Jags hit practice on Thursday in full pads

February 25, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Jags prepare to take the field in Texas where they defeated Lamar 26-0 in their first true road game.

Thursday morning, South Alabama hit the practice field in full pads for the first time during spring practice. Head coach Joey Jones was impressed by what he saw and how his team handled the two hour workout.

The team went through several drills including one-on-one drills with offensive linemen vs defensive linemen, running backs and tight ends vs linebackers, wide receivers vs defensive backs, 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills, about 15 minutes worth of inside drills of offense vs defense front line, linebackers and safeties. Plus about 35 minutes of team drills which primarily focused on 3rd-down situations. Overall team practice focused on blitzes and formations.

The special teams portion of practice focused on punt coverage which included individuals working on punt blocking.

Coach Jones commented after practice on what he saw on the field. “There was a lot of spirit today, the guys were getting after it. You like that as a coach, because you don’t want to push them forward, you’d rather rein them in, and I think that’s where we were today. There was some great competition out there, we set it up to run a lot of competitive drills all day long and I thought they reacted well.”

Jones continued talking about some players who stood out. “I thought the defensive line as a whole stood out, and Randon Carnathan is playing really well in that group. They got after it today. Our linebackers were flying around, I saw Jake Johnson make some plays. Offensively I believe that Greg Hollinger stood out today at wide receiver, and C.J. Bennett is playing real well; I think he has really learned the offense, he’s getting rid of the ball quickly and making plays when he has to. I’ve been real proud of him.”

The Jags will round out the first week of practice on Saturday with workouts beginning at 9am. Coach Jones said that it would mostly be a regular practice with some team time at the end. Coach Jones also said that the team was not ready for a full scrimmage yet and that they would only run about 30 plays in the team session at the end of practice.

Jags begin 2011 Spring Practice

February 23, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

South Alabama was among the first programs in the country to start their spring football practice on Monday. The players hit the field at 7am for the first of 15 practices that can be held over the span of 5 weeks. The fifteenth and final of those practices, the annual spring football game, which is scheduled for 2pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday, March 26th and the only practice that will be held off campus.

Coach Jones has continued their short tradition of holding practice early in the morning. He says that the players concentration is much better at that time of day.

Coach Jones also commented about his decision to begin practice early in the spring. “From an academic standpoint, when we finish on March 26th our student-athletes will be getting into the meat of their schedule as the end of the semester nears. This gives them about six weeks where they can concentrate on academics, which I feel is a help to them. Secondly, if we were to have any significant injuries, it gives us a month or a month-and-a-half to help those individuals rehab so they can come back. I think those are the two main reasons why I like to practice this early in the spring.”

The Jags hit the practice field again on Tuesday then took Wednesday off. They will hit the field again on Thursday at 7:45am and will end the week with a 9am stretching session on Saturday.

Coach Jones commented on how the players have grown since last year. “When you walk in the weight room right now you see guys who are bigger and stronger,” he said. “Some of the guys have been here three years, and you can just see that the bench presses, squats and power cleans are going up. I want to see how that translates onto the field, that’s usually exciting.”

Coach Jones continued, “We want to be extremely physical. When people look at us and how we play, hopefully that is what they’ve seen. We want to continue that. I think we need to have physical teams to compete with these teams we will play next year like North Carolina State and Kent State, and on down the line. It’s also going to be interesting to watch the competition — there should be much more this spring because guys who have been in some slots the last couple of seasons are getting better, but we have some young players who are coming along as well as the transfers who will be on the field for the first time next week.”

The second week of practice will be similar to the first week of practice with a 7am practice on Monday and 7:45am practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Then they will have their first scrimmage on Saturday at 9am. Following three days off from Sunday March 6th through Wednesday March 8th, they will then hit the practice field for three consecutive days. Wednesday and Friday practices will be at 7am and Thursday’s practice will be at 7am. The Friday practice will be the second of the three scheduled scrimmages. Then the Jags will take off for spring break.

Once they return from spring break, they will practice at 7:45am on Tuesday March 22nd and Thursday March 24th before the final scrimmage on Saturday March 26th.

2011 Spring Practice Starts Monday

February 20, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

South Alabama Head Football Coach Joey Jones recently remarked that this has been the best off-season he has had. There is no better time to hear such words, considering the Jags will step up to visit two FBS teams this season in Kent State and North Carolina State.

Just to break down the line of scrimmage between these two teams as it stands right now according to the spring rosters,  the average offensive lineman for NC State weighs 296.63 lbs while their average defensive lineman weighs 241.92 lbs. The average for the Jaguars offensive line is 290.29 lbs while the average defensive lineman weighs 252.5 lbs. The difference is that the Jaguars defensive line is outweighed, on average, by 44.13 lbs per player. While the NC State defensive line is outweighed by an average of 48.37 lbs per player.  The NC State offensive line outweighs the Jaguar offensive line by an average of only 6.34 lbs per player, but the Jaguar defensive linemen outweigh the NC State defensive linemen by an average of 10.58 lbs per player.

What does this mean? Right now, not a whole lot actually. It does mean that South Alabama is getting players of equivalent size to FBS teams on the offensive and defensive lines. Coach Jones and his staff have done a great job with the players that they have brought in so far. They did go out and beat a much larger Hargrave team in their first game as a team and they haven’t looked back since. They faced good teams in Georgia State and UC-Davis last season and were able to show their determination and character by coming from behind in both games, most impressively against UC-Davis.

Several of the new recruits are already enrolled and will be practicing this spring. But the rest will join the team in the summer for fall camp. Brandon Ross will not be practicing as he continues to rehab his knee. BJ Scott will also be sitting out the spring practice while he recovers from his ankle surgery. At this time I do not know the progress of Darrow Fisher on his knee rehab, however the last time Coach Jones spoke he was very doubtful about Fisher’s ability to participate this spring. Another unknown is Ray Cotton’s availability this spring after his surgery to repair his torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, but he should definitely be ready by fall camp.

I know I cannot wait to get out there and watch some spring practice and I hope you are too. Continue checking back for more reports on South Alabama sports.

USA vs Troy Rugby Recap

February 10, 2011 · By · Filed Under Rugby · Comment 
[Release from Coach Darwin]

In their second match of the season, the University of South Alabama Men’s Rugby Club traveled to Troy Alabama on February the 5th to face the Troy University Trojans. Field conditions at the Sportplex in Troy were very wet and sloppy. Temps were cold and it was also very windy. The match was well attended by the Trojan’s supporters who were huddled together on the bleacher seats. The Jaguars travelled light to Troy, with only 16 players, leaving only one reserve player standing on the sideline. Comparatively, the Trojans had a plethora of 7 reserve players to use as substitutes.

At kickoff, South Alabama started the match with a mauling drive that was eventually stopped and the ball was swung out wide across the width pitch. It was clear early on that conditions would be a factor and that teamwork would be the key to success. Several penalties backed Troy up near their own goal line until finally Jayvon Jackson picked up the ball from the back of a ruck and scored the Jags first points of the matrix season. It was just the spark the Jags needed to lift the team.

The wet conditions started to give way to slips, knock-ons, and general sloppy ball movement which let the Trojan’s inside center, and man of the match, squeak in their only points under the posts. They briefly led the match 7-5 when they converted their try scoring drive. Penalties against the Trojans continued to help the Jaguars move the ball down field into scoring opportunities. Overall, better teamwork allowed the jaguars to move the ball forward, but taking advantage of penalty situations, kicking for touch, and taking quick taps near the goal line allowed the Jaguars to dominate the Trojans 25-7. Try scorers for South Alabama were Jayvon Jackson, Gabriel Torres (2), and Ruben Lugo. Gabriel Torres was named man of the match, and the Trojan’s inside center was voted Troy’s man of the match.

Starting line-up was Vaughan Blacksher, Jianni Spicciani, Scott DeGraw, Stuart O’Rear, Gabriel Torres, Joseph Goodie, Jayvon Jackson, Balla Masemola, Patrick Johnston, Ruben Lugo, Kye Cole, Chris Ambron, Aaron Roote, Saad Alshareeda, Eugene DeBartolo, and James Wilbanks.

For more info about the club including the Jag’s next match of the season, visit the team website at www.southalabamarugby.com

USA will be at Spring Hill College (Feb. 12) at 1pm as the Old Shell Road rivalry continues. Both clubs are 1-1 and desperately looking for a win against their cross town rival. Join the Jags for a 1 o’clock kickoff on Spring Hill’s campus. Go Jags!

Lady Jags vs Troy Tonight! Wear Pink and get a free ticket!

February 9, 2011 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Women's · Comment