Football Gets Started With Preseason Camp

August 11, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football 

Pads_GlovesAfter a brief hiatus, we are back covering South Alabama football preseason camp.

The Jaguar football team reported to camp and held their first practice on Wednesday, August 6.

Head coach Joey Jones spoke after the team’s first practice and mentioned they had a few guys who were probably not in the shape they wanted, but that about 95% of the team came into camp in good shape. They need to improve quickly because “we can’t have any weak links on this team, everybody has to be in shape and ready to go” Jones said.

Jones said it was too early to analyze how Brandon Bridge looked, though he did state that he had a good summer and seems to be doing some good things through the first practice. He also talked about Wes Saxton earning national recognition in the preseason. Jones stated that he is a competitor and that he does not worry about him and that he will do well this season.

As for what coach Jones hopes to accomplish before the team is able to practice in full pads, he said they can work on the passing game. In their first practice they worked on two-minute drills and didn’t rush the quarterback since they were not wearing pads. They also working on the kicking game. In general, it was a teaching experience as they have lots of new student-athletes that need to learn their role on the team.

At the conclusion of the first practice, coach Jones announced that Jereme Jones was selected to wear the #5 jersey this season, honoring Anthony Mostella. Each season a member of the senior class is chosen to wear the number in honor of Mostella, who wore #5 in the Jaguars first season of football in 2009 but passed away the due to a motorcycle accident on June 13, 2010.

Jones, a four-year letterwinner, is the school’s all-time leading receiver with 121 catches for 1,317 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also enters the season with streak of 39 consecutive games with a catch.

After practice, Jones spoke about being chosen to wear the #5 jersey. “It’s a real great honor.  I knew Mo [Anthony Mostella], we took a class together and getting to know him and the person he is I am really honored to be able to represent him by wearing his number.”

“I only knew him one semester, but he showed me where all my classes were and we started hanging out a little bit and I was able to get to know him better as the semester went on,” he continued. “The accident really hit me hard when it happened. He was a great person and fun to be around.”

In the first practice, Jereme Jones was selected as the Offensive player of the day as he hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bridge to cap off the first-teams 60-yard drive during a two-minute drill. Marvin Shinn earned honorable mention with an 18-yard catch one play before to convert a fourth-and-one and to set up Jones for the touchdown play.

Davin Hawkins earned defensive player of the day with several plays in key moments.

Practice two was held on Thursday, August 7 in hemets and shorts.

Coach Jones said that practice went a little bit better than the day before. The guys fought through and practiced at an energetic level with some new guys starting to pick up on their roles on the team. Jones also said that the coaching staff needs to continue to put things in progressively but that they cannot get too far ahead of themselves. They have to build on what they do well and keep working on things that they are not doing well yet.

Cameron Broadnax was selected as offensive player of the day as offensive coordinator Robert Matthews singling him out for his route running, ball catching and practicing hard. He also caught a 37-yard touchdown pass in the first drive during two-minute drills.

Maleki Harris was selected as defensive player of the day. Defensive coordinator Travis Pearson said that Harris has taken on more of a leadership role as he is more vocal and is doing everything at full speed. He is being a great example to the younger players on the team.

Davin Hawkins made the play of the day with a diving interception of a Brandon Bridge pass intended for Wes Saxton in 7-on-7 drills. He picked it out of the air with a full-extension dive.

Practice three was held on Friday, August 8 in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) and was the first morning practice.

Coach Jones said that they practiced late the night before and got up Friday morning for meetings at 6am. They had a few cramp up and others who were fatigued but they fought through it. Jones said they have to get mentally tougher to compete for a conference championship and they are working on that.

But Jones said that the team was coming together a little bit and that he is seeing the younger players starting to pick up on things. But they have to keep making progress in order to be ready for the season.

Joseph Scelfo was selected as the offensive player of the day. Coach Matthews said he had really good snaps and protected good. He was making good calls and that he did not see a lot of busted assignments along the offensive line during the blitz and team periods.

Jesse Kelley was selected as the defensive player of the day. Coach Pearson said that it was based on all three days of practice. Kelley is a 300-pounder who did not miss a single rep. He has come into camp ready to play and is making those plays. He’s also been a vocal and emotional leader on the team who leads by example with hard work, which is what they need to be able to win this fall.

Play of the day went to Brandon Bridge, who rolled right to escape pressure and found Jereme Jones for a 35-yard gain. He also connected with Braedon Bowman for a 45-yard touchdown to start the last team period of the day.

After practice Maleki Harris said that the first couple days of preseason camp are always the toughest as their bodies get used to the heat and the workouts. But the sports medicine staff continue to tell them to hydrate, use cold tubs, eat and sleep.

Harris also mentioned that the defense needs to work on stopping the run. They did an alright job on the first day, but he will not settle on being “alright.” He also said that they are giving up big plays. A championship defense does not do that and that is what they strive to be.

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