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Jags Name Permanant Team Captains For 2012 Team

November 16, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Clifton Crews and Gabe Loper leap in an attempt to block a field goal against Florida Atlantic.


The South Alabama Jaguar football team took a vote of its players and selected the 2012 season’s four permanent captains. The players selected and were announced at the end of Thursday’s practice. The players selected were: Center Trey Clark, linebacker Jake Johnson, defensive back B.J. Scott and defensive end Anthony Taylor.

Each of the four players have contributed heavily to the Jaguars success on the field. Clark has started every single game in the program’s history so far.

Also, each of the players selected are seniors who will be recognized prior to kickoff against Middle Tennessee on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Saturday’s game is the Jaguars final home game of the 2012 campaign and thus is Senior Day.

“It means a lot, especially coming from my peers,” Mobile native B.J. Scott said. “It means that I have the respect of my teammates and it lets me know that they believe in me and they think highly of me. I’m just going to go out there and lead them and be the guy that they chose.”

“To me, that’ the highest honor you get,” Jags head coach Joey Jones said. “Your stats and leading tackler in conference is big, being able to have tackles and catch passes and whatever you do stat-wise, that’s something you’ll remember. But you’ll always remember being a captain. It’s the biggest honor on the team because thats what everybody else on the team thinks of you. They think you’re the guy to put in front of them.”

“These four guys have been great examples of leadership on our team” Jones continued. “We have others certainly on this team, but those four guys were picked by their teammates.”

Coach Jones Pleased With Tuesday’s Practice

November 14, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

2012 South Alabama Football Senior class. – Photo from USAJaguars.com


South Alabama returned to the practice field on Tuesday to continue preparation for Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee State.

“We had a pretty good day today,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I think we had a good one from the standpoint that they were paying attention and they had a good inside drill today, running the football on both sides of the ball, offense and defense. I thought we had a goods crisp period where they got after it and on Tuesday’s you’ve got to have a good physical practice because you’ve got to carry it over to the game.”

Similar to last week, the Jags practiced in shells and will most likely do it again on Wednesday as well. As they are in the midst of a long stretch of games with three more to go the staff does not want to over extend the players while still working on keeping them sharp and implementing the game plan for their next opponent.

Coach Jones also said in his weekly radio show that Demetre Baker was doubtful for the Jags game this weekend. This will likely put Kendall Houston as the starter against the Blue Raiders on Saturday. Baker missed the second half against North Texas with an ankle sprain suffered in the second quarter.

Houston has 185 yards on 71 carries this season and has made appearances in all 10 games. Baker is the teams leading rusher with 595 yards on the season.

Clifton Crews, who suffered a concussion in the second quarter against North Texas, is probable for this weekends game. He will still have to pass a battery of tests to make sure there are no lingering affects from the concussion before that decision is finalized.

Prior to this Saturday’s game, the University will honor 15 seniors in a pre-game ceremony. Trey Clark, B.J. Scott and Jake Johnson have started all 10 games this season. Cori Barnett and Brandon Ross have not seen the playing field this season due to injuries.

Ryne Baxter, Jonathan Cameron, Michel Chapuseaux, Andy Dalgleish, Kennedy Helms, Ellis Hill, Gabe Loper, Chris Rivers, Tremain Smith and Anthony Taylor will all join the previously mentioned players to be honored as the 2012 senior class.

“I want to thank our seniors for all they have done and committed to this football program, for what they have meant not only to this university but to our team,” said Coach Jones. “They are great leaders and great young men, they care about this team and have done all the right things to build this program from the ground up. Some of the guys have been here the whole time, some have transferred in, but the bottom line is that they have all contributed in great ways. They will be forever missed because they have done a good job here, they have created an atmosphere of hard work and character. We will be indebted to them forever.”

“I think this is a special day, it really is, because you almost treat it a little differently since it is your last day to play at home,” he continued. “Not that you are going to go out and play any harder, because those guys are going to play hard anyway, but you look at it with a little different perspective because you realize this is your last one. There are not many things in life that you know are going to end, maybe retirement.”

The parking lot at Ladd-Peebles Stadium will open at 8am for tailgating and gates to the stadium will open at 12:30pm. The Jaguar Prowl will take place around 12:10pm in the South parking lot. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm.

Jags Finish Final Practice Of The Week On Wednesday

October 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Offensive lineman running position drills in preseason camp.

The Jaguars practiced again on Wednesday, their last practice of the week before returning for regular game-week preparation.

The two hour practice was very similar to day before with work on fundamentals, game-planning for Arkansas State and getting younger players in for some reps. An off-week is a great time to get younger players reps on the practice field, especially when the team is as banged up as they are right now.

Four defensive linemen are out after the game against Troy. Romelle Jones is healing from an injury suffered early against NC State. Montavious Williams suffered an ankle injury against Troy. Anthony Taylor suffered a season ending broken leg against Mississippi State.

“We just tried to install parts of the gameplan and had some good fundamental work today,” head coach Joey Jones told the Press-Register. “We had a little scrimmage with the young guys again today so I think that this break is coming at a real good time. I think if we had to play this weekend we’d be in bad shape. We’ve got about four defensive linemen out. They’ll be back, but they would be in some pretty significant pain if they had to play this weekend so it came at a pretty good time.”

The Jags will have Thursday, Friday and Saturday off before returning for meetings and gameplan study. Then they will return to the practice fields on Monday afternoon to continue implementing their game plan for their trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas to face Arkansas State.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-09-25

September 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian was joined by former offensive line coach and current tight ends coach John Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard on Tuesday.

Lloyd Meyers first mentioned that the students are very excited. In the first two hours of student parking pass availability, all 250 were gone. There will be lots to do for kids and the first 10,000 through the gates into the stadium will get red rally towels.

Additionally, the Jags will be wearing their traditional home red uniforms. They are encouraging fans to wear Red to support the team.

Also a point of concern that Lee asked about was concessions. The University spoke with the concessions group and they will have extra water and drinks on hand for the larger crowd. There will be trucks standing by with extra drinks just in case.

Lee said he tried to find Coach Jones on the bus after the game, but could not find him. He reiterated that he does not want to congratulate him after a loss, but to him how competitive the team was and how well they played despite losing. Coach Jones said it was very gratifying to walk across the field and have the Mississippi State coaches compliment them on their heart and their effort in the game despite being out-manned in the game. But Coach Jones said he was hurting just as he would be after any other game and like his players.

Lee asked some questions about the two Jaguar quarterbacks, Ross Metheny and C.J. Bennett. Lee said that Bennett had the better game statistically, but asked that, after watching the video, who did well, who did better and who would start on Saturday against Troy. Coach Jones said, in a joking tone, that he would not answer Lee’s question about who is going to start and if they were going to rotate quarterbacks still. Jones did say that that probably both quarterbacks did certain things better than the other, but they are both getting their “bad things” out and improving. Bennett made some great throws, but they both threw some bad interceptions. Metheny towards the end of the first half that was returned to set up a field goal at the end of the half. Bennett threw an interception inside the 10 yard line, but it was a good throw where the guy just went over Jereme Jones and took it away from him.

After the first break, Lee mentioned how the Jags would love to set to attendance record for a Sun Belt game this week. Coach Jones agreed, but he just wants it to be “an electric atmosphere.” He mentioned that the Jags are playing real football now, they are starting their Sun Belt Conference schedule. Coach Jones then mentioned that when someone thinks about the Sun Belt they think about the success Troy has had over the years. They have won the Sun Belt Championship five out of the last six years. The Troy players know how to play against big time football programs, they have played at Tennessee, Mississippi State and many other places over the last several years. Really, they have set the standard for a school like South Alabama who has just started. He finished saying that it would be great to have 33,000 to 35,000 in Mobile for a game.

Coach Jones and Lee then introduced the guest assistant coach for the show, Coach John Turner. Coach Turner, like his brother Brian Turner, has been with the program since the beginning. He began coaching the offensive line, but this season he has made the move to tight ends.

Lee first asked Coach Turner a question about the two big tight ends, Greg Hollinger and Wes Saxton, if there were any plans to get them both on the field. Coach Turner answered by saying they do have some packages where both of them may be on the field at the same time.

Coach Turner then was asked a question by Lee about the offensive line and how he thought they did against the larger Mississippi State team. Turner said that Coach Robert Matthews does a great job tih the linemen, and that he thought they did very well against the Bulldogs. They weren’t intimidated and should be proud of what they did in Starkville.

Lee then asked Coach Jones a question about the Jags rushing game against the Bulldogs. He mentioned how they did not rush that well in the first half but did better in the second half and asked if it were adjustments or what caused them to do better in the second half. Coach Jones answered by saying that some of it was adjustments, but their gameplan was to try to get them tired early by throwing perimeter screens and passes to the edge by making them rush. They wanted to try to tire them out before they started running at them because of their size and speed.

Coach Jones then mentioned how the offensive line did a good job in protection because the Bulldogs were so big. It was hard for the linemen to knock them off the ball, but they only gave up one sack in the game which is a testament to how well the line played against an SEC defense.

Lee then asked about where Mississippi State fits into the order of the SEC. Coach Jones said that they would be in the second level of the SEC, they are not on the same level as Alabama or LSU, but that they could beat LSU.

Coach Turner then jumped in and started talking about a conversation after the game he had with his friend who happens to be the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. He said he was told that their team is made to compete with LSU and Alabama. They recruit size and structure their defense to be able to handle the running game of those two schools. He mentioned that, if you are a spread team, you have a chance just like Troy did the week before the Jags played the Bulldogs.

The Orthopaedic Group Injury report started by mentioning how the defense started so well and forced a three and out on the Bulldogs first drive, but then they lost Anthony Taylor with a broken leg and will miss the remainder of his senior season. Coach Jones mentioned that he was very sad for him because he was a good football player but he was becoming a great football player, but now his college career is over.

Others that Coach Jones was asked about was Ceasare Johnson. Coach Jones said he would not be able to play this year due to a blood clot issue. Doctors will not allow him to play. Quadarius Ford is still healing up from knee surgery, it’s still bothering him some but he is still working out and hope to be back soon. Anthony Harris had a shoulder injury and had surgery to correct it and will be redshirted this season. Even though he was a transfer, he was what coach Jones referred to as a 3-for-2 so he had three years of eligibility left to play two years of football. Lee mentioned Montavious Williams was limping but Coach Jones assured him that he was okay and would be ready to go this weekend.

Later in the show Lee mentioned that he did not see Corey Besteda in the game against Mississippi State. Coach Jones said that he did not play because of an ankle injury but that he is good and will be ready to play on Saturday.

Lee then mentioned that Montavious considered Troy but decided to play for the Jags. Then asked about recruiting and if the Jags recruited against other Sun Belt teams and if games like this weekend are big factors in recruiting. Coach Jones said that they recruit against Troy, Southern Miss, Memphis and sometimes Central Florida. He also mentioned that playing well always helps recruiting, especially a game like this that is going to be televised. So you certainly want to play well under those conditions.

Lee talked about having Troy head coach Larry Blakeney on the WNSP morning show and how they ran around 100 plays on offense against against Lousiana-Lafayette. Lee then mentioned the Jaguar offense as being a “quick” tempo offense. But that the Jags are not that quick on offense. Troy tends to aim to get between 90 and 100 plays in a game, so when the ball is ready they are usually snapping the ball.

Coach Jones indicated that the Jaguar defense should be ready for that type of tempo because, in the summer, they practiced against the offense as they were really going up tempo. The defense has adapted and worked on communication and signals so they can get ready for the next play.

Lee then asked Coach Turner if there offense was like ours at least when the line up. Coach Turner said that some of their formations and pass concepts are similar to what the Jags use. They will not be a mirror of each other, but there will be plenty of similarities between the two offenses.

It was mentioned that South recruited the record breaking Troy running back very hard, but he ended up going to Troy instead.

Coach Jones was asked to break down the Jaguar defense versus the Troy offense. Jones said that Troy can throw the ball and run the ball well. So if you condense to stop one or the other then they have a chance to hurt you with the opposite. So the defense has to play smart and do well against a balanced team.

Coach Jones was then asked to break down the Troy defense. He mentioned that Troy has been known for a while to play tough defense and they are well coached. He did mention that they don’t seem to be blitzing as much as they have in the past, but seem to have backed off some this season and seem to be playing better because of that.

Lee asked Coach Turner about the players that Troy recruits because they have the most players in the NFL of any of the Sun Belt teams. Coach Turner said that the players that they had had that goes to the NFL are players that the coaching staff have done a great job in their evaluations. They players they get they do a great job evaluating them and then, when they get them on campus, they do a great job developing them. Coach Turner said that they are doing the same thing at South Alabama. They really work hard to evaluate players and then work really hard to develop those players that come to South Alabama. Coach Jones further mentioned that having championship rings on their fingers really helps in recruiting good talent as well.

Coach Jones pointed to the Dallas Cowboy defensive end DeMarcus Ware from Troy. He said that in high school he was 6’4″ and weighted 190-pounds. No one would have thought of him as a defensive end, but Troy thought he would be a great defensive end after putting on more weight, and sure enough he is now in the NFL and a six-time pro-bowler.

Lee flipped back to asking about the Jaguar offense and it’s tempo. He asked if the Jags were going to do something similar to Troy and try to get around 90 or more snaps in the game. Coach Jones said that they are definitely going to go with more of their offense, but would not try to go for that many plays. He said that the Jags goal is between 70 and 80 plays in a game. Lee mentioned that snapping the ball that much usually means you are possessing the ball more than your opponent, which is typically a good thing.

Coach Jones said that something he and Coach Turner spoke about on the way to the radio show was that they do not want to do in the game is to have lots of three-and-outs. He said that three-and-outs puts your defense in a bind and fatgues them. They need to sustain some drives and put the ball in the end zone.

Lee asked about what the defensive line does without Anthony Taylor. Jones said that the rest of the players just have to play. They were rotating in and out anyway, but the other guys have to step up. No one else steps into the rotation, but they have some players that can play on the inside and on the outside. They will cross train them more.

Coach Jones indicated that Pat Moore will get more playing time. Lee said that he is a junior college transfer that has not been talked about much. But he is very well noted for his pass rushing ability. Coach Jones thinks he is going to be a tremendous player and that he grew up a lot against Mississippi State with some big hits. Even gave him the big hit of the game, even on offensive linemen who were trying to block him.

A caller mentioned that people talk about quickly trying to get the defense off the field for fatigue factors. But doesn’t the offense get fatigued as well? Coach Jones said that they do, but when you have the ball on offense, you are keeping it away from the other team and not giving them a chance to score while giving yourself a chance to score.

Lee asked for Coach Jones to mention things to note for the game this weekend. Jones answered by saying that Troy has 14 senior starters returning so they are a senior dominated team and that he thought those starters were spread evenly between both sides of the ball. The offense is explosive with fast guys at receiver. They have a quarterback that can throw the ball well. The defense plays well and with a good level of confidence. Jones mentioned he was hoping they would have an average special teams, but that they are good with a single guy who punts and kicks.

Their offense puts lots of points on the board and puts pressure on you to also score lots of points, which the Jags have had trouble doing since the first game of the season.

Lee mentioned that some out-of-town people have asked him if they would be able to view South Alabama’s facilities because they have heard so much about them. Coach Jones was very hesitant, but said that they would have someone there that would be able to show people around. Lee further mentioned it as a recruiting tool, which Coach Jones agreed with. Jones further said that, without that facility, they would be further behind as a new program than what they are now. It really makes a difference in everything they do.

Taylor Broke Two Bones In Right Leg Against MSU

September 24, 2012 · Filed Under Football, News · 2 Comments 

South Alabama’s Anthony Taylor, a 6’3″ 225-pound senior defensive end/outside linebacker, will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken leg early in the first quarter against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Initially it was reported that he had fractured his fibula. However during surgery, doctors found that he had also fractured his tibia. Director of sports medicine Jinni Frisbey reported that Sunday’s surgery to repair the break went well.

Taylor has been a member of the Jaguars since the programs first season in 2009. He came into this season with 49 total tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks with an interception and four pass deflections. This season Taylor had recorded eight tackles, two sacks and three tackles-for-loss.

With Romelle Jones’ injury that will keep him out for a couple weeks, Taylor’s loss will affect the depth the Jaguars had at defensive line. But worst of all is that Taylor will miss the remainder of his senior season.

Jaguar Nation will be pulling for Taylor to make a full and speedy recovery.

Jags Fall 31-7 In Raleigh

September 15, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Senior linebacker Jake Johnson zeroes in on a NC State runner for one of his 14 tackles in Raleigh, NC.

South Alabama fell in a tough road game at North Carolina State on Saturday night by a score of 31-7. The Jags (1-2) finally scored in the fourth quarter to prevent a shutout.

NC State’s Mike Glennon went 24-of-34 for 257 yards and three touchdowns (all in the first half) to lead the Wolfpack over the Jags. On the Wolfpack’s first possession, Glennon went 8-of-9 and accounted for all but five yards of the 80-yard drive. He capped off the first drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 9:22 left in the first quarter.

Glennon’s second touchdown pass came with four minutes left in the first quarter and went for 44-yards. His third touchdown pass put the Wolfpack up 28-0 before halftime.

Demetre Baker led the Jags with 45 yards rushing on seven carries. Kendall Houston added 17 yards on four carries.

Ross Metheny went 14-of-20 for 189 yards with an interception and a touchdown. C.J. Bennett went 10-of-15 for 74 yards with an interception. Both quarterbacks were sacked three times each.

Jereme Jones extended his catch streak, and tied the all time record set by Courtney Smith, with his eight yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Demetre Baker led the receiver corps with five catches for 55 yards. Wes Saxton added four catches for 72 yards. Corey Besteda got the offense going on the touchdown drive with a 43 yard reception. Besteda caught three passes for 68 yards. T.J. Glover added three catches for 10 yards. Three other Jaguars had two catches each and another three had one catch each.

Jake Johnson led all players with a season high 14 total tackles. Alex Page had five tackles, with two sacks for 14 yards. Clifton Crews and Anthony Taylor both had sacks as well.

The wolfpack had 22 first downs to only 14 for the Jags. Overall, NC State outgained the Jags 384-314. The wolfpack out-gained the Jags on the ground 127 to 51, but the Jags would outgain their adversaries 263-257 through the air.

In the Jaguars first drive, Bennett picked up first downs with completions to Saxton and Besteda, but a poor pass was intercepted on a third-and-15 near midfield. Then on the ensuing Wolfpack drive, one of Page’s sacks put the Wolfpack with a third-and-15, but a personal foul gave them a first down. But the Jaguar offense could not recover from the setback.

“We knew when N.C. State held Connecticut to seven points last weekend that they were a very good defensive football team,” South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said after the game. “When you look at their film from last year and this year, they are two totally different teams. They showed that today. They were very good up front, and got to the quarterback several times. We could have done some things better, but they are very good defensive football team.”

“I thought we fought hard defensively, and the positive thing was that I thought we won the second half,” Coach Jones continued. “I challenged them at halftime to win the second half, and we came out and did that. We didn’t quit. Our kids fought hard. There are obviously some things we can work on, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that they were pretty good on defense.”

If the Jags can limit their mistakes, such as turnovers, negative yardage plays and penalties at key times, the Jags offense could move the ball and score like they did in the season opener against UTSA. But it seems that, once the offense commits a mistake, they have a hard time regaining their forward momentum.

Metheny really looked good at quarterback tonight after Bennett started struggling. He did a great job getting the ball out to his receivers quickly. The offensive line had their hands full with a big, quick defensive line for the Wolfpack. Drew Dearman had another great block on a screen pass play that allowed the receiver to gain some extra yards.

The Jags will continue their two game road-trip with a Saturday night match-up with Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm.

Jags Ready To Embark On Toughest Season Yet

August 31, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

On the eve of South Alabama’s season opener against Texas-San Antonio it’s a good time to look at what this season means to the program. After three seasons, the first two undefeated, and a 23-4 record the Jaguars are about to embark on their most challenging quest yet.

Last season they stepped up and faced two FBS teams, the first in the programs history. This season, they will face their first full Division I schedule. The only non FBS school on the schedule is FCS Nicholls State. Additionally, with the Hawaii rule, the Jags will play 13 games in 14 weeks this season including a full eight game Sun Belt schedule.

This is what the Jaguars have been working towards for the last several years. When they take the field, they will be a transitional FBS member.

Coach Jones can finally guage where his team stands in the FBS pecking order. “I think the biggest challenge for us, especially early, will be the depth on our team,” he Jones. “We’ve been recruiting to Division I really just this year. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have any Division I football players, we do. But do we have the depth that everybody else has because they’ve been recruiting for a while and have 85 scholarships and D-1 players? I would think that will probably be the biggest issue, depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.”

What about this season’s schedule? “The most difficult thing is playing 13 games in 14 weeks for us and playing pretty much all Division I opponents,” Jones said. “Whereas in past years we’ve played seven, 10 and 10 (games per season), we had some off weeks and some time to get ready for games. You’re going to get your three or four days of practice and that’s going to be it, then you’re going to have to move on to your next game.”

Gone is offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and in is Robert Matthews brining the spread to South Alabama. Matthews, who learned the spread at Oklahoma State and Southern Miss, will bring a completely different attitude to the offensive side of the ball. The offense will run as quickly as possible with a no-huddle tempo that is designed to keep the defense off guard and guessing what is coming next. Plus it is designed to take advantage of the depth South Alabama has at the skill positions.

The offensive line is where the biggest unknown is located coming into this season. Gone are three starters from the previous two seasons. However back is senior Trey Clark and sophomore Melvin Meggs. In steps Drew Dearman, Chris May and Shaun Artz. Also a second string, Ucambre Williams and possibly Kentucky transfer James Elliott if he receives a hardship waiver from the NCAA. But this is the biggest offensive line the Jaguars have had in it’s short history.

Behind the line, there is plenty of talent on the roster. C.J. Bennett returns as the starter with Virginia transfer Ross Metheny as his backup and redshirt freshman Trey Fetner as the third quarterback. The South Alabama backfield is also stocked with talent. Back are Demetre Baker, Kendall Houston and Ellis Hill from last season along with Brandon Ross returning from a knee injury and redshirt freshman Terrance Timmons among others ready to contribute. At wide receiver back are Jereme Jones, Bryant Lavender, T.J. Glover, Corey Besteda and Tyrome Bivins with true freshman Cameron Broadnax who showed plenty of skill in preseason camp. With two tight ends graduating, Greg Hollinger moved over from wide receiver joining JuCo transfer Wes Saxton to fill their positions.

The defense is arguably the strength of the team. Led by Jake Johnson, the linebackers are the heart of the defense, with Clifton Crews, Enrique Williams, Maleki Harris, Bryson James, Ben Giles and Cordivido Grice to help him out.

The defensive front will need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than in past seasons. Returning ends Anthony Taylor, Romelle Jones, Alex Page and Will Thompson will be joined by JuCo transfer Pat Moore to help towards that goal. At nose and tackle positions they return Randon Carnathan and Andy Dalgleish, who lead the group last season, with help from Montavious Williams, Rodney Thomas and Shane Doty (who moved from offensive line).

In the secondary, Alabama transfer B.J. Scott has stepped up as a leader. The staff focused their recruiting efforts to find more help there too. Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson both come in and are expected to start. Alonzo Long will suit up next to Scott at free safety. Gabe Loper should get playing time as he is the returning secondary player with the most interceptions last season.

Michel Chapuseaux takes over the placekicking duties with Scott Garber also returning to handle punts.

“We want to be competitive. We want to win every game that we play,” head coach Joey Jones said. “That’s our goal. Now, is that going to be tough to do? Sure. I understand that it will be. The bottom line is I don’t want to cut our kids short in what we’re doing. We’re going to prepare and we’re going to go out there and prepare to win. But we also know there’s a difficult schedule ahead of us and we’ve got to step up each week. I think that our kids probably will play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder this year. Bottom line, every week that we play we’ve got to prove something. Anybody that we beat will be a big deal. We’re representing a lot of people, not just our football program but the university.”

The schedule will be tough. After UTSA and Nicholls State, the Jags travel to N.C. State again and Mississippi State before returning home for their first-ever Sun Belt Conference game against Troy. Troy, whom most expect will quickly develop into one of the leagues best rivalries, will mark the first part of the season. After their one and only off week, the Jags then visit the SBC defending champion Arkansas State. Then the downhill stretch of FAU (home), ULM (away), FIU (home), North Texas (away), MTSU (home), ULL (away) and their “bowl game” of the season at Hawaii.

If you only count wins and losses as the measuring stick for a season, it could be a difficult season. But if you expand your criteria for this team that will be completing it’s two year FBS transition at the conclusion of this season, you may be surprised.

South Alabama Is More Experienced Than Many Think

August 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Offensive line gets set while Coach Clark directs the defense during a practice early preseason camp.

You may already know the cliche “defense wins championships.” Over the last three college football seasons you can see that a stifling defense does win championships. While South Alabama is far from that level, they do have a very experienced defense.

The team was unclassified by the NCAA in their first two years of competition so the players who joined the team were allowed to participate in games during their redshirt season. This allows them to play in all five of their seasons of eligibility.

The defense is the more experienced side of the ball. Four seniors, six juniors and a sophomore on the first team defense. The senior starters are Anthony Taylor at Jack linebacker, Jake Johnson at Mike linebacker, B.J. Scott at safety and Andy Dalgleish at nose tackle.

Junior defensive starters include Montavious Williams at tackle, Alex Page at end, Clifton Crews at Sam linebacker, Enrique William at Will linebacker, Darrius Marrow at cornerback and Tyrell Pearson at cornerback. Alonzo Long is the only sophomore starting on the defense at strong safety. Long and Pearson are both JuCo transfers.

There are five sophomore starters on the offense with five of them entering into their third season of play. They are joined by one senior, two juniors and one redshirt freshman. Trey Clark at Center is the only Senior slated in as a starter with Tremain Smith listed as a possible starter at right tackle. Junior starters are Bryant Lavender with Greg Hollinger and Corey Waldon both listed as optional starters. Sophomore starters are Drew Dearman at left guard, Shaun Artz at right guard, C.J. Bennett at quarterback and Demetre Baker at running back with Wes Saxton at tight end, Ucambre Williams at left tackle, Melvin Meggs, Jereme Jones at receiver are all optional starters.

So when the Jags hit the field on *Thursday, they will be an experienced team ready for competition. While they are not eligible for the Sun Belt Conference championship hopefully the experience on the defense, and on offense for that matter, will translate into a very competitive season.

The size and experience is what worries UTSA defensive coordinator Neal Neathery. He mentioned that Baker and Kendall Houston took turns exploiting holes opened up by the offensive line in the Jaguars 30-27 win in the Alamodome. “Both of the (backs) they played were physical, strong, in between the tackles runners. I thought it was a game where we didn’t feel great about ourselves when it was over when it comes to who was the tougher team,” Neathery said.

“Just as a unit last year they were probably the toughest, most physical offensive line we played,” Neathery said. “They were really good, and their running backs had a lot to do with that.”

* Currently the Jaguars are set to kickoff on Thursday, August 30th against Texas-San Antonio but Tropical Storm Isaac could postpone the game.

Jags Improve In Second Scrimmage

August 20, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

Head Coach Joey Jones speaks to his team after the conclusion of the Jaguars first practice of preseason camp.

C.J. Bennett and Brandon Ross lead the Jaguar offense in Saturday morning’s scrimmage for the South Alabama. Ross scored three touchdowns on four carries while Bennett threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns while going 9-of-10 in the scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Ross’ first rush of the scrimmage was a four yard gain before crossing the goal line from one yard out on his second carry in a red zone possession for the offense. On the second snap after the mid-scrimmage break, Ross took the ball down the sideline for a 55 yard touchdown. Later in the scrimmage he got one more carry for a two yard touchdown. He racked up 62 of the 141 yards of rushing offense on the day to lead all Jaguars.

Ross is returning from a near one-and-a-half year absence following a knee injury in the 2010 season. Ross was the Jaguars’ leading rusher in 2009 and 2010 at the time of his injury.

Bennett led the first team offense on a 97 yard, 11 play drive for its first possession of the scrimmage. He completed six passes for 80 yards of the drive. He opened with a seven yard pass to T.J. Glover, he later found Bryant Lavender for 13-yards on two occasions and also found Tyrome Bivins for 12 yards to get to midfield. Demetre Baker added a two yard run before Bennett hit Jake Howton for 23 yards. Bennett rounded out the drive with a 25 yard strike to Cameron Broadnax for a touchdown.

Bennett only led the offense one other time. That drive spanned 65 yards in seven plays and it was capped off by a 31 yard touchdown pass to Baker.

The first team defense only surrendered two field goals on the day. The final field goal allowed came on a red zone possession at the 15 yard line.

Ben Giles and Anthony Taylor both lead the team with seven tackles each. Taylor added two pass-breakups to his total as well. Jesse Kelley added six tackles. Giles and Kelley both were credited with 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Randon Carnathan and Enrique Williams recorded three tackles each while Davin Hawkins led the reserves with five tackles.

Offensively, Terrance Timmons rushed five times for 29 yards, Ellis Hill had four rushes for 18 yards and Baker added 17 yards on the ground. Broadnax, Glover and Lavender along with Nathan Sassaman all had two catches each as they combined with four different quarterbacks to tally 181 yards through the air.

Michel Chapuseaux made field goals from 37, 42 and 39 yards. Aleem Sunanon convered the final score of the scrimmage with a 32 yard field goal.

“Offensively and defensively, it was good,” Head coach Joey Jones said about the scrimmage. “Overall I’m sure we’re going to see some things on film that we need to correct. But we’re not quite where we need to be on special teams, and our sideline organization needs to get better. It wasn’t terrible, but there are some things that we have got to shore up. That’s why we do this. I think we will come out next week and do it again, and hopefully we will be perfect at it when we come out on Thursday.”

“We are evaluating our players and will see where we are on the depth chart, and make those decisions this weekend,” Jones continued. “Monday we’ll starting putting the game plan in for Texas-San Antonio, we’ll have a few extra days to getting ready for them.”

“I was monitoring a couple of spots, but we still had to do things against our offense,” said defensive coordinator Bill Clark. “We got our first guys a lot of good work, I thought we tackled well and got to the ball. Our goal was to go 100 percent on our assignments today, we’ll have to see the film, but I think we looked pretty sound. It’s basically what we wanted to see. We’ve still got work to do, but it was a good finish to camp.”

“I thought the defense came out and stopped the run pretty well and I thought they got after it,” coach Jones said about the defense.

Senior Safety B.J. Scott felt that Saturday’s scrimmage was better than the first one of the preseason. “We just had that in the back of our heads and we came out here and just got after it,” he said. “I think we all as a whole feel a little bit more comfortable and focused. It’s all mental at this point. We’re pretty much done beating up on each other.”

“Fundamentally we have improved a lot since camp started,” offensive coordinator Robert Matthews said. “We were able to execute a lot of base plays early today, in the second part of the scrimmage we tried to do some different things that we have been working on. Our guys know what to do, now it is just doing it at the speed and the tempo we expect. I think we are getting closer but are not there yet.”

The Jags returned to the practice field on Sunday so the student-athletes can take Monday off for the first day of fall semester classes.

 

South Alabama’s Scrimmage Goes Well

August 13, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Wide Receiver Bryant Lavender waits on the ball during Jaguars preseason camp.

South Alabama’s first scrimmage of the season saw the ball flying through the air early and often on Saturday. Four quarterbacks combined to go 27-of-39 for 280 yards. The offense scored four touchdowns and a field goal during the hour-and-a-half scrimmage at the Jaguar Practice Facility.

Seventeen different Jaguars notched at least one pass reception during the scrimmage. Freshman Cameron Broadnax caught three for 35 yards and Greg Hollinger had a scrimmage-high 43 yards on two receptions. Jereme Jones, Bryant Lavender and Wes Saxton all hauled in multiple pass receptions as well.

Defensively, Ben Giles and Bryson James lead the first-team with six tackles each. Anthony Taylor added four more himself with 1.5 of them being tackles-for-loss. Terrell Brigham and Phillip Press both added five tackles with Jesse Kelley leading all players with eight total tackles in the scrimmage.

C.J. Bennett lead the retooled offense on an 11 play, 65 yard drive to open the scrimmage. Facing third-and-two, Bennett found Lavender for an 18-yard completion to cross midfield and to keep the drive alive. That gain was followed up with a 12-yard gain by freshman Terrance Timmons. After Bennett threw his only incompletion on the opening drive, he found T.J. GLover for 24-yards to set up Demetre Baker’s one yard touchdown run. Bennett went 4-of-5 on that opening drive and would end the scrimmage with 90 yards passing.

Both Baker and Timmons would finish the scrimmage with 26 yards rushing with the entire backfield totalling 124 yards on the day.

Transfer quarterback Ross Metheny lead the offense down the field on his drive to get into field goal range. He had completions to Saxton for 13 yards and Broadnax for 15 yards. However the drive would stall at the 32 yard line. Metheny would throw for 106 yards total in the scrimmage.

After Metheny’s drive, the Jaguar defense would tighten up and in the next four drives the offense would not allow the offense to get past the defense’s 45 yard line. Before the mid-scrimmage break, Julien Valentin would cap off a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run.

After the break, Metheny would lead the offense’s next possession. he would use three consecutive completions to drive inside the defense’s 10 yard line. He would then find Hollinger in the end zone for an eight yard touchdown.

Hollinger would also set up the final touchdown of the scrimmage. He would haul in a 35-yard pass from Bennett to set up Kendall Houston for a five-yard touchdown reception.

Aleem Sunanon added a 43 yard field goal to round out the scoring in the first scrimmage of the preseason.

“Overall it was good,” said head coach Joey Jones after the scrimmage. “The offense came out and made some plays today when they had to. Right now we’re beat up on defense, we held out three starters inside and some other guys are banged up, but I know that we are going to be really, really good. We have some great athletes over there, and once we get those guys back we’re going to be in great shape.”

“It’s tough to know exactly how each individual did,” Coach Jones continued. “What we are looking to do is find our depth chart, the guys who we are really going to give reps to. We’ll know more after watching film. It was a good day overall, but I was a little disappointed in special teams. We have to practice better there. It’s almost like we came out here for an offensive and defensive scrimmage and we weren’t ready for special teams. We’ve got to change that, and that starts with me.”

Coach Jones responded to a question posed asking if the break on Sunday will help to rest and rejuvenate the players. “There’s no doubt about it,” he responded. “We’re nine days into camp, the guys are pretty beat up right now. They need a day off, which will be good. We’ve got to be smart about what we do. We’ve had a good physical week, they need some time off.”

The players had Sunday off before returning to the field on Monday morning to continue preparation for the 2012 football season.

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