Ross And Dearman Earn Honors In Spring

March 28, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 
Dearman and Matthews

Offensive lineman Drew Dearman, his father and Offensive Coordinator Robert Matthews after the annual Red & Blue Spring football game.

If you were at the Red & Blue Spring Game and went onto the field for autographs, you may have noticed a player wearing the honorary #5 jersey. The Jaguar players chose Brandon Ross to wear that number in honor of Anthony Mostella, who passed away in the summer of 2010.

Mostella’s number 5 jersey is given to a graduating senior that is chosen by his teammates to honor his memory.

Also Drew Dearman was chosen as the Most Improved Lineman for the spring. Dearman has solidified the left guard position as he has moved into the starting lineup heading into the fall.

Blue Squad Comes Out On Top In Red & Blue Spring Game

March 25, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · 3 Comments 
Coach Perry with running backs

Coach Tommy Perry coaching the running backs during halftime of the Red & Blue Spring Football Game on March 24, 2012.

South Alabama unveiled their new offense to much fanfare on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. With sunny skies and a slight breeze, the Jags took the field to wrap up their fourth spring practice and their first preparing for a full FBS schedule.

Both squads began the game by trading interceptions. But the Blue squad would earn the first points of the game after a six play, 61-yard drive was capped off by a three-yard touchdown by Demetre Baker. Baker got the drive in gear with a nine-yard run then Bennett would complete three consecutive passes to Jereme Jones, Tyrome Bivins and Baker to move the ball down to the 10 yard line. Baker would then run for seven yards followed by the three-yard touchdown run.

The Red squad would answer with a 31 yard Michel Chapuseaux field goal late in the first quarter. The drive spanned 11-plays with Trey Fetner going 4-for-4 for 44 yards and walk-on freshman Terrance Timmons added 42 all-purpose yards with an 18-yard gain to begin the drive and a 22-yard catch to keep the drive alive on third-and-13.

The Red squad would see it’s only lead of the game after Julien Valentin scored with about three minutes left in the first half. After seemingly being stopped after a short gain, Valentin popped out and the defense thought he was down, however none of the referees blew the whistle and ended up scoring on a 45 yard run. “It was a freaky play,” Valentin explained after the game. “I don’t know where it came from but I had to just keep fighting and keep going. The next thing you know I’m in the open field and the ref is running with me, so I just ran as hard as I could to the end zone.”

Chapuseaux would tie the game for the Blue Squad after connecting on a 28 yard attempt with 41 seconds left in the half. Bennett would go 5-of-6 on the drive to move the team 64 yards in eight plays. He would connect with J.J. Keels twice with the second completion going for 35 yards before the drive stalled out at the 11 yard line.

After a short break and an opportunity for coaches to talk with players on the sidelines, the game continued.

The only score of the second half was by the Blue Squad’s Tyrannace Brazil to cap off a 12-play 80 yard drive spanning 4:58 on the clock. The Blue squad would take over the ball with 45 seconds left in the third quarter with Brandon Bridge at quarterback. Bridge would connect with Jereme Jones on the first play for a 16 yard gain. Later a 20-yard pass to Brazil would move the ball across mid-field for another first down. Bridge would find Wes Saxton for a 10-yard completion on fourth-and-1 at the 35 yard line. Bryant Lavender would make a nine-yard catch at the 14-yard line, but would be injured on the play as the back of his head would be struck by a players knee as he went down. The referees would flag it as a late hit personal foul to move the ball to the 7-yard line. Two plays later, Brazil would score to give the Blue squad a 17-10 lead.

The Red squad had the tying score in it’s sights on the next possession. Myles Gibbon would find Anthony Ingram open for a 67-yard gain after a blown coverage by McGaskin, but Ingram’s failure to secure the ball all the way into the endzone would let McGaskin make up for it by punching it out at the one yard line and having it go out of the back of the end zone for a touchback and possession going to the Blue squad.

The Blue squad would go three-and-out on their possession. After moving the ball for a simulated punt, Trey Fetner would be sacked by Byron Sneed for a loss of six yards. Then Charles Watson would stop Austin Powell short of the first down on a fourth-and-12 at the Red Squad’s 43 yard line to seal the game.

Keels, Bivins and Lavender all ended the game with three catches each to lead the team. Keels would rack up the most yards of the three with 52. Jones and Baker would each add two catches for the game as well. Bennett would go 11-of-14 for 128 yards and Brandon Bridge went 4-of-7 for 55 yards. The Blue squad would gain 192 of it’s 217 total yards through the air.

Valentin rushed 10 times for 88 yards and added two catches for 10 more yards. Anthony Ingram had four catches for 98 yards. Valentin and Ingram shared the game-high honors for all-purpose yards. Terrance Timmons added 50 yards and 24 yards more on two catches.

Fetner went 7-of-14 for 69 yards and Myles Gibbon went 3-of-5 for a team best 84 yards. The Red Squad gained 163 yards passing and 131 on the ground for 294 yards of total offense.

Qudarius Ford, Darrius Morrow and Andrew Philon all shared team-high honors for the Red squad with five tackles each. Justin Walker added four tackles and Cordivido Grive, Desmond LaVelle and Pat Moore all adding three tackles each. Moore would have a game-high of 1.5 tackles for loss.

Jake Johnson lead the team with six tackles and added an interception on the Red Squad’s first snap of the game. Dylan Hutto added five tackles with Davin Hawkins and Dionte McDuffy both added four tackles each. Logan Bennett, Jonathan Cameron, Robert Terrell, Charles Watson and McGaskin all added three tackles each. Logan Bennett would spend lots of time on the sidelines before leaving before the end of the game due to a possible concussion.

“We talked and bickered back and forth all week,” said C.J. Bennett. “It’s kind of fun going against each other and putting the pads on for real. In practice, they [the coaches] always want to stop you. It was a friendly game, I thought everyone played well, and the Blue team came out on top. I think the offense is coming along great, as you saw here we are capable of some long drives and getting that ball moving. If we take care of the ball, I think we have big things ahead of us.”

“I thought we did well, we’ve come a long way since the first practice of the spring,” said Jake Johnson after the game. “But we still have leaps and bounds to get better. I was impressed with a lot of the guys, we were mixed and matched but we all showed great ability out there.”

Coach Jones spoke after the game. “We kept both teams handcuffed, the defense could run a couple of fronts, the offense could only run so many plays,” Jones said. “We achieved what we wanted to, I don’t think anyone was hurt badly. Our evaluations through the first 14 practices were really what it was all about, we know where we are.”

When asked about the possible tying touchdown for the Red Squad late in the game, coach Jones answered, “It looked like he got stripped. That’s a lesson on both sides of the ball. On offense, securing the ball all the way across the goal line is paramount, and defensively to never give up. That was a great play to never give up.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark was pleased with the defense in the game. “We didn’t blitz and we were in man coverage all day. We didn’t want to show anything.” With just over five months until the first game, they didn’t want to give anything away to upcoming opponents.

With spring practice over, we now have to wait for fall camp to begin and football season to arrive. South Alabama will open the 2012 season, their first playing a full FBS schedule and playing a full Sun Belt schedule, when they host Texas-San Antonio on Thursday night on August 30th.

Jags Prepare For The Red & Blue Game On Saturday

March 24, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · Comment 

On Thursday the Jags had to move their practice indoors due to impending thunderstorms moving into the area. Their final practice before the Red & Blue Spring Game.

Their practice in Jaguar Gym lasted about 45 minutes in total. It began with special teams drills in helmets and shorts. They then broke into teams to go through scripts for the game on Saturday.

Head coach Joey Jones spoke after the short practice in Jaguar Gym. “I think the concerns we had going into the spring were the offensive line and the secondary,” he said. “I feel really good about our first offensive line. Now we have to continue to develop depth there. The secondary is another area where I feel like we have gotten better, and we’ve got a couple more guys coming in this summer who might be able to help us there too.”

“The three things we concentrated on this spring, and will continue to work on, were leadership, discipline and toughness,” Coach Jones continued. “We’ve been preaching all spring that you don’t always wins games, you lose games. Teams that make mistakes end up losing games. We became a more disciplined team this spring, and I think we have developed some leadership on this football team. You see it in the locker room, in the weight room and on the field, and we’re real proud of that. I think we’ve been a pretty tough team, and will continue to do that. Overall, as a team, there was so much more focus.”

Coach Jones previewed the Saturday’s game by saying, “It’s going to be a short game, the clock will be running. It will probably be about half a game with the amount of plays we run.”

Coach Jones also said that fans will only see about 25% of the offense because they will be holding out the rest for the fall.

On the Friday morning edition of the Morning Sportsdrive, Coach Jones spoke with Lee Shirvanian and Mark Heim about his team. Coach Jones said that C.J. Bennett has, so far, nailed down the starting position at quarterback with Trey Fetner moving up to the #2 spot. The first-team offense is farther along in their progression than he anticipated, but the gap between the first- and second-team offense is quite noticable. But he had compliments about lots of Jaguars from the spring.

The parking lot will open at 10am and gates will open at 1pm and both will be free and open to the public. Beginning at 11am the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will hold its annual Gumbo & Chili Showdown in the East parking lot with admission for the event being $10.

Seating will be available on the West stands as well as both end zones with limited concessions being sold in the West concourse only. Also in the West concourse the USA Ticket Office will be availabnle for anyone interested in purchasing season tickets and selecting their seats for the 2012 season. The USA Bookstore will be set up selling JagWear and Springdale Travel will have information available for travel packages through the “Runnin’ With the Jags”.

Following the game the fans will have a 30-minute session to go onto the field and get autographs from the Jaguar athletes and coaching staff.

As for the game, it will have 10-minute quarters with the first half having a regular game clock then in the second half will have a running clock with the quarters expanding to 12-minutes each.

Jags Return From Spring Break

March 21, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Akeem Appleton Catch

Akeem Appleton looks the ball in for a catch during a spring scrimmage.

After a week off for spring break, the Jaguars returned for their final week of practice leading up to Saturdays annual Red-Blue spring football game.

After a week off, the Jaguars came with plenty of effort, but were lacking in execution.

They began practice with special teams working on punting. Next the offense and defense worked against each other by position. They then broke off into work with position coaches for about 40 minutes. Later they would come back together for another offense versus defense segment as they worked on inside plays. They also worked on skeleton passing drills and play-action passing drills.

In the final session, the team again worked on game-like situations by simulating two-minute drills. The defense kept the first and second team offense off of the scoreboard.

The first-team offense moved the ball into the red zone after C.J. Bennett threw completions to Jereme Jones and Bryant Lavender for a first down at the 19 yard line. Bennett would stop the clock by spiking the ball on first down but would not be able to score after three consecutive incompletions ended their drive.

Trey Fetner led the second-team offense by scrambling twice to pick up a first down and stopping the clock on the second by finding the sideline to step out of bounds. However the defense was not to be out done. Back to back sacks and a broken-up pass by Terrell Brigham would end the possession.

After practice coach Jones commented on what he saw. “Offensively, we came out and had a few missed assignments, we jumped offsides a couple of times. We were not quite as in sync as we were. It wasn’t a lack of effort or want to, it was just making some mental mistakes. Defensively, I thought we came out and had a pretty good practice today.”

“We are going to do a few fundamental things the first part of practice, then at the end we’re going to split them into their teams,” Jones continued. “Coaches have started talking smack to each other, and the players have here and there also. It will be a fun time, the culmination of spring practice, so we’ll give them the last 30 minutes to do that and get ready for the game on Saturday.”

They will practice once more on Thursday beginning at 6:30am at the Jaguar practice facility. The Red & Blue game at 2pm on Saturday, March 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be free and open to the public with the Gumbo-Chili cook off during the morning.

Three Sun Belt Schools Talking With MWC/CUSA While SBC Considers Expansion

March 15, 2012 · By · Filed Under Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Earlier this week, it was made known that three Sun Belt schools were talking with the new Mountain West/C-USA Alliance. University of North Texas, Florida Atlantic and Florida International as well as pretty much every WAC school are talking with them about possible membership.

Also it was made known by Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports that UNC-Charlotte and UT-San Antonio could possibly join the Sun Belt as soon as the 2013-2014 season. However nothing has yet been decided.

Louisana Tech has made it known somewhat, that they would not mind joining the Sun Belt. But they may be holding out hope of joining the MWC/C-USA conglomeration.

Other schools that have been mentioned as possible expansion talks are Appalachian State, Texas State, UT-Arlington, Lamar, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.

Georgia Southern looks good as a potential candidate being located in the Atlanta-Savannah area and right in the thick of the Sun Belt’s eastern conference schools. It has a strong fan base and a successful athletics program. However feasibilty reports done by the school shows that they would be able to move up from FCS to FBS successfully on the athletic level. But, it showed that the financial risks would be high as alumni and boosters are not eager to back the idea as much as the student body is willing to.

However according to Russel Wright of Collegiate Consulting, Georgia State could be ready to move up to the FBS level. According to him they have the finances and a good location in Atlanta to make the move. He said that the martket drives it more than their on-field product. They have an enrollment similar to North Texas and Florida International and of the $22 Million the school receives in revenues each year, about $16 Million comes from the students.

Appalachian State has made the decision to look into moving up to FBS. They have positive results from their feasibilty report completed recently and have a nationally recognized brand after the upset of then #5 ranked Michigan as they won a 3rd consecutive national title in 2007. But they are also in the eyes of the MWC/CUSA group.

UNC-Charlotte has had a successful basketball program and have appeared in the final four. They have previously been in the Sun Belt Conference and Conference-USA. They will begin playing football in the 2013 season though. But they could also be courted by the Big East since they are in Charlotte.

South Alabama knows Lamar pretty well as they completed a home-and-home series against them last season. Lamar has been pretty aggressive about trying to move up to the FBS level. They have a nice campus and a newly renovated stadium for their return to football with a huge video screen. Their addition to the Sun Belt could help North Texas to not feel left out in the wilds of Texas alone.

Texas State, UT-San Antonio and Arlington could all decide to stay in the WAC. Which would give Lamar more of a consideration by the Sun Belt.

However, the fall of the WAC was under Commissioner Benson’s watch and his rather sudden move from there to the Sun Belt has raised a few questions. But many doubt that the same will happen to the Sun Belt once he gets going fully as commissioner. But the question remains, will he be able to keep the conference going in the right direction.

In the mean time, South Alabama’s Dr. Joel Erdmann said that the school is trying to work out a deal that will have a video screen to show replays at Ladd-Peebles Stadium this season. It was not mentioned if it was going to replace an old scoreboard or if they were going the same route that the GoDaddy.com Bowl (formerly the GMAC Bowl) has done and bring in a portable screen. I believe the portable screen is the most likely of the two.

Also he mentioned they are trying to get more speakers at the stadium. Those fans who sit on the West stands know quite well how loud those speakers. Since the East side does not have speakers, they are turned up very loud so the students and fans can hear the announcers as well.

Defense Stands Out In Second Scrimmage

March 9, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · 2 Comments 
Coach Matthews From Above

Offensive Coordinator Robert Matthews calling plays during a spring scrimmage.

South Alabama hit the practice field for their second scrimmage of the spring on Thursday morning. Jake Johnson was able to participate after sitting out the first scrimmage with a fever and illness, but he was back to his usual form on Thursday.

The first score of the game came on the third series, the first by the second-team offense, starting at their own 2-yard line. Deonte McDuffy picked off a deflected pass and ran it back the 12 yards for the touchdown. Charles Watson picked off a pass in the second half. Then two plays later Maleki Harris picked off a pass and returned it 54 yards for the touchdown.

C.J. Bennett led the first scoring drive by the offense on the fifth possession of the scrimmage and the third overall for the first-team offense. Bennett would find freshman walk-on Terrance Timmons in the flat for a seven yard gain then Timmons would rush for another six yards for the first down. Demetre Baker then gained another first down after a pair of five yard rushes. On third-and-one, Timmons would come through with a nine yard run to move the chains again. Chapuseaux’s 45 yard field goal would cap off the 11-play 47 yard drive by the first team.

A couple drives later the first team offense returned to the field. Bennett would find Corey Besteda, for the longest play of the scrimmage, on a third-and-eight from their own 42 yard line for a 30 yard gain. Then two plays later he could complete a 20 yard pass to Corey Waldon to move the ball to the 2 yard line. On third down from the 3 yard line, Baker would punch the ball in for a touchdown.

Later in the scrimmage, Logan Rogers added a 3 yard touchdown pass later in the day. Also, Trey Fetner lead the second-team offense to two touchdowns on red zone drives at the end of the scrimmage. The first was to Waldon for 20 yards, then he ran a quarterback draw for 8 yards to score.

Deonte McDuffy and Maleki Harris returned interceptions for touchdowns. Charles Watson also picked off a pass on the day. Also defensively, they only allowed 142 yards on 69 carries for an average of just over 2 yards per attempt. Johnson lead the defense with seven tackles while Jesse Kelley added six and Terrell Brigham, Cordivido Grice and Davin Hawkings all added five each. Additionally Kelley racked up 3.5 tackles for loss. Jake Johnson and Ceasare Johnson both made two TFL’s while Pat Moore added 1.5 TFL’s.

On the offensive side of the ball, six Jaguar quarterbacks combined to go 18-of-27 for 180 yards while finishing with 322 yards in total offense in the scrimmage. First team quarterback C.J. Bennett lead the group by going 7-of-10 for 81 yards. Myles Gibbon went 3-of-3 for 56 yards and Logan Rogers went 4-of-4 for another 56 yards.

Corey Waldon lead the receivers with three catches for 44 yards. Akeem Appleton had one for 34 yards and Bryant Lavender also caught one for 14 yards.

Demetre Baker lead the rushing game with 32 yards followed by Terrance Timmons with 30 yards and J.J. Keels with 25 yards. Additionally Michel Chapuseaux made kicks from 45 and 37 yards in the first half of the scrimmage.

Coach Jones spoke after the scrimmage. “It was very similar to the last scrimmage,” he said. “When you look at the ones on offense and the ones on defense, they both look pretty good. They went back and forth a good bit. Offensively when you start getting down to the twos and threes, they didn’t move the ball very well. We just have to find more players. Once you get to the point where you’ve got two groups of guys who can move it you’re in good shape, but right now depth is an issue offensively, especially at the lineman position.”

“Discipline was one of the things we have focused on this spring,” Jones continued. “They ran a couple of sprints after practice for a turnover or two. We preach that if we stay away from mistakes, we have a chance to win ball games. But they have to learn to practice like that every day, and I think they are getting it a little bit. Concentration on that in the offseason will pay dividends this fall.”

Discipline was definitely visible on the practice field with only one flag on on the day – a false start late in the scrimmage.

“We’ve progressed,” Jones stated. “I’m proud of the players, they have really worked hard. The biggest thing is that they are watching film on their own, they are meeting on their own. That’s when you know you’ve got a team. We’re doing all those things right, so it is just a matter of sharpening things up on the field. We can always get better on the field, there is nobody who plays at a 100-percent level all the time. The challenge is to keep getting just a little bit better as we progress.”

As for Spring break, Coach Jones stated, “It’s a perfect time for a break. We’re a little banged up right now and they were a little tired this morning, but they came out ready to go. My challenge to them is to make sure that we don’t waste any time when we get back, we have to work those last three days and get something out of it.”

The Jags will return to the practice field on Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30 AM as the Jags will have a week off for spring break. When they return they will begin preparation for the Spring Game on Saturday, March 24.

Paul Bennett Participating In Troy University’s Pro Day

March 7, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · 3 Comments 
Paul Bennett diving for touchdown

Paul Bennett dives into the end zone for a Jaguar Touchdown in 2010.

Former Jaguar Paul Bennett will be participating in Pro Day at Troy University on Friday March 9, 2012.

According to South Alabama’s records, Bennett only missed one game during his Jaguar career, in 2010. He ended his career with 18 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns. However, his presence was felt by the opponents. His blocking was exceptional with several crushing blocks to seal off the perimeter for Jaguar running backs.

Bennett was chosen by his teammates to wear the honorary number 5 jersey in memory of Anthony Mostella who died after a motorcycle accident in June of 2010.  The jersey is given to a graduating senior to works hard both on and off the field and, as Head Coach Joey Jones stated, “earns it.”

 

Jags Unveil Goal Line Offense In Tuesday Practice

March 7, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · 6 Comments 
Jaguar Offensive Line

Offensive lineman Drew Dearman signals pre-snap as the Jaguars work in Spring drills.

South Alabama hit the practice field at 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning for a workout in full pads. This was their last practice before their scrimmage set for Thursday at the Jaguar Practice Facility.

During part of the practice session, the players went through individual workouts and drills with position coaches. The linebackers worked with the defensive line against the offensive line and running backs. The linebackers worked on angle tackles and covering running backs out of the backfield. While they were working the receivers and defensive backs worked against each other on pass routes and skeleton passing drills.

During the team portion of the practice, the offense worked on first down plays, third-and-long situations and for the first time this spring, they used their goal line package.

Both the first and second team offenses ran four plays inside the red zone and four more on the goal line. This was during a 15-minute session during the team session of the practice.

Brendt Bedsole said mentioned two players who have caught his and Head Coach Joey Jones’ eye this spring as big surprises. The first he mentioned was Terrance Timmons, a walk-on from Davidson High School. Timmons was not highly recruited out of high school, possbily because of this size. He is only listed as being 5’7″ and weighing 175-lbs, but this works well at running back.

Bedsole said that Coach Riley from Davidson High School has lots of praise for Timmons’ work ethic and ability. He actually told the coaches that he would not be surprised if Timmons worked his way up to being a captain before he leaves the program. Bedsole mentioned that Timmons could see lots of playing time.

Another player mentioned was Chris May at left tackle, but was not able to go as much in depth about him as Timmons. May is listed as being 6’4″, 280-lb freshman.

Bedsole did mention that C.J. Bennett did well as did Trey Fetner at quarterback. He also mentioned that they have some big targets at tight end in JUCO transfer Wes Saxton and Greg Hollinger, who has moved from wide receiver to tight end this season. Saxton and Hollinger will create tough match-ups on linebackers this season.

“The kids came to work today,” said Coach Jones. “I thought we got better as a team. My challenge to them is, is everybody on the team getting better? You can certainly watch the film and find several guys that didn’t, but as a unit I thought we improved and that it was a good, spirited practice. We have to beat people on our schedule right now, we can’t wait until August to do it. We have to take advantage of every minute that we can to get better, and I think they did that today.”

“I don’t really care who won or lost, it’s just a matter of the physical part of it,” Coach Jones continued. “lining up two yards out from the goal line and seeing who is going to knock who back. That’s really what it boils down to on the goal line, it’s about attitude at that point when you get down there. We just ran some base plays offensively because we wanted to see who would step in there and get their nose bloody.”

As mentioned above, the Jaguars will have a scrimmage on Thursday morning before the players have a week off for spring break. The scrimmage will get underway around 6:45 AM and will run through around 8:30 AM. It will be around 120 to 140 play scrimmage and will not be controlled as much as a fall scrimmage. But it will have situational plays as well.

“It will be very similar to the first one really, except we’re going to infuse special teams into the scrimmage, instead of going for a while and then running a certain special team, if it’s fourth down we’re going to punt or kick a field goal,” Coach Jones said previewing the Thursday scrimmage. “As they score, we will kick off after that. We want to get them thinking it’s like a game. It’s not going to be exact game situations, but as we progress we’re trying to do that more.”

 

Karl Benson Interview Outlines Two SBC Divisions In Future

March 6, 2012 · By · Filed Under News, Sun Belt Conference · 5 Comments 

Karl Benson was interviewed during halftime of the South Alabama vs Troy first round match-up at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

He indicated that the Sun Belt may move up the date he begins to take over to March 15 rather than April 1.

When Benson was asked what prompted the move from the WAC to the Sun Belt, he said that it took strong decision making and analysis before making his final decision. But he though the Sun Belt was more stable than the WAC. Also, after 18 years as commissioner of the WAC and his age, he asked himself where he would want to end his career. The Sun Belt was the best opportunity.

Benson’s goal is to hit at least 12 teams for a conference championship, but also for greater scheduling alliances. He said the Sun Belt needs to get to two divisions so they can reduce some travel, not only in football, but also in the other sports. They want to maintain current membership and grow new members.

When asked about membership changes as a couple teams have been mentioned as possible invitees to the new conference being formed by the merger of Conference-USA and the Mountain West Conference. Benson said that they will have to accept membership changes if they come. The Sun Belt is very stable and they have several schools lined up on their list in case any team leaves.

When asked about possible BCS changes, since he was part of the BCS meetings, he said he thinks that the BCS will eventually go to a four team playoff. He does not know if it will be part of the bowls or seperate from it.

Finally he was asked if he anticipated a merger of the Sun Belt with any other conference, Benson said he does not anticipate that.

Recap Of South Alabama’s First Scrimmage

March 4, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Jones

Head coach Joey Jones working with the field goal unit during South Alabama's Scrimmage on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

South Alabama held it’s first scrimmage on Saturday in front of some 200-plus visitors. The visitors were high school Juniors who are on the Jaguars recruiting radar for the upcoming class. This was their opporutinity to see campus, tour the facilities and also see the Jaguars in action.

In the scrimmage, Demetre Baker scores two of the four touchdowns on the day while leading the runningbacks with nine carries for 42 yards. On the first scoring drive, C.J. Bennett was 3-of-4, all three completions went to Bryant Lavender for gains of 14, 6 and 25 yards respectively. Lavender’s last reception of the drive moved the Jags inside the 10 yard line and setting Baker up for his touchdown. Terrance Timmons also had a 14-yard rush on the drive.

The second scoring drive saw Bennett connect with Anthony Ingram for an 11-yard catch to begin the drive. On third down and needing one yard to move the chains, Bennett would find Kennedy Helms for a 30-yard completion which would set Baker up for his second touchdown.

C.J. Bennett would end the day going 11-of-17 for 114 yards while adding two runs for nine yards. Trey Fetner would end the day 4-of-7 for 60 yards while working with both the first and second team guys. He would lead the second-team on a 11-play 55-yard drive. He completed two passes to Saxton to move within the ball inside the 30-yard line. Baker would run four consecutive times to get the ball down to the two yard line. A false start penalty would back them up, but Fetner would find Jereme Jones just inside the endzone on the right side for the touchdown. Fetner commented after the scrimmage saying, “Actually, that wasn’t part of my progression. I saw a hole real quick, and I tried to get it in there. It was a mistake, but a good one, so we’ll take it. I did a decent job today, but the line and receivers did a great job. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, though.”

Other scores on the day was a 45-yard field goal by Michel Chapuseaux and a one-yard touchdown run near the end of the scrimmage by Julien Valentin. His touchdown would cap off an 11-play 40-yard drive by the third team offensive unit.

The Jaguar defense gave up 306 yards on 109 plays, which was an average of less than three yards per play. Ben Giles ended the scrimmage with nine total tackles and a pass break-up which was nearly an interception. Charles Harris and Desomnd LaVelle both added six tackles of their own and Randon Carnathan had five tackles. Will Thompson posted five-and-a-half tackles for loss and three sacks while Pat Moore totalled four-and-a-half tackles for loss and four sacks. Ceasare Johnson added five tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. Eddy Cabrera had the only takeaway by recovering a fumble late in the scrimmage.

Bryant Lavender lead the wide receivers with five receptions for 57 yards. While Ingram catching two passes for 39 yards and Wes Saxton also catching two for 25 yards.

“I’m excited about the new offense,” said Demetre Baker after the scrimmage. “I think I’ve still got a lot of things to work on, definitely some reads now that we are not running a lot of power-I. I never will be pleased, though, because I think that every day I can come out here and get a little bit better, run a little harder, make better cuts and read my blocks better.”

Coach Jones commented after the scrimmage by saying, “I thought Demetre had a good day running the ball. He ran real powerful today, he didn’t have any extremely long runs, but he had a lot of five- and 10-yard runs, fighting for tough yards.”

“I believe we are much further along than I thought we would be at this point with the operation of the offense, because the kids have bought in and the staff has done a tremendous job coaching it,” continued Jones. “When they go out on the field they understand what it going on, but it is going so fast they make a mistake or two. But I’m real pleased, because it puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you snap the ball extremely fast.”

Speaking about the depth on both sides of the ball, coach Jones had this following quote. “With the ones on both sides of the ball it was a back-and-forth slugfest. What I see when I look at the offense and defense is a lot more depth on defense. When you put the twos out there there is not a lot of change, but when you put the twos out on offense there is. One of the things we have to work on is our depth offensively.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark commented about the defense after the scrimmage was over. “We saw a lot of good things, and we saw some things we have to get better at,” he said. “sometimes that tempo really shows you some things. A lot of guys did a lot of good things, although you won’t know that exactly until you see the film, but we had some guys on the twos who really looked good. That depth chart may be changing next week.”

New offensive coordinator Robert Matthews commented on what he saw from the offense during the scrimmage. “I saw some good things, though I thought we made too many pre-snap penalty mistakes,” he said. “We had some false starts that are unacceptable. We are getting a lot of guys reps, we had seven quarterbacks take snaps today, which makes it hard sometimes with continuance but at the same time its good for our evaluations.”

The most resounding statement by Coach Jones was, “Today was a very big day regarding our depth chart where those guys could prove themselves. After this Thursday, the bulk of spring training will be over.”

South Alabama only has three more practices prior to spring break with the first being at 4pm on Sunday. The Jags are scheduled to work out in just shorts. Following that, they will return to the field on Tuesday in shells then in full pads on Thursday for their next scrimmage.

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