Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-09-01

September 1, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show 

Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian were at Wings Sports Grill on Airport Boulevard for the Joey Jones Radio Show and covered several interesting topics. Coach Jones strayed from his ‘unofficially’ named ‘Joey Jones Special’ (the black and white chicken platter) to get the chopped steak.

The first thing mentioned was Hargrave played their first game over the weekend against Radford, which they won handily 63-3. However the score does not indicate the level of talent they played. Radford is merely a club football team in their second year. However on the other hand, don’t let that disuade you about the level of talent that Hargrave puts on the field.

Coach Jones has talked to many people in the area and each one has said that they plan to be at the first game against Hargrave. Many people said they are staying home to watch USA instead of traveling to watch Alabama take on Virginia Tech. But Coach Jones said he is still going to estimate a crowd of about 35,000 for the first game if the weather is nice.

Lee then asked Coach Jones to talk about how good Hargrave is. He made sure to reiterate that Hargrave is a very talented team with lots of Division-I players. They are capable of big plays. The offensive line is better this year than it was last year and possibly in the last couple years and it is a concern of Coach Jones and his staff. The defensive front and secondary has some good players. The team has to stay focused and work to prevent big plays from happening on both sides of the ball.

Hargrave has only lost two games in the previous two years and Coach Jones also said that they have been a very good team over the last few years. But he doesn’t want the team to get caught up thinking about how Hargrave is going to play, but focus on how they are going to play themselves. He thinks the conditioning factor and their preparation will benefit the Jags and help lead them to a victory. Hargrave has the ability to choose from a vast number of players, not many schools has that luxury. They had read somewhere they Hargrave gets to school from about 3,000 players a year at about five different camps.

Comparing the Jaguar defensive line against the Hargrave offensive line, the defensive line may be a little under sized but the Jags play very hard, they are quick and agile. He thinks they can keep pace with Hargrave because they have worked so hard for so long already and they have the footwork to use their speed to cause problems.

Its very hard for the Jags to get a sense about Hargrave’s team because they have such a huge player turnover each year. But similarly, Hargrave will have a difficult time preparing for South Alabama since they have yet to play a game. It will be critical for South Alabama to make good, effective halftime adjustments.

To start the second segment offensive coordinator Greg Gregory joined Lee and Joey. Lee asked Coach Jones about injuries, was there anyone out for the first game? Coach Jones answered that the Jaguars are healthy for the most part, there are two or three players who are pending right now. The thing he is worried about most is the flu, there are a couple guys with flu-like symptoms that he wants to get healthy quick.

Lee then asked how did Coach Gregory come to the decision to start true freshman Myles Gibbon at quarterback, since its the most asked about position on a football team. Coach Gregory affirmed that Gibbon won the job. Each of the quarterbacks received equal number of reps during camp. They all worked hard and Myles was very mature for a freshman, he is 20 years old. While he has separated himself from Brennan Sim and Nick Owen, they are still very close to each other competition wise.

Lee followed up asking if he was worried about the level of competition Myles saw since he is from Canada. Coach Gregory flat out said no. At first he would have, but after seeing him face the Jaguar defense for the last several weeks, he has done very well and that is not a concern at this point.

Coach Gregory followed that up by saying that Myles is a guy that could go into most places and compete from the beginning. He may redshirt the first year at some established programs, but he can compete with the best of them.

Lee asked about possibly rotating quarterbacks. Coach Jones said no, they want to go with one quarterback and he is not one to rotate quarterbacks. He continued by saying that Sim and Owen are close to Gibbon’s talent and they feel that either one could step in and win the game for the Jags in needed. Coach Gregory said that there are two very important things when evaluating a quarterback. The first thing to look for is a quarterback that won’t get you beat. Then the second thing is for a quarterback that gives you the ability to make some big plays to help you win.

Lee asked “what does Myles bring to the table?” Coach Gregory said his size (listed as 6’3″ 210 lbs), his speed (he will run a 40 between 4.5 and 4.6) and his strong arm can throw the ball deep. They will have to wait and see how accurate he is until he is in a game situation.

Lee asked about how they go about putting together an offensive game plan. Coach Gregory said that you start with what you do best. There are things that they do well and that they will do in all of their games, they try to fit them into the game by formation against the defense. Then you find and install some wrinkles that you can use to try to get some big plays to help you win.

Having a young quarterback and a young defense on the field, the Jags must execute well. Coach Jones told us that he asked the players to think about how they were going to respond. How were they going to handle the crowd and how are they going to respond if they miss a block or commit any number of possible mistakes on the field. Both teams are young and inexperienced so both teams will make some mistakes. But Coach Jones thinks whoever minimizes the number of mistakes will win the game.

Lee asked Coach Jones about leadership and he responded by saying that he thinks Myles is a great leader. He is a bit soft spoken but he has a winning swagger about him that rubs off to all of the other players.

A caller asked how do they monitor players to keep them out of trouble. Coach Jones said they cannot monitor them all the time. The NCAA does not allow schools to have football dorms like Coach Jones and Coach Gregory had when they played in college. They had to check in with their monitors all the time. Students now stay in general student dorms or apartments and they just can’t be monitored all the time. So part of the recruiting process is to make sure you get kids that are well disciplined and to discipline those when and if they warrant it.

Lee Shirvanian mentioned that he was at a high school game on Saturday and there were lots of kids cramping up. So he asked what precautions is USA taking to try to prevent this. Coach Jones said that they will get plenty of fluids leading up to the game and there will be plenty of fluids available on the sidelines. Another thing that has been overlooked by many but they are doing is to get more salt in their diet and to make sure they have a good amount of fat on them as well. Kids with low body fat, once they burn through their carbs, will start burning muscle and they will cramp up. The forecast shows that it should be about 85-88 degrees for the game, Coach Jones would actually prefer 95-98 because he feels it would benefit them over Hargrave.

Lee then asked about the running game, if they had a clear number one running back. Coach Gregory said that their clear #1 running back is Brandon Ross. However they have two or three backs, that if something happened, could easily step up and give them a good chance to win. The will rotate running backs and spread the carries around, however Ross should get the majority of the carries. They do have situational backs because some block better than others, some catch the ball better out of the backfield than others. He also reaffirmed that the Jags are a one back offense, but not to be confused with being a spread offense. They are a one back team with power running and passing but also some option thrown in.

Lee then asked if they have something akin to the ‘wild cat’ formation, something like the ‘wild jaguar.’ They both said no, Gibbon can run with the best of them and could get as many yards or more than the running back so they don’t need that type of formation for him.

Lee then asked how they found Gibbon. Coach Jones said one of the coaches saw him in a football camp and started recruiting him. Many schools stay away from Canadian players because they take different classes up there as opposed to in America. So they have to take some time and take extra courses in order to be eligible by the NCAA.

Coach Jones commented that they know of about 9 of 13 players on defense that have committed to Division-I schools. Also Coach Gregory has been recruiting from Hargrave for about 20 years, so he knows Hargrave pretty well. He has a good relationship with Hargrave’s head coach and when he told him that he was taking the job at South Alabama, his response was that he wanted to come down and play.

Another question from Lee was about footwear for the game. What kind of shoes do they wear. Coach Jones said that they use just normal cleats. The turf at Ladd-Peebles Stadium is actually a little shorter than on the practice field and that makes it a little faster. He does want to get the player out at Ladd one more time before the game because of that difference.

The final question was how many players were going to suit up for the game. Coach Jones said they were going to dress out about 96 players. Lee followed up asking how many of those were scholarship players, which Coach Jones answered that about 50 of them were scholarship players. He went on to say that their team is about 50/50 scholarship and walk-ons right now.

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