Happy New Year Jag Nation!

December 31, 2017 · By · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

As the book closes on 2017 and we open the book on 2018, we at Thunderjags wish you a great New Year! Go Jags!

South Alabama Announces Steve Campbell As New Head Football Coach

December 7, 2017 · By · Filed Under Football · 2 Comments 

Steve Campbell, 51 and native of Pensacola, FL., will be officially introduced as the new head football coach replacing Joey Jones who announced his resignation on November 20th. | Photo Credit: University of Central Arkansas

South Alabama has hired it’s second head coach in program history. Today the school announced that Steve Campbell, 51 and a Pensacola native, had been selected to head up the Jaguar football program.

Campbell’s coaching career began under legendary Auburn head coach Pat Dye where he helped the Tigers win back-to-back SEC titles as a graduate assistant. His first full-time position was in 1990 at Delta State University as offensive line coach. He worked his way up to offensive coordinator before departing for the same position at Nicholls State in 1993.

In 1997 Campbell took his first head coaching position with Southwest Mississippi Community College (JC), where he had spent the previous season coaching the running backs. In two seasons he went 12-8 and lead the school to it’s first winning season in 12 years.

Campbell then returned to Delta State as head coach in 1999 where he earned a 27-8 record over three seasons. His no-huddle offense broke 12 Gulf South Conference records and six Division II records. In 2000, he won the Division II National Championship and earned Nation Coach of the Year by three organizations.

In 2002, Campbell became offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Middle Tennessee State and scored a win over in-state rival Vanderbilt. In 2003 he served as offensive line coach under Jackie Sherrill in his last season at Mississippi State.

In 2004, Campbell returned to a head coaching position with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. We went 87-22 over 10 seasons after inheriting a team that went 6-12 in two seasons under his predecessor and had not made the state playoffs since 1986. Campbell led them to NJCAA Junior College Co-National Championship in 2007. A number of his players went on to play at SEC schools, most notably Terrence Cody at Alabama.

By 2008, Campbell started to get noticed for other positions. He was a finalist for the head coaching position at Northwestern State but was not selected.

In 2009 he had led the MGCCC Bulldogs to a 9-2 record after losing 75-71 in the MACJC State Championship game, ending their bid for three-straight MACJC titles. He was considered for an offensive line assistant position at Auburn that year under Gene Chizik but was not selected.

In 2010, Campbell led MGCCC to a 10-2 record, the two losses were by a combined six points. They won over Co-Lin in the MACJC Championship game and had a 62-53 win over #3 Grand Rapids in the Mississippi Bowl, which set a record for combined points in the game.

In 2014, Campbell took the head coaching position at Central Arkansas in the Southland Conference and went 6-6 in his first season. After a 7-4 record in his second season he then led the Bears to back-to-back 10 win seasons but each time lost in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Campbell has a record of 27-8 at the Division II level and 33-15 at the FCS level.

As a player, he started at center in 43 consecutive games for Southeastern Louisiana and Troy State University. He was part of the 1987 Troy State team to win the Division II National Championship and was named to the All-Gulf South Conference first team. He was named an Academic All-Conference three times and graduated Cum Laude from Troy State with a bachelor’s in Economics. He earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Auburn as well.

In a press release from South Alabama, Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann had the following to say: “When the search began we identified the experience, qualities and characteristics we were looking for. We searched for a leader who has demonstrated success and possesses a vision for the program with the plan to communicate and achieve that vision. As the search progressed, it became clear that Coach Campbell had what we were looking for. He became the primary target and accepted the offer. He is a proven college head football coach who has achieved consistent success in various settings with different programs. Coach Campbell possesses coaching expertise, high school and junior college recruiting relationships, and a contagious passion for the game of football. He is well-respected by his peers and at the core of his identify is a man of character and deep values.

“I am proud and excited to have Steve as the leader of our program, and look forward to working together to achieve great things.”

Also in the press release, Campbell had the following to say: “I was born and raised in this area, just down the road outside of Pensacola, and have always felt that if South Alabama started football it would be a gold mine, a place where the sky is the limit and you can definitely compete for championships at the highest level. Coach Jones did a terrific job of getting the program started and laying a tremendous foundation. This is an opportunity to get back home and, more than that, to take what Joey has started and raise it to the next level and win some championships.”

South Alabama will hold a press conference on Friday at 1pm in the Football Fieldhouse to officially introduce Campbell as the Jaguars head football coach and it is open to the public. JagNationTv will have live video coverage and 99.5 FM The Jag will have radio coverage of the announcement as well.

Jags Fall In Season Finale On Last Minute Touchdown

December 3, 2017 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones leading the team in the Jaguar Prowl in 2010.

South Alabama was unable to send the 19 seniors and head coach Joey Jones out with a final win in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Jags finish the season 4-8 after the 22-17 defeat after the Aggies scored in the final minute of the game to regain the lead and ultimately the win.

The Jags took a 7-0 lead to start the second quarter then the Aggies scored 13 consecutive points to end the first half. The Jags had an opportunity to score a touchdown before the end of the first half after Garvin found Kawaan Baker for an 18 yard gain down to the two yard line, but a personal foul on Harrison Louden put the Jags back at the 17 yard line. Then the Jaguars went in reverse after Jordan McCray stepped out of bounds for a 9 yard loss on a reverse followed by an 11 yard sack and fumble that rolled out of bounds at the at the 40 yard line of the Aggies. A personal foul after the fumble gave the Jags 15 yards and an automatic first down at the Aggie 25. A pass to Reinkemeyer for a loss of a yard followed by Garvin being sacked for a loss of 3 set the Jags up for a 3rd & 14. Garvin’s pass, when it looked like he was just trying to throw it away, but he couldn’t get enough on it and it was intercepted on the sideline at the 24 ending the threat.

The Aggies opened the fourth quarter with a field goal to take a 16-7 lead before the Jags started began their comeback. With 11:49 left in the game, Cole Garvin found Jordan McCray for a 17 yard touchdown to cut the lead to two points.

The Aggies were facing a 4th & 4 at the Jaguar 17 and decided to go for it but the Jaguar defense forced an incomplete pass and took over the ball. Garvin complete four-consecutive passes for 10, 3, 19 and 42 yards with all but the third pass going to Jamarius Way, the third pass was to McCray. A few plays later, facing a 3rd and goal from the 10, Garvin targeted Malik Stanley but he couldn’t haul it in and Jones opted for a go-ahead field goal making it 17-16 with 3:13 left in the game.

The Aggies dinked and dunked their way down the field until Tyler Rogers connected with Grand Bay, Alabama native Conner Cramer in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score. Their 2-point conversion attempt was no good leaving the Aggies nursing a 22-17 lead with :32 left in the game.

NMSU had the kickoff go out of bounds which would have put the ball at the USA 35 yard line with :32 left, but Jones and his staff decided to make them rekick it from the 30 yard line. The Jags attempted to set up a throw-back across the field but the throw didn’t have enough power behind it and skipped back allowing the defenders to close in, all the while with the clock running. Finally the Jags took over at the 27 yard line with :24 left.

Garvin found David Garner along the left sideline for an 11 yard gain. Garvin then kept it up the middle but short of a first down forcing the Jags to call their final time out with :12 left. After another incomplete pass, Garvin threw what was close enough to a hail mary attempt with the pass tipped by the defender and the bounce went away from Jamarius Way, if it had tipped the other way, he could have been able to cruise into the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

However, that did not happen and the Jags fell to 4-8 on the season while New Mexico State looks to be going to their first bowl game since 1960.

And with that head coach Joey Jones’ tenure at South Alabama comes to and end. Jones finishes 52-50 in nine season as the architect of the Jaguar football program since his hiring in 2008 and their first play in 2009.

Senior Jeremy Reaves became only the second defensive back in Jaguar history to record 100 or more stops in a season.

Jones spoke after the game in his final post-game press conference:
On the game itself: “All I wanted for us to do coming into this game was to fight and I thought we did that. We came up a little short. [New Mexico State’s] quarterback is a great player and made some plays on their last drive. With about five minutes left, they had a third-and-10 and he hit it. On their touchdown play, he was able to scramble around and made a great throw. It really wasn’t anything that our guys did wrong, but rather what [NMSU] did right. I was proud of our guys fighting tonight.”
On offensive adjustments in the second half: “We just executed better. In the first half, we dropped some passes. We also got down to the one and got a penalty, which brought the ball back and hurt us trying to score. Other than that, we played pretty well. I told the guys a halftime, that if we just keep running our offense, we’ll be ok.”
on his defenses play against running back Larry Rose III and forcing the Aggies to go to the air to win: “Our coaches did a great job calling plays defensively. Rose is a heck of a running back. We wanted to make NMSU throw the ball, but unfortunately Tyler Rogers is a very good quarterback. Our hats are off to New Mexico State.”

Jeremy Reaves spoke after the game as well:
On the game: “We fought and that’s all coach [Joey Jones] asked for. We fought for 60 minutes and the score didn’t reflect it, but I’m happy with the way our guys fought considering this was my last game here.”
On what the defense did to take New Mexico State’s running game away: “We knew that Rose was an electric player and that he was going to make plays. We also knew it was going to come down to us being physical. The defense was just able to stop them at the line of scrimmage and the point of attack.”
On the play of NMSU quarterback Tyler Rogers: “He’s a great player. We were talking throughout the game and he told me he was trying to throw away from me because I hit too hard. He’s a ball player though; he’s good with his legs and he’s good with his arm. He made plays when they needed him too. New Mexico State made the plays when they needed too and they showed up on third down. Credit to those guys and I congratulate them.”

Quarterback Cole Garvin, who started the game but rotated series with Dallas Davis through the first half spoke for the offense after the game:
On the way the offense played in the second half: “We made it a game [in the second half] and we really tried to get the win, but we couldn’t get it done on the last offensive drive.”
On what the offense did differently going into the fourth quarter: “We just kept calling the same plays that were working and minimized mistakes. Coach Owens called a really good game against the defense were in and we just kept hitting the holes.”
On the job the running backs and wide receivers did: “Those guys finding the holes is what made my job easy, along with what the offensive line did. It was a team effort.”

South Alabama finished with 353 yards of total offense, 331 yards through the air and only 22 yards rushing. Jaguar quarterbacks combined to go 26-of-46 for two interceptions and one touchdown.

Garvin went 22-of-37 for 268 yards with an interception and the only passing touchdown, but was sacked four times. Davis went 4-of-9 for 63 yards with one interception.

Jamarius Way led the Jags with 88 yards on seven receptions. McCray was next with 74 yards on four receptions and the lone touchdown. David Gardner, Malik Stanley, and Tra Minter all had three catches for 48, 47, and 42 yards receiving respectively. Four other Jaguars also caught passes in the game.

Davis was the Jags leading rusher with 15 yards on five carries. Jalen Wayne, and Minter both had eight yards rushing. Bull Barge, Darrell Songy and Wade Forde each had a sack in the game.

Defensively the Jags allowed 491 total yards, 451 yards through the air and only 40 yards rushing. Rogers went 40-of-61 with two touchdowns and an interception.

Jaleel Scott had 134 yards on nine receptions. Rose also had nine receptions adding 95 yards receiving. The Aggies had eight other receivers catching passes in the game.

Rose rushed for 52 yards and Jason Huntley added 10 yards rushing as well. Rogers netted a 20 yard loss in sacks and such.

With the Jaguars season over, the focus now turns to the coaching search, which should accelerate with the season’s end. Athletics director Joel Erdmann is expected to begin interviewing candidates this week since more candidate’s seasons are starting to end as well.

It’s expected that defensive coordinator Kane Wommack will serve as USA’s interim head football coach until a replacement is hired.

Thank you coach Jones, your work has built the South Alabama program from scratch to what it is today. Photo Credit: JagNationUSA Facebook Page