The South Alabama football team had a very productive first full day in Hawaii.
On their first night there they went to a Luau. But the next morning, their first full day there, they worked out for over an hour in helmets and shorts at Aloha Stadium, the site for Saturday’s game against the Warriors. During the workout the Jags went through position drills and formations. They also spent time working on offensive and defensive plays.
After lunch at the stadium the team took a trip to Pearl Harbor, the site of the December 7, 1941 bombing that drew the country into World War II. players, coaches and support staff were all able to view various monuments and displays. They even got to talk to survivors of the attack. The culmination of their trip was a 75 minute tour of the USS Arizona Memorial.
The team returned back to the hotel for team meetings and will meet again on Friday before an afternoon walkthrough.
The Jags and Warrior will kickoff at 6pm local time on Saturday, which translates to 10pm Central time in Alabama.
There are several options for viewing the game. Montego’s Cafe and Bar at 6601 Airport Boulevard had become a big go-to destination for Jaguar fans. Baumhower’s Restaurant announced that they will be staying open late and showing the game with the cheerleaders and SouthPaw in attendance.
The game can be seen on DirecTV channel 691 at 10pm or channel 683 at 11pm. It can also be streamed online for a fee through the Hawaii sports website.
Happy viewing Jaguar Nation and GO JAGS!
The South Alabama men’s basketball team broke their three game losing streak with a win over Florida Atlantic Thursday night 77-66. The win improved the the Jaguars record to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the Sun Belt Conference while FAU’s record falls to 2-4 overall (0-1 SBC).
“We worked on their stuff for three full days and I think tonight we guarded them,” Jaguar head coach Ronnie Arrow said after the game. “We still didn’t guard the 3-point line, but overall I was very happy, especially with our guard play. We only had nine turnovers and we held them to 41 percent shooting (from the floor).”
The win marks the 300th conference win for the South Alabama program and also coach Arrow’s 111th conference win to tie him with Gene Bartow for the most in conference history.
“I’m more into being 1-0 in the conference,” Arrow said. “That’s the most important thing. We’re working on the conference now and we play Florida International Saturday. Being 2-0, that’s the record I’m interested in.”
The Jags scored a season-high 44 points in the first half behind a career-best 23 points from Xavier Roberson. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half on five 3-pointers by going 5-of-8 from outside the arc prior to halftime. Six of his eight second half points came from the free throw line.
“When our 3-point shooters are on, we’re going to beat a lot of teams by a lot of points,” Arrow explained.
The Jags were down 10-6 early in the game but Roberson nailed back-to-back 3-point shots to take the lead. A layup from Javier Carter lead to another 3-pointer by Roberson to put the Jag lead up to seven points. Another layup by Carter would cap off the 13-0 Jaguar run.
Before halftime, South Alabama would put together another scoring outburst as four different Jags chipped in for the 9-0 run. Augustine Rubit slam would cap off the surge and propel the Jags to an 18 point lead.
“We were scoring off of our defense,” Arrow said. “We were able to defend and that ignited our fast break.”
FAU would end the half on a 7-0 run capped off with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 44-33 at the half.
Both teams would cool off in the second half. South Alabama shot 50% in the first half, but would only shoot 30.8% in the second half. The Owls shooting percentage would fall by 10% in the second half as well.
FAU would only be able to get within seven points of the Jags in the final 2:19 of the game. The Jags would go 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 65 seconds of the game to help preserve the win.
Roberson would lead the Jags with his 23 points with 5 rebounds. Freddie Goldstein added 15 points with 3 assists. Augustine Rubit would add 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double while Javier Carter would also add 11 points but come one rebound shy of a double-double with 9 for the game. Four other Jaguars scored in single digits for the game.
FAU only had one player in double digits. Greg Gantt scored a game-high 29 points with 8 rebounds.
South Alabama will travel to play Florida International on Saturday with tip-off scheduled for 6:30pm Central time.
The South Alabama Jaguar Men’s basketball team will play for their 300th Sun Belt win when they travel to FAU on Thursday. USA has a 299-235 all-time record in the Sun Belt.
Meanwhile, Ronnie Arrow needs one win to tie Gene Bartow for the most Sun Belt wins in conference history. Arrow is 110-84 in 14 seasons in the conference at South Alabama.
The Jags enter the gamw with an RPI of 232 from RealTimeRPI and ranked 172 by Sagarin. FAU enters the game with a 270 RPI and a ranking of 250 by Sagarin.
The game will not be available on the radio, but can be heard on Jaguar All-Access for free and WNSP.com web streaming. Tip-off is scheduled for 6pm Central time.
With Middle Tennessee and FAU scheduled to have press conferences today where they are speculated to announce their acceptance of invitations to join Conference USA.
The dominos began with Maryland and Rutgers announcing that they were going to move to the Big10 from the Big East. Then more dominos fell when the Big East extended invitations that were accepted by Louisville and Tulane to join the conference.
It seems that the dominos continue to fall with Conference USA extending invitations to Middle Tennessee and FAU to join to replace the exiting schools.
This leaves the Sun Belt on the brink of falling below the eight school minimum for a football conference. Rumors are circulating that Western Kentucky may be shopping around but would be held back by the TV market.
Schools are out there ready for invitations to the conference. Some make sense but others don’t. Georgia Southern, New Mexico State and Appalachain State are out there with some eager to move to FBS while New Mexico State is being left out in the cold as the Mountain West dissolves. Lamar, Jacksonville State and Liberty may be schools ready and waiting for an invitations as well.
Don’t think Conference USA is content, they want to jump ahead and try to be a 16 team super-conference and they will almost certainly look to the Sun Belt for two more schools. Schools that are on their radar include Western Kentucky and UL-Lafayette.
The Sun Belt made big strides this season in outclassing Conference USA on the field, but C-USA has the better TV contract. I would like to see the Sun Belt get out in front and make pro-active moves instead of sitting back and waiting for the dominos to fall and then pick up the pieces afterwards.
Commissioner Benson has said throughout the season that the SBC wants to be a regional conference. They need to talk with some schools to gauge interest in moving to the Sun Belt. Southern Miss and UAB could be prime schools that are uninterested in continuing their relationship with CUSA.
Another topic that needs to be addressed is that the Sun Belt does not have an exit fee for members. This asks them to explore the grass on the other side of the fence.
What do you think? What should the Sun Belt do? Who should they consider adding? What should South Alabama do?
The South Alabama women’s basketball team dropped their first Sun Belt Conference game on Wednesday 67-56 to Florida Atlantic. The Jags held a six point advantage at halftime, but FAU used two second half surges to rally back and overtake the Lady Jags.
Mansa El led the Jags with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds while going 5-of-13 from the field. Meghan Dunn also scored in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Ronneka Robertson added six points and a game-high seven rebounds for the Lady Jags.
FAU improved their record to 4-2 overall (1-0 SBC) with the win. The Owls had three players score in double digits with Kimberly Smith leading the way with 19 points.
At halftime, the Jags led 29-22, but with under 16 minutes to go in the game the Owls surged into the lead with a 15-2 run over six minutes. With under 10 minutes to go, Brianna Wright twice brought the Jags within a bucket of cutting the FAU lead down to single digits, but with 7:13 left they pulled out to a 57-41 lead.
The Lady Jags would cut the lead to 10 points at 57-47 but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way. FAU would stretch their lead out to 67-48 with less than two minutes remaining, their largest lead of the game and would hold on for the win.
The Lady Jags (5-2, 0-1 SBC) will close out a five-game road swing on Saturday when they play FIU at 4:30pm at the U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Multiple outlets are posting that Middle Tennessee has accepted an offer to join Conference USA. This comes on the heels of the announcement that Tulane and East Carolina were joining the Big East. However East Carolina is only joining the conference in football.
They have also mentioned FAU as a possible target to fill the empty 14th slot left when Maryland and Rutgers announced that they were leaving the Big East recently.
The Sun Belt faced conference realignment last season when FIU and North Texas accepted offers to join Conference USA. The Sun Belt then extended offers that were accepted by Georgia State and Texas State to fully join the conference in all sports including football. They also added Texas-Arlington, however they do not sponsor football and was an addition to replace Denver.
Georgia Southern recently voted to possibly join the FBS ranks and have expressed interest in joining the Sun Belt before. Other possible targets to join the Sun Belt that have been tossed around is Appalachain State and Lamar University.
Watch for more conference realignment dominoes to fall if MTSU or FAU decides to check out the pastures on the other side of the fence.
On Tuesday morning the Jags hit the practice field until rainy weather interrupted their workout. They reconvened in the school’s recreation center to finish the workout on their last day on campus before traveling to Hawaii.
“You just have to adapt,” said defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Bill Clark after tuesday’s practice. “We’ve been blessed by not having to move inside a lot (this season) with the rain. It was a little tough at first but we came in and got a lot of good mental work and I think this time of year that’s more important than the physical, making your calls and checks. We wound up having a good day.”
Coach Clark said that the team will be tested like it has never been tested before as they make the long and much anticipated trip to Hawaii for the season finale. “I think it’s tough,” Clark said. “You could sugar-coat it and say it’s not, but it is. They know where they’re going, they know we’re at the end of the year and so the mental part, which we discussed (Monday), is going to be key.”
“How do we handle this transition? Can we put ourselves back in game mode on Thursday when everything gets started again? I think we will because we’ve got an older group of guys and I think they want to finish on a good note. That’s what out plan is.”
The South Alabama Jaguars began what some might consider a logistical nightmare of a trip on Tuesday.
The team will actually have to depart from three seperate locations in order to get to Hawaii for their game against the Warriors on Saturday. One group will fly out of Pensacola’s (FL) airport, another group will depart from Mobile’s Airport while a third group will fly out of New Orleans (LA) airport.
All three groups will reunite in Houston where they will continue their journey to Honolulu.
Head coach Joey Jones was part of a group that made the trip ahead of the team on Tuesday.
Following the game, most of the South Alabama group will begin their journey home following Saturdays’ game, which kicks off at 6pm local Hawaii time (10pm Central time). A few more will begin their journey home on Sunday morning while a few, including Coach Jones, will remain a couple extra days.
The South Alabama Men’s basketball program announced that they have signed two more student-athletes to National Letter of Intent’s to play for the Jaguars in the 2013-2014 season. These two signees bring the early signing class for the Jaguars up to five.
Isaiah Matson, a 6’3″ shooting guard from Birmingham, AL currently attends Wenonah High School, who is a two-time defending 5A state champion.
Matson is a 2012 5A All-State Second Team selection by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He played a key role in the Dragons’ repeat in the state title game by scoring 19 points on five three-pointers on the way to being named the tournament’s MVP. WHS posted a 29-7 record last season.
He averaged 16 points per game last season while hitting 118 three-point shots. He was honored by the Birmingham News by being named to their All-Metro and All-West honors after his junior season.
“Isaiah is just a born shooter,” Jaguar head coach Ronnie Arrow said. “You can’t have too many shooters on the team. He comes from a very good program that plays very hard and physical. He comes from a winning program and you always want to get kids from winning programs because they know how to win.”
Ladon Carnegie, a 6’5″ swing player who currently attends Odessa (Texas) College will come to South Alabama with two seasons of eligibility remaining. His previous season was spent at Paris (Texas) Junior College and played for former Jaguar Assistant coach Chuck Taylor.
As a freshman at Paris, he averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 27 games. The Dragons posted a 23-6 overall record and a 15-4 conference record.
Carnegie played on three consecutive OK Black Conference Championship teams at Grand Rapids Union (Michigan) High School and twice earned All-State honors. As a junior in 2009-2010 he averaged 21.3 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per game on his way to being named to the Grand Rapids Press All-Area and The Associated Press’ First Team All-State honors. During his senior year he averaged 17.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and was named to the Grand Rapids Press’ All-Area team for a second time while being named to the AP’s All-State Honorable Mention team.
“Ladon is a good athlete that can shoot the ball,” Arrow said. “He’s a ‘2’ or ‘3’ player that can go inside and score also. He fits our mold of getting up and down the court and shooting the ball. When you get an assortment of shooters that are tough kids and that can get up and down the court, good things can happen.”
The Jaguars will open their Sun Belt Schedule on Thursday at Florida Atlantic with Tip-off set for 6pm Central time.
The University of South Alabama Athletic Director Joel Erdmann announced that the school has named Graham Winkworth head soccer coach on Monday.
Winkworth comes to South Alabama from Division II University of North Alabama after leading them to the NCAA Tournament each of the last four years. Winkworth has spent the last 10 seasons with UNA while posting an overall record of 111-81-8, the most wins for a coach in UNA school history. His team has a record of 65-18-3 over the last four years.
“We considered several highly-qualified candidates as part of our national search,” Erdmann said. “Graham’s record of success, highlighted by his documented ability to build a consistently competitive program, is impressive. We feel he is a tremendous fit to lead our soccer program into the future.”
“I’ve had the chance to work with Dr. Erdmann in the past, I really enjoyed that experience so I am looking forward to working together again” Winkworth stated. “When I came down and visited, I saw that there were lovely facilities. Everyone that I met within the department was so friendly, it seems like they are all happy in that environment. I thought I would like to be a part of that and am very excited to be joining the staff.”
His recent run of success began during the 2009 season when UNA went 19-4-1 and set a program record for wins in a season and earned the schools first berth in the Gulf South Conference tournament since 1999 and the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for the Lions. They would go on and win their opening match. The 2009 season would mark an 11 win increase over the previous season and would be the biggest improvment in the nation on his way to being voted the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year.
Then in 2010 the Lions finished with a 16-4-1 mark while going 6-1 in the conference and returning to the NCAA tournament. The 2011 season they would post a 17-4 mark while going 6-1 in the conference again while earning a share of the regular-season title.
Winkworth led the program to the conference tournament title with wins over UAH, Valdosta State and also ended West Florida’s 54 match conference win streak.
Last season the Lions went 13-6-1 and 6-2-1 in the conference to advance to the title match of the conference tournament and won its NCAA Tournament first-round match against Valdosta State.
During his time at UNA the school produced the first two All-Americans in school history as well as 33 all-GSC selections.
“The key was definitely the people,” Winkworth said of his success at UNA. “When I started working at North Alabama, we didn’t have quite the funding that they have now. Dr. Erdmann put some things into place before he left, and Mr. [Mark] Linder continued that process. That enabled me to bring in some amazing people, I have been so lucky these last few years to work with and coach some fantastic individuals and lovely young ladies. They were able to create a family-type environment, and with that the girls wore the shirt with pride and would run through brick walls for me.”
“I’m very thankful and very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing young ladies,” he continued. “It’s going to be difficult leaving these girls because they are fantastic young women, but I know that they will continue to be successful because of that.”
Winkworth is a native of Reading, England and is a 2000 graduate of the University of Central Lancashire. He earned his master’s degree from UNA in 2005 and last fall earned his United States Soccer Federation A license.
His coaching career began in England with Preston North End Football Club as an assistant with the Center of Excellence before serving as the assistant men’s and women’s coach at Cumberland (TN) during the 2000 season. He was then an assistant at Central Arkansas for two years before taking the position at UNA.
Michel Chapuseaux has done it again. In October he became the first player in South Alabama history to earn a weekly award from the Sun Belt Conference. On Monday the senior became the first Jaguar to be honored twice.
Chapuseaux, from Fruitland Park, FL was noted Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season after matching his career high with three field goals in a game and finishing with 12 points in the game against Louisiana-Lafayette. He also set a new school record by scoring 83 points on the season and took over the Sun Belt lead with 20 field goals this season.
The mark of 20 field goals this season is two shy of matching the Sun Belt record. He will have a chance to add to his record 83 points scored this season and to tie or break the Sun Belt single-season field goal mark when the Jags kickoff against Hawaii at 10pm Central time on Saturday in Hawaii.