South Alabama has started this young season with a 2-3 record. But they have had a rough two game stretch with games against UAB and LSU.
The Jags opened the season with a win over Spring Hill College 81-53 in the Mitchell Center. But then they followed that up with a big loss in Hattiesburg against Southern Miss 93-58. Then the Jags regrouped and won against Central Michigan in overtime 82-76.
South Alabama started the game with some poor shooting but overcame it late in the first half with a 12-3 run to put the Jags down by only three at halftime.
However, the second half saw the Blazers take over the game. They started the second half with a 10-0 run with back to back 3’s. The Jags Augustine Rubit then make two foul shots followed by another run by the Blazers going 15-0 this time. This huge run by the Blazers, 25-2 in fact, put the Jags up 61-35. After that, the Blazers coasted to an 82-58 victory.
South Alabama then took on LSU in the Coors Classic at the Mitchell Center on Sunday. The first half saw LSU drain 12 of 17 from outside the 3 point line in the first half on the way to their 25 point halftime lead against the Jaguars. In the first half, the Tigers shot 66.7% from the floor and 76.9% from 3-point range in route to the 48-23 halftime lead.
LSU would stretch their lead out to 28 points with 15:10 remaining in the second half. But the Tigers could not keep the hot hand and their shots cooled off while the Jaguars fought hard to make a game of it.
While the Jags were not threatening to take the lead, the Jaguars did cut the lead to 13 with 2:50 left in the game and capped off a 15-5 run. However the Jags would only make one field goal the rest of the way and would not get closer than 12 points to the Tigers lead. Martino Brock lead the team with 15 points in the game.
With these two losses combined with the USM loss and with a trip to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, some fans have asked the question if Coach Ronnie Arrow needs to go. I think it’s too early in the season to be calling for a coaches head in this scenerio. These first five games hardly make the season.
But some players that he has recruited have not turned out for the best. The teams APR has brought the NCAA ire upon the program. With two players leaving the team while they were ineligible, the NCAA has penalized the team by taking away 2 scholarships and restricting the teams practice hours over the course of a week to 16 instead of 20. Then combine that with the team appearing to be completely unprepared at times in the USM, UAB and LSU games and one can understand how some fans could be irate.
Coach Arrow seems to have some impressive recruits ready to come into his program. The Jags have lots of basketball left to be played this season. So lets get out to the Mitchell Center and cheer on those kids, both the Men and the Women, and show them that Jaguar Nation is behind them just as much as we were behind the football team this season.
From all of us here at Thunderjags, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope everyone enjoys their time with friends and family. Don’t eat too much though!
The men’s basketball team will be back in action on Sunday when they host LSU at the Mitchell Center. Tip-off is set for 3pm.
Coaches’ Report for Release:
The South Alabama Men’s Rugby Football Club competed in the 32nd Annual Battleship Rugby Tournament this past weekend. On Saturday morning, the team faced Division I Kennesaw State University. Kennesaw came out strong and controlled the ball from the opening kickoff. They were able to move the ball down the field with several good phases of rucks and support. It took just 2 minutes for Kennesaw to put the ball into the try zone. Over the next 10 minutes Kennesaw scored another two tries. However, South was able to strike back in the 15th minute after a stolen lineout. Flanker Jayvon Jackson picked his way through several defenders and scored South’s inaugural try. Ruben Lugo made the conversion. At the end of the first half Kennesaw scored another try making the score 26-7.
The second half saw Kennesaw continue the scoring with two tries in the first 8 minutes. At the 11th minute, 8 man Balla Masemola took the ball from the back of the scrum on a long run. Scrumhalf Lugo received the ball and kicked ahead to wing Eric Shreves for another try. Lugo again made the conversion. The Jags kept the momentum going when Masemola picked another ball from the back of the scrum and scored. Lugo was successful on the conversion making the score USA 19 – Kennesaw 36. At that point, Kennesaw used their hard running and skill to score another 3 tries in the last 5 minutes. The final score was Kennesaw 53-19.
Later in the afternoon, the Jags took on Deep South opponent Tulane. The match was back and forth for the majority of the first half. Both sides played some impressive rugby but neither was able to get into the try zone. At the 18th minute, Ruben Lugo broke away on a long run and scored in the corner of the try zone. The conversion was unsuccessful. The score at half South 5-0.
The second half of the match mirrored the first. Neither side could penetrate the other’s defense. Late in the half, Tulane was able to take advantage of South penalties and move the ball down the field. At the 20th minute, Tulane scored a try but missed the conversion. The final whistle blew soon after with the score tied 5-5. Due to tournament regulations, the game was allowed to end in a tie.
Sunday morning, the Jags played shortened matches in a round robin against Western Florida and Troy. The first match against UWF saw the Jags score quickly. Center Gabriel Torres took off on a long run from deep in South territory. He was able to get the ball to Ruben Lugo who slashed his way through several defenders and scored the day’s first try. Lugo also made the conversion. UWF answered 10 minutes later with a nice try and made the conversion. In the final seconds of the game, South threatened to score with several phases of play deep in UWF territory. A penalty was called on UWF for playing the ball while off sides. South chose to take the penalty kick and Lugo sent the ball through the uprights. The whistle blew giving South its first victory 10-7.
In the 2nd match against Troy, South used some outstanding defense to blank the Trojans. Early on, Gabriel Torres once again took off for a long run. The ball eventually ended up in 8 man Jason Pendergraph’s hands who scored after breaking several tackles. The conversion kick was missed. At the 10th minute of the game, South missed a penalty kick but kept the ball in the Troy end of the field. After a quick series of rucks, the Jags mauled the ball into the try zone and a collective effort from the forwards was enough for another score. The conversion was again missed. The teams played to a draw for the remainder of the half making the final score South 10- 0.
For the tournament forwards Scott DeGraw, Vaughan Blacksher, Jayvon Jackson, Scott Pendergraph and back Ruben Lugo played every minute of every game. The Jags improvement from the Spring Hill match two weeks ago was impressive. If the team continues its rapid ascent, the Deep South Rugby Union, Division 3 title is well within reach.
Note: This article is an editorial from our head writer.
Since the allegations and inside information started leaking out about Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton, the Declan Sullivan incident has faded from the memory of college football fans. However, I felt like I should write something about this because I think nothing is happening up in Indiana to address this.
Yes, OSHAA is looking into this however it is clear as daylight that several layers of security was completely overlooked in his death. According to the Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick recounted his time at practice that day. He claims that when he was there, it was calm. However, it was known that the winds had been and were currently very gusty in the area as a very powerful low pressure system was moving through the area.
It was Coach Brian Kelly who decided to practice outside on that blustery day. Some in attendance of the practice said that it was very difficult to complete passes with the gusty wind. He should have been mindful enough to get the video cameras down off of the scissor lifts, however he did no such thing. Anyone who has watched Brian Kelly coach gets the sense it’s his way or the highway. He has no visible compassion for his players or his coaches. When the coach has a 5 yard buffer zone on the sidelines at all times, you know there is something about the guy the player and coaches do not like.
The next line of defense would be the equipment manager. As the name implies, he is in charge of all equipment from the footballs, the yard sticks, practice equipment and that would also include the scissor lifts. It is his job to know the safe operation of the equipment. If a graduate assistant, coach or player were on a golf cart and were using it in a manner that was unsafe, it is his responsibility to stop it and prevent it from happening again in the future. In this case, he was supposed to know that the scissor lift is only rated to be used in conditions where wind is speed is less than 25 miles per hour. Also I do not know where the scissor lift was being used, but I would harbor a guess that it is at least recommended if not required to be used on a solid, level area. Something like concrete or asphalt. Thus the equipment manager could have made the call at any time to get Declan and any other video camera operator off of those lifts.
Finally, probably the first line of defense would be the video coordinator. He could have stood up to the coach and told him that he felt it was unsafe for Declan to be up in a scissor lift in the conditions that they were suffering. Video, or football for that matter, is not worth a kids life. Was standing up to Coach Kelly that difficult? Was he afraid for his job? He was the first person in a series of responsible adults who could have avoided this tragedy.
Some people across the nation spoke out by saying that Declan should have refused to go up or got down on his own accord. Some people are mature at 20, others take a little longer. Twenty is an age where we are becoming adults but are still inclined to do some nutty stuff. Kids like Declan typically do what they are told to do, because they have a trust in their superiors that they would not put them into harms way. This trust was clearly broken.
Most kids would opt not to work while going to college. He could have pursued his love of film and video without working for the football team and making money. If he really needed the money to make ends meet while he was studying at Notre Dame, a responsible person would trust their superiors and do what they were told so they could continue their education. So I do not agree with those who would say that he was to blame entirely. I agree he could have came down or refused to go up in the first place. After all he did post the following messages on facebook and twitter: “Gust of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough :-/.” and the following not long before his tragic death: “Holy f*** holy f*** this is terrifying.”
What I have been saying since shortly after this incident happened and what I continue to proclaim is that Athletic Directory Jack Swarbrick, Head Coach Brian Kelly, the equipment manager and the video coordinator should all be fired. A young life was cut short by complete disregard of duty by people who were in charge. Any one of those four people mentioned could have stopped the incident from happening. Is it the case that three of those four were afraid to stand up to “General” Kelly? Because head coaches have become the equivalent to Gods in some places, are people afraid to stand up to them?
One case in point is TCU and their coach Gary Patterson. Patterson ‘verbally accosted’ a TCU doctor over a player being diagnosed with a concussion. According to the AMA, if a player loses consciousness, he is automatically considered having a concussion. Additionally the player had an unsteady gait and a few memory problems. Which are two diagnosis points for a doctor to determine if a player has a concussion. However, Coach Patterson said that “As far as I’m concerned Wesley was fine 10 minutes after he was hurt.” However the doctor stood up to the coach, and rightfully so in order to protect this players health and potentially his life.
Notre Dame should hold the persons responsible for this tragedy. I would dare say that a fairly strong case could be made that Coach Kelly was guilty of willful negligence which caused a death or possibly even involuntary manslaughter.
Notre Dame should take action immediately and do the right thing. If all four are not fired, then at a minimum that Athletic Director and the Board of Trustees should step in and get rid of the rest. Kevin McGuire from Examiner.com posted that, according to a source, that a number of boosters pressured the AD to ask Kelly for his resignation. Then as many as 20 boosters asked Swarbrick and Kelly both for their resignations. Additionally, Notre Dame examiner Shawn Lewallen also posted a very similar article a day or so later with a similar number of boosters. In this case, I really hope the boosters put enough pressure on that they succeed.
What do you think?
Links to similar articles calling for Brian Kelly’s and Jack Swarbrick’s resignation or outright firing:
The first ever senior class for the South Alabama Jaguar football team are honored before the game.
The South Alabama football team ended their second season of football the same way they ended their first season, undefeated. However their road was quite a bit different this season from what it was last year. After a particularly impressive first season, the coaches and administration agreed that they needed to up the level of competition for season number two. Thus they scheduled all four year institutions with some very tough tests including Lamar, UC-Davis and Georgia State.
This second season culminated in a Thursday night game against Arkansas-Monticello in front of 14,904 fans strong and the Jaguars did not disappoint.
The Jags had a pre-game ceremony to honor South Alabama’s first senior class. Twelve Jaguars were honored, Sean Ceballos (Mobile), Rodney Watson (Mobile), Cory Pittman (Chickasaw), Justin Dunn (McCalla, AL), Tim Harvey (Evanston, IL), Charlie Higgenbotham (Birmingham, AL), John Mark Patrick (Jay, FL), Rob Powell-Deppe (Chicago, IL), Courtney Smith (New Orleans, LA), Brennan Sim (Portland, OR), Ralph Turner (Dothan, AL) and Michael Wilson (Monroe, LA). They came to a program that had nothing and lead the way to back-to-back undefeated seasons, going 17-0. Additionally, they honored Anthony Mostella, who would have been a senior as well, but who had passed away in the summer.
The first quarter was uneventful. No points were scored in the first quarter for either team, which was a first for the Jaguars this season and their first time since facing Georgia Military. Actually the first five possessions were punts. The Jaguars third drive began with a pass interference penalty, putting the Jags in Boll Weevil territory. This would be followed by a facemask penalty after CJ Bennett ran for six yards, placing the ball at the Boll Weevil 27 yard line. But after getting down to the 14 yard line, a seven yard sack and an incomplete pass later, the Jags were lining up a 38 yard field goal attempt, which went wide left for Lawson McGlon with 9:02 left in the second quarter.
Two more punts, one by each team followed before Arkansas-Monticello mounted a drive. Nakita Myles rushed for six yards then quarterback Scott Buisson completed a pass that would go for 54 yards down to the Jaguar 16 yard line. A five yard rush to the 11 would be offset by a six yard sack. Then on third down the Boll Weevils could only manage two yards. The field goal attempt would fly wide right giving the Jaguars the ball at their own 20 yard line with 2:52 left until halftime.
The Jags first play would be an incomplete pass intended for Courtney Smith, then coach Joey Jones would call a time out. After the time out, Bennett would connect with Kendall Houston for 28 yards out to the USA 48 yard line. The next play was a completion to Jereme Jones for 16 more yards down to the UAM 36 yard line. After rushing for four more yards, Bennett would hit Courtney Smith for eight more yards and a Jaguar first down at the UAM 24 yard line. After an incomplete pass intended for Corey Waldon, Arkansas-Monticello calls a time out with 56 seconds left until halftime.
After the time out, Bennett would complete another pass to Courtney Smith for 16 yards down to the eight yard line and another first down. Bennett would rush for two yards down to the six yard line and the Jags would use another time out with 21 seconds left. Bennett would float a pass to Corey Waldon, but it would fall incomplete. Then Bennett would find Jereme Jones in the end zone for the 6 yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining until halftime to take a 7-0 lead into halftime.
The Jaguars received the opening kickoff to start the second half and TJ Glover was quick to spark the Jags and the fans with a 60 yard kickoff return to the UAM 31 yard line. Kendall Houston then took the first hand off 16 yards down to the UAM 15. Two more rushes by Houston would net 2 and 3 yards respectively to bring up 3rd and 5 at the UAM 10. Bennett’s pass to Waldon would fall incomplete then Lawson McGlon would drill the 27 yard field goal to extend the Jaguar lead to 10-0 with 12:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
Arkansas-Monticello would respond on it’s next possession, driving 76 yards in 7 plays. Two big runs for 17 and 34 yards would account for the majority of the drive for the Boll Weevil touchdown and cutting the Jaguar lead to 10-7 with 8:49 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Jags would not let the Boll Weevils score go unanswered though. A short kickoff by UAM would be returned to the 40 yard line where CJ Bennett would connect with Courtney Smith for 43 yards down to the UAM 17 yard line. Houston would follow up with a 13 yard rush to get down to the Boll Weevil 4 yard line. After a rush by Houston for no gain and an incomplete pass intended for Kevin Helms, Arkansas-Monticello would call a time out with 6:58 left in the 3rd quarter. On 3rd and goal from the 4 after the timeout, Bennett would find Helms for the touchdown to extend the lead back to ten points at 17-7.
On the Boll Weevils ensuing possession, Buisson would rush for 8 yards but would then be intercepted by Ken Barefield and would give the ball back to the Jaguars offense at the USA 49 yard line. Bennett’s first pass would go to Courtney Smith for a 19 yard gain down to the UAM 32 yard line. His second attempt would fall incomplete and his third would be intercepted at at the 20 and returned 20 yards back to the UAM 40 then lateraled to a teammate who carried it to the 50 yard line, but would then fumble it and the Boll Weevils would recover it at the UAM 45 yard line.
On the possession by the Boll Weevils, they would face a 4th and 1 from the USA 46 yard line. Then Romelle Jones would drop Nakita Myles for a 3 yard loss to turn the ball over on downs.
TJ Clover would start the drive with a nine yard rush to the UAM 42 yard line. Kendall Houston would then bust loose for a 38 yard gain down to the UAM 4 yard line. Then he would finish off the job with a 4 yard run into the endzone, extending the Jaguar lead to 24-7 with 2:27 left in the 3rd quarter.
Michel Chapuseaux’s kick would be fielded at the UAM 4 then returned 32 yards out to the 36 yard line. Buisson would rush for the first down for 14 yards to the mid-field stripe. Nikita Myles would rush for a yard then get stopped for no gain to bring up 4th and 1 at the USA 41 yard line. But Andy Dalgleish would dropped Myles for a loss of one to turn the ball over on downs again.
Santuan McGee would open the drive as well as close the book on the 3rd quarter with a six yard rush out near mid-field at the 48 yard line. McGee would take the next handoff for four more yards and a Jaguar first down at the UAM 48. Then a pass interference penalty would be flagged on UAM to put the ball at the UAM 33 yard line. A five yard rush by McGee would be wiped away on a holding penalty puts the ball back at the UAM 46 yard line. Facing 1st and 23, Bennett would throw back to back incompletions. On 3rd and 23, Bennett would would find some open turf and gain the need 23 yards to keep the drive alive at the UAM 23 yard line.
TJ Glover would rush for 6 yards but the Jaguar offense would be flagged once again for holding to put the ball back at the UAM 27 yard line for 1st and 14. CJ Bennett would then connect with Paul Bennett for 12 yards to the UAM 15 yard line. Houston would then run for 5 yards and the first down at the Boll Weevil 6 yard line. Then TJ Glover would take it in for the final score by the Jags in the game. Extending their lead to 31-7 with 10:50 left in the game.
Back to back punts by Arkansas-Monticello and South Alabama would give the Boll Weevile the ball back with 7:37 left in the game. Facing 3rd and 6 at the Jaguar 44, Anton Graphenreed would pick off the Scott Buisson pass at the 29 and return it three yards to the USA 32 yard line.
Back to back rushes by Ellis Hill would lose 1 yard and gain three respectively before the Jags would call a timeout with 3:44 left in the game. Facing 3rd and 8 at the USA 34 yard line, Myles Gibbon’s pass would be intercepted along the sideline and returned 25 yards to the Jaguar 11 yard line.
Buisson would rush for five yards down to the Jaguar 6 yard line. Then Greg Taylor would rush for five more yards down to the Jaguar 1 yard line before Coach Jones would call his final timeout of the game. Romelle Jones and Justin Dunn would combine to stop Taylor for no gain on 1st and goal. Then Justin Dunn would dive through and sack Buisson for a four yard loss on the next play. Arkansas-Monticello would call a time out facing 3rd and goal at the USA 5 yard line. Buisson would complete his next pass to Taylor for the touchdown to cut end the scoring for the final score of 31-14.
Enrique Williams and Randon Carnathan would get special moments by rushing the ball to help run down the final 1:30 of the game with Brennan Sim under center.
The Jags would put up 180 yards on the ground and 220 through the air for 400 yards of total offense. While the Jaguar defense would allow 206 yards on the ground and only 102 through the air for 308 total yards.
Kendall Houston would rush 16 times for 104 yards and a touchdown to be the Jaguars leading rusher. Quarterback Scott Buisson would rush for 91 yards to be the Boll Weevil’s leading rusher.
CJ Bennett went 16-of-29 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Brennan Sim, in his last game, went 1-of-2 for -2 yards. While Myles Gibbon went 0-for-1 with his only attempt being intercepted.
Senior Courtney Smith caught 10 passes for 141 yards to lead all receivers in the game and to finish out his career with South Alabama in the spotlight. His 141 yards receiving was just enough to edge out Kendall Houston’s 104 yards rushing and 28 yard receiving for the most all-purpose yards for the Jags.
Jerron Mitchell lead all Jaguars with eight total stops with Justin Dunn one behind with 7 including a tackle for loss and a sack to end his Jaguar career as well. Charlie Higgenbotham was one of three Jags to have six stops.
Coach Jones spoke after the game saying, “Arkansas-Monticello had a great game plan. We came out the second half and adjusted. I was real proud of the coaches making good adjustments, and also for the players for not panicking out on the field.”
“I think it’s tremendous that these young men have put together two seasons like that back-to-back,” Coach Jones continues. “It really speaks for their character and the hard work they put into it. My staff has done a tremendous job; they’re a great staff and really know the game and love the players. The biggest thing I see about our team right now is we have a belief in each other. When you believe in each other, great things are going to happen. That started a long time ago, and over time it has gotten better and better.”
Coach Jones also spoke about Courtney Smith, “Courtney has been the face of our program in some ways. He came in and has done a tremendous job. It’s great that he can go out on a note like that. But most of all, I’m just proud of Courtney and the type of person he’s become. He has become a leader; he was voted one of our captains this morning by the team. I’m real proud of him for the character he’s shown. Some of the things they ran defensively gave us some opportunities to get him the ball. It just worked out that way tonight.”
Wide Receiver Courtney Smith commented after the game, “I wasn’t worried about getting the ball. I was thinking about when the clock expired, there would be no more South Alabama football for me. I don’t know if it was the coverage, but my coach just kept giving me the ball and I just kept making plays for my teammates. Without the offensive line and the quarterbacks, no one would see me catch the ball, so I want to thank them.”
Justin Dunn commented after the game, “We knew they had a good option attack coming into the game. Their quarterback having the most yards in the state of Arkansas was one of the stats our coaches threw out today before we started to play. We knew he was going to be a good athlete, and an option attack is all about assignments. We came out at first, made little adjustments here and there and it cost us on some of our assignments. We came back toward the end, got it figured out and took care of all of our assignments.”
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came here,” Senior Linebacker Charlie Higgenbotham said. “Looking back, it was the scariest day of my life. I didn’t know anyone here. It has been an amazing experience, and it’s a sign that something really special is happening here. This team has really come together in two years, and people don’t realize how hard that is. My challenge to the team is for them to keep it going.”
The Jags will be classifed as FCS next season and will, once again, step up in competition with big road games against FBS (Division I) opponents Kent State and NC State. But before then, the Jaguar staff is turning their focus on recruiting and the players will continue to get bigger and stronger for the challenges ahead. But the season will begin once again in over nine months when South Alabama kicks off the 2011 season on a Thursday September 1st at Ladd-Peebles Stadium against West Alabama.
However West Alabama will be without legendary coach Bobby Wallace, who announced his retirement at the end of the season. Wallace lead UNA to three consecutive Division II national Championships in 93-95. He then left for Temple in 1998 and could not manage to turn them around, going 19-71 in 8 seasons. He then returned to Division II in 2006 and lead West Alabama to their first winning season in 14 years and their first playoff appearance in 34 years. He will be inducted into the Division II hall of fame on December 12.
Again, thanks to the Seniors who bought into a new program and gave the coaches and the school a chance. Your experience and leadership on a team full of youngsters is what helped this program get to where it is today. Your contributions will be what continues to help this program proceed along the path to Division I success.
Coach Jones on the sideline late in the game against Henderson State.
The Boll Weevils will have their starting senior quarterback for the game against the Jags. Scott Buisson injured his throwing hand back in late September and returned to lead the team over West Georgia to get their first home victory of the season and to snap their 3 game losing streak.
Buisson is a double threat. He has a good arm and he can also run. So the Jags will have to stay on top of him. However I think the Jags will want to end the season with a big statement against the Boll Weevils. Additionally, the coaches and Coach Jones himself will make sure the team does not take the Boll Weevils lightly. The Weevils are not as good as Henderson State and the Jags match up much better against them so I do not expect a Jaguar loss in this game.
Arkansas-Monticello, by the numbers, stacks up like this.
Their average score is 23.4 against 28.6. They have 105 first downs on the season and have allowed 137 on the season themselves.
The Boll Weevils are much more balanced that the Jagaurs previous two opponents. They have rushed for 931 yards on the season which averages out to 133 yards per game and 3.5 yards per rush. Defensively they have given up 878 yards which is 125.4 yards per game and 3.5 yards per rush as well.
Passing the Boll Weevils have gained 1,296 yards through the air on 96-of-184 passing with 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions for an average of 185.1 yards per game and 13.5 yards per completion. Defensively they have given up 1,779 yards through the air which is 254.1 yards per game and 14.0 yards per completion. Opposing quarterbacks have gone 127-of-241 passing with 7 interceptions and 9 touchdowns.
This comes to an average of 318.1 yards per game offensively and 379.6 yards per game defensively.
Special teams play is fairly good with an average of 18.8 yards per return for both punts and kicks while averaging just over 40 yards per punt. However they are 8-of-14 in field goals.
UAM is converting 35% of their 3rd down attempts and 33% of their 4th down attempts. Defensively the opponents are converting 31% of their attempts and 44% of their 4th down attempts.
The Boll Weevils score 80% of the time they are in the red-zone, 55% of them are touchdowns. Defensively their opponents score 71% of the time with half of them being touchdowns.
Arkansas-Monticello is a first half team, scoring 66% of their points in the first half. However they have only scored 17 points in the 4th quarter all year. Defensively they have given up pretty much and equal amount of points in every quarter so they do not really have a weak or strong part of the game.
THe Boll Weevils have three running backs with over 100 yards rushing on the year. Nakita Myles leads the ground attack with 405 yards on the season with 6 touchdowns and a long of 98. Johnny Polite has rushed for 192 and 3 touchdowns and the third is quarterback Scott Buisson with 177 yards and a touchdown.
Scott Buisson is 82-of-141 with 3 interceptions and 7 touchdowns in 5 games two other quarterbacks have started and they have combined for 4-of-14 and 1 interception with also 1 touchdown and 83 yards.
Five Boll Weevil receivers have gained over 100 yards with two of them picking up most of the work. Jywin Ceasar has 26 catches for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns. DJ Stephens has 13 catches for 302 yards and 1 touchdown. Two other receivers have 11 catches on the season.
Head Coach Joey Jones greeting fans during Jaguar Prowl before South Alabama took the field against Henderson State.
Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones were joined by strength and conditioning coach Justin Schwind at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard. Lee opened up by asking Coach Jones about his confidence in Lawson McGlon in the kicking game. Coach Jones said that he is very confident in McGlon, but he doesn’t have the leg strength. His range is about 42 yards but we do have guys who are capable of making a 50+ yard field goal. However McGlon is the most accurate of the kickers.
Then Lee transitioned and asked about the fumble in the endzone by Henderson State, coach Jones said that we recovered the ball but it was a missed call on the field. The video they shot showed that USA recovered the fumble. The reason it wasn’t a safety was because the Henderson State player never had control of the ball, if he had and then fumbled and recovered it in the end-zone, it would have been a safety.
Coach does not think the players took him serious about how good Henderson state was. He thinks it may have been a case where he has been saying that all season and this time they didn’t quite take him serious.
Coach Schwind joined the program and Coach Jones introduced him and told some of his background about how he has payed his dues and worked hard to get where he is now. He would drive across the nation to go to something that might make him a better strength and conditioning coach even when he was barely making ends meet. He worked with him at Birmingham Southern and brought him down here to continue working together.
Coach Jones stressed how, as a head coach, he must have someone that he can trust and someone who knows what they are doing because the coaches can only work with the kids for a certain period of time during the year, but the strength coach works with them all year round.
Coach Schwind said that during the season they lift two days a week, but in the off-season they work out five days a week. He believes as athletes, they have to keep working and moving but he does not run them into the ground. Working out five days a week does not mean they are lifting weights every day, they could be doing other workouts that do not involve lifting.
Lee asked, using the quarterbacks as an example, if he does certain things with different position players so as to keep them from being “musclebound” or something. Coach Schwind answered by saying that with the quarterbacks they do not do any overhead lifts and with bench presses they put a board on their chest to prevent them from doing the full range of motion so as not to impinge on their range of motion in the shoulder. Beyond that, they work on shoulder flexibility and shoulder strength with exercises throughout the season and off-season. Coach Schwind also mentioned that he does not devise a workout for every individual player, but he has workouts for every position.
When asked who lifted the most, Coach Schwind said that Paul Bennett was definitely the one to work out the hardest and best overall athlete. He benches around 490, squats around 650 and runs a 4.65 in the 40.
Coach Jones said that Brandon Ross is doing well after surgery. He is such a good kid, he has been texting with Coach Jones about what they should do. He can’t wait to get back and coach Jones said he cannot wait to have him back as well. But they are very fortunate to have two running backs in Ross and Houston that they can turn to in order to pound the ball.
Lee then asked if there could be a situation next year when they may put Houston and Ross in at the same time during a game. Coach Jones said yes, they could put the quarterback in the shotgun with both of them on either side of the quarterback. Then he said, no doubt about it you want to put your best players on the field. Lee said it was not usual to see teams to put both of their best running backs on the field at the same time and indicated that it would be interesting.
Lee asked Coach Jones if they were going to try to get more pressure on Arkansas-Monticello which they did not do a very good job of against Henderson State. Coach Jones answered that they are a different team from Arkansas-Monticello in that they are more balanced and are actually more of a running team than a passing team. They can also run the option, so they have to have plans to cover the option as well. Coach Jones thinks they match up better than they did against Henderson State because they have smart linebackers who make sure to get into good positions.
Lee asked about the deal with players transferring into the program and not having to sit out. Coach Jones said that any player who transfers up to next summer, they will be able to play immediately, but if they transfer after next fall, they will have to sit out a year. This is due to the program beginning the transition into Division I.
Coach Jones went over some stats from the team such as the rushing yards per game and 3rd down conversion percentage for the opponents (26%). But overall, Coach Jones says he is not really a big numbers person, but some numbers do give you an insight into your team.
Lee brought up some current news about head injuries and concussions and asked about what they can do to prevent such injuries from occurring. Coach Schwind said that there has been lots of research about this and that quite a bit of it has pointed to working out those muscles. So they work on them quite extensively such that when they take one of those big hits, they are less likely to have a concussion or serious injury.
Next week is the last episode of the Coach Joey Jones show on the radio. They will have a recap of the Arkansas-Monticello game and hopefully a recap of another undefeated season.
Just as a reminder, they will kick-off at 6pm for the game and the Jaguar Prowl will be at 3:45pm.
CJ Bennett looks on as Kendall Houston runs the ball in the second half of the Jaguars win over Henderson State.
South Alabama came away with the homecoming victory in a shootout on Saturday against Henderson State, 37-31. It wasn’t unexpected by anyone who looked at the numbers really. Both teams averaged over 425 yards per game. It was just that the Reddies are a Division-II team from Arkansas, not a team that most people in the Southeast would normally hear about unless you lived in Arkansas.
CJ Bennett went 20-of-26 passing for 280 yards for the Jags with Kendall Houston adding 140 yards in a record offensive game for South Alabama. The Jags totaled 542 yards for the game.
Henderson State, whose offensive strong point happened to match up with the Jaguars defensive weakness, went after the Jaguar secondary. Two season ending injuries in the secondary has left the Jags without any sense of comfortable depth, which the Reddies exploited to the tune of 359 yards on their quarterback’s 23-of-43 performance.
Bennett spread the ball around well by connecting with nine difference receivers with six of them having multiple receptions in the game. TJ Glover lead the receiving corps with five catches for 78 yards and a new career high of 189 all-purpose yards. However, Bennett also took three sacks in the game.
Houston carried the ball 27 times for the 140 yards which marks his fourth 100 yard game of the season. The three other running backs 99 yards on 9 carries.
Special teams had some high points and some low points. The kickoff squad gave up two returns to the end zone, however one was called back on a block in the back, saving a touchdown. Darius Davis ending the game with 5 returns for 186 yards, his touchdown went for 93 yards.
On the other side, Scott Garber averaged 59 yards per punt with both being touchbacks. Lawson McGlon made three of four attempts, including a career long 40 yard field goal as time running down in the 3rd quarter. McGlon attempted a 43 yard kick at the end of the first half, however it was rushed and came up short, so it’s hard to count that against him.
The 43 yard attempt came after the Jags were in a great position at the Henderson State 12 yard line with 3rd and six after calling a time out. However Bennett took a 14 yard sack and with the Jags without any remaining time outs, had to rush the field goal unit onto the field to hastily attempt the kick. Coach Jones was visibly annoyed by the turn of events on those two plays.
Coach Jones said after the game, “I want to congratulate Henderson State for playing a very good football game. We knew watching on film that they were a very good team. But I probably didn’t do a great job of getting the team ready in my opinion. That’s probably the first time since I’ve been here that I didn’t think we were 100 percent sharp like we normally are. And I’ll take the blame for that. We can make all the excuses we want, but the bottom line is there are no excuses. That’s not to take anything away from Henderson State, they have a great football team. I kept trying to tell our team, and I guess they didn’t hear that.”
He continued, “We knew they were good on film. They’ve been throwing for 400 yards all year long, so it didn’t surprise us. Their quarterback is a really good player and puts the ball on the money; that worried us going into this game. We knew that they had some really good receivers and some good athletes on that team.”
However a day later after reviewing the game field, Coach Jones had more to say about the game and how his players played in the game. “It’s always, when you feel terrible in a game and after a game, when you go back and look at the tape, it’s a lot better than you thought it was. And when you think it was great, you go back and look at the tape and realize it was a lot worse than you thought it was. It was that way. We played really hard and did a lot of great things. We had some bad plays and did some bad things, but if you take those five or six plays out of the game we played a really, really good game. So, I was really pleased after I watched the film, much more so than I was Saturday night.”
The Jags have played eight consecutive games since their open date after the season opening game against Pikeville College. With injuries and fatigue, the Jags are definitely looking forward to the end of their second season on Thursday night. With a short preparation and hopefully a refocusing on the job at hand, I think the Jags second undefeated season is within grasp. But as the old adage goes, “never count your eggs before they hatch.”
The Jags will host Arkansas-Monticello on Thursday evening with kickoff scheduled for 6:00pm at Ladd-Peebles stadium.
Go Jags! Beat those Boll Weevils!!
The South Alabama offense break the huddle after a time-out late in the second half of the Jaguars win over Georgia State.
You may not have heard of Henderson State before, but that does not mean they are going to be a push-over for the Jaguars. The Henderson State Reddies are 6-3 on the season and have a showdown on November 13 with West Georgia that will determine if they win their conference this season.
They started off the season with a 44-13 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State, then a loss to the University of North Alabama 27-10 followed by another win against Arkansas Tech University, then another loss to Delta State University 41-37. Then the Reddies reeled off two consecutive victories over Arkansas-Monticello 47-0 (who South Alabama plays next week for the season finale) and Southern Arkansas University 28-17 then another loss to the University of West Alabama 40-38 then two more wins over Harding University 33-28 and Ouachita Baptist University 35-26. So they are riding a winning streak as they come down the stretch. Then what would be better to defeat an undefeated team followed by winning their conference?
However the Jaguars just completed what they knew would be their toughest stretch of games against Lamar, UC-Davis and Georgia State. However, no one knew how Henderson State would be coming into the game. With a high charged passing attack, it could be a long day for the Jaguars secondary. Especially losing Tim Harvey with an ACL against Georgia State. The Jaguars thin secondary just got a little thinner. Good thing is they only have two more games until they can the players can begin their off-season training and the coaches can redouble their efforts to recruit more secondary.
This game will be the Jaguars homecoming game. Friday will have a homecoming, mardi gras-like parade down Jaguar Drive South starting at 6:40pm that will end at the Bell Tower followed by a pep rally then a free concern in the Mitchell Center by Sister Hazel.
The Jags and the Reddies will kick-off at 4pm on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles stadium.
Now onto the breakdown of the Reddies:
Henderson State out scores their opponents by over 10 points per game, averaging 35.2 to 23.7 per game. Of the 229 first downs on the season, 65% of them, 150, have been through the air with only 59 coming on the ground and the remaining 20 have been on penalties.
South Alabama still has a wide margin of victory, averaging 43.1 points per game and allowing only 10.6 per game. On the season they have 165 first downs which are spread more evenly between rushing and passing. Still, rushing has the edge with 58% of the first downs.
The Reddies are predominately a passing team with over 80% of their total offensive yardage coming through the air. Of their 4,193 yards on the year, 3,406 have come through the air while only 787 net rushing yards on the ground. Their total rushing yardage is better at 986 yards but they lost 199 yards. They average only 87.4 yards per game and 3.2 yards per rush.
Again, the Jaguars are much more balanced with their rushing yardage accounting for 55% of their offense. The Jags have gained 2044 yards on the ground but lost 142 yards for a net of 1902 thus far on the year. The Jags average 237.8 yards per game.
The Reddies defense has allowed 1,498 yards on the season which is an average of 166.4 yards per game and 4.4 yards per rush. While South Alabama’s defense has given up 500 yards which is an average of 62.5 yards per game and a measly 2.3 yards per rush.
The reddies quarterbacks have attempted 437 passes and completed 280 with seven interceptions and 25 touchdowns for an impressive completion rate of 64%. They average 378.4 yards per game through the air and 12.2 yards per reception. While the Jaguars quarterbacks have completed 109 passes of 175 attempts and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions for 1,553 yards. This averages out to 14.2 yards per reception and an equally impressive 62% completion rate. The Jags average 194.1 yards per game through the air.
Defensively, the Jags have given up 1,273 yards through the air but opposing quarterbacks have completed less than half of their attempts. But they still average 11.2 yards per reception or 5.4 yards per pass attempt. However the Jaguars have intercepted 12 passes. The Reddies defense has given up 1,946 yards through the air. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 54% of their attempts for 6.3 yards per attempt or 11.7 yards per completion with 13 interceptions.
The Reddies and the Jaguars are pretty similar in the kickoff return stats, USA averages 22.8 yards per return while Henderson State averages 19.9 per return. However the Jags nearly double the average yard per punt return of the Reddies 19.8 to 9.5 per punt return.
The Reddies rarely puts the ball on the ground with only four fumbles on the season, losing three of them to the opposing team. South Alabama has fumbled 12 times and lost seven of them. Defensively both teams are a bit closer with South Alabama forcing 18 fumbles and recovering nine of them while the Reddies have forced 14 fumbles and recovered seven of them.
Yet again, both teams are pretty close in some penalty statistics. The Jags average 66.8 yards per game in penalties while the Reddies average 69.9 yards per game. The Jags have 62 penalties on the year for 534 yards while Henderson State has 72 penalties for 629 yards.
The Jags only convert 33% of their 3rd down attempts on the season, making 29 of 87 opportunities. While the Reddies are a little better, converting 40% of their attempts, which is 46 of 115 opportunities. The Jags have gone for it on 4th down 8 times and have converted 6 times or 75% of the time. The Reddies have gone for it 16 times and converted 10 of them or 62% of their attempts.
South Alabama has had 50 trips to their opponents red-zone on the season and have scored 44 times, or 88% of the time. Of those 50 trips, 32 have been touchdowns or 64%. The Reddies have had 37 trips to their opponents red-zone and have scored 81% of the time or 30 of those attempts. Of the 37 trips, they have scored 23 touchdowns which is 62% of the time.
As we all should know, special teams can win or lose a game. The Jags are 13-of-17 in the field goal stats and average 38.3 yards per punt with half of his 28 punts being down inside the opponents 20 yard line. The Reddies are 10-of-15 kicking field goals and average 31.5 yards per punt with 14 of 34 punts being downed inside the opponents 20 yard line.
South Alabama continues to score most of their points in the second quarter of their games while Henderson State does the same, actually 35% of their points have been scored in the second quarter. Defensively, the Reddies have allowed the most points in the second quarter, which comes out to be almost 41% of the points scored against them. South Alabama allows the most points in the first quarter, which is 40% of the points scored against them. However the Jags have only allowed 85 points the entire year.
So overall, the Jags have turned the ball over twice by interception and seven times by fumble. Defensively they have recovered 9 fumbles and have made 12 interceptions to so they are +12 on the turnover margin. The Reddies have fumbled away the ball three times and threw 7 interceptions while picking off 13 passes and recovering 7 fumbles so overall they are +10 in the turnover department.
Reddies or not, the Jags are coming! Go Jags!
Pat Greenwood interviews Coach Joey Jones at halftime of the Jaguars win over Georgia State.
Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian were joined by coach Chuck Dunn Baumhower’s Restaurant for the show today and started by mentioning Coach Jones status in the Libery Mutual Coach of the Year poll online. For a while he was hovering around second and third but has fallen to eighth currently ahead of Tom O’Brien, Jim Tressel, Kirk Ferentz, Chip Kelly and Chris Petersen. So keep voting for coach Jones to keep him in the top 15 to move onto the Evaluation phase.
Coach Jones has mentioned that they have been fortunate to have great weather this year. Today was only about the second practice that they have had in the rain, which is quite odd for the rainiest places in the country.
Lee asked about the injuries from last week and Coach Jones had to give the bad news that Tim Harvey, who intercepted two passes in the victory over Georgia State, is done with a torn ACL. He is the second defensive back to tear and ACL and the third player on the team to do so this year. Brandon Ross tore his ACL a couple games ago. Harvey in a senior so this injury will end his collegiate career, but Coach Jones mentioned that he would make a great football coach due to his communication skills and his knowledge of the game. So you could possibly see him in another role at USA or elsewhere in the future. Other than Harvey’s injury, everyone should be available to play this weekend. They only have the usual bumps and bruises.
Lee asked special teams work and if the Jags have spent some extra time on them this week. Coach Jones indicated that Coach Perry has been working with them some more this week trying to correct some things that has allowed Jaguar opponents to get some big returns as well as a turnover that lead to points for Georgia State.
Another question from Lee had to do with playing CJ Bennett for the entire game against the Panthers. This was the first time this season that one quarterback played the entire game and CJ’s first start of his collegiate career. Lee asked if they would go with him for the entire game this week. Coach Jones answered that they probably would, but they do want to work Myles into the game. But Bennett’s play against Georgia State was very good and as coach Jones said, “He had that look about him.” So they left him in the game and he did very well.
The reason for his start against Georgia State was that, in high school, he ran a four wide offense and was very used to taking the snap and getting rid of the ball quickly. He also had to make reads on the fly so that translated well to what he was going to see against Georgia State.
Lee asked Coach Dunn who played well against Georgia State at his position, outside linebacker. Coach Dunn said that Clifton Crews was his player of the game because he did very well in coverage and held his guy to no catches. But he was quick to give praise to all of his guys because they all did very well.
After the first break, Lee asked coach Dunn to share what he is looking for in an outside linebacker as opposed to an inside linebacker. He said that they have to be more versatile because he has to be able to drop into coverage, rush the quarterback and be able to stop the outside run. So Coach Dunn wants players who are able to run and have good footwork, but they also have to be able to move in space.
Next Lee asked about adjustments made after Georgia State came out and was doing well with the short passes over the middle. Coach Jones deferred to Coach Dunn to answer. Coach Dunn said that they came into the game with the intention of rushing four guys and play some zone around that. On the first series they were taking their receivers and crossing them about three or four yards off of the line. So after the first series Coach Clark, Dunn and others talked it over and decided to go with man-to-man coverage which effectively took away all of the crossing routes for the Panthers.
The last two weeks, the Jags have seen teams come out and throw the ball early and often against the defense, which should be the same this week with Henderson State. So Lee asked what they plan to do defensively to combat that. Coach Dunn said that they are going to do similar schemes with quite a bit of man-to-man.
The first email question was about how winning against teams like Lamar, Georgia State and UC-Davis would affect recruiting. Obviously, winning helps recruiting but winning against more high-profile teams helps even more. Additionally with games on the road, it helps to get awareness of the program out in those areas.
Lee asked how a team like Georgia State can play against Alabama and the game count for them, while USA cannot play a Division I team and have the game count towards their win-loss record. Coach Jones answers by saying that since Georgia State is destined to play in Division I-AA they have different rules for them than Division I. The NCAA has a moratorium for teams that want to go to Division I as a bit of a deterrent for them to do so. But since USA decided that it was in their best interests to go ahead, they are finishing up the second year of the moratorium and will then be classified as a Division I-AA school next year and would then count towards a Division I schools win-loss record.
Lee then asked the question that I emailed, although it was an easier question. I asked how recruiting was going and if USA was getting more interest from highly rated (IE 4 and 5 star) recruits. Coach Jones said that we are. He continued by stating that there is a definite different in the type of recruit they are getting.
First off, he said that they are being much more picky. They are not going to go after a player unless they are better than the caliber of player they already have and they are not going to sign them. Secondly, there is much more interest in the program and it’s only going to grow as USA plays at Kent State and NC State. They have some pretty good players on the board that have verbally committed to South Alabama.
Lee followed up by asking what positions were they recruiting for? Where their biggest need is on the team? Obviously the defensive secondary was mentioned as well and inside and outside linebackers, especially with Justin Dunn and Charlie Higgenbotham being Seniors, they will need a couple good players to fill their shoes. Coach Jones also mentioned that they are looking for defensive ends since they have plenty of big inside guys, they need some of the rush-type ends. Offensively, they are pretty good, but he wants to sign about three more offensive linemen. As Coach Jones has said before, he does not believe that you can have too many offensive linemen.
Lee also mentioned a highly rated running back who was kicked off the team at Georgia who will be transferring to South Alabama and will be competing in the spring. Coach Jones said they talked with the coaches at Georgia and his high school coaches and felt good about giving him a second chance. Georgia was going to pull his redshirt and put him at tailback this season, which goes to show their confidence in the kid.
Lee also mentioned Coach Jones has written a book. It was about Coach Bryant’s last years coaching and the transition to Coach Perkins, his successor.
Coach Jones was asked about how Georgia State will do against Alabama. He pretty much said they have no shot, but he was quick to say that that would go for USA as well.