Jags Hit Halfway Point In Spring Practice

March 2, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 
Bryant Lavender Touchdown

Wide receiver Bryant Lavender hauls in a pass that he will take in for a touchdown in the Jags "mini-Scrimmage" on Saturday, February 25, 2012.

On Thursday, South Alabama hit the practice field for their seventh practice of spring practice. The Jaguars used the first half of practice to work on individual skill drills. But the highlight of the practice was the continued offense-vs-defense workouts as the new offensive coordinator Robert Matthews continues to install his new offense.

During a period that lasted around 20-minutes, the offense faced third-and-medium distance situations against the defense. The first and second team offensive units each faced the defense in a red-zone situation. The second team would score a touchdown as Trey Fetner would find a crossing Greg Hollinger at the back of the end zone.

Later, C.J. Bennett would run the first-team offense on a two-minute drill. The situation was set as they were trailing by two points with just over a minute to go with only one time out remaining. Bennett found Jereme Jones for a completion followed by a long run by Demetre Baker. This set up Michel Chapuseaux to convert a long field goal attempt.

As the Jags are about halfway through spring practice, Coach Matthews would estimate that he is about halfway through installing the offense as well. “Right now I would say we are probably halfway done,” said Coach Matthews. “We are really focusing on the fundamentals, which was an emphasis that coach Jones wanted to address in the spring. What we’ve been working on is the tempo, the base protections and base runs, and trying to make sure that we get guys into the right spot. The nice thing about going early like we do is that we’ll have a lot of time after we finish from the end of March until August 1 for guys to work on their own, and really study and understand what we are trying to get out of them so that when fall camp gets here they’ll be a lot further ahead.”

When asked about how the change in offensive scheme is going, Coach Matthews answered, “I think the kids are fully in, they are really trying to do what we are asking them to do, and they have been displaying a great attitude. That’s a reflection of what has gone on here before. They have embraced the change, and are working to get better every day, so I am happy with the progress. We have a long way to go, we are not a finished product by any means and we make mistakes every day, but you just work to try and correct those and push forward.”

Coach Matthews said that the first half of the practice schedule was to focus on fundamentals, from this point forward to the annual Spring Game they will focus on game-like situations. “We did a little bit of it today,” Matthews said. “As you get further along teaching the base offense, it’s going through situational practices. Today we got some red zone situations in and got to work on the two-minute drill. Understandinging how to play the game is just as important as knowing what to do in certain plays. I think as we move further along we can get some more situational work in, short yardage and goal line, red zone, two-minute and four-minute situations. You feel like you’re getting batter at your fundamentals, now you want to make sure that you can handle these situations that come up in games. The teams that are prepared the best are the ones that usually end up executing, and we want to make sure that we are giving our kids a chance.”

When asked about if anyone is having an easier time than others at picking up the new offense, Coach Matthews answered ““I don’t know if anyone is having an easier time picking it up or not, but there are certainly guys who have started to stand out this spring. Bryant Lavender is having a really nice spring, I don’t know if coach has mentioned him or not, but from a wide receiver standpoint I think he has done a great job. He’s just a guy that has embraced a leadership role, he’s working hard and learning to play several different wide receiver positions. I hope the rest of the guys follow his lead.”

The Jags will return to the practice field for a scheduled scrimmage at 2:45pm on Saturday which is open to the public.

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