Monday Press Conference; Depth Chart Released

September 1, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football 

Jags_vs_Gardner-WebbThe University of South Alabama held their game-week press conference on Monday with head coach Joey Jones joined by offensive lineman Chris May and defensive back E.J. May.

Coach Jones’ opening statement: “There is a lot of anticipation for this season, probably because we don’t have as many starters coming back as in previous years. This year we have a lot of new faces and names, which is exciting. It’s been fun working with them, I think they have gotten better and better, so it has been a real satisfying camp. We have some work to do, but I really feel like they are ready to play a ball game, as most teams are by now.”

Jones compared this season to years past at South Alabama. “It’s pretty much the same. You go through three to three-and-a-half weeks of camp and you scrimmage a couple of times during that period, you think you know what you have but until you play you just don’t know. A lot of it has to do with how good everybody else is; there could be some really good teams out there we’re playing, I know our schedule is extremely tough. We’re going to do all we can do, our guys have taken on leadership roles on the team which has been fun to watch.”

Jones reflecting on how last year’s bowl game affects the goals this season. “We’ve had a lot of people around our program over the years who had a piece getting us to a bowl last year, not just last year’s team. Previous teams spent all their time and effort to get our program to where it is right now, but we want to take it to another level — we don’t want to be satisfied by that at all. Our goal is to win the [Sun Bet] conference championship first, and secondly to get in and win a bowl game. Our guys are starting to realize that those kinds of things can happen, we’re getting our program to that point. We are going to have to play some really good football in order to do that, but our guys believe they can.”

Coach Jones talks about what he knows about Gardner-Webb. “It’s hard to say because a lot of their players will be new. I know last year they had a really good defense — I think they were 20th in the country — and have a lot of those guys back, so you would think they would be good defensively. Their nose guard is a really good football player, and offensively they have an athletic quarterback who played some last year as a back-up.

“Other than that you don’t know, you have to have your basics ready and be able to adjust quickly in the game because they are going to do some things they didn’t do last year. The first game is always a scary one for any team.  We will have to make some adjustments early and play well.”

Coach Jones also previewed the match-up between the Jaguars offensive line and the Runnin’ Bulldog’s defensive line. “It will be a challenge, they are really good on the defensive front; to me, that’s the strength of their team based off of last year. They know how to play and are very well coached, so the challenge for our offensive line will be great. Now, do I think we have some good offensive linemen? I do, I think our offensive line has really come on and that we’ve answered some questions on the left side. We have five guys up there who I think can win in the Sun Belt Conference, and we’re starting to get some depth behind those guys as well.”

Senior offensive lineman Chris May spoke about the upcoming season opener agasint Garnder-Webb. “I’m definitely tired of hitting the same guys every day, but at the same time it has been a cool process of getting to this point throughout the summer with these guys. We have really meshed together and become a team, so we’re excited. We have a really good feeling about this year.

“Scheme-wise we are going to do what we do. Every defensive lineman and defensive front is going to play differently, but for the most part we are going to do what we do.”

May also spoke about the GWU defensive line. “It’s exciting to play a really good defensive line the first week of the year. It gives you a good measuring stick for how well you can play as an offensive line. Their defensive line is the strong point of their team. They have moved some guys around, so getting in the film room and being able to watch them is exciting too.”

Finally, May spoke about game preparation for GWU. “We are very focused on this week’s opponent. (Offensive coordinator) Coach (Bryant) Vincent has done a really good job of preparing us. A problem we have had here in the past is starting slow the first game. Coach Vincent has done an amazing job of pushing that upon us, and we have taken it upon our own shoulders to not start slow and prepare for this team the way we will for any opponent. They are a very good team.”

Senior defensive back E.J. May Spoke about the season opener and their preparations as a defensive unit. “I’m extremely excited. It’s my senior year, and I’m just ready to get on a roll. We have been beating up on each other for the last month, and now it’s time to take it out on our opponents.

“You never know what the other team is going to do going into the first game. It is usually going to be something different. I have heard they will have a new quarterback. We really don’t know too much, all we can focus on is what we do and make adjustments throughout the game.

“You have to treat every opponent the same. We have to prepare for Gardner-Webb just like we will prepare for Nebraska, San Diego State and N.C. State. Everyone is focused on this week.”

Coach Jones and his staff released the depth chart in conjunction with the press conference heading into the season opener against Gardner-Webb. There’s a few slight surprises but overall most of those expected to be starters are there. Here’s a link to the full depth chart as released by USA (PDF).

On offense Josh Magee gets the start over Marvin Shinn at Z receiver position. Terrance Timmons starts at running back with Tyreis Thomas, Xavier Johnson and Dami Ayoola backing him up. As announced a while back Cody Clements will get the start at quarterback with Dallas Davis as #2 and Hunter Vaughn at #3 on the depth chart.

No surprises on the offensive line with LT Curtis Williams, LG Daniel Aust, Center Joseph Scelfo, RG Cameron Blankenship and RT Chris May. Redshirt freshman Noah Fisher is listed as #2 for LT and RT.

A bit of a shakeup occurred on the defensive front when Jimmie Gipson III tore his achilles in summer workouts. Akeem Lewis starts at jack, Tre Alford at nose tackle, Caleb Butler at defensive tackle and DeMarion Harper will start and end. Redshirt freshman Chason Milner from Spanish Fort is #2 at the end position.

Blake Dees gets the start at Mike linebacker with freshman Bull Barge or senior Andrew Philon as his backup. Kalen Jackson gets the start at Money linebacker with Demarius Rancifer or Raymone Wiggins as his backup.

Margo Reed starts at left cornerback with freshman Jalen Thompson as his #2 and E.J. May starting at right cornerback with Quinton Dent and Nigel Green behind him.

No surprises here with Antonio Carter at FS, Roman Buchanan at SS and Jeremy Reaves at the Star position.

Kickoff returns will be handled by Claude Garrett and Xavier Johnson with Josh Magee and Tony Ray Parnell next in line. Punts will be handled by Josh Magee with Jalen Thompson behind him.

Junior Aleem Sunanon will handle field goals with Brandon McKee the holder and Corliss Waitman will handle kickoffs. Punting duties will either be Brandon McKee or Corliss Waitman. Freshman Carson Sharp will handle the long snapper duties.

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