Tuesday and Wedensday practice coverage

August 10, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football 

Jersey and Pads

South Alabama had their first two-a-day practice on Tuesday. In their morning practice, they had a very physical and vigorous workout that might have been a preview for the Fan Day scrimmage coming up on Saturday, August 13.

Practice began with special teams work with roughly the first 10 minutes were devoted to work with the punt team. After that, the offense worked on individual and group work which featured screen drills along with routes for tight ends, receivers and running backs.

The next session had the offense and defense working on the running game, both inside and outside, along with play-action passing. The offense then went to skeleton passing drills against the their defensive counterparts. While the skeleton drills were going on, the offensive line worked on pass protection against the defensive line.

The team then took a 10 minute break from the heat before resuming practice. After a stretching session, the offense took the field against the scout team working primarily on reverses.

The offense and defense then took the field against each other. The first 12 plays from scrimmage were snapped from the offense’s 20-yard line. Demetre Baker took the first ball for no gain. Then Myles Gibbon recovered a fumbled from a low snap which resulted in a loss of yards for the offense. Kendall Houston then rushed for 15 yards on the third play which was followed by a six-yard run by Devin Robinson. Baker kept the momentum with a 10-yard rush on fifth play.

C.J. Bennett was pressured into an incomplete pass by Anthony Taylor then Taylor would get a tackle-for-loss on the next play. But the Jaguar Backfield would respond when Baker reeled off a 20-yard run on the next play. However, the defense would make a stand and only allow three yards in three plays after that.

The team then moved onto redzone drills where the offense would find the endzone after a few plays when C.J. Bennett found Lamontis Gardner on a 17-yard play-action pass. The defense would counter the touchdown with a forced fumble and recovery on the 11-yard line by Logan Bennett on the next play.

The special teams came on to attempt a short field goal, but Will Thompson blocked it. Later Jordan Means would make a 32 yard attempt and Lawson McGlon would make a 22-yard attempt.

The next situation had the ball placed at the 10-yard line and the defense stepped up to the challenge. Devin Robinson was held to four yards on the first two plays then Damond Smith would sack C.J. Bennett off of the edge. The next play saw another negative play when J.J. Keels was brought down for a three yard loss by Ben Giles. Freshman Trey Fetner would be sacked on the next play by Cori Barnett. The coaches sent on the special teams unit to attempt a 34-yard field goal, but it went wide left ending the session.

Practice then ended with more work on special teams with punt returns while the quarterbacks went through drills for ball security.

The second practice of the two-a-day was in shells and was focused on special teams with the punt teams.

Demetre Baker lead the running backs with 34 yards on four carries. Robinson added 21 yards on six carries, Houston added 15 yards on one attempt, J.J. Keels had five yards on three carries and Santuan McGee had five yards on two carries.

Defensively the Jags had two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in addition to a blocked field goal. In 18 of the offensive plays, the defense held them to three yards or less while allowing five yards or more on eight plays.

Coach Jones liked Tuesday’s practice saying, “Today was a good, physical practice. I thought the defense had a good day today – they played with a lot of intensity. Offensively, we’re playing hard. It just takes a while for an offense to gel. Our goal right now is to find some depth. We have to find some kids who want to step up and play. We have six guys who can play on the offensive line right now. If we can find two more that can really play, that’s what we’re looking for. Those guys have a great opportunity to step up in that spot and get some playing time.”

“We’re going to back off tomorrow,” Coach Jones continued. “We will practice for the same amount of time, there just won’t be as much hitting. We’ll come back and hit a little more on Thursday, then back off Friday before Saturday’s scrimmage.”

Wednesday’s Coverage

As Coach Jones said, the team eased off contact on Wednesday’s practice following a very physical practice the day before by hitting the practice field in shells.

Practice began with more special teams work by the punting team.

The Jags went 11-on-11 splitting time between 3rd and long situations and two-minute drills. C.J. Bennett opened with a 15-yard pass to Jereme Jones, however the defense would fight back by forcing four straight incomplete passes. Trey Fetner would then scramble for a first down. Bennett would follow this with antoher first down pass to Corey Waldon. Fetner would connect with another freshman J.J. Keels for yet another first down. The defense would post two sacks during the session as well.

The two-minute drills wouldn’t go as well for the offense. The defense was able to stop both the first and the second team offensive units during this session. Bennett would connect with Waldon on second down for four yards but two consecutive incompletions would end that drive. The offense would take the second drive and move into field goal range, but would miss the attempt wide left.

The second team would take a sack on their first snap, but then Myles Gibbon would scramble for nine yards and follow it up with an 11-yard pass to Corey Besteda to pick up a first down. Another completion to Taylor Noon followed by a rush for a yard would get them another first down. But their drive would end with a sack by Will Thompson.

The teams would split into skeleton passing drills and linemen work. Then the offense would work on play-action passing drills while offensive linemen worked against the scout team for inside drills.

Practice closed out with punt return work by the special teams.

“We backed off them physically and tried to teach a lot on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. I thought that was really good,” Coach Jones said after practice.

“It was the first time we introduced the two-minute drill this fall,” Coach Jones continued. “We’ll learn from the film and get better from there. I told the guys today that we have to know situations in the game. That’s why we put them in all these positions, so when they get in the game it is second nature to them. We’re not running these things just to run them, but to learn the situations and carry them forward.”

Coach Jones voiced pleasure in his first-team unit, but also voiced some concerns about depth. “I feel real good about our first-team units on both sides of the ball,” he stated. “I worry a little bit about our depth on the offensive side of the ball — on the line, we have to get kids to step up there, we can’t play with six or seven guys. We’ve got to have more than that. I thought today we made some strides, especially in pass protection. The linemen picked blitzes up better, so we need to continue to work and get those young guys ready.”

Coach Jones said in the previous two years, that they didn’t have experience and that once guys gained experience, they would feed back into the incoming class of players. After a weekd of practice, he had praise for the upperclassmen for their efforts. “The upperclassmen have done a tremendous job, they understand what we are doing,” observed Jones.

Coach Jones also pointed out that he has suggested to his staff that they slow down on it’s installation of any new game plan. “One thing I talked to the coaches about today — especially on offense — is to not put any more in. We’ve thrown a lot at them to this point, let’s allow things to filter for a few days and see if they can get better at what they are doing. That’s what we are focusing on as a staff.”

The Jags will start practice at 6:15am at the Jaguar Practice Facility in full pads on Thursday. This will be their last full contact drills prior to their first scrimmage on Saturday.

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