Athletic Director Joey Erdmann decided that the cheerleaders, dance team and pep band cannot lead the crowd in their traditional “USA, South In Your Mouth” chants after a successful Jag free throw. He cited the University’s intent to move away from potentially “politically incorrect” statements.
The chant has been used in the Mitchell Center for over a decade. It has even been featured in several SBC Tournaments, nationally televised games on ESPN and more regionally televised games on Comcast SportsNet. But now the University feels that the chant is not a proper representation of South Alabama Spirit.
The USA Outlaws was told by USA Marketing Director Travis Toth that they should consider new strategies and chants. They even had their latest T-Shirt design denied by the University because it featured the slogan on the back.
But in a good sign, the move has already been met with harsh resistence. Fans and students both have been making their voices clear that they do not share the the University’s view on the subject.
Can you come up with a better chant? Do you want to come up with another chant? We will have to wait and see what the cheerleaders come up with and if they intend to try to chant over the fans and students who insist on chanting “South In Your Mouth” in defiance.
Madison Salter, representative of the Outlaws mentioned, “We’ve been asked to move on but we can’t make anyone change overnight.” I’m sure the administration has implied some sort of punishment to the student organization if they defiantly chant the traditional saying. However, I hope that is not the case.
The University of Alabama prohibited the band from leading the crowd in their traditionally victory song, “Rammer, Jammer” several years ago. However they changed their mind after defiant fans and students continued to sing the song. Now it is a fixture at Alabama victories.
So it remains possible that “South In Your Mouth” could make a comeback. It’s more “politically correct” than ‘Rammer, Jammer” is in my book, and I consider myself an Alabama fan.
Presentations have taken place by a number of schools to potentially join the WAC. Of a rumored ten schools that were planning to give presentations, four have stepped up but only two of them have football. Texas-San Antonio and Texas State are those with football. Those without are Seattle and University of Denver, who is currently in the Sun Belt.
Texas-San Antonio and Texas State both play at the Division I-AA level, which is also known as FCS. Montana is reportedly being considered for membership and is weighing its options because, it too, is a Division I-AA level school.
Currently, Nevada and Fresno State will likely leave at the end of the 2011-2012 year. This would leave the WAC with only six members which has spurred commissioner Karl Benson to make sure that, if they do leave, that they still have the minimum number of eight football playing schools for the 2012 season.
Benson also said that the league could be extended as quickly as 30-60 days from now.
I’m sure some in the Sun Belt would actually hold the door open as Denver walks out of the conference doors. Not because they don’t like Denver, but this would save schools so much money in travel expenses. This is definitely one of the major reasons why they want to join the WAC. But getting an AD or a coach to admit this out loud in public, good luck.
Ray Cotton takes a knee to run the final seconds off the clock against against Pikeville.
With Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian they had defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner on the show. Coach Jones called an audible so to speak, instead of his normal “Joey Jones Special” of black and white chicken, he went with something else.
Lee opened up talking about the road trip to Dothan to play Edward Waters. The win was great but Lee praised how well the trip itself went. Coach Jones said that many people, especially the players, did not realize how much time and effort went into planning this trip. They want to make the trip as similar to a home game as possible. Coach Jones estimated about 2,000 fans for the Jags and about 300 or so for Edward Waters.
Lee asked Coach Jones what the players got out of the game on Saturday. His answer was that they got several things out of it. The big thing was they got lots of players in the game to help build some depth. This is something that will be crucial for the team, not only going down the stretch, but also in coming years as the Jags will be playing better opponents. Also, it’s hard to get your subs time to play when you are playing very good teams where you not only want your best players on the field, but you need them on the field to help you win the game.
One position that Coach Jones mentioned where they want to continue to build more depth is the offensive line. This is something that all teams want to build and it seems that all teams continually feel that they are not deep enough on the offensive line.
Coach Jones said that the two’s got anywhere between 36-44 plays each on Saturday which is a good number for subs. Plus they got scout team players into the game. One name that was mentioned by Lee was Michael Nevels who scored two touchdowns late in the game. Lee said he was glad to be on the trip just to be able to hear about his story. Nevels was about 6th or 7th on the depth chart and he got in to play and scored twice.
Lee started talking about the Jags game plan where they wanted to throw the ball early. Lee remarked that the Jags could have just run the ball down the throat of Edward Waters without even throwing the ball and won the game easily. But Coach Jones said that they wanted to throw early because when you get ahead by about four touchdowns you don’t want to continue throwing the ball and be perceived as running up the score on the other team. After they scored the first touchdown in two plays, which were both passing plays, they decided then to starting reining it back some and start to mix it up.
Lee mentioned that in the second half he noticed that the clock continued to run. Coach Jones mentioned that he and the EWC coach agreed to let the clock run.
Brian Turner came on and spoke about the recruiting front. He said that they meet every week specifically about recruiting. They start many of their meeting speaking about recruiting and spend lots of their time reviewing video and evaluating players. Lee asked how many players they were looking at and Brian answered that they currently have 125 players on their recruiting board. Among them, some have offers from Alabama or Auburn while others do not have an offer as of yet.
Lee asked of that number that they have on their board, how many they are looking to sign. Coach Turner said they are looking to sign from 20-22 players. It’s based on their needs at certain positions and if they hit that number that’s great. If they don’t they will save them for the next year.
Lee then turned his attention to Coach Jones in asking where their emphasis is this year in recruiting. Coach Jones answered that the secondary needs depth. Next he mentioned offensive lineman which he also said that he believes that you cannot have enough offensive lineman. He estimates that a team needs to have anywhere from 16-18 scholarships in offensive lineman.
Lee mentioned special teams, in particular kickoff’s. Coach Jones said that is a real concern for the team right now. Lee asked what they can do about it and Coach Jones said that he thinks, that right now, its a mental issue. That the mind controls the body. Obviously they know how to kick the ball because they have gotten to this point. They know the steps, they know the routine. They just have to get their minds back on track. He likened it to a baseball player going through a slump, they just have to keep working through it until they work out the issue causing the problem.
Lee had a few email questions for Coach Jones. The first was asking when the first Sun Belt Conference opponent appear on the Jags schedule. Coach Jones answered that it will be 2012 when they will be playing a full Sun Belt schedule. He does not know who they will be playing yet, but they have eight games slotted for Sun Belt teams. This will be a year before they are eligible for the Sun Belt championship in 2013.
Next question asked about the policy for South Alabama in scheduling FCS teams once they become full members at the FBS level (IE Division I-A). Teams can play one a year, the rest will be FBS teams. But they may be some years when we won’t play any FCS teams. For the four non-conference games a year, they want to shoot for three FBS teams and maybe one FCS teams per year. A qualification to that was that two of the games will be “big games.” Like upcoming games against Tennessee, LSU or Ohio State which are also referred to as “money games.” It doesn’t matter who they play, they will look for the team who pays the most money to help with recruiting and give the players experience as well.
The next question was about Edward Waters. South Alabama currently has them scheduled for a game in 2011 but the person emailed asking if Coach Jones may be looking into buying them out for next year in order to schedule a better opponent. Coach Jones declined to say anything about this since they most likely have a contract for a two game series. But he did confirm that they have had some talks about that.
The next email was from someone asking about several players specifically so here are their names and what the coaches had to say about them. Terrell Brigham, defensive back, a really good athlete and a true freshman who is progressing well. Ryan Onkka, tight end, who Coach Jones thinks he is really talented but that he needs to put on about 30 pounds. Rush Hendricks, tight end, a tough, physical kid who is also very smart with a good ACT score and is picking up the offensive pretty well. Will Thompson, defensive end, he came in to the team in January but is a true freshman on the field and has made it into every game thus far. Davin Hawkins, defensive back, good size freshman that has helped out on special teams. Desmond Jones, linebacker, a walk on that is doing a great job and coach Crain his pretty high on him. But Coach Jones added that all of these players are freshman who are in the process and need to learn their positions and their side of the ball.
Lee then moved on to recap injuries. Myles Gibbon and Richard Ross did not play due to injury while C.J. Bennett did not play due to discipline reasons. Myles practiced today though his knee bothered him a little bit, but Coach Jones expects him to play on Saturday. Richard Ross did not practice today and thinks he is a 50/50 chance to play on Saturday.
The Jags came out of the game with EWC pretty healthy. Bryson James came out with an injured shoulder but he will be okay.
Coach Jones reiterated his stance that he will not take away a players starting job because of an injury, but they do still have to compete. He will continue to be the starter until someone beats them out.
Brian Turner breaks down Kentucky-Wesleyan (3-1) a bit by saying that they have a very good offense. Their offensive line protects the quarterback well. The quarterback is a lefty with good accuracy. Overall the offense is good. They spread the ball around. Coach Jones thinks they are well coached and could score on the Jags. But they will prepare for them and see what happens on Saturday.
After the second break, Lee came back and spoke with Coach Jones about Justin Dunn who intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown in the first quarter against EWC. But then he moved on to talking about linebackers and, in particular, he mentioned Ray Lewis, an NFL player who was interviewed on the Colin Cowherd show. Lewis said that it’s not about speed with linebackers, it’s about angles. Coach Jones completely agreed. He said the entire game of football is about angles, from offensive line to linebackers to receivers. It all hinges around angles. A guy who understands that can play faster on the field.
The first caller to the show asked how her cousin, who plays football in Louisiana and loves South Alabama, could get recruited by the Jags. Brian Turner answered that first they need to send their video in to the program so they can evaluate him on film. Also they need to include their information so they can get materials out to them and, if they are a senior, start calling and talking with and recruiting them.
Travis Toth spoke about Saturdays game encouraging fans to wear their red to help them with the “red out” the stadium. The team will be wearing red from head to toe which is a departure from their normal home attire of red jersey’s over white pants. The weather forecast is 0% chance of rain with a high of about 82 degrees. He then touted how affordable it is to go to a South Alabama game, from parking at Bel Air Mall and riding the Wave to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to the ticket prices and good seating with affordable concessions. It’s just a great deal all around to come out and support South Alabama on a beautiful football weekend.
Lee also noted that the Auburn game is an early one and the Alabama game doesn’t kick off until 7pm so you can still catch both of them as well as get out to the Jags game and have one heck of a day.
Coach Jones mentioned that they have had about 23,000 people out to the two home games thus far this season and that they have a great crowd travel to Dothan for the game. He also mentioned that they have a great core group of fans that are going to be there for the team and he appreciates every single person who makes it out to the games.
Travis said that he was shocked to arrive at around noon, which he thought was going to be early for the day, and see the visitor side full of tailgaters already cooking it up and enjoying the day.
Lee asked Coach Turner about recruiting again, this time to see if they are expanding outside of the immediate area and the south east. Coach Turner said that they are getting interest and video from every state in the Union. The main difference between what they are recruiting now and what they were recruiting when they started is the caliber of player. Coach Turner was unsure the type of player they were going to be able to get but they have been amazing at what they are getting now. They are going head to head with Conference-USA, the Big East and whomever they have to go against for players and they are winning those battles.
Lee asked what kind of players Coach Jones will have to get to compete with NC State, who the Jags play next year. Coach Jones said that they are going to get more players that USA is going to get right now, they are an established Division I team for a while. But what South Alabama has to do is to evaluate better. Everyone knows who the blue chip guys are and many will go after them. What South Alabama has to do is to find the guys who may be an inch too short for these top level programs but who play like those players and bring them into the program. Where the top programs will get a defensive end who is 6’5” and weighing 250 or more, the Jags need to find that 6’4” or maybe a little shorter player who is only about 210 but that they think can be 250 pounds and get them there.
The difference when South plays NC State will be depth. When USA starts to bring in their second string guys against NC State’s second string guys who are the same size just a bit younger, that’s going to be the difference.
Lee asked if USA subscribes to recruiting services who rank players with the familiar stars rating. Coach Turner answered that yes, they do use those services and that it helps of course. Coach Turner says that some of the 5 star ratings could be overrating players. What Coach Jones tells them is that they are going to go after players who fit their need. If they can play, fit their system and they think that they will do well then they will recruit them and bring them in if they can. Pretty much Coach Jones summed it up as if the recruiting services are picking up the players and ranking them, then they are pretty good players. Some will be overrated some will be underrated, but that the majority of them will be pretty good players. If other schools like them are recruiting players then they feel that they are right trying to recruit them also.
Sorry, but I missed the final segment of the show but this recap is also getting quite lengthy. So wear your red out to Ladd-Peebles on Saturday at 4pm to cheer on the Jags as they try to go 4-0 on the season and 11-0 all time in school history thus far.
Also visit http://coachoftheyear.com/ and vote for Coach Joey Jones for Division I-A coach of the year. Currently he is still sitting nicely in 3rd place behind Gene Chizik of Auburn and Nick Saban of Alabama and ahead of Bo Pelini of Nebraska and Dabo Swinney of Clemson.
South Alabama Football coach Joey Jones oversees his team warming up at Rip Hewes Stadium for the Wiregrass Classic.
It was evident, even before kickoff at the Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, that South Alabama outmatched Edward Waters. Not to belittle the Tigers, but these two teams could not have been any more different. Edward Waters is a private, traditionally black NAIA college with an enrollment of 839 students. While South Alabama is a public school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students.
But Edward Waters has a rich and interesting history. It was founded and initially named “Brown Theological Institute” in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed black slaves. Then the school experienced financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883 it reopened as “East Florida Conference High School” then later it was renamed “East Florida Scientific and Divinity School”.
Within ten years, the educational program was extended and it’s name was changed to Edward Waters College. In 1901 it was destroyed by a fire. Then in 1904 they acquired the site that it currently resides and began to rebuild.
It was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 and by 1960 the college had restored its four-year cirriculum. Then in 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the school as a four-year institution.
Of the 839 enrolled, over 90% of them rely on financial aid and the school has been growing. It was highlighted in among “The Best of Florida Schools in 2004″ for the “Biggest Growth for Private Colleges.”
In 2001, the school returned to football after a 34 year absence. In 2004 they joined the newly formed South East Atlantic Conference (SEAC) with two other schools, Webber International University and Concordia College. After Concordia was unable to gain membership into the NAIA, the conference dissolved at the conclusion of the 2008 season. EWC won the conference title in 2004, then shared by EWC and Concordia in 2007 and finally a three way share between all of the schools in 2008.
Edward Waters is currently in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with Dillard University, Fisk University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.
So the differences between South Alabama and EWC are striking.
As for the game, there was no question who was going to win from the outset of the game at Rip Hewes Stadium. Within the first two minutes the Jags had forced a three and out, returned the punt to the EWC 35 yard line and ran two plays to score a touchdown. A 16 yard rush followed by a 19 yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Courtney Smith. The point after attempt was mishandled by Taylor Noon who picked it up and scrambed to the corner of the end zone for two points to put the Jags up 8-0 with 13:03 left in the first quarter.
The Jags second offensive series was stopped and was forced to punt. But on Edward Waters’ first offensive play, the pass was intercepted by the defense setting up another short field. Brandon Ross would go in from four yards for the second touchdown, capping off a four play 41 yard drive in 1:12. The PAT by Jordan Means put the Jags up 15-0 with 7:53 left in the first quarter.
The next EWC possession ended in a three and out. The punt was returned to the EWC 35 yard line to set up the Jags with a short field once again. This time it took the Jags six plays to cover 35 yards. The drive was capped off by a three yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Lemontis Gardner and the PAT by Jordan Means. This put the Jags up 22-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
On the Tigers ensuing possession, the second play from scrimmage was picked off by senior Justin Dunn and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was successful by Jordan Means to put the Jags up 29-0 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers were picked off again on their ensuing possession. The Jags would cover 62 yards in six plays and using 1:52 off of the clock to score another touchdown. The drive was capped off by Brennan Sim’s third touchdown pass of the game, this one covering 10 yards to Bryant Lavender. Jordan Means added the point after to put the Jags up 36-0 with 14:11 to play in the second quarter.
A three and out by the Tigers was followed by a three and out by the Jags as well. Then after EWC moved the ball some, their drive ended with their fourth interception. With Ray Cotton taking over the quarterbacking duties, the Jags went 58 yards in six plays using 3:31 off of the clock to score for the last time in the first half. The drive was capped off by a 20 yard touchdown run by Cotton with the point after by Lawson McGlon to put South Alabama up 43-0 at halftime.
Coach Jones and his coaches took the pedal off somewhat, in the second half. The Jags did score three more touchdown, a 15 yard run by Ryan Scott, and a pair by Michael Nevels of 12 and 11 yards respectively. All three point after attempts were successfully made by Lawson McGlon.
The Jags ended the game with 30 first downs, 391 yards rushing and 112 yard passing for a total of 503 yards total offense. The Tigers had 5 first downs, 97 yards rushing, 47 yards passing for a total of 144 yards of offense.
South Alabama rushed eight different running backs. Kendall Houston had four carries with 48 yards, Santuan McGee had three touches for 46 yards, Ellis Hill eight carries for 46 yards, T.J. Glover had four carries for 41 yards, Ryan Scott had seven carries for 44 yards, Michael Nevels had six carries for 35 yards, Johnny Lockett had six carries for 33 yards and Brandon Ross had only three carries for 16 yards. The leading rusher for the team was Ray Cotton with seven carries and gaining 78 yards.
Three quarterbacks made it into the game. Brennan Sim started in place of Myles Gibbon and went 6 of 11 for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Ray Cotton went 1 for 3 for 16 yards while Gabe Graham went 1 of 2 for 11 yards.
Eight different Jaguar receivers caught passes but none of them caught more than one. Jereme Jones lead the receivers with 21 yards.
The Edward Waters quarterbacks combined to go 2 of 15 with four interceptions against the South Alabama defense.
The kickoff woes continued against the Tigers. Jordan Means kicked four times with two of them going out of bounds. Michel Chapuseaux also kicked four but only one of his went out of bounds. Lawson McGlon kicked twice with none of them going out of bounds.
Umcambre Williams lead the defense with five tackles. Jake Johnson recorded the lone solo sack.
The defensive player of the game came from Edward Waters while the offensive player of the game was Brennan Sim.
Coach Jones spoke after the game saying, “I think they performed very well. The bottom line is we had better players than they did. They really had a class bunch. I thought it was a well-played game.”
He continued, “We got a lot of guys in the game. Our coaches had a plan of who they were going to play if we got up so we could get some good out of this game, and I think we did. Our ones went out there and played well. The two lines stayed in there a good amount of time. They haven’t had a lot of reps, so it was good to get them in the game. We have to have some depth for the end of the year, and we keep trying to develop that. That was the great thing about today, we were able to reward those guys who have been working their tails off all summer long. They deserve it. There’s not many chances when you can do that, and we were glad to be able to get them in.”
The Jags return home to face Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, October 2 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The Jaguars have been doing a great job this season getting lots of receivers playing time. Why are they getting so many players into the game? It’s not because they are playing lowly teams. Nicholls State was a huge test for the Jags and they still had nine receivers catching passes and only one catching more than one pass. The Jags are building depth.
Wide receivers coach Ron Antoine, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and Coach Jones have a plan. They want to play several receivers to build depth but more importantly they want to pressure the defensive secondary. Defenses rarely substitute secondary players. Yes they will bring in different package like a nickel or dime package if necessary. But from play to play, defenses rarely sub cornerbacks.
This is what the Jaguars, or any other team for that matter, wants to exploit. If you can plug in any receiver at any time, the pressure is on the secondary every single play to cover those players. The pressure is not only on the secondary to cover, but also to fight off blocks as well.
The Jaguar receivers have done an excellent job this season of bringing it every single play. They block their assignments every play all the way down the field. As you can see, this is some serious pressure on the defensive secondary.
This also serves another purpose. Courtney Smith is a senior this season for the Jaguars. This is a way to build depth. So, when your team has seniors graduate you don’t have a vacuum of talent when they leave. This will be very important as South Alabama progresses from being unclassified to a full FBS member school.
One one defensive coordinator in recent memory would actually substitute secondary players. That coach was Mickey Andrews at Florida State. His secondary was very good in the 90′s because of this.
Combine South Alabama’s receiving corps with running backs like Brandon Ross, Kendall Houston, Santuan McGee and T.J. Glover the offense is building depth to attack defenses.
This missing key right now is depth in the secondary. The linebacking corps had good depth and talent. The defensive line has become deeper but could still use more depth. The secondary has come up with big plays, yes. But they also have given up several big plays.
This is yet another example of how South Alabama and it’s coaching staff have taken the right approach in bringing football to the school.
It was announced today by head football coach Joey Jones that freshman C.J. Bennett has been suspended for the team game tomorrow. Coach Jones announced that Bennett violated team rules and thus will not play.
Coming into the season, Bennett was listed as the Jaguars second string quarterback behind starter Myles Gibbon. However, Gibbon left last weeks game against Nicholls State with a non-serious knee injury and most likely will not play against Edward Waters in the Wiregrass Classic. Brennan Sim played the majority of the game after Gibbon left the game and will most likely start tomorrow.
Senior Quarterback Brennan Sim walks toward the Jaguar sidelines during their win over Nicholls State on Saturday.
Fresh off of a historic weekend in South Alabama football, the Jags look forward to their next first for the program. The Jags will take their show on the road for the very first time. Their first away game will be played in Dothan, Alabama at Rip Hewes Stadium against Edward Waters with kickoff scheduled for 3pm in the Wiregrass Football Classic.
Myles Gibbon, who left the game against Nicholls State in the first quarter with a knee injury, is listed as day-to-day and is questionable for Saturday. The starter will be determined this week and the coaches say the likelihood that Myles will be the starter is less than fifty percent.
Edward Waters picked up their first victory of the season on Saturday, when they defeated the club team from New Orleans. Their 26-21 victory improved their record to 1-3. Edward Waters has allowed an average of nearly 56 points per game.
Coach Jones said that the team is really excited about playing somewhere else because it marks yet another step forward for the young team. Obviously the coaches want the trip to be as similar as possible to a home game so the planning must be meticulous.
Edward Waters runs a spread offense and throws the ball quite a bit. However, they will not be as good as Nicholls. However, it does play towards the weakest and thinest part of our defense right now. Not that the Jaguar defensive secondary is bad. It is pretty thin and could get worn down.
Coach Jones had the following to say at Monday’s media day about complacency after Saturday victory. “The bottom line is that I told our players we have got to get better. I know it’s a coaching cliché, but we’ll be better down the road if we really improve. We had some glaring weaknesses in the game [Saturday], and we know that. The way you get better is by fixing them, by looking at yourself through clear glasses and not rose-colored glasses.”
“When you look at teams that get better during the year, they have weaknesses that they go back and fix them and become really hard to beat. Everybody is going to have some weaknesses, so we have to be man enough to admit them and do all we can as a staff and as players to fix them. I’m worried about us — that’s what you always worry about in a game like this after a big game, having a letdown.”
“We have some very tough teams to play on our schedule down the road, and the only way we’re going to be able to play well against them is by getting better between now and then. We have to concentrate on the practice field and get better there and not worry so much about the games; worry about each player improving. If we do that and get our players to understand — and I think they do, they believe it now — our team improves. If every player gets five percent better, we’re going to be a much better football team.”
Also it was announced on Tuesday that the school’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution authorizing University President Gordon Moulton the authority to name a street on campus in to honor retired Athletic Director Joe Gottfried. So the road passing by the intramural fields leading to the football field house on the west side of campus will be named Joseph E. Gottfried Drive.
Coach Gottfried was instrumental in all of the attempts, and eventually the adoption, of football at the University of South Alabama. The school has been awarded the Vic Bubas Cup, the award to the program that demonstrates excellence in the league, 10 times in a 13 year span as they won 104 league titles. The school has had 54 teams compete in NCAA Championship events nad has had 123 individuals qualify for NCAA Postseason action. They have also had two national champions. Coach Gottfried retired in August of 2009 after 28 years of service to the University.
Head coach Joey Jones paces the sideline vs Nicholls State on Saturday.
The Jags saw many firsts on Saturday. Their first Division I-AA (FCS) opponent and their first deficit were cheif among them. However, the one first that Coach Jones and the Jaguar faithful were most proud and grateful to see what the teams reaction was going to be to those two firsts. I will definitely be among the first to say, I was pleased.
Last seasons finale saw the closest any team had come to leading the Jaguars and they fell about two or three yards short. The Jags then responded to them with a 98 yard drive to open up the scoring against Huntingdon. On Saturday, Coach Charlie Stubbs and the Nicholls State Colonels succeded in being the first team to lead the Jags.
The Jags received the ball to begin the game, but only gained 19 yards in four plays before being forced to punt. Nicholls State started their possession on their own 21 yard line. After getting down to the Jaguar 33 yard line, Nicholls State faced a fourth and one situation. The Colonels would score on a 33 yard run by Jesse Turner on that fourth down play, to put the Jags in their first deficit of the football programs’ short history. The drive covered 79 yard over five plays and 2:26 off of the game clock.
T.J. Glover received the ensuing kickoff, returning it for 69 yards before a touchdown saving horsecollar tackle by the Colonels. After enforcing the half-the-distance penalty, the Jaguars were in buisness at the Nicholls 11 yard line. The second play from scrimmage saw T.J. Glover go in for South Alabama’s answering score, tieing the game at 7.
On the next drive by Nicholls, the Jaguar defense only allowed four yards and forced them to punt. However the Jags next offensive series would yeild more yards, but would end with a punt that would pin the Colonels deep in their own territory.
Nicholls, starting at their own ten, would throw and incomplete pass and be assessed a penalty putting them just inside their own five yard line. But Nicholls quarterback LaQuintin Caston would find Turner in the flat and he would outrun the chasing Ken Barefield for a 95 yard touchdown to give Nicholls the lead again at 14-7 with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
South Alabama would answer right back. After a touchback on the kickoff, the Jags would start at their own 20 yard line but would cover the 80 yards in just six plays. Myles Gibbon would rush for 16 yards for a firs down. Then on the next play, he was tackled and was forced to leave the game with an injury to his right knee. Gibbon would not return to the game after that point. Brennan Sim would step in for Myles and would run for nine more yards before the first quarter ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Sim would connect with Richard Ross on a 47 yard completion down the missle of the field for the touchdown. This would begin South Alabama’s 20-0 run.
Nicholls would get take possession of the ball after the kickoff by Michel Chapuseaux went out of bounds and was placed on the Nicholls 40 yard line. Five plays and 24 yards later the Jags defense would face two big defensive plays. On third and one at the Jaguar 36, Justin Dunn and Alex Page would combine to stop Caston for no gain. Then on fourth and one, Jonathan Cameron and Anthony Taylor would stop Jesse Taylor for no gain. So the defense would hold and take possession of the ball on downs.
The Jaguar offense would then gash the Colonel defense for big gains on their possession starting with a screen pass from Sim to Brandon Ross for 30 yards. Then a 24 yard run by Kendall Houston would set up Santuan McGee for the eight yard, go ahead score. The Jordan Means extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Jags with a 20-14 lead with 11:11 left until halftime.
Nicholls would take the kickoff and begin their possession at their own 19 yard line. But after beginning to move the ball again, their drive would end with a Jaguar fumble recovery at midfield.
South Alabama would take the short field and score again on a Kendall Houston 5 yard touchdown run to cap off a 20 point second quarter and take a 27-14 lead into halftime.
Nicholls would get the ball, and good field position, to start the second half. With another kickoff sailing out of bounds, Nicholls would start at their own 40 yard line. The Colonels would drive down to the Jaguar 12 yard line but would turn the ball over on downs. The Jags would begin there and drive 75 yards in eight plays but would fumble the ball away at the Nicholls 13 yard line.
Nicholls would run four plays before Caston found Andrew Wynn down the middle of the field for a 62 yard touchdown to cut their deficit down to six points, 27-21.
South Alabama and Nicholls next offensive possessions would be three and outs. South Alabama would then get in gear once more and put together a five play 67 yard drive which would be capped off with another Kendall Houston touchdown run, this time for 20 yards putting the Jags up 34-21. This would be the beginning of a 12 point fourth quarter to end the game.
The Jaguar defense would then begin to pour it on. On the first play by Nicholls after the Jaguar touchdown, Tim Harvey would pick off a Caston pass at the South Alabama 40 yard line. The Jaguar offense would go three and out, but the punt would pin the Colonels at their own nine yard line. A sack on third down would put the ball on the three yard line for the punt. Erling Riis would come around the left side to block the punt, which would go out of the back of the end zone for a safety, putting the Jags up 36-21 with 11:04 left in the game.
South Alabama would field the free kick and start at their own 39 yard line. Brennan Sim would lead the offense on an 11 play 50 yard drive, burning 6:52 off of the play clock. Jordan Means would then cap off the game with a 28 yard field goal for the final score of 39-21.
Coach Jones commented after the victory, “I thought it was a great win for our football program, they gave the other two teams they have played fits in the first half. “We needed to have a game like that where we’re challenged.”
He continued, “It speaks to the character of our kids and our coaching staff with the way they coach them. We try to work on that in practice where they don’t feel pressure in games. I thought that was a great way to respond. Had we not responded like that and they scored another touchdown, then the ball starts to roll their way. This is our second year and ninth football game, and we beat a [Division] I-AA program that has been around for a long time. They are very well-coached and have great athletes. I don’t know what that means for the future, but my hat’s off to our players and coaching staff for the job they have done in that short amount of time.”
Coach Stubbs said, “I thought it was about who handled adversity best. When we were prospering, we couldn’t keep the momentum and while they were able to make plays, they capitalized on the momentum. I believe that was the difference in the game.”
USA has 21 first downs while Nicholls had 10 for the game. The Jaguar defense only allowed 99 yards on the ground, but gave up 319 through the air for a total of 418 with an average of 24.5 per completion.
South Alabama had a total of 490 yard of offense on 64 plays for an average of almost 7.6 yards per play. The Jaguar offensive attack was quite balanced with over 200 yards each in the air and on the ground.
Kendall Houston rushed 12 times for 116 yards while Brandon Ross added 115 on 19 carries. Richard Ross, 4 catches and 80 yards, was the only receiver with multiple catches and the only TD reception. Corey Besteda added 37 yards, Brandon Ross 30, Courtney Smith 20 and five others had receptions as well.
Myles Gibbon left early with an injury to his knee, but went 1-of-3 for 20 yards. C.J. Bennett lead one drive in the first quarter, also going 1-of-3 for 3 yards. Brennan Sim who got the most action went 10-of-12 for 185 yards and the only touchdown, but also the only sack.
Scott Garber punted six times, averaging just under 43 yards per kick with a long of 53 yards. With half of his punts being downed inside the opponents 20 yard line.
T.J. Glover returned three kickoffs for 116 yards, averaging over 38.5 for the game.
This is definitely a good test for the young Jaguar team. The learned that they were able to trade punches with a good opponent without blinking. They kept doing what they do best and won the game in an impressive fashion. No, not by 40 or more points, but by three scores against a team with an equal number of scholarships.
While Nicholls State would hardly be considered a top tier FCS team, they did pose a significant increase in competition from what the Jags have faced. It was enough of a challenged to show the coaches and players what they need to work on.
The secondary faced a big challenge and gave up lots of yards. But this was to be expected from a Charlie Stubbs coached team. The secondary stepped up several times and did well, but they also gave up several big plays. The secondary is also the thinnest area of this team, so being overly critical right now is not necessary. First step is consistency though.
Jordan Means took over the place kicking duties this week and did well. One point after was blocked, but none were outright misses. Plus he did make his only field goal attempt. However, Means’ kickoff’s are shorter than Chapuseaux. Chapuseaux kicked deep on kickoff’s but he did give them excellent field position twice with two kicks out of bounds.
The offensive line looked really good after the first series even though Brian Krauskopf was injured and did not play for most of the game. Melvin Meggs stepped in nicely and did a great job.
The Jags go on the road for their first away game when they travel to Dothan, Alabama for the Wiregrass Football Classic. They face Edward Waters from Jacksonville, Florida with kickoff at 3pm and the Jaguar Prowl being scheduled for about 1:30pm.
Jaguar Quarterback Myles Gibbon reads the Pikeville Defense in the first half of the South Alabama victory over Pikeville on September 4, 2010.
The South Alabama Jaguars will have the biggest test of the programs short history on Saturday when they host the Nicholls State Colonels. This will be the Jaguars first time to face a Division I-AA opponent. Also this will mark the first time the Jags will face an opponent with the same number of scholarships.
Don’t let the Colonel’s record fool you. Even though they are win less, they did face schools that are Division I-A in San Diego State and Western Michigan. As Coach Jones said, “Anytime you play a Division I-A school, they’re going to have more scholarships than an FCS school so the scores sound pretty bad. But they played both teams tough early, and just wore out. The bottom line is I think those teams just had a lot more depth, and so toward the end of those games they got a little tired. They are a very good football team and we’ll find out what we’re about after this week and see where we are as a football program.”
Even the team knows what the numbers can lie sometimes. Starting Quarterback Myles Gibbon recognizes that the Colonel’s lost to a good Western Michigan team. They have been studying them for the last two weeks and they know should know what to expect. At least on video.
The Colonel’s head coach is Charlie Stubbs. Stubbs has over 31 years of coaching experience, 22 of which on the collegiate level. This is his first season with the Colonel’s coming from the University of Central Missouri where he was the offensive coordinator. He has been an offensive coordinator for over the last 14 years, six of which as an assistant head coach.
Stubbs began his coach career at BYU, his alma mater, in 1983. The following year he was part of the National Championship staff at BYU in 1984 under LaVell Edwards. He was offensive coordinator at Oregan State from ’85-’90, Memphis ’94, Tennessee-Martin ’95, Nevada-Las Vegas ’96-’97, Alabama ’98-2000, Tulsa ’02-’06, Louisville ’07, and Central Missouri ’08-’09.
His offenses have been ranked in the top three in the PAC-10 during his time in Oregon State, including finishing 10th nationally in ’87 and sixth in ’88. Then in ’96 UNLV finished ninth nationally in passing offense. The offense then led the WAC and finished 12th nationally in ’97.
As most notably in the south east, Stubbs was the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at the University of Alabama. His offense led Alabama to appearances in the ’98 Music City Bowl and the Orange Bowl in ’99 while also winning the SEC Championship and being named the ’99 SEC Offensive Coordinator of the year.
As you can see, the Colonels should have a strong offense. The Colonels defensive coordinator is a former defensive coordinator from Thibodaux High School. He was a defensive end coach for Nicholls State previous to his high school coaching.
Stubbs and the Colonels will be running the spread offense with an athletic quarterback who can make plays. As history has shown, the Jaguar secondary will be tested along with the rest of the defense.
Don’t expect a blow-out victory for the Jags this go around. It should go into the fourth quarter this time and be a good test for the Jags. Can they match up with a Divsion I-AA school? Come to Ladd-Peebles Stadium this Saturday and find out.
GO Jags! Beat Nicholls!
The University of South Alabama athletics Department announced today that starting next week, before the Jags play Nicholls State, Coach Joey Jones will be featured at a “Jag Lunch”.
Doors will open for the “Jag Lunch” at 11:30am along with food service. The program will begin with Coach Jones at 12:15pm where he will both speak and highlight coaches’ video for the attendees. Cost to attend the lunch is $10 and will be held at Wintzell’s Oyster House on Airport Boulevard.
The announced dates, which are on Wednesday’s, on September 15, October 6, 20, 27 and November 10.
Also, below is another video from the pep rally on Thursday evening before the Jaguars game against Pikeville. Sorry, the videos I filmed during the game did not turn out well. Hope you enjoy the video.