Defense Stands Out In First Scrimmage
The University of South Alabama held their first scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday morning at the Jaguar Practice Facility on campus. The defense was the clear winner after it was all said and done.
The most attention this spring is being focused on the quarterback position with returning starter Ross Metheny and Alcorn State tranfer Brandon Bridge both vying for the starting position. Trey Fetner showed some enthusiasm and character by moving the Jaguar offense down the field for the first score of the scrimmage.
Jones could not say who stood out more in the scrimmage, but he acknowledged that both are good quarterbacks and that the offensive line needs work to give them both time to throw the ball.
Jones pointed to Bridge’s athletic ability to pull down the ball and run with it, while also praising Metheny’s smarts and knowledge of the offense. The most encouraging remark was that he was comformtable with whomever is in the game taking snaps.
In the scrimmage, Bridge threw for 67 yards and also broke a 27 yard run. Metheny passed for 29 yards in the scrimmage. Fetner completed 7-of-10 attempts for 51 yards while rushing for another 19 yards. Trey was used as a short yardage and goal-line situations.
Some have asked if Jones might use the two-quarterback system again, similar to last season. However Jones would only say, “that all remains to be seen.”
While the starting job is between Metheny and Bridge with Fetner the solid third, redshirt freshman Grant Powell and true freshman Brett Sheehan are also on the roster and trying to earn playing time as well.
C.J. Bennett transferred to Murray State after last season and Kolt Peavey tranferred to Rhode Island recently.
Beyond the quarterback race, Alex Page and Maleki Harris led the defense with six tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss by Page. Desmond LaVelle was credited with five tackles. Antonio Carter, Clifton Crews, E.J. May and Pat Moore all were credited with four tackles each. Steffon Fuller had the only takeaway in the game with an interception late in the scrimmage on a deflected pass.
Aleem Sunanon had a rough day with three field goal attempts blocked. Romelle Jones, Pat Moore and Byron Sneed were all credited with blocks. They also collectively broke up six passes and had two quarterback hurries.
Zac Henry connected on field goals of 28 and 30 as well as a few extra points. Garber continues to be fairly reliable as the punter, but he may have some competition for the first time during his career at USA.
The Jaguar offense ran 97 plays and gained 405 yard total. They gained 225 yards rushing and 180 yards passing. Terrance Timmons led the running backs with 66 yards on five carries, most of it on a 53 yard touchdown run to cap off a three play, 65 yard possession.
Jay Jones scored a touchdown from two yards out for the running back corps. Kendall Houston scored on a three yard run, he would end the scrimmage with 38 yards on 10 attempts. Julien Valentin would add eight carries for 35 yards. Powell would run for a 13 yard touchdown.
Jereme Jones, T.J. Glover and Kyle Sappington all caught three passes to lead the Jags receiving corps. Jones would gain 26 yards, Glover would gain 23 and Sappington would gain 21. Danny Woodson would haul in the longest catch of the day with a 29 yard reception. Four other Jaguars would haul in multiple passes.
Metheny indicated that the offense had things to fix. They had players banged up which hurt their pass protection. Metheny said this next week will be big for the team.
Coach Jones told AL.com that they were rotating guys in because they were banged up. But that they have to keep working to solidify their starting five offensive linemen, get them back to full speed and get ready for the season. He also mentioned that the reason for the scrimmage was to get a look at a lot of players.
The offense did run up-tempo a few times and were much more organized and did well.
The Jags first game is less than three weeks away so they will solidify the starting lineup over the next week before reserving the majority of the reps for the first and second teams.