Jaguar fans, wear red tomorrow for the South Alabama vs Texas-San Antonio. Your Jaguars will be sporting their red jerseys and white pants.
According to equipment operations manager Jeff Bailey, the Jags have white and blue jerseys ready for this season along with red and blue pants. He also said that the team will wear a variety of combinations of uniforms this season.
Texas-San Antonio head coach Larry Coker expects another tough game when they meet the South Alabama Jaguars in Mobile on Saturday. Last season in the Alamodome, the Roadrunners had a chance to win the game late, but Gabe Loper and Clifton Crews blocked the field goal attempt.
Then Demetre Baker sealed the win with a 25 yard run in the Jaguars second overtime period after UTSA made a field goal on their possession of the second overtime period.
Coker spoke on the WNSP morning show and said that he hopes to have a similar game as last season, but with a different outcome.
“The game was very competitive last year,” Coker was quoted saying. “I think South Alabama may have taken us a little bit lightly because we were a start-up program. I don’t think they’ll do that this year. I think it’s interesting for everybody concerned because, one, we’re going to have a good program and I believe South Alabama has a great start. They have good football players in the South and in Alabama, and we have good football players in Texas.”
Coach Coker has stressed to his team that their next step is to win on the road. The roadrunners finished 4-6 last season, dropping all four of their road games and finished split their two overtime games with a win over Georgia State in overtime.
“I’m sure it factors into it some because most of these kids have never traveled,” Coker said. “Most of the traveling they’ve done has been in a yellow school bus. We’re going to travel first class and all those type things and have a great trip, but we have to handle this properly and make it a business trip. We have not won a road game. That’s one thing we have not done. We’ve got to somehow be road warriors and knock somebody off and somehow start that trend of winning on the road.”
Coach Coker is aware of the Jaguar offensive attack that his team will be facing. He knows his defense will have to stay on it’s toes and on the move to match up with the Jags. “I believe that we’re better,” Coker said. “I know South Alabama will be better. I think they’ll be a very fast-paced offense, a very wide-open offense, and the thing we’ve got to do is match up and get our personnel lined up and not get behind in the flow of the game. They’re going to be moving pretty fast, and they’ll be working hard on the tempo of the game. They are going to try to get the defense off balance and we’ve got to stay on balance and with the rhythm of their offense.”
Hopefully the Roadrunner’s will have to wait a little longer for that first elusive road win. After all, the Jags are 19-1 at home and will be looking to avenge last season’s loss to Cal Poly in the season finale.
The South Alabama Jaguars had to move their practice indoors for the second straight day on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Isaac as they continue preparing for their season opener against Texas-San Antonio. It was also the Jags final practice before the game on Saturday.
The team will have Friday off before meeting that afternoon to bus to the team hotel.
The hour-and-a-half practice had the offense and defense split into two seperate sessions and closed out with special teams work, chiefly on kickoff coverage. While they worked on their gameplan for the roadrunner’s, they were limited in teh work they could do because they practiced indoors in Jaguar Gym.
Despite the weather issues, which forced the rescheduling of the game to Saturday at 1pm, coach Jones and his staff have made the most of the extra time preparing for the game. “I think we adapted extremely well and I think the kids’ minds are in the right place,” he said. “Obviously, it had to help a little bit in that we got a couple more mental practices in. It was the best decision (to move the game) by far. You look at the weather and what happened today and moving the game back to Saturday was a good choice.”
Coach Jones also said that he was pleased with the workouts leading up to the game. “What I’ve seen is a maturity in this group that we haven’t had from an overall team standpoint,” he said. “They came to work today and I thank the coaches and players for the work that they’ve put in. They’ve been great. We’ll see how it turns out on Saturday but I think the kids have been great. We got it all in.”
On the eve of South Alabama’s season opener against Texas-San Antonio it’s a good time to look at what this season means to the program. After three seasons, the first two undefeated, and a 23-4 record the Jaguars are about to embark on their most challenging quest yet.
Last season they stepped up and faced two FBS teams, the first in the programs history. This season, they will face their first full Division I schedule. The only non FBS school on the schedule is FCS Nicholls State. Additionally, with the Hawaii rule, the Jags will play 13 games in 14 weeks this season including a full eight game Sun Belt schedule.
This is what the Jaguars have been working towards for the last several years. When they take the field, they will be a transitional FBS member.
Coach Jones can finally guage where his team stands in the FBS pecking order. “I think the biggest challenge for us, especially early, will be the depth on our team,” he Jones. “We’ve been recruiting to Division I really just this year. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have any Division I football players, we do. But do we have the depth that everybody else has because they’ve been recruiting for a while and have 85 scholarships and D-1 players? I would think that will probably be the biggest issue, depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.”
What about this season’s schedule? “The most difficult thing is playing 13 games in 14 weeks for us and playing pretty much all Division I opponents,” Jones said. “Whereas in past years we’ve played seven, 10 and 10 (games per season), we had some off weeks and some time to get ready for games. You’re going to get your three or four days of practice and that’s going to be it, then you’re going to have to move on to your next game.”
Gone is offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and in is Robert Matthews brining the spread to South Alabama. Matthews, who learned the spread at Oklahoma State and Southern Miss, will bring a completely different attitude to the offensive side of the ball. The offense will run as quickly as possible with a no-huddle tempo that is designed to keep the defense off guard and guessing what is coming next. Plus it is designed to take advantage of the depth South Alabama has at the skill positions.
The offensive line is where the biggest unknown is located coming into this season. Gone are three starters from the previous two seasons. However back is senior Trey Clark and sophomore Melvin Meggs. In steps Drew Dearman, Chris May and Shaun Artz. Also a second string, Ucambre Williams and possibly Kentucky transfer James Elliott if he receives a hardship waiver from the NCAA. But this is the biggest offensive line the Jaguars have had in it’s short history.
Behind the line, there is plenty of talent on the roster. C.J. Bennett returns as the starter with Virginia transfer Ross Metheny as his backup and redshirt freshman Trey Fetner as the third quarterback. The South Alabama backfield is also stocked with talent. Back are Demetre Baker, Kendall Houston and Ellis Hill from last season along with Brandon Ross returning from a knee injury and redshirt freshman Terrance Timmons among others ready to contribute. At wide receiver back are Jereme Jones, Bryant Lavender, T.J. Glover, Corey Besteda and Tyrome Bivins with true freshman Cameron Broadnax who showed plenty of skill in preseason camp. With two tight ends graduating, Greg Hollinger moved over from wide receiver joining JuCo transfer Wes Saxton to fill their positions.
The defense is arguably the strength of the team. Led by Jake Johnson, the linebackers are the heart of the defense, with Clifton Crews, Enrique Williams, Maleki Harris, Bryson James, Ben Giles and Cordivido Grice to help him out.
The defensive front will need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than in past seasons. Returning ends Anthony Taylor, Romelle Jones, Alex Page and Will Thompson will be joined by JuCo transfer Pat Moore to help towards that goal. At nose and tackle positions they return Randon Carnathan and Andy Dalgleish, who lead the group last season, with help from Montavious Williams, Rodney Thomas and Shane Doty (who moved from offensive line).
In the secondary, Alabama transfer B.J. Scott has stepped up as a leader. The staff focused their recruiting efforts to find more help there too. Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson both come in and are expected to start. Alonzo Long will suit up next to Scott at free safety. Gabe Loper should get playing time as he is the returning secondary player with the most interceptions last season.
Michel Chapuseaux takes over the placekicking duties with Scott Garber also returning to handle punts.
“We want to be competitive. We want to win every game that we play,” head coach Joey Jones said. “That’s our goal. Now, is that going to be tough to do? Sure. I understand that it will be. The bottom line is I don’t want to cut our kids short in what we’re doing. We’re going to prepare and we’re going to go out there and prepare to win. But we also know there’s a difficult schedule ahead of us and we’ve got to step up each week. I think that our kids probably will play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder this year. Bottom line, every week that we play we’ve got to prove something. Anybody that we beat will be a big deal. We’re representing a lot of people, not just our football program but the university.”
The schedule will be tough. After UTSA and Nicholls State, the Jags travel to N.C. State again and Mississippi State before returning home for their first-ever Sun Belt Conference game against Troy. Troy, whom most expect will quickly develop into one of the leagues best rivalries, will mark the first part of the season. After their one and only off week, the Jags then visit the SBC defending champion Arkansas State. Then the downhill stretch of FAU (home), ULM (away), FIU (home), North Texas (away), MTSU (home), ULL (away) and their “bowl game” of the season at Hawaii.
If you only count wins and losses as the measuring stick for a season, it could be a difficult season. But if you expand your criteria for this team that will be completing it’s two year FBS transition at the conclusion of this season, you may be surprised.
McNeese State – 27
@ MTSU – 21
McNeese opened up a 24-6 lead through the first three quarters that MTSU just could not overcome. Though they did score 15 in the fourth quarter as they attempted a comeback.
MTSU gave up 298 yards rushing and 450 total yards while only gaining 103 yards rushing and 343 yards total. McNeese also led the time of possession stat 36:05 to 23:55. McNeese actually had 51 rushing attempts in the game.
South Carolina State – 33
@ Georgia State – 6
Georgia State only managed 96 yards in the first half against SC State on Thursday night in the Georgia Dome while SC State racked up 247 yards. SC State gained 488 total yards, 300 yards through the air alone on 19-29 passing. Georgia State gained 229 total yards only 99 rushing. Actually, Georgia State had more yards punting than of total offense.
Georgia State has gone with a hurry-up offense that was negated by an offensive line that allowed six sacks. Also the new 4-2-5 defense allowed 488 total yards starting with a 72 yard touchdown pass when the defender fell down.
GSU’s defense was on the field for 78 plays while the offense could not give them a rest going 2-of-13 on 3rd down conversions.
The Roadrunner’s head coach, Larry Coker, was hired by UTSA in March of 2009 to start their program. He was voted National Coach of the Year two times and won the 2001 National Championship as the first-year coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Coker has coached 26 first-team All-Americans, 96 first-team All-Conference selections and 63 academic All-Conference honorees.
Texas-San Antonio’s junior quarterback returns to lead the team after taking almost every offensive snap last season. That was his first time playing since his senior year of high school. He completed 172-of-307 passes (56%) for 2,148 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also added 285 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.
Wide receiver Kam Jones, a sophomore, converted from quarterback to play all 10 games, eight starts, for the roadrunners. He accounted for a team-leading 88.1 all-purpose yards per game while leading the team with 39 receptions for 578 yards (14.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He added 22 rushes for 127 yards (5.8 yards per rush) and a touchdown. Jones also averaged 24.4 yards per kickoff return in his seven returns.
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Freeman was the roadrunners deep threat last season. He was second on the team with 30 catches for 419 yards (14.0 average). He lead the receivers with four touchdowns. Against UC Davis, he caught five passes for 108 yards including a 59-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Actually, he averaged 42 yards per touchdown reception.
The roadrunner defense was very good at converting turnovers into points. They forced 21 turnovers in all, 11 fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions. They converted those turnovers into 15 scores with 12 of them being touchdowns.
Linebacker Steven Kurfehs finished third on the team in tackles with 61 (32 solo, 29 assists) although he missed the final three games due to injury. He moved from safety to linebacker in the 2010 “practice” season. Senior linebacker Brandon Reeves started all 10 games and led the team wtih 69 tackles (27 solo, 42 assists).
Sophomore safety Nic Johnston played ‘Dawg’ in the roadrunners 4-2-5 defensive scheme. He recovered three fumbles while forcing two and intercepted two passes in the teams 10 games. He also finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles (30 solo, 29 assists) with nine of them being for losses.
Sophomore safety Triston Wade forced three fumbles, recovered two and also picked off two. He also had 39 tackles (23 solo, 16 assists) last season.
The roadrunners blocked five kicks last season, three field goals, one punt and an extra point. However, it was a blocked field goal of their own that allowed the Jaguars to defeat UTSA in the Alomodome last season.
Texas-San Antonio had an average attendance of 35,521 last season in their first season. They set a record for a start-up program with 56,743 atendees to their first ever game.
As UTSA makes the move to the FBS ranks, they will be the youngest team in the nation with only six seniors (five scholarship) on their 97 man roster. Additionally only 16 juniors are on the team. The remainder being made up of 42 sophomores and 33 freshmen. Head coach Larry Coker and his staff have filled a vast majority of their team with Texas natives. 87 players are from the state, which makes up 89.7% of the roster.
Fox Sports Southwest will be airing a 30-minute show titled “UTSA Football Insider”. Additionally, they are scheduled to have three games streamed online including the season opener at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The coaching staff has made some changes on the defense by going with speed in their starting defensive ends. COdy rogers played mostly in the ‘Hawk’ and safety positions last season will make the move to add speed at that position.
UTSA will have several freshmen in major starting or backup roles. True freshman Zach Hester will start at right guard. Freshmen will back up the Center, left and right tackle.
The roadrunners use a running back by committee approach and are loaded with veterans in the backfield. They caused problems running the option against the Jags last season as did Cal Poly in the season finale.
South Alabama Men’s Basketball team picked up two late transfers. Jeremy Jones and Dionte Ferguson have enrolled at South Alabama and will join the basketball program head basketball coach Ronnie Arrow announced on Wednesday.
Since both transfer from Division I schools, they will have to sit out the 2012-2013 season and will be eligibile the next season.
Jones transfers to USA from Kansas State, where he played for one season and will have one year of eligibility remaining. He is a 6’2″ guard from Chicago. He averaged 3.1 points in 20 games last season for Kansas State.
As a member of Seward County Community College in 2010-2011, Jones led them to a 27-7 record and a runner-up finish in the Region VI tournament. He averaged 18.6 points and 4.5 assists in 34 games to lead the team. He was honored as part of the Third Team NJCAA All-American and First Team All-Region VI honors.
“Jeremy was a very good player at Seward and we recruited him pretty hard,” head coach Ronnie Arrow stated. “He decided he wanted to go to a large school like Kansas State, but I don’t think he would have been as interested in us now if we didn’t recruit him so hard. He only has one year left so he can sit this year, practice with us every day and learn our system. Next year, we graduate we three players so it’s a good time for a player his size to come here.”
Ferguson transfers from Morehead State after two seasons and will have two seasons of eligibility left. Ferguson, a native of Prattville, stands 6’7″ tall. He played in 37 games in two seasons at Morehead State and averaged 1.2 points per game. “After talking with Morehead State’s coaching staff, Dionte is a player they would like to have stayed, but he wanted to get closer to home,” Arrow said. “He’s a strong player that can get physical. He’s mostly a ‘4’ player that can go outside, but he’s an athlete and strong. We feel like, after spending a year getting to know our system, he has a really good chance of coming in and playing a lot the next two years.”
Ralph Russo, an AP College Football writer, published a piece on Yahoo! Sports this week about the Sun Belt Conference aiming to catch Conference-USA and the Mountain West as being the “best of the rest” conference.
The Sun Belt is now 10 years old and up until now they have been considered among the lower end of the “have-not” conferences. But they continue to take small steps forward amongst its peer conferences. Last year the Sun Belt tallied a 7-6 record against their peer conferences.
They finished the season with a 5-2 record against Conference-USA. C-USA is their direct competition in the region for players, attention and even schools most recently as they will be adding Florida International and North Texas from the Sun Belt next season.
“The goal of the Sun Belt right now is to be the best of the quote, ‘below the line conferences,'” Benson is quoted in the article. “There’s going to be five (conferences) above the line and five below the line. The Sun Belt’s goal is going to be to compete with those other conferences.”
Troy University President Jack Hawkins was quoted from an email sent to the AP in the article as well. “In my estimation the competitive position of the Sun Belt exceeds its ‘brand,'” he said. “This will change very soon. When its brand matches reality, the Sun Belt will equal or exceed several non-AQ (automatic qualifier) conferences it sought to emulate just a few years ago.”
Recently the WAC announced this will be it’s last season as a football conference. This was after Carl Benson took over the Sun Belt Commissioner spot after Wright Waters announced his retirement earlier this year. He led the WAC through 17 years of almost constant change.
The dominoes of conference realignment fell this past offseason when the Mountain West Conference rebuilt itself after losing schools to the ACC to fill spots left when schools left the ACC for the Big East and the Big 12. The Mountain West added schools from the WAC. C-USA lost schools to the ACC as well and raided the Sun Belt for Florida International and North Texas to fill empty spots.
Additionally, C-USA will be adding Texas-San Antonio who some thought the Sun Belt was interested in adding.
After losing two schools, the Sun Belt was quick to add two football schools, both from lower divisions to fill their empty slots. Georgia State, who began football in 2010, and Texas State who will play in the WAC as a transitional team in 2012. Benson also added Texas-Arlington as a second non-football school to replace Denver University and compliment Arkansas-Little Rock who also does not sponsor football.
The Sun Belt, like their peer conferences, typically schedule a number of “upper tier” schools for what most people call “money games.” These games are scheduled without a guarantee of a return game and often pay upwards of $1 millions these days.
Benson would like to see this change in favor of playing more games against peer conferences. “We’ve talked about scheduling philosophy, scheduling strategy. Ideally we’d like to establish across the board some scheduling parameters that would limit those guarantee games to one a year,” Benson was quoted as saying.
Western Kentucky is adopting that philosophy. According to the schools president, they are limiting themselves to one single-game contract per year. This season they have a single-game contract with the University of Alabama, they play FCS Austin Peay as their version of a guarantee game, then a sort of rivalry with Kentucky and a home game against Southern Miss.
South Alabama somewhat adopted that philosophy too it seems. But they have been scheduling two-for-one’s with some members of the “upper tier” conferences. The Jags are currently in the midst of series with N.C. State where they travel to Raleigh twice (2011, 2012) for a sincle return game in Mobile (2015) and Kent State (2011, 2012 and in Mobile 2013). They also have similar contracts with Tulane, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State for future schedules.
But the Jags also have money games on the horizon as well. They have single game contracts with Tennessee, Georgia, Nebraska (x2), LSU and Ole Miss. But these, similarly to WKU, are limited to one per season.
As Benson points out to Russo, “What my goal would be is for the Sun Belt to enhance our assets, our characteristics, so if and when the time comes that Conference USA comes looking to the Sun Belt for a replacement team because Conference USA lost school A, B or C, that the Sun Belt member will look at what the Sun Belt provides and come to the conclusion that there’s no reason for us to leave the Sun Belt.”
What the conference needs to do is to expand to 12 football schools. Why do they need to do this? They need a conference championship game.
The extra game for the conference would bring in lots of revenue for the conference. But the television exposure could be worth just as much. This game would be one of only seven or eight games that weekend. But who do you add?
You can read his article at Yahoo! Sports here.
As the news that the South Alabama season opening game against Texas-San Antonio had been postponed until Saturday at 1pm, the football team took the opportunity to squeeze in a practice between the rain squalls.
“When we got up this morning and realized we were going to play on Saturday (instead of Thursday), I said if we don’t practice outside today, we probably won’t be able to practice outside another day this week,” head coach Joey Jones commented. “We wanted to get a good day in outside, and it was the best thing that we could do.”
The practices lasted about two hours on the field turf practice field and head coach Joey Jones said that the players responded well to the change in practice schedule. They were originally scheduled to practice around 3pm in Jag Gym. “Our game plan is solid and we feel good about it,” Jones said. “We have a couple more days to polish things. I think it was critical that we were able to get outside though. We don’t know what’s going to happen over the next two days. So we don’t have to go three days in a row without practicing outside. Hopefully we can find an hour or two in the next couple of days to get out again.”
ESPN3 will still broadcast the game on Saturday via their online streaming video service. Check your local internet provider to see if you have access.
The Joey Jones TV Show will not be recorded today.
Originally scheduled to be recorded live at Wintzell’s Oyster House on Airport Boulevard beginning around 11am has been cancelled due to Hurricane Isaac coverage. The airing of the show has also been cancelled for Saturday morning.
The Joey Jones TV Show will be recorded throughout the season on Wednesday mornings at 11am at Wintzell’s Oyster House on Airport Boulevard. They will then be aired on WJTC on Saturday mornings at 10:30am before the SEC Game of the Week.