Special Teams Key Between Wins And Losses
South Alabama has two examples this year demonstrating how special teams play can be the difference between a win and a loss.
The Jags game against the Trojans saw a missed 22-yard field goal and a blocked PAT for the Jags in their 34-33 loss. He also missed a 36-yard field goal, but it did not count as an official play because of a penalty which kept the USA drive alive.
If you go back a couple of weeks a blocked punt for a touchdown led the Jaguar charge to defeat Tulane in New Orleans. Then the opening game of the season against Southern Utah, the Jags were 0-for-2 in field goal attempts against the Thunderbirds in the 22-21 loss.
I’m sure the coaching staff will be working with Aleem Sunanon on his kicking as well as getting more reps for true freshman Brandon McKee, who usually handles kickoffs for the Jaguars, and redshirt freshman Logan Gunn.
An interesting stat from the game involves third downs, or the lack of them. On the first possession of the game the Jags converted 2 of 3 on their way to their first score. Ross Metheney converted on a 6 yard completion to Bryant Lavender. They later converted a 3rd and 14 when Metheny connected to Danny Woodson for 11 yards, then a fumble bounced forward and was recovered by Jereme Jones.
For the entire game, the Jags converted 7 of 16 third downs and 3 of 8 in the second half. But in their three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, the Jags did not face a single third down.
Production on first and second downs were the obvious keys there but also absence of penalties and negative plays in early downs kept the Jaguars from getting behind in the down and distance.
Second quarter play, and first quarter play even, need to improve. The Jags offense tends to come out quick on their first possession, but tend to struggle throughout the rest of the first and second quarters, with the exception of the Tulane game.
The halftime adjustments the coaching staff have made in each game have been excellent. They come out in the second half and roar back. But, as Romelle Jones said in his postgame remarks after Troy, if the Jags could come out and play a full four quarters like they tend to play the second half, I don’t think anyone on the Jaguars schedule could beat them.