Which half is the real Jaguars?

September 29, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football 
Gibbon looks out of the tunnel

Myles Gibbon takes in Carter-Finley Stadium before the team takes the field for warm-ups.

Some fans have asked the question “which team was the real South Alabama? The first half against Kent State or the second half.” The short answer is, they both are.

The first half demonstrated that even coming off of a loss and facing what looks like it should be a win, you still have to prepare no matter what. You have to put the loss behind you, learn from your mistakes and prepare for the next game.

The Jags came out flat in the first half, that was obvious to those watching or listening to the game. They were pretty evenly matched when Kent State was in their smaller offensive set. But when they went big and brought in their tight end, they were knocking the Jags off the ball.

Offensively, the Kent State defense was pushing the offensive line around and filling gaps at will. Plus their big defensive lineman caused some havoc as well. The Jags couldn’t run the ball and they had problems throwing the ball as well. They could only muster 44 yards of total offense in the first half.

The Jags were flat but they kind of held their own for a while. But once the points came, they seemed stunned and Kent State seemed to be on a roll. Before they could shake their head, they were down 16-0 and more was to come.

They were looking for a big play to get them going but it just wouldn’t come.

At halftime, coach Jones told them this is a fresh start. That this is a new game and they have to play that way.

The Jags defense made adjustments to stifle the Kent State offense and showed that it would work on their first drive of the second half. However another mistake on offense gave Kent State the ball deep in South Alabama territory, which they would capitalize on to make the score 33-0.

But the Jags got the ball back and that much needed big play came. A 37-yard kick return by Demetre Baker followed by a 37 yard pass play to put the Jags in the red zone for the first time in the game. They would put a touchdown on the board sparking their comeback.

While the second half Jags is the team we know, the first half Jags are the same players but a different side that we haven’t seen before. No one is perfect, that is why practice, preparation and execution is so paramount.

As Coach Perry said on the radio show on Tuesday, they have to learn to manufacture good things and manufacture momentum out of nothing, not from big plays. Big plays easily  provide those things, good teams find a way to manufacture those things from nothing.

Lots of good things can be pointed out in the last two games against FBS teams. But lots of bad things can be as well. They have to learn from both in order to be better players and a better team. They will need that through the rest of the season and for momentum leading into next season when they face FBS teams week-in and week-out.

The stats from Kent State’s first few games do not accurately show how good they really are as a team. They are not of the top-tier like Alabama, but they are far from the bottom as the stats may indicate.

Today is the first of three consecutive days off for the Jaguar players. Hopefully they can take this time to rest, heal, get ahead in their classes and review game field. Because on Sunday they begin preparation for their trip to San Antonio.

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