South Alabama Gears Up For Spring Practice

February 13, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football, News 

Jersey and Pads

Less than three months after the Jaguar football season ended, the team is gearing up for spring practice. Starting on Wednesday, the Jags will hit the practice field to begin preparation for their toughest season yet and the teams first playing a full FBS schedule.

While other schools are scheduled to start much later than South Alabama, the Jags want to hit the field sooner because the southern weather permits it and because it allows the student-athletes to devote more time to academics at a crucial time in the semester. April and May are typically the most difficult months because the semester is starting to wind down, projects are coming due and studying for final exams is in full swing.

“They can focus that last month, month-and-a-half, on academics instead of practicing football. I think that’s the number one thing. The second thing is injury. If we were to get somebody hurt, we have more time to get them back. And I think the fact that the weather is so good down here. We’ll have some cold days, but it’s not something that we can’t handle,” said Coach Joey Jones.

The Jaguar players will begin implementing Coach Matthews’ new offensive scheme as well as get acclimated to the new coaching responsibilities for some of the coaches.

On offense, Coach Matthews will take over coaching the offensive line, which he has much experience at while Coach John Turner will move to coaching the tight ends. Coach Bryant Vincent, who took over tight ends last season, will move over to coaching the quarterbacks. Coach Tommy Perry will continue coaching the running backs.

Defensively, Coach Kurt Crain will move from coaching the linebackers to the defensive tackles. Coach Brian Turner will move from coaching the defensive line to coaching the defensive ends. Coach Bill Clark, the defensive coordinator, will take over coaching the linebackers. Duwan Walker will continue coaching the secondary.

Coach Jones commented on the changes by saying, “Bringing coach Matthews in, he knew what he wanted from the offensive line and had coached tackles (previously in his career). Rather than trying to coach somebody else and having a learning curve there, I just felt like moving him in there and letting him coach it (was the best move). Next year, we could swap things back, but I felt like we really wanted to get that done this year. John, moving him to tight ends, he was extremely happy about that. It’s a different dimension for him, but he really liked the idea. And Bryant Vincent has been coaching quarterbacks his whole life.”

“Bill wasn’t really coaching a position, and I really wanted him to coach a position,” Coach Jones continued.

The Jags are scheduled to hit the practice field three times this week. On Wednesday and Thursday they are scheduled to workout in shorts beginning around 6:30am. On Saturday they are scheduled to work out in shells beginning around 9am. All spring practices will occur on campus at the Jaguar Football Complex except the final practice, the Jag Day Game, will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium starting at 2pm on Saturday, March 24th.

After the first Saturday practice on February 18th, the Jags will take some time off for the Mardi Gras holiday before returning on February 23 for it’s first workout in full pads. Coach Jones has scheduled two scrimmages before the Jag Day Game, they will be held on Saturday, March 3 and again on March 8.

The team will have nearly two weeks off after the second scrimmage, 12 days total, for spring break before returning March 20 in full pads. They then practice in shells on March 22 before the Jag Day Game on March 24. Then following the spring game, the Jags will have its 15th and final practice on March 25 from 4-6pm to finish out the spring practice period.

“I think there is a ton of excitement over what we are doing offensively, not only from the players but the staff,” Coach Jones said. “Any time you bring a new coordinator in you pretty much have to start all over again, especially with terminology. Kids are coming in, studying and watching video on their own. Coaches are meeting constantly, hours upon hours, starting all over again.”

Coach Jones continued, “Any time you end a season that way, you never want to say you wanted something like that to happen. But our coaches have talked about it, it could have been one of the best things to ever happen to us. It really shook our staff and our players, even though they were a really good football team, and made us refocus on what we are doing. They’re ready, we really challenged them after that game, and that has permeated in their work ethic from that day through now.”

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