Jags Make Adjustment To A Short Week Of Practice

October 16, 2009 · By · Filed Under Football 

For the first time this season, not to mention in South Alabama history, the Jags only had one week to turn around and prepare for an opponent. But the schedule was constructed to work up to this point in the season.

Lousiburg Junior College from North Carolina will enter the game with a 5-1 record and ranked #18 in this weeks NJCA poll. They are quite similar to Georgia Military by running multiple sets on offense and utilizing the 3-3 stack on defense.

The results of the last game versus Georgia Military was a 31-3 win for the Jags while limiting the Bulldogs to 234 yards of total offense.

Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory mentioned that the similarities is a definite benefit for the Jags. “What really was a blessing for us is that Louisburg’s defensive scheme is the exact same as Georgia Military’s,” he said. “All we had to do this week was tweak some things – maybe we want to use some plays we didn’t last week or vice versa, we have taken out plays that we ran against Georgia Military that we didn’t like.

Defensive coordinator Bill Clark said something quite similar about the defense. “Obviously we won’t do all the same things as last week, but it will help us,” he said. “If we went from Army Prep running the option to more of a traditional offense it would’ve been harder.” Coach Clark also mentioned that their workouts through the season has helped the defense to get to this point where they can adjust to playing back-to-back games. “It’s a little bit different, everything is compacted, but we’ve handled it well,” he said. “On defense, we are so focused on adjusting to what the other offense does – the formations, the plays, the tendencies – so we’ve been lucky to have extended amounts of time prior to this week. Of course, Saturday will be the test to see how well we’ve handled it.”

The Jags are approaching this week like it was any other. Their goal is to be a better football team by weeks end than they were at the beginning of the week. “One of the ways we have approached this is to say that we are going to work to improve,” Coach Gregory said. “Sure, we have to work against the scheme of the opponent, but we are really focusing more on ourselves. We want to win every game this year but we are trying to build a football program and lay a foundation, so half of our practice is based on improving fundamentals like throwing, catching and tackling rather than the opposition.”

Even though the Jags are 3-0, the coaches are quick to point out there are improvements to be made. “Right now we don’t throw the ball as well as I would like to throw it,” Coach Gregory said. “That’s a combination of not being good enough at quarterback yet and that we’re not a great pass protection football team yet. That always takes the longest amount of time. We’d like to work on that more in some of these ball games if we get the opportunity, but we’re playing to win.”

Through the first three games the Jaguars have been clearly dominant in the ground game, gaining an average of 257.7 yards per game while only averaging 135.7 yards per game through the air. The coaches are pleased with the performances, however they want a more balanced attack. “The one thing we are trying to do is build a tough, hard-nosed, attacking football team,” Gregory explained. “We’re doing that, but we have to become a more balanced football team not in how much we throw but just having more confidence in our ability to throw.”

On defense the Jags are doing good as well. They have allowed an average of 268 yards per game and only surrendered 16 points in the process. In addition to the yards, the defense has held strong on third down by only allowing seven of 38 attempts to be converted into first downs, which is an 18% success rate.

“Our guys know tackling and takeaways, and when you talk to them and they shoot it back you feel like they are getting it,” stated Clark. “We want to get better fundamentally, we want to be better tacklers. There are things in the last game we saw that we believe we can improve on. We had their quarterback trapped four or five times and couldn’t get him down – he’s a great athlete, but we should be able to do that. The way the players have bought in has been excellent. When you’re a coach they are going to do what you say, but to really get them to believe has been important because we have a really high standard. We feel like we are about excellence, and one of our goals is a shutout. That’s a tough goal when you play four 15-minute quarters, but that’s what we’re looking for. Every week is a chance to improve, we’re only as good as our last game. I’m pleased at this point, but know we have work to do.”

The Jaguars kick off against Louisburg JC on Saturday, October 24 at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.



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