “We had a lot of time to prepare, and that really made the difference today. That’s why we played as well as we did.”
Coach Jones continued, “The biggest thing I talked to the team about today was the way we prepared,” Jones said. “It would’ve been easy for our kids to let up in practice, and easy for our coaches to let up in practice. The kids didn’t lose their focus, they knew that we had an opportunity to be extremely prepared and that’s what happened today. What I learned about them is that they’re listening to what we’re saying, and they’re buying in. Just to see the looks in their eyes in the locker room after the game, you can see that things are starting to turn. You start to see the evolution of a team. We’ve certainly got a long way to go, but I think they’re starting to turn into a team and we’re only going to get better from there.”
Army Prep head coach Tom Simi had good things to say about the Jaguars as well. “We played what is going to be a very good team in South Alabama today,” Simi said. “USA is a program that is just starting, but they have some good players on their team already and I’m sure they are going to rise quickly. Obviously, today was extremely challenging for our kids.”
Coach Jones and the Jaguars will have two weeks to prepare for Georgia Military Junior College for their game scheduled on Saturday, October 10 at 11:30am
Brandon Ross diving for one of his two touchdowns in the Jaguars historic win over Hargrave Academy on September 5th, 2009. Photo courtesy of Doug Roberts.
The Jags are primed and ready for the second game in school history. After a three week layoff that seemed almost like an eternity, practices are over with and all that is left is execution on game day.
Obviously Coach Jones was worried about the long layoff between the emotional first game and the second game. But Coach Jones says the practices have been good. “The tone has been good out here,” he observed. “We have had some good practices the last two weeks. The guys have come out to work, practices have been real businesslike. The emotional level has picked up this week, which is what you want. You want to peak on Saturday – our kids understand that, they will be ready. I have not been part of anything like this, it has been tough. A lot of things in life can be negative but we were able to turn it into a positive, we’ve had a long time to get ready. We feel like we have worked against them every day for two-and-a-half weeks, that has got to help us.”
He also said that he is not concerned that the players were focused on only playing well in the program’s debut game. “The bottom line is that every game is a big game, and our kids understand that,” he said. “They want to have a great season, not just a great first game. We’ve been working a lot of hours so that any time that we go on the field we will be ready.”
The long layoff has given the team a chance to spend extra time practicing against scout teams that are running plays and formations that their next opponent, the Army Prep Black Knights, is expected to use against the Jags. But it has also given the staff a chance to thoroughly go over game film from the first game to identify things that need to be addressed.
Coach Jones said, “There are a lot of little things that we have been able to improve on the last few weeks. Our offense is always working on scoring in the red zone, it seems like we talk about that a lot because it’s hard to score down there. The Jaguars scored on three of five chances in the red zone against the Tigers. Defensively we did a lot of great things, although we gave up some short passes so we’ve been addressing that. This is a running team we’re playing against, though, so our challenge on defense this week is stopping the triple option.”
The Jags did a great job of stopping the run against Hargrave by only allowing 106 yards on 27 rushes out of the 344 yards they allowed for the game against the Tigers.
The Jags will have a walk through at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Friday and will finalize preparations for the game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4pm. Also an online audio feed will be available for free at www.usajaguars.com with pregaming starting at 3pm as well as postgame wrap up afterwards.
Also read the great article posted today about Tony Threatt entitled “The Heart Of The Matter.” It is a very good peace about the freshman defensive back for the Jaguars]
The 3-5-3 is a relatively new defense that has picked up popularity over the last few years. Its a good scheme to distract the offense both before and after the snap. Its meant to create doubt for the quarterback in coverage reads. It allows the defense to either drop eight people into coverage or rush eight. It allows the linebackers and safeties to constantly move in and out of the line-of-scrimmage. Plus, its great against both running teams, passing teams and in goal-line situations.
The three down linemen typically never change their alignment and play the heads-up technique. The noseguard plays straight-ahead while the tackles line up against the offensive tackles and typically loop outside. The linebackers stack behind the down linemen at a depth of about 4 to 5 yards. This makes it hard for the opposing team to draw up blocking schemes against a stacked defense.
The strong safety aligns seven yards off the line for both a tight end or a split end. But against a tight end he will play two yards inside or four yards inside versus a split end. But he will have a 45 degree shoulder tilt towards the quarterback no matter where he lines up.
The cornerbacks will line up one yard inside of the receiver and nine yards off the line, again with a 45 degree shoulder tilt to the quarterback. The free safety will align on the strong side A gap about 12 yards deep.
The 3-5-3 defense is basically a disguised Gap 8 defense. The front eight will all have gap responsibilities. In the base defense, the nose will have one A gap while a middle linebacker will have the other A gap depending on the blocking scheme. The outside linebackers will have the B gaps to their side and the tackles will have the C gaps to their side. The strong safety will be responsible for the D gap on their side as well.
Versus the run, the front eight play gap responsibilities. Against the veer, the middle linebacker and free safety will play from dive to quarterback to pitch responsibility.
Some keys is that the nose guard needs to force a double team and the tackles cannot get cut off. Pressure is also put on the linebackers because they must read and react with no false steps.
The secondary’s base coverage is cover 3 and they must be able to read and break on the ball. The free safety must be a good tackler and play intelligently.
Against the pass, the base defense will drop eight into coverage. The nose guard will be responsible for a push up the middle while looking for the screen pass or the draw. The two tackles are responsible for containing the quarterback during the rush. The middle linebacker has the middle zone while the two outside linebackers cover the hook and curl zones to their side and the safeties have the flat zones to their side. The cornerbacks have the deep third to their side and the free safety plays deep middle zone.
Since this defensive scheme is balanced, the offense has no choice but to run to the strong side since they are outnumbered on the weak side. If the offense runs a balanced offense, then the defense will have to find their tendencies and work from there. It is almost impossible to trap against this defense because of the threat of the linebackers running through for a tackle for loss.
There are only a few ways to attack this type of defense so you can work against the same plays every week. The base defense has a multitude of stunts, pressures and coverages built into it, but really it is only limited by the imagination of the defensive coordinator.
This video will show you the basic alignment of the front 8 for the 3-5-3 defense. Notice how they stack behind the nose and ends. Remember this is to disguise the defense and to confuse the quarterback.
The following video shows how the 3-5-3 can defend against the option play to the weak side.
The following video is not the best video but it shows a team running the 3-5-3 defense and some of their highlights. It is the 2007 Petersburg PORTA Bluejays. They are a high school team Illinois but their defense only gave up 6 points in 10 games. NOTE: You may want to mute the sound on this video.
South Alabama students swinging their white towels during the schools first game against Hargrave Academy. Photo courtesy of Doug Roberts.
“This almost seems like our first game again because we’ve had two off weeks and there’s that kind of anticipation. We practiced four or five weeks for the first game, and now we’re practicing three weeks for the second ballgame,” USA head coach Joey Jones said at Media Day on Monday. “The anticipation is there, and I know our kids have really worked hard the last two weeks.”
It does not feel that way to the fans though. Everyone is itching to see the Jags on the field again for their follow up their 30-13 showing against Hargrave Academy. In the game the Jags had 429 yards of total offense which was lead by Brandon Ross with 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The entire team ran for 265 yards combined. Courtney Smith had five receptions for 104 yards and also scored the first points in program history on a 60 yard reception from Myles Gibbon with seconds to go in the first quarter.
At one point the Jags were up 20-0 before Hargrave began their attempt at a comeback.
The Black Knights of Army Prep come into Mobile with a 1-2 record. They opened the season with a 21-14 loss to Army’s junior varsity team then came back to win against Hudson Valley Community College (N.Y.) 46-44. They then lost last Friday 13-8 against Nassau Community College (N.Y.).
Army Prep runs the triple option on offense and a 3-5-3 formation on defense. As coach Jones has said in every talk since the Hargrave game, they are very disciplined. “Army Prep is a very disciplined program,” said Coach Jones. “Their offense is very hard to defend from a mental standpoint, you’ve got to be in the right places at the right times – we’ve been working on that for the last week or so. Defensively, they run a flex front, and it’s a little bit of a different front. Most people run a 4-3 or a 3-4, but they run a different front that we’re having to work on a little bit. They’ve got some good players, and we recruited some of the players on their team. I look for it to be a great ballgame this Saturday.”
Cornerback Jerron Mitchell said, “It’s all about being disciplined. Army’s coaching staff has done a great job with preparing their kids, making everything fundamentally sound. Coach Clark and his staff have done a great job with laying out the option figuring out ways to stop it.”
Offensive lineman Chris Brunson was confident in his teammates on the line. He said, “Army runs a different look. Their players are smaller but quicker, while Hargrave was bigger but more physical. But, we can still duplicate what we did against Hargrave.”
The parking lot will open at 8am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the gates will open at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the USA Ticket Office or visiting the Mitchell Center ticket office until Friday at 5pm. Tickets will be then be available beginning at 10am at Ladd-Peebles.
Shuttles will be running from Bell Air Mall in the south parking lot behind Target and J.C. Penney to the stadium beginning at noon. Continuous service will be provided until 90 minutes after the game for a $2.50 charge for round-trip service. Also there will be buses running from campus to Ladd-Peebles stadium at 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm, which will be free for students and $5 for round trip to all other individuals.
Lagniappe sportswriter Johnny Davis contacted us here at Thunderjags.com as well as several others with a couple questions about South Alabama’s first game. Since today the new issue is available on news stands, here is my complete answers to Mr. Davis’ questions.
Go out and grab yourself a copy of the new issue of the Laginappe, not just because there will be a couple quotes from my answers but because it is a great publication in its own right and its free.
1) What are your thoughts on the first game?
I thought the coaching staff and players did great in the first game. They performed better than most people expected, considering it was the programs first game. While about half of the team are still walk-ons, they had the benefit of practicing in the spring with the coaches and working out with the strength and conditioning coach. The first recruiting class seems to be pretty spot on in terms of what the coaching staff was looking for and the transfers they brought in gave them experience and maturity at key positions.
As for the game, they excuted their gameplan very well. They planned to run the ball more in the first game in order to take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon which worked. There were a few times when Gibbon looked a bit nervous and it showed. But that is to be expected when he goes from Canadian football with a small number of spectators to over 26,000 for the Jags first game. Overall he played very well.
The offensive and defensive lines were outstanding considering they were outsized by Hargrave. Dunn and Higgenbotham are key for the Jags at linebacker with their experience and ability. However, the secondary seemed to be a bit shakey at times particularly in the second half. It will be interesting to see how they improve over the course of the season.
2) What do you see in the future for USA football?
The future of South Alabama football is a bright one. We are in a hotbed of talent here in Mobile. If you look at the quality of players that have come out of here in the last several years you can see what kind of advantage South Alabama has in the recruiting game. Then throw in the first class facilities they have on campus for the team and that just helps both preparing for games and recruiting players.
The measuring stick has been set pretty high by South Florida over the last several years since they started their program. Could South Alabama match or beat those levels? I don’t know. But I think Coach Jones has put together a great staff in a great area and their potential is through the roof.
3) How do you think USA football will affect the city of Mobile?
South Alabama football will be a huge plus for the city of Mobile. They already have Navy, Mississippi State and North Carolina State all scheduled to play at least one game in Mobile (with Navy coming here twice). MSU and NC State both have fans that will travel pretty well and will spend money whenever they travel to see their team play.
But beyond how well fans travel and how much they spend, its going to positively impact Mobile. People will look at Mobile in a different way. I think it will much easier to convince people and companies to invest in the area because they (the people of Mobile) can support a Division-I football team as well as the many other things we already do here on the gulf coast. One indication of that is while tailgating at the first game, I talked to a woman with two children who came all the way over to Mobile from Pensacola to “support their team.” This was for a team who had yet to play a single game. How exciting is that?
Thanks Johnny Davis and the Lagniappe for contacting us and mentioning our site in your article.
The show started with Lee and Coach Jones joking about having enough time to get ready for Army Prep. Coach Jones likened it to getting ready for a bowl game, which Lee pointed out would not be too far in the future. Lee also mentioned a pep rally this evening at Bel Air Mall from 6-7pm plus a pep rally on campus, probably at the Mitchell Center on Friday.
Mentioning the need for game time experience, Coach Jones said that game experience is invaluable. The team can practice for weeks on end, but game experience is needed to reinforce what they have gone over on the practice field. They understand why they ran something 45 times the last week when they see and understand it on the field during a game.
Speaking about Army Prep, coach Jones said they are very disciplined, more so than Hargrave but probably not as athletic as Hargrave. As we have mentioned over the last two week, Army Prep runs the triple option (defending the triple option, Jags continue Prep).
Army Prep copies the varsity team down to a T. Everything from Offense, defense, and special teams are all the same between the two squads. Coach Jones mentioned that it will be a challenge and the Jags must match their discipline but that he felt really comfortable about his team.
Lee asked about the triple option and Coach Jones answered that the quarterback can give the ball to the full back up the middle or keep it around the end or pitch to the back off the end. Its just like the wishbone offense except they line up in the double split formation. This is where they have two split ends that line up about a yard outside the tackle.
Lee called Army Prep and was told by their athletic director that these kids can not and will not be recruited by South Alabama. They were very secretive about any information about the players. All of these players have been tagged for West Point Academy. Coach Jones said he has heard it both ways, that they can and they cannot recruit their players. But he decided to be on the safe side and not recruit any Army Prep players.
Coach Brian Turner came in for the second segment. Lee introduced him and congratulated him on his defensive lines work against Hargrave in the first game.
Lee then turned to recruiting since Coach Turner is the recruiting coordinator for the Jaguars. Coach Turner said that they can make 42 evaluations as per the NCAA. So they have six coaches traveling seven times during the year to make their number of 42 evaluations. The coaches are still evaluating players and their board has about 100 players that they are watching or have already offered scholarships to. Coach Jones said that they ahve to re-evaluate and re-rank players from time to time to make sure they do the best with their resources. They have been doing that over the last week. Coach Jones said that when you have two scholarships for defensive linemen or a receiver, you want to make sure you use those two scholarships wisely.
Lee asked about Coach Turners thoughts on kids verbally committing early and the possibility of an early signing period. He said No if its in December. He thinks it would hurt schools like South Alabama if it were to be in December. But if the early signing period was in May he would be for it. Lee asked what if it was in September? Coach Turner said he possibly would be for it.
Lee asked how many scholarships can USA give in February? Coach Jones said they have about 25 scholarships to give, but they also have some gray shirts commitments so they probably have about 20 to sign actually in February.
Beginning segment three, Lee mentioned again that Coach Jones will be at Bel Air Mall this evening from 6-7pm signing autographs and attending the pep rally scheduled there.
Lee and Joey talked about some college football happenings around the nation briefly and then asked if USA could play any Sun Belt schools earlier than their first full year in Division-I. Coach Jones said yes, they could but in 2012 they would still be a Division I-AA school and that Division I school can only schedule one per year. Most of the schools already have one scheduled but that they are also still working on the schedules that far out.
Lee then asked Coach Turner, how many defensive line players are in the rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they have nine players in the rotation. During Hargrave they had 10 but due to a knee injury one will be out for Army Prep. He also said that is a good part of being a young team is having the ability to rotate a large number of linemen into the game.
The fourth and final segment started with the injury report. Coach Jones said they are very healthy except for John Mark Patrick, who went down late in the Hargrave game with a knee injury. They think he should be back this season and hope to have it back for Georgia Military.
Lee asked about transfers from other schools. Coach Turner said that the player has to initiate the contact and then before the coaches and talk and try to recruit the player, they have to have a release from the school. Coach Jones said that if a player transfers between schools in the conference, they have to sit out a year but Coach Turner said that he would not want a player transferring to another school within the conference.
Lee also brought up how he liked how the Auburn players were coached to give the ball to the officials, even in the end zone. It makes for a more speedy game and it seemed more classy. Coach Jones agreed, he does not like kids to showboat or toss the ball around. USA also runs a more up-beat offense but they have taught the players to hand the ball to the official especially during the hurry-up drills.
USA drops two games over the weekend. First the Jags traveled to Atlanta to play Georgia State. The weather forced a venue change and an early kickoff. At halftime, the Jags were only down 1-0 after a goal in the 41st minute. Then GSU added two goals in the second half to round out the final score of 3-0 to the Panthers.
From there the Jags traveled to Columbia, South Carolina for a match against the #12 ranked USC Gamecocks. The undefeated gamecocks took a 3-0 lead into halftime then scored another three goals in the second half. The Jags scored their lone goal of the weekend in the 85th minute of the match and was the first goal allowed by South Carolina this season. The final score was 6-1.
The Jags volleyball team traveled to Prairie View, Texas for a weekend tournament at Prairie View A&M. On Friday they had a rematch against Nicolls State that they won in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-20).
On Saturday the lady Jags first match was against Arkansas-Pine Bluff which they won in straight sets again 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-11). They then took on the tournament host for the tournament title and won in straight sets once again 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) to win the Lady Panther Invitational title.
The Jaguars enjoyed another weekend off before beginning game-week preparation for this Saturday’s matchup against Army Prep at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
However the weekend was not very good to Sun Belt teams. North Texas traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on the #4 ranked Crimson Tide but were demolished 53-7. LSU hosted Louisiana-Lafayette but the Ragin’ Cajuns could only muster a field goal to lose 31-3. Western Kentucky hosted Central Arkansas but could only punch it into the end zone once in the first half and lost 28-7.
Louisiana-Monroe traveled to Arizona State and managed to score two touchdowns but still fell short against the Sun Devils 38-14. Florida International took on Rutgers and lost 23-15. Troy hosted in-state rival UAB and took a 10 point lead into halftime but ended up with a 27-14 win.
Then the most exciting game of the weekend saw Middle Tennessee State travel to Maryland. The game stayed close then with two seconds remaining, down 31-29 MTSU made a 32 yard field goal to win the game 32-31.
Other action: Arkansas State had an off week but are 0-2 to begin the season after losing to Mississippi Valley State and Nebraska. They will host Troy this Saturday. Florida Atlantic traveled to South Carolina but lost to the Gamecocks 38-16.
Due to wet field conditions South Alabama head baseball coach Steve Kittrell has been forced to postpone the start of fall practice until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. The Jags were expected to start their 45-day practice period Thursday afternoon. Kittrell made the decision to postpone due to NCAA rules that only allow 45 days for team workouts during the fall, and those begin with the teams first official practice.
Depending on the weather, the Jags may start practice on Sunday at 2pm.
The matchups have been announced for the second annual South Alabama Thanksgiving Classic. Coach Ronnie Arrow announced that Utah Valley, Georgia State and Alcorn State will play in the tournament on November 25 and 26 at the Mitchell Center.
Wednesday, Georgia State and Utah Valley will begin the tournament at 5pm followed by South Alabama and Alcorn State at 7pm. On Thursday, the consolation game will start at 2pm and the Championship game will begin at 4pm.
Dr. Joel Erdmann, South Alabama’s Athletic Director, announced on Tuesday that Lady Jag coach Rick Pietri has received a contract extension through the 2013 season. Last season the Lady Jags finished 21-11, which is the first back to back 20-win season by the Lady Jags in 21 years. They also advanced to the semifinal round of the conference tournament for the first time since 2003 and only the second time since 1989.
On February 14th, Pietri grabbed his 150th career win at the collegiant level and ranks second in overall wins in South Alabama’s all-time coaching chart with 154 and ranks first in Sun Belt victories with 75.
Kickoff of Friday’s soccer match between USA and Georgia State has been moved up from 6pm to 3:30pm due to a change in venue. Originally scheduled for a 6pm kickoff at GSU’s home field, they have moved to Atlanta Silverback’s Park due to unplayable conditions. Siverback’s Park has synthetic turf similar to USA’s football practice field.
Coach Varga was very grateful to head football coach Joey Jones for allowing the Soccer team to also use the football practice field to practice this week. He said, “We were very fortunate Coach Jones allowed us to practice on their field this week. I’m very grateful he allowed us that opportunity.”
This weekend will be the final tournament of the regular season for the Lady Jaguars before they begin their Sun Belt schedule. They are traveling to Prairie View A&M for the Lady Panther Invitational and will take on Nicholls State at 1pm on Friday then will take on Prairie View A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.
South Alabama has started early in preparation for their game against Army Prep on September 26. Most teams do not get three weeks between games, but since this is the Jaguars first season with a limited number of games it worked out that way. So Coach Jones and his staff have started working on things the team can do better from the first game and preparing for the unusual offense they will see on the field.
The Jaguar offensive practice has been centered around red zone work, something that Coach Jones thought the team struggled with against Hargrave Academy. They have also worked on first down production and third down scenerios. The offense has also worked on another situation every day this week, picking up the blitz.
The defense has been focusing all week has been going against the base plays of the triple option. Coach Jones thinks that having three weeks between games is a positive in that the defense gets more time to prepare for this type of offense. “Kids nowadays don’t grow up playing in that offense,” Coach Jones said. “When I grew up pretty much everyone ran the option, so it was nothing to go out there, line up and know where you were supposed to go – but, you just don’t see it any more. You have to be very disciplined to play against the option. That’s why the Armys and the Navys are very successful in Division I football. They play teams with better athletes, but the offense is a great equalizer.”
The staff and in particular Coach Jones has been surprised in a good way by his teams performance on the practice field with the lone exception being Tuesdays practice. Tuesday’s practice was described as the offensing having a lull. “I think that we have practiced much better than I would have anticipated,” Coach Jones observed.
Another plus for the long layoff between games is the team gets to mend injuries sustained in the first game. All but one injury has cleared up since the first game. John Mark Patrick, who came off the field late in the Jags game against Hargrave with what appeared to be a knee injury, did not return to practice this week. He said it was a little unusual this late in September to be about 99% as he said. But also the Jags have only played the one game as well.
The Jags will take a three day weekend before beginning game-week preparations on Monday for the Black Knights of Army Prep.