Positions to Watch As Jaguars First Practice Has Arrived

August 4, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football 

When South Alabama returns to the practice field for the first time this afternoon in preparation for the 2015 season there are a few key positions that the coaching staff will be paying close attention to in the coming weeks.

Watch the Jaguars get their pads on the eve of their first practice.

Quarterback: This is always the first position that is talked about because it is the most important position on offense. No other player touches the ball more than the quarterback. Last season the Jaguars had flashes of greatness from Brandon Bridge but he was hampered for a large majority of the season with an injury.

Hunter Vaughn played one great game in place of Bridge, but then struggled against other opponents when he saw the field. Matt Floyd filled in as well and struggled. Freshman Dallas Davis came in in the spring and, according to coaches were “all tied” when spring practices were said and done.

But UAB transfer Cody Clements is healthy and ready to join the trio to battle for the starting job. Clements missed the spring while recovering from minor shoulder and knee surgeries, but he may have a leg up on the others as he has been through a full season with offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent’s system while at UAB. A season where Clements threw for 2,227 yards and 14 touchdown passes. Vincent praised his quarterback stable for their leadership and work ethic.

Left tackle and Guard: Gone is All-SBC left tackle Ucambre Williams and left guard Drew Dearman. Both former student-athletes were consistent and reliable at their positions. In the spring junior Daniel Aust played with the first string at left tackle but this fall he will be challenged by juco transfer Curtis Williams, a 6’5″ 290-pounder from Miami.

Sophomore Harrison Louden, a local guy from McGill-Toolen, spent the spring with the first stringers as well but he too will be challenged this fall by junior Steven Foster, who is returning from an injury. Add De’Arius Young, a 6’7″, 310-pound juco transfer and this will be a very interesting position to watch heading into the season.

While we are talking about the offensive line, we want to note the middle and right side of the line is all but set with Joseph Scelfo at center and Chris May at right tackle. UAB transfer Cameron Blankenship will snap in at right guard for some solid starters.

Will linebacker:  Turning to the defense who has it’s own positions to fill during preseason camp. Demarius Rancifer was slated to start at Will in the spring, but with Jimmie Gipson III tearing his Achilles during summer workouts that has shaken things up. Rancifer will move to the Jack linebacker to replace him which opens up the Will spot for a battle between UAB transfer Kalen Jackson, quarterback turned linebacker Grant Powell and senior Raymone Wiggins.

Cornerback: Cornerback has some of the best incoming talent we’ve seen at USA in the fall. EJ May and Margo Reed have both seen significant playing time last season opposite of Montell Garner. Juco transfers Quinton Dent and Quinton Lane are looking to come in and make some noise immediately at that position. Also incoming freshman Jalen Thompson, who was recruited by SEC schools, also looks to make an immediate impact for the team.

Antonio Carter has moved from nickleback (not the band) to safety and will play along side Roman Buchanan.

Could the coaches and media be sleeping on this team? They were picked to finish sixth in the conference during SBC media day because of the players they lost from last seasons squad. The next few weeks will go a long way in showing what kind of team we’ll see on the field this fall.

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