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.
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.
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.
[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!
The South Alabama Women’s Basketball Team will be in action Wednesday, February 9 at the Mitchell Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. versus the Trojans of Troy University. This game will be the Pink Zone game, as fans are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness. Anyone wearing pink to the game will receive a free ticket to the game. Join us early, between 6-7 p.m., where Corn Dogs and Pepsi are for a dollar! Come out and support Coach Rick Pietri and the Jaguars Wednesday night in the Mitchell Center.
Coach Joey Jones talked with WNSP’s Pat Greenwood at halftime of the Jaguars win over Georgia State.
Here is a breakdown of the players who signed Letter-Of-Intent for South Alabama:
- Akeem Appleton from Fort Payne, AL and Fort Payne HS. Akeem is ranked 10th among athletes in the state of Alabama by ESPN.com and rated a 2* by Scout. He is 5’11” and weighs 175lbs while playing running back.
- Demetre Baker from Orange Park, FL via Georgia and stands 6’1” and weighs 210lbs. He has been recruited as a running back, which he played in high school. But his time a Georgia was spent as a linebacker. He was a High School All-American by both SuperPrep and PreStar magazines.
- Jeffrey Dyson from Thomasville, GA and stands 5’9” while weighing 150lbs. According to Scout, he runs a 4.4 40 and played running back and defensive back at Thomasville HS.
- Ameriol Finley from Spanish Fort, AL stands 6′ and weighs 175lbs. He is a 2* recruit by Scout and lead Spanish Fort HS to their first state championship in 5A. He played quarterback in a zone read type offense. He has already enrolled and started classes at USA this spring and was recruited to play defensive back.
- Marquel Gardner from Prichard, AL stands 6’2” and weighs 200lbs. According to Rivals, he is a 2* recruit and runs a 40 in 4.6 seconds. He played Safety and is labeled as a defensive back for South Alabama. He was selected first-team All-Region as a Senior. Gardner transferred from Tuskegee.
- Cordivido Grice from Pensacola, FL stands 6′ and weighs 205lbs. He is listed as an Outside Linebacker. He was ranked among the top 25 Outside linebackers in the state by ESPN after recording 114 total tackles.
- Joey Hamilton from Northridge HS in Tuscaloosa, AL stands 6’2” and weighs 225lbs. He is listed as a Long Snapper and a Linebacker on Scout while being listed as a long snapper and full back by the Jags.
- Charles Harris from Charleston, MS from Coahoma MS CC stands 6’2” and weighs 190lbs. He is listed as a linebacker and a safety on Scout and is listed as a defensive back by the Jags. He lead Coahoma with 89 total tackles with 69 of them being unassisted.
- Maleki Harris is from Cordova, AL and stands 6’2” and weights 200lbs. He is listed as a 3* recruit and also is listed as the number 33 player in the state of Alabama by Rivals and is listed as running a 4.6 40. He had 142 tackles, 13 sacks and 5 interceptions in the 2010 season for Cordova HS at outside linebacker. Maleki had offers from Illinios, Kansas, Memphis, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
- Kennedy Helms from Gulfport, MS and Mississippi Gulf Coast CC stands 6’2” and weighs 230lbs. He may sound familiar because his brother already plays for South Alabama. He helped MGCCC go 10-2 on the season and finish 3rd in the NJCAA poll. He plays tight end.
- Jake Howton is another player from Cordova, AL that stands 6’2” and weighs 180lbs. He is ranked 15th among athletes in the state of Alabama by ESPN. He totalled 1,363 yards of total offense in 2010. He is listed as a wide receiver for the Jags.
- DaMon Husband from Williamson HS in Mobile, AL stands 6’2” and weighs 315lbs. At Williamson he was a four-year starter and is ranked number 83 overall and 3rd in the state among guards by ESPN.
- Anthony Ingram from Jasper, FL stands 5’9” and weighs 170lbs. He is a 3* prospect according to Rivals and lead his team to a district title with a 6-0 record. His Scout profile has him listed as a wide receiver while he is listed as an Athlete by the Jags.
- Ceasare Johnson from Memphis, TN stands 6’6” and weighs 265lbs. He is credited with 70 total tackles, 51 being solo and six sacks while at Coahoma MS CC. He is listed as a weak side defensive end on Rivals and is simply listed as a defensive lineman by South Alabama.
- J.J. Keels from Melbourne, FL stands 5’10” and weighs 180lbs. Keels is listed as a 3* recruit and ranked 38th nationally and also in the top 10 in Florida at running back by ESPN. Rivals has him timed at 4.42 seconds in the 40 and 4.25 seconds in the shuttle while aslo having a 36” vertical and a 3.8 GPA. Plus looking at his highligh film, J.J. has great vision.
- Desmond Lavelle from Decatur, AL stands 5’11” and weighs 225lbs. He is rated second among inside linebackers in the state of Alabama by ESPN and is a 3* recruit according to Rivals. He has a 4.6 second 40 according to Rivals.
- Ramone Lewis from Eufaula, AL stands 5’10” and weighs 230lbs. He is a 2* recruit according to Scout and is credited with 84 total tackles during his Senior season. Ramone is listed as an inside linebacker and a running back in high school, but is listed as a linebacker at USA.
- Gabe Loper from Meridian, MS stands 6’2” and weighs 190lbs. He is a transfer from East Central MS. CC. He was named to the second-team All-MACJC after posting 39 total tackles and 3 pass break-ups. He will plays defensive back.
- E.J. May from McGill-Toolen HS in Mobile, AL stands 5’11” and weighs 175lbs. May is ranked 85th nationally as a cornerback and is among the top 5 in the state of Alabama at the same position by ESPN. Rivals has him listed as running a 4.47 40 and a 4.29 shuttle. He decommited from Kentucky and chose South Alabama.
- Dionte McDuffy from Shreveport, LA stands 5’10” and weighs 190lbs. He helped Evangel Christian Academy to win a 2A state championship in his senior year. He is listed as a 2* recruit by Scout. He is listed as a defensive back.
- Kolt Peavey from Molivar, MO stands 6’2” and weighs 180lbs. He helped Bolivar HS to a berth in the state playoffs his senior year with a 9-2 record. Scout has him listed as running the 40 in 4.7 seconds as a quarterback.
- Devin Robinson from East Limestone HS in Athens, AL stands 6’3” and weighs 220lbs. He is listed as a 3* prospect by Rivals and is among the top 50 recruits in the state of Alabama according to ESPN. He is listed as running the 40 in 4.5 seconds. Devin received offers from Arkansas State, Jacksonville State, MTSU, Southern Miss, Troy and UAB but decided on South Alabama.
- B.J. Scott from Vigor HS in Prichard, AL and a transfer from the University of Alabama stands 5’11” and weighs 205lbs. B.J. is already on campus and in classes. He is a top-10 recruit by position according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout.
- Damond Smith trasfers from Western Michigan and hails from Ecorse, MI. He stands 6′ and weighs 185lbs and transfers in as a sophomore. He was listed as a cornerback and a wide receiver out of HS but is listed as a defensive back by South Alabama.
- Robert Terrell from Russellville, AL and Russellville HS stands 6’1” and weighs 245lbs. Robert is listed as a 3* recruit by both Rivals and Scout but is listed as a 2* from ESPN. He is listed as an inside linebacker by Rivals. He is also listed as running the 40 in 4.6 seconds. He was offered by Louisville but chose South Alabama
- Carl Williams from Jacksonville, FL stands 6′ and weighs 180lbs. Rivals has him listed as running the 40 in 4.5 seconds, benching a 325 max, squatting a 455 max, a 4.2 second shuttle, a 36” vertical, a 3.0 GPA and an 18 ACT. He is a 3* recruit according to Rivals, Scout and ESPN. He also has an extensive list of offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Uconn, FIU, Iowa State, Kansas, Maryland, MTSU, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, South Florida, Texas Tech, Troy, UCF and UCLA but chose South Alabama. He played Safety and is listed as a defensive back for the Jags.
This is a solid recruiting class for Coach Jones and his staff. They picked up some players who were offered scholarships to SEC schools in addition to two transfers from SEC schools. Seven of the Jags players are rated as 3* talent and six players were rated as 2* players by recruiting services. B.J. Scott was a 4* talent when he was signed by Alabama as part of the 2008 class. Among the 26 players, seven enrolled in school last month and one more intends to join the program in the fall. Of the 26 players, nine of them are from within the state of Alabama, five are from Florida and three are from Mississippi.
As mentioned in the breakdown of the players, South Alabama recruited against several FBS schools. Some of the schools they recruited against are: Tennessee, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, TCU, Boise State, Stanford, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, NC State, Maryland, Texas Tech, Illinois, Iowa, South Flordia, Connecticut, Louisville, Washington State, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, UAB, Troy and Middle Tennessee. Coach Jones said that the quote around the Field House is, “If we can just get them to Mobile, we will have a great shot.” Obviously, kids have been impressed by our facilities, the city of Mobile and the campus.
South Alabama definitely shored up their secondary by signing 10 players in the secondary. Unfortunately they lost a couple recruiting battles for some defensive lineman according to Coach Jones. Being out-weighed by NC State, it would have been nice to see a couple Offensive Linemen signed but Coach Jones seemed to be content with what they have.
On the offensive linemen note, several players will take some time in spring practice at center. After an injury last year left them very thin at that position, they do not want to repeat that. Actually Coach Turner remarked that he was on a team that had, I believe he said, six centers go down with injuries.
As of 7pm, Scout has Western Kentucky as the top class in the Sun Belt and number 81 overall. Earlier it looked as though FIU was going to have another year on top of the conference. However, a glace at WKU’s recruits according to Scout looks to be on par or slightly lower than South Alabama. But ultimately the true test is how they fit with the rest of the team and how well their talent is developed by the coaching staff.
Ok, so yeah, we already know that USA is located in Mobile, and many of the people here are already friendly. That is not the type of “mobile-friendly” we are referencing.
We are experimenting with a new mobile-friendly version of the website for users on the go that get caught in areas with poor data reception. Hopefully this will allow more users to visit the site without hogging data on their mobile devices.
If any of our seasoned fans have problems using the new mobile version of the site, please feel free to post comments to let us know. We always appreciate your constructive feedback.
Today is when the coaches and fans will all know how their months of endless recruiting visits and phone call have all turned out. Today is the first day that recruits can sign on their National Letter-of-Intent to play for the school of their choice. Some teams will lose out on guys, others will land guys they may have not expected. All in all, today is one of the biggest offseason days of the college football year.
Check back tomorrow for a recap of the Jaguar signees.