Reflecting Back On The 2012 Season

December 11, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 
Coach Jones

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

The South Alabama football team concluded it’s 13-game schedule that marks its final year of a two-year transition into Football Bowl Subdivision play.

The Jags played 12 other FBS schools and one FCS school in Nicholls State. Of those 12 FBS schools, eight of them were Sun Belt Conference schools, another first for the school. Those four other non-conference FBS schools included road games against North Carolina State, Mississippi State and Hawaii.

Though the win-loss record (2-11, 1-7 SBC) was not what players, coaches and fans wanted to see there were lots of positives to take away from the season. On four occasions, the Jags lost by eight points or less including a 36-29 game in Jonesboro, AR against eventual conference champion Arkansas State.

But now the focus shifts to recruiting and the team’s offseason workout program. The coaching staff is targeting several junior college players that can come in and make an immediate impact as they have layed a solid foundation for the future with freshmen. Every freshman signed back in February of this year were redshirted except wide receiver Cameron Broadnax.

The coaching staff will hope to do something similar again in 2013 with the incoming freshmen unless they have some outstanding talent that could make an immediate impact on the field.

When asked about his look on this past season he said he was very excited about the future. He pointed out the team this year and stressed the Seniors that have given so much to the program to get us to this point. He said they have built the program the right way and have played competitive football. While they are not there yet, they played several teams down to the wire and earned respect in their first season.

He also said that he was excited about next year. He credited the players and his staff for working hard to prepare them and he believes that it’s going to carry over to next year. He stressed that is a fundamental part of having a good program, the things behind the scenes that people don’t see. “When you see a team keep preparing as hard as it can and wanting to win every game, there’s a lot of teams that quit in these situations and this didn’t and that’s going to carry over. It’s one of the things I think we learned this season,” Jones said.

Jones said that the toughest part of this past season was coming out on the losing side of those close games this year. The Jags were picked to win two games this year in preseason picks, but Jones expected to win more than that. Jones is used to winning close games throughout his career and there were so many close games that they lost. But that’s another part of the learning process, how to come through in those situations. “That’s probably the most disappointing thing because if we had won three or four of those games we would have been bowl eligible in our first year and that would have been a tremendous year,” said Jones.

Jones always stresses that there are three or four playes in most games that determine who wins, but the Jags didn’t get those plays this year. He said that they have to find out what happened and why they didn’t make those plays and win those games.

Some positives that Coach Jones can take away from this season were that they played a lot of great Division I teams this season and kept it close. Arkansas State, as mentioned before, defeated Middle Tennessee 45-0 in the season finale for both teams. But ASU only beat the Jags by a touchdown. The Jags prepared for every game as though they were going to win. While nobody saw that other than the players and staff, Jones said that was evident behind the scenes.

Another big positive is that next year they are going to have a large senior class for the first time. While the seniors have always led the team, they have never had more than a handful of them each season. In 2013 the Jags will have over 20 scholarship seniors to help lead the team on the field.

Now that the Jags are an “official” division I team, they now have something more to strive for. “Now we’ve got that carrot dangling out there in that we do have a chance, we can go to a bowl game,” Jones said. “We had four teams in our conference this year go to a bowl game; it should have been five. It gives us hope that the Sun belt Conference is putting teams in bowl games and if we can do our part we can be in a bowl game next year. That’s what’s exciting about this coming year.”

The Jags will look to fill needs this offseason. Offensively they will be looking for playmakers. As they learned this year, you can never have too many running backs. But they will also be looking for a receiver and a running back with speed. On the defensive side of the ball, they will be looking for more players to help them rush the passer better. The Jaguar defensive line did well this season, but were razor thin at times with injuries.

Depth is still an issue, three defensive linemen sufferred season ending injuries and three running backs were injured and out for the year. On the offensive line, the Jags redshired six player and will be two-deep for the first time in program history.

When asked to be realistic about how soon he thought the Jags would be competitive in the Conference, Jones anwered that he thought they competed this year. He thought it was obvious that they competed with some of the teams this year. The question he asked himself was how long before they can beat those teams. Jones said that would be a big jump because they have work to do. He has challenged his players to make that big jump. If they do their work in the offseason and prepare and recruit players and do a better job as a staff, then the Jags can and will win those games.

They will have to work, because it’s not going to be given to them and it’s not going to happen just because they are a year older. The Jags have to improve in every facet of the game and in every facet of the program. The players and staff are hungry enough to make those changes and get better. Now it’s a matter of going out and doing it.

Comments

2 Responses to “Reflecting Back On The 2012 Season”

  1. FiredJoeyJones on December 16th, 2012 6:18 pm

    Why the hell would you keep a coach that has all the resources in the world at his disposal and fire a coach that you gave only 75% resource wise to work with?

  2. Brian on December 16th, 2012 10:02 pm

    Coach Varga had 14 seasons and compiled a losing record. They lost in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament hosted at South Alabama after barely making the tournament.

    Coach Jones is building a program from scratch. They were competitive in almost every game this past season with a team that was less experienced that all of the teams they faced.

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