Jones New Deal And More Spring Practice
Many of the Jaguar fans remember some of the rumors swirling after the season was over concerning Jones and UAB. However, the talks were underway between USA and Jones concerning this new deal.
Jones’ contract puts him “at the middle of the pack” for the Sun Belt according to South Alabama’s Athletic Director. This is based on the conference lineup for next season which includes the addition of Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Idaho and New Mexico State. It also reflects the departure of Western Kentucky.
Through his five seasons at the helm at USA, Jones has a 31-21 record including a 6-6 record last season where they won their final three games of the season, including a win over Sun Belt Conference Co-Champion Louisiana-Lafayette, to earn bowl eligibility if their first year eligible. Though they were not invited to a bowl game, it was still an impressive feat for a program as young as the Jaguars.
They finished the season with a 4-3 record in conference play, which put them in a tie for third place in the conference.
On Wednesday the Jags hit the practice field for their second practice of their spring schedule. It went for over two hours and the coaches were focused on getting as many reps as possible.
Wednesday saw lots of 7-on-7 drills with Brandon Bridge has entered the spring drills as the top quarterback but Trey Fetner has been impressive through the first practices. Fetner has thrown some deep passes that were right on the mark. But so has Bridge, however Bridge has had problems with his deep out passes in these two early practices.
The Jaguar offense is expected to be a stregth for the 2014 season after returning most of their starters from last season. The defensive side of the ball is where the concern lies early in spring practice. A large group of core contributors graduated, primarly on the defensive line. Players like Romelle Jones and Pat Moore. But also linebackers Clifton Crews, Bryson James and Enrique Williams.
Also the defense also lost their defensive coordinator from last season, Kevin Sherrer. However there will be continuity with Travis Pearson being promoted to defensive coordinator. The inside linebackers were a big strength for the Jags last season under his direction. His priority this spring is to build depth as they get ready for fall practice in a few months.
In the fall they will receive reinforcements. More players competing for playing time will hopefully elevate everyones game and make the team better.
So far Pearson likes the energy he sees from his unit. He has a good core of players to help guide the new incoming players. Jesse Kelley, Jerome McClain, Terrell Brigham, Qudarius Ford, Montell Garner, Roman Buchanan among others will be just as influential as the coaches when the new players arrive. But until then, they will continue to work on fundamentals and to prepare them for the upcoming season. What looks to be the most demanding and challenging schedule yet for the Jaguars.
But this is what they have been working and building towards for the previous several years. And if the final three games of last season is any indication of what the Jaguars are capable of this upcoming season, then this season could be a very bright one for the Jaguars.