Spring Football Practice Begins Thursday

February 26, 2013 · By · Filed Under Football, News 
Coach Jones

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

The University of South Alabama football will take advantage of it’s location to open spring practice early. They will be one of the earliest schools to open spring practice in the nation, thanks to the more mild weather we experience in the southern portion of the US.

The Jags are set to hit the practice fields at 6am on Thursday in shorts and helmets for a two-hour workout. If you know the Jags, it’s not the only time they will hit the fields early in the morning either. Their Tuesday and Thursday dates will hit the field around 6am each time. Of the 15 practices they are allowed during the spring period, nine of them will be on Tuesday or Thursday.

They also have practices scheduled on Saturday’s and Sunday’s with one Saturday practice scheduled for 9am and the rest of them scheduled for around 9:45am. The Sunday practices are scheduled for 3pm. As always, these are tentative dates and are subject to change. (See bottom for complete schedule)

The Red-Blue game will be the only practice session that is not held on campus, but rather at Ladd-Peebles Stadium as in years past. The spring game is set to be the Jaguars final practice session of spring drills and will begin at 2pm on April 6.

The week of March 18th is spring break for the University and the team will have a break from practices as well. They are scheduled for a scrimmage on Thursday, March 7 then return to the practice field on Tuesday, March 19 after spring break.

Seven Jaguars will not be able to participate in spring drills when they being on Thursday due to injuries or recovering from injuries from last season. Ucambre Williams and Shaun Artz will not practice. Both are recovering from surgeries. Defensive backs Anthony Harris and Montell Garner, defensive lineman Randon Carnathan, running back Desmond Jones and tight end Jared Palmer will all miss at least part of and possibly all of spring practice.

DaMon Husband has informed head coach Joey Jones that he has decided not to play football. Husband, a 6’1″ 340-pound offensive lineman was a standout player for Williamson High School. He will continue pursuing his degree at the University.

Ceasare Johnson, who missed all of last season with a blood clot, is expected to be ready for the Jaguars first practice on Thursday. Johnson was redshirted in 2011 after transferring Coahoma (Miss.) Community College. As a sophomore, the 6’5″ 275-pound defensive lineman collected 70 tackles, 51 solo, and six sacks. Last spring he was voted the most-improved defensive lineman but developed the blood clots before fall camp began.

The Jags are expected to have 96 players on the spring roster with 55 on offense and 41 on defense. Coach Jones and Coach Matthews will have their largest group of players on the offensive line (16) and wide receiver (15).

Ross Metheny is the returning starter from last season. with C.J. Bennett transferring after last season, the Jags will still have five quarterbacks looking to get work at the position. Brandon Bridge, who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules, is one to watch in the group. Trey Fetner, Grant Powell and Kolt Peavey will also be working to improve and get more time.

In addition to new student-athletes joining the team, they will have new coaches on the field, all on defense. Defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer takes over for Bill Clark who accepted the head coaching position at Jacksonville State University. Sherrer will coach the defensive backs as well. Travis Pearson will coach the inside linebackers while Freddie Roach will coach the defensive ends and outside linebackers. Coach Brian Turner, the lone coach returning on the defensive side of the ball, will coach the interior defensive linemen.

“On defense, it will be about getting our guys out there working together. We’ve got a great staff, guys who care about each other and the whole staff, but we need to get them to know our players and our players get to know them,” Jones explained. “Obviously we’ll have some changes with a new staff coming in, and we will implement those, but it’s very similar to what we’ve done so they are not wholesale changes at all.”

“The number one thing I was looking for on defense was hiring a great coordinator, and we did that with Kevin Sherrer,” Jones continued. “Then we wanted to hire a couple of energetic guys up front because I felt that Kevin could coach the secondary extremely well. We needed someone to coach the hybrid position, the drop end so to speak, and I expect Freddie to do a great job with that. I think all those guys will bring great energy to the staff.”

Coach Jones is also moving Chase Smith to help coach the offensive linemen with offensive coordinator Robert Matthews.

“Putting in a spread offense took time the first year, and now that our staff has been together a year they know each other and the players know what to expect from the coaches,” Jones continued. “The whole key for us is to just get better, we have to get better on offense to have a chance next fall.’

“I think moving Chase to the offensive line to give Robert help is critical because you have five positions and only one coach even though that is half your offense. Having two offensive line coaches is really going to help us, and it will also allow Robert to move around and watch receivers, running backs and quarterbacks, which will help him from the overall standpoint of coaching the offense.”

Coach Jones summed up the excitement by saying, “We’re looking forward to it, I’m real excited about our staff and the prospects we have for the future.”

Thursday, Feb. 28th, 6 a.m. (helmets)
Saturday, March 2nd, 9 a.m.
Sunday, March 3rd, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5th, 6 a.m.
Thursday, March 7th, 6 a.m. (scrimmage)
Tuesday, March 19th, 6 a.m.
Thursday, March 21st, 6 a.m.
Saturday, March 23rd,9:45 a.m.
Sunday, March 24th, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26th, 6 a.m.
Thursday, March 28th, 6 a.m.
Saturday, March 30th, 2:45 p.m. (scrimmage)
Tuesday, April 2nd, 6 a.m.
Thursday, April 4th, 6 a.m.
Saturday, April 6th, kickoff at 2 p.m., @ Ladd-Peebles Stadium

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