Saturday was the Jaguars first scrimmage of Spring practice and their focus was the passing game. Brennan Sim and Myles Gibbon each threw two touchdowns as the Jaguars offense racked up 286 yards through the air.
Sims was 11-of-21 with 172 yards with his two touchdowns while Gibbon went 6-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Gabe Graham completed all four of his passing attempts for 22 yards as well. The Jags had 11 different receivers catching passes on the day with Kelly Vail catching four passes for 111 yards. Courtney Smith caught three for 38 yards as well.
While the defense allowed more than eight yards per passing play, they only allowed 66 yards on 58 carries. Linebacker Justin Dunn and Defensive Lineman Darrius McMullin both lead the defense with seven tackles. Enrique Williams had five tackles including 1.5 for loss. Several others had four tackles. Defensive Back Jonathan Cameron had three tackles to go along with his three pass break-ups. Ken Barefield and Zach Brownell both forced fumbles.
Additionally, the defense was credited with 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage with 10 of them being quarterback sacks.
The first and second team defenses both held the offenses to three-and-outs on the possessions of the days. It was Gabe Graham, the third team quarterback, who would get the offense in gear when he completed a 10 yard pass to Courtney Smith to get the initial first down of the scrimmage.
The first team offense’s next series saw Sim find Kelly Vail inside the five yard line in stride but Brownell caught him from behind and forced a fumble that would roll out of the back of the end zone.
Two possessions later the offense would finally put the first points on the board. Ross would get a first down on his first carry, which would be followed up by Gibbon hitting Corey Besteda on the left sideline for a 49 yard touchdown.
The defense would answer with two consecutive three-and-outs with three sacks in those six plays. Then they ended the third possession when Eddie Cabrera hauled in an interception which he ran back 17 yards.
The first half of the scrimmage would see the offense getting five first downs but unable to score.
The second half of the scrimmage saw the defense open up with four three-and-outs before Brandon Ross would get two first downs for the offense. But no one was able to score.
It wasn’t until offensive possessions started at the defense’s 40 yard line was the final points of the day put on the board.
Sims found Kelly Vail for a 36 yard completion to move the offense inside the five yard line. Then three plays later Sim would find Ryne Baxter in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Gibbon would helm the next drive which began with an 18 yard pass to Richard Ross but it would only lead to a 30 yard field goal by Jordan Means.
The final four drives of the day were first-and-goal from the nine yard line. The first ended with a 23 yard field goal by Michel Chapuseaux. The next saw Sim find Smith on a fourth down slant pattern for the eight yard score. The final possession had a nine yard touchdown pass to Robby Stoner from Myles Gibbon.
After the scrimmage, Coach Jones commented on how the Jags played. “Offensively, I think we are throwing the ball a little bit better. That has been an area that we have been looking to improve on. Our defense has just gotten tougher against the run, which is what you want to see. Last fall, it was a little bit porous at times against the offense, but they have done a great job of improving. Sure there are things that still need to be corrected, but I have been pleased with their efforts to stop the running game.”
“We’ve made some improvements in the last week-and-a-half, but we have got to have a great week this week,” Coach Jones continued. “The next four practices we have need to be great because when we get to Monday the week of the spring game we are basically going to be done at that point as far as trying to get better. I think the kids will respond to that challenge.”
The Jags will practice in pads on Monday with limited contact beginning at 7am then on Tuesday the team will resume tackling when they hit the field at 7:30am. The second of the three scrimmages this spring will be on Saturday, March 6. Practices this week and Saturday’s scrimmage will all be held at the Jaguar Practice Facility near the Jaguar Football Field house.
Martino Brock slamming the ball home and taking the momentum away from the Pioneers in the second half of the game at the Mitchell Center.
The Jags rally from a seemingly insurmountable deficit on Senior night to beat Denver Thursday at the Mitchell Center in their regular season finale. This win puts the Jags at 16-14 overall and 8-10 in the Sun Belt Conference while Denver falls to 16-12 and 9-8 in the Sun Belt.
Denver opened the game with a three pointer, which was the theme of the first half. The Pioneers would go 9-13 from three point range and hold the Jags to a season low of scoring in the first half to build a 33-19 lead at halftime.
The second half would be different though.
Denver would come out of the halftime break to go on a 12-4 run while forcing the Jags into three turnovers on their way to a 45-23 lead with 15:11 left in the game.
The Jags pulled together and went on a 14-0 run to cut the Denver lead to 8 points. In the span of six possessions, the Pioneers would turn the ball over five times. But once Denver ended their scoring drought with a lay-up, the Jags would go on a 6-0 run with four of them coming from freshman Jayson Guerrier.
Denver would score on a lay-up with 6:38 left in the game to extend the Pioneer lead back to six. But this is when Tim Williams would take over. Williams would make two free-throws with 2:55 left. Then he would also nail a three pointer with 1:30 left to cut the Poineer lead to one point at 49-48.
Denver would go to the line and only make one of two free-throw attempts, but would get the rebound off the miss but would promptly turn it over to the Jaguars. On the ensuing Jaguar possession, Williams would knock down a three pointer with 31 seconds left to give the Jags their first lead since the 7:06 mark in the first half.
Denver would turn the ball over once more, for their 21st of the game, and send Williams to the line once more. He would hit the first but miss the second to extend the Jags lead to 52-50.
However, Denver would make a shot from the baseline to tie it at 52.
Williams would bring the ball up the court then on the dribble drive, he would shoot an awkward looking shot that would kiss high off the glass and bank in with second seconds left to give the Jags a two point advantage at 54-52.
The Pioneers had two chances to tie the game at the end but could not get a shot to go.
After the game Coach Arrow said, “This was a game of nothing but pride and heart. In the second half, I thought we played our style. The press was the difference in the game. It caused more turnovers for them, and I really think they got tired. They didn’t make a three in the second half. I think their legs got a little tired.”
Furthermore he said, “We wanted to send our seniors out as winners and we did that. I think that was really important. But the bottom line is we as coaches can’t make players play. They have to go out there and do their thing. It’s a war out there and they decided in the second half that it was a war and they were going to show up for it and do something about it. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Tim Williams scored half of his points in the game in the final three minutes of the game. He ended the game with a game-high 22 points. Javier Carter was the only other Jag in double figures with 13 coming off the bench.
The three seniors, brothers Charles and Philip Tabet along with Bryan Sherrer, were honored before the game. Both Charles and Philip started while Sherrer was on the bench with his knee injury.
The next game for the Jags will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on March 6-9. The opponent will be officially named on Sunday, but early indications point to a rematch between the Jags and the Pioneers.
Receiver Ralph Turner lined up during Spring practice.
Starting with the second day of spring practice, the Jags started working on drills. They began on special teams, position drills, 7-on-7 skeleton drills and 11-on-11 offense versus defense. They even had the offense and defense face the scout teams as well.
Coach Jones compares the improvements between the first and second games of last season to the improvements seen between the first and second practices this spring. The coaches unanimously thought that last seasons improvements between the first two games were the biggest of the year.
Thus on Friday, Coach Jones decided to go with full pads for the first time in the Spring on Saturday. The nearly three hour practice on Saturday saw a variety of work for the players.
After warming up, one of the first drills was the punt teams practicing staying in lanes on punt coverage. While on the other end of the field it saw the quarterbacks and receivers working throwing drills and quick throws.
The offense and defense separated onto opposite ends of the field and into three groups and went through fundamental drills. One of the most spirited drills was blocker on tackler with a runner going through the lane. The tackler had to fight through the block in order to get to the runner for the tackle.
Then all of the players met in the middle of the field for a team huddle. They broke the huddle and split into offense and defense again for more drills. They then had skeleton passing drills while the interior offensive and defensive lines practices inside running plays.
Then the real fun began with full offense versus defense drills running first down plays from the 35 yard line. Which went into first and ten drills followed by 3rd and 8 drills trying to pick up the blitz.
After the final huddle, the kickers got a chance to practice kickoffs with returners fielding kicks.
Overall there was alot of hard hitting even though the coaches limited the players to two hand tag most of the time. The players definitely came out with an intensity that carried over from last season.
Coach Jones commented that they need to spend more time learning their assignments because they did make their fair share of mental mistakes. Coach Jones commented, “We’re going to strive to be perfect, so mental mistakes aren’t accepted around here.”
Coach JOnes also made note of Brennan Sim’s passing during practice as well as Tim Harvey and Charlie Higgenbotham on the defensive side.
Tuesday’s practice was the teams first full-contact practice of the spring session. They once again got an early start by hitting the field at 7:30am. They began with agility drills by position then moved onto special teams work. Which was followed by fundamental drills by position. Then around 8:45am they started 11-on-11 drills with the popping of pads meeting on the gridiron. The only non-contact players of the field were the quarterbacks.
They ran about 20 plays total between the first and second teams. This was followed up with offensive and defensive lines ran skeleton pass rush while the secondary teamed up with the receivers and backs for skeleton pass drills.
The Jags then came back together into 11-on-11 drills to close out practice. But it wasn’t your typical offense though. They practiced goal-line stands as an idea of success. Of the final 30 minutes of practice devoted to 11-on-11 drills, half of that was focused on plays near the goal line with the offense and defense cheering each other on from nearby.
The Jags had a huge goal-line stand in last seasons finale against Huntingdon College. With the offense struggling early and after a couple big plays, the Jaguar defense lined up near the goal line. The Jags were about three yards from going behind in a game for the first time but the defense came up huge to ignite the Jags on both sides of the ball.
Forcing a fumble, the Jaguar offense, which had sputtered so far in the game, drove 98 yards for the games opening score of the game and onto the final win of their undefeated season.
Coach Jones was pleased to see the fight and intensity from his players. “I think the defense has stepped up against the run compared to last fall. Coach Schwind and coach Dunn have done a great job with them in the weight room during the off season. They’ve gained weight, gotten faster and stronger and are playing more physical. Offensively, we’re trying to concentrate a little more on throwing the ball well, and running it. We know one of the biggest areas we have to improve upon is throwing the ball well.”
But the intensity and excitement in those final 15 minutes of practice at the goal line really had the players going. Coach Jones said, “I thought we had a real spirited end of practice today. Really, what you’re looking for is competitors and guys who are going to come through in the clutch, when it’s fourth-and-one, on offense and defense. What you’re looking for is those guys who are going to step it up and not back down. That’s why we put them in those situations in practice as much as we can. You can’t do it too much. You don’t want to get people hurt. But it was good to see that at the end of practice.”
Thursday, the Jags will hit the practice field again to continue spring workouts.
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South Alabama began their spring football practice session Thursday morning with excitement. Coming off of their first season of competition could be enough for some, but to go an undefeated 7-0 mostly with very decisive victories, one could not write a better script.
The Jags had 115 players in helmets on the first day with lots of familiar faces both coaching and being coached. But they also had a few new faces who enrolled this spring such as Jonathon Cameron and Jereme Jones. Plus a new face on the coaching staff to replace Dameyune Craig who left to join Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State. But in steps Ron Antoine to coach the receivers.
Coach Jones stated that every position is up for grabs. But this spring session was going to be used to further emphasize toughness in addition to fundamentals, but that the running game will get lots of work.
One of those position battles that will definitely be interesting to watch this fall will be the quarterback position. Brennan Sim, a transfer from Oregon State last year, was at a huge disadvantage coming into fall practice last season. He had surgery after developing pneumonia in order to remove some of the infection, which caused him to miss the majority of the preseason conditioning work.
Sim is now healthy and has been participating in the off season workouts and conditioning. But he is also continuing to look good on the field as well. He impressed the coaches last season as he picked up the offense and gained playing time throughout the season. When Myles Gibbon was injured in the sixth game, he got the start in the final game of the season.
With equal footing to begin spring camp, the Sim and Gibbon battle for the starting spot promises to be something to watch. Nick Owen, who was the third string quarterback last season, has left the team and returned to California which leaves Gabe Graham as the third string.
It’s expected that when C.J. Bennett arrives in August, that he may be in the mix for the starting position as well. But that will have to wait until fall camp begins.
Last year on the first day of spring practice, there was a lot of unknowns. But since then several have been answered. But on this first day of practice they all knew where to be and what to do. Coach Jones is no longer starting from scratch as he was last year, but he is building a program before our eyes. He now has players with experience and they are teaching the newcomers the process and they are improving.
The Jags played Western Kentucky on Thursday night and came away with a spanking after losing 99-69. This drops the Jags to 15-13 for the season and 7-9 in Sun Belt play. While the Hilltoppers improve to 16-12 and 9-6 in the Sun Belt.
This loss was the the worst for the Jags this season and an all-time worst against the Hilltoppers. Also allowing a season high of 99 points in a game.
Jags at the Hilltoppers traded scores in the beginnings, however the ‘toppers would go on a 29-8 run over the next eight and a half minutes. Then WKU added another 7-0 run later in the first half and went into the locker room with a 53-30 halftime lead.
A.J. Slaughter was the focal point of the first half, scoring 21 points for the Hilltoppers on a 6-of-7 showing from the floor, making all four of his 3-point attempts. Including 5-for-5 from the free throw line. But in the first half, the entire WKU team shot 64% from the field, just over 61% from outside the arc and were perfect from the free-throw line.
In the second half the Jags could not get any closer than 17 points.
Coach Arrow had this to say about the Jags performance, or lack thereof. “We just no-showed,” he said. “That’s the second time this year that’s happened. I was just really disappointed with our effort. We didn’t stop anybody the whole time. We were scoring the first five minutes but we weren’t stopping anybody. Then we just stopped scoring and started going one-on-one. When we do that, bad things are going to happen. We’re limited in depth and we’ve got to learn to take time off the clock and work the clock far better than what we did tonight, especially against a good team like that.”
South Alabama’s Tim Williams had a team high 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting while Gary Redus, Martino Brock and Javier Carter all added 11 points each in the Jag effort.
The Jags will end their road swing of the season as they swing through Tennessee for their game against MTSU on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm and the game will be televised on ESPN Plus and ESPN360.com.
Earlier this month, the Jags signed 22 players for their 2010 class. Their process to get to Football Bowl Subdivision play will continue this week as they return to the practice field for Spring workouts.
On Thursday, they will begin working out for 15 practices which includes four full-contact practices and three scrimmages. Their practice period will end on March 10th when they will conclude their spring drill session with a 6pm scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Admission and parking will be free. The other 14 workouts will be held at the Jaguars on-campus practice facility near the Football Fieldhouse. All events are open to the public and free.
Head Coach Joey Jones says things will be different from last year. “I expect the first day to be a really good day, as opposed to waiting three to five days to get things going last spring. Last year, we were starting from scratch. Nobody knew terminology or each other, but now we’ve started to build a team. We’ve gone through a summer program, a year and an offseason, so our kids know each other and what to expect from us as coaches. We should be able to pick up from where we were at the end of the season and progress from there.”
The opening week of spring drills will have the Jags out on the practice field for workouts on Thursday at 7:30am and Friday at 7am in only helmets. Then drills on Saturday at 9am with pads but no tackling. Four other full pads practices without full contact are scheduled for February 22, February 24, March 1, and March 8 all will begin around 7am. Their first full-contact practice is scheduled for Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30am with more scheduled for February 25, March 2 and March 4.
The Jags first scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday, February 27 at 9am. Other scrimmages are scheduled on Saturday March 6 at 11am and their final scrimmage on March 10 at 6pm. On Tuesday, March 9 at 9am, the Jags will work out only in pads in preparation for the scrimmage the next day.
Bryan Sherrer went down with a knee injury early in the February 11th game against Florida International. It was announced yesterday by Coach Ronnie Arrow that he tore his lateral meniscus and will miss 2-4 weeks.
Bryan has started the first 26 games of the season and averages just over 10 points per game, which is third best on the team. He also ranks eighth in the nation in free-throw percentage at 90.8%.
This will be a big loss for the Jags as the Sun Belt Conference tournament begins in just about two and a half weeks in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The tournament is the only hope the Jags have to make the NCAA Tournament this season after losing two key players for the rest of the season back in January.
Martino Brock, a freshman, was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on Monday. This was his first honor of his collegiant career.
His contributions over the last week lead the Jags to two wins by averaging 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. He also recorded two double-doubles. He ranks second on the team in two categories, with a season average of 12.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.
After starting off strong (9-0) in the Sun Belt, the Lady Jags have cooled off with two 3 game losing streaks recently. They are now sitting at 4th place (of six) with a 9-6 record in the Sun Belt eastern division and in 6th place overall in the SBC.
Arkansas-Little Rock and Middle Tennessee State are leading their divisions, both with 13-1 records in the Sun Belt. UALR has the overall edge for the season with a record of 20-5 to MTSU’s 18-5.
However, it just came to our attention that Tashley Gaines has been dismissed from the team. She was the Jags leading rebounder and their third leading scorer. It is unknown why she was dismissed from the team at this time as no official announcement has surfaced.
Junior Tim Williams and Freshman Martino Brock both scored double-doubles as the Jags battle from behind to beat the Ragin’ Cajuns 67-65 last night in the Mitchell Center. The win puts the Jags at 15-12 for the season and 7-8 in the Sun Belt while the Cajuns fall to 11-14 overall and 8-6 in the Sun Belt.
The Jags came out and got a very early lead, but the Cajuns would overtake them and keep the lead well into the second half. At halftime, the Jags were down 35-25 after shrinking the Cajun lead but allowed them to pull back away in the final minutes of the half.
The second half saw many momentum swings. Back-to-back three-pointers from Brock and Williams to quickly cut the Cajun lead to four, 35-31 before a long delay by the officials while they reviewed an altercation between the Cajuns and Tabet that forced Tabet to leave the game for medical attention for a cut.
After the stoppage, the red hot Jags cooled off and the ULL scored the next five points. Then the Jags answered with a 9-2 run. But once again the momentum would shift and the Cajuns’ Tyren Johnson would score seven consecutive points all by himself.
Brock and Williams would take the momentum back for South Alabama by scoring seven points between them before Johnson converted a three-point play. But Tim Williams nailed a clutch trey with 7:22 left in the game to cut the Cajun lead to two points, 52-50.
Finally Allyn Cooks would give the Jags the lead again with a lay-up, 55-54. He would then cap off the 8-0 run with a three-pointer, pushing the Jags out to a 58-54 lead. But then Johnson would score the next four points to tie the game at 58.
Four Jaguar free-throws would break the tie in favor of South Alabama, 62-58. But once again, Johnson would be a thorn in the Jaguars side scoring five consecutive points of the Cajuns seven to regain the lead 65-62.
With some of the crowd thinking that the Jags were going to let this one slip away, Tim Williams would sink two free-throws to put the Jags down by one with seconds to go. After a turnover, Brock would come away with the rebound after a missed three by Williams and lay it in for a 66-65 lead with 23 seconds remaining.
Randell Daigle of the Cajuns would miss a jumper with 13 seconds remaining and Brock would come away with the rebound and would be fouled. Brock hit one of his two shots for the Jags winning score, 67-65. Daigle would miss a desperation three with two seconds remaining to end the game.
Coach Arrow after the game. “To win close games, you’ve got to have guys that will make plays. Tim made some big jump shots and made his free throws, and Martino had a big rebound and a put-back. We took care of the ball for the most part and we got stops.”
The Jags tied their season high in 3-pointers with nine and went 7-for-11 from 3-point range after halftime.
The Jags will take their final road swing next week as they travel to Western Kentucky on Thursday for a 7pm matchup. Then on Saturday they travel to Middle Tennessee for another 7pm matchup.
South Alabama found a way to finish a game, unfortunately it was against one of the worst teams in the Sun Belt Conference. They came out on top in overtime by a score of 69-65. This improves the Jags record to 14-12 for the season and 6-8 in the Sun Belt. Meanwhile, Florida International falls to 7-20 for the season and 4-10 in the Sun Belt.
Senior Bryan Sherrer left the game early in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. With the problems the Jags have with their depth chart this season, this could have spelled doom for the game. However, Freshman Martino Brock was the one to lead the Jags by coming away with team-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with 12.
Yet again this season the Jags had a double digit lead in a game but would squander it late in the second half. They had the lead for almost 17 minutes in the second half but FIU would ride a 9-3 run into the lead for the first time in the game.
The two teams traded free throws before Brock tied the game at 60 in the waning moments of the game. FIU would attempt to win it in regulation but Gary Redus would block the shot.
FIU would score first in overtime with two free-throws but Redus would tie the game for the last time with a lay-up. It was Brock then, who would put South Alabama ahead for the final time with two free-throws. Then DeAndre Hersey would grab a missed shot by Brock and jam it home with a mere 40 seconds left to give the Jags a four point lead.
The Jags held FIU to 0-for-8 from the floor in overtime and 33.3% for the game. South Alabama didn’t do much better though, only shooting 33.8% for the game.
Coach Arrow on the Jaguars finish: “At the end of this game, we got some stops that we haven’t been getting in other games. We made our free throws, for the most part, and didn’t turn the ball over. That’s entirely different than what we’ve been doing in these other games where we’ve gone down to the wire. It was completely reversed tonight. We got some big buckets by different players and won the game.”
Coach Arrow also spoke about his teams strategy for the game. “We tried to spread it and get it to the hole. When Bryan went out, we had people playing in positions they haven’t played before. We had to go to our spread offense and try to get to the hole and pitch to the open man. We’re probably going to have to do more of that now with Bryan being out. We have some key guys who are out, and it’s given other guys opportunities that they need to take advantage of.”
The Jags final game of this homestand will be on Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette with tip-off scheduled for 7:05pm.
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