Monday press conference November 15 2011

November 15, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar defense lines us against MVSU.

South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones is joined by cornerback Anton Graphenreed and tight end Kevin Helms for schools Monday press conference.

Coach Jones kicked it off with his opening statement. “We have a very good football team coming in this week, they might be the best team that’s played in Ladd-Peebles Stadium against us in my opinion. It’s a very disciplined team that runs the triple option, which always presents problems. To me, it’s still the best offense ever invented because basically — without getting too deep into it — at the side of attack there are two guys you don’t have to block, so you create double teams for everybody else. Thank goodness we’ve had some time to work on it over the last couple of weeks, I don’t know how you do it when you have just one week to prepare for an offense like this.”

“They run the football a lot, but they are very diverse in what they do running it, so it will be a big challenge for our defense. They are averaging 31.5 points and 257 yards rushing per game, so they are obviously very sound. Their quarterback [Andre] Broadus runs the ship very well, and he can also throw it which creates problems as well. [Jake] Romanelli is a big, imposing fullback and is their leading rusher averaging about 100 yard per game. Needless to say, we have a challenge defensively.”

“Offensively we are going up a very sound football team up and down the line of scrimmage, they are really coached well and have good football players. In the secondary they’ve got a start in Asa Jackson; a lot of NFL teams are looking hard at him, from what I hear he is going to be a draft pick.”

“Their kicker has most of his kickoffs go to the end zone, which creates problems when you start your offense on the 20-yard line every time; that’s a big weapon for them.”

When asked on whether Cal Poly is similar to anyone the Jags have faced this season, Coach Jones answered, “No, they are just totally different. The analogy would be to look at the service academies or Georgia Tech with what they do offensively. They are very disciplined an know what they are doing.”

The next question posed to Coach Jones was about the senior class. “The seniors, in my opinion, have been as crucial to the success of this football program as anything that you could think of. You can talk about facilities or a lot of different things that we’ve done to get this program going, but these seniors have come in and paid a dear price. They have done things the right way — we always talk about fundamentally building a strong foundation — and their leadership has been tremendous.

“I think we will go on for years and years because of what they have done the last three seasons, so my hat is off to them for what they have done for this program.”

Coach Jones then spoke about how important is is to end the season on a good note. “You always want to end the season on a good note, I think that is very important because I always think it kind of carries over to the next year. I don’t know if it’s any different than any other year, I just think the fact that these guys have been working their tails off and these seniors who have been around for three years — the guys who helped start this program — I’m sure they don’t want to leave on a bad note. And our younger guys want to send them off on a good note because they appreciate what those guys have done.”

“Our guys have been focused last week and this week, they understand we have a real good team coming in here and it’s going to take all we can do to beat them.”

Senior cornerback Anton Graphenreed spoke about playing his final collegiate game. “It really means a lot to me. I have put in a lot of time and my teammates have as well, especially the guys who came in with me. We worked really hard and tried to give our all this season. I just want to go out on a good note and leave one more lasting impression on the younger guys so they can carry that with them throughout their careers.”

Graphenreed spoke about the importance to him and the team about finishing undefeated at home in your career. “It’s extremely important because we work really hard to say that we never lost period. Things happen and that’s life, but we could always hang our hats on the fact that no one could say they came into our house and took it. When you say this is your home and you have great fans – we have awesome fans – you just don’t want to disappoint. I just want to continue that tradition, going out with another win at home and making sure that lasts for a very long time.”

Graphenreed next spoke about preparing for a run-oriented offense. “Our scout team is great. They prepare us for every game, and they work hard and keep bringing their all to practice. We need the closest thing to the real thing as possible before we get to the game. You don’t want to just go through the motions at practice and then you’re shocked when the game begins because you aren’t ready for it. But there is a lot of preparation that goes into it.”

Senior tight end Kevin Helms spoke about his final collegiate game as well. “It means a lot to me as well. When anything comes to an end in your life, you know you’re going to miss it no matter how hard it was. I am going to miss it every day, I’m sure. But all we can do is go out there and get this one last win to help the program out as much as we can before we are gone. I love my teammates, so of course I want to win.”

Helms also spoke about the importance of finishing undefeated at home in his career. “I like the streak of not being beaten at home. It makes you feel good – like no one can come into your house and mess around with you. You don’t like having that feeling that someone can come push you around. I would like to keep a goose egg in the loss column.”

Helms also spoke about the state of the program when he arrived. “When I got here it wasn’t much of anything. I came from a junior college that won a national championship my freshman year. I only lost two games in two years. Then when I came here in the beginning, you hardly had anyone who was going to be a college athlete. There were a few that were there and some are still here, but most of them are gone. I knew it was going to be better. But the first season we played, we were just a completely different team. We had a lot of good athletes, and we played good football. Then we got more transfers in the next year, and we had some freshmen come in and it was even better. We were just confident. And this third year, it has been even better. We have had some injuries along the way, but we have improved 100 percent every year, and I can only imagine that it will keep improving with the coaches recruiting and all of our facilities. It has been a fun experience. I love playing football, and I love playing here. It is a great place with great coaches who really do care about you. And we have great fans – people always show up to the games.”

South Alabama will host Cal Poly on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium with kickoff set for 4 p.m. This Senior Day game will be aired locally on UTV44 and nationally on ESPN3.com depending on your ISP for access.

Monday press conference previewing Georgia State

October 18, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Jaguars taking the field vs UT-Martin

Anton Graphenreed joined head coach Joey Jones for Monday’s press conference at the University of South Alabama Football Fieldhouse.

Coach Jones opened the press conference with the following statement reflecting back on the Jags win over UT-Martin. “I thought our kids were extremely ready to play. They came out from the first play mentally, physically and emotionally ready to go. When you do that you’ve got a chance, and that was our challenge to them the last two weeks. We played a really good football team, in the first half I think our offense had it 48 plays and their offense had it 20 plays. We did all we could do to keep it away from their offense. Our defense came out and played great, and our offense kept it away from them in the first half, which was the difference in the half. We continued that in the third quarter and played really well, but in the fourth quarter their offense showed what it can do. They have a really good offense and scored 17 points in the quarter to make it a real close game there at the end.”

“I was real proud of our guys, I thought we played the game very well. We could’ve wrapped it up a little better, but as far as the way we played, I was extremely proud of that.”

Coach Jones commented on the homecoming crowd that was present for the game on Saturday. “It was a great crowd. One of the most exciting parts was getting off the bus when we went to the Jaguar Prowl, it’s probably the biggest crowd we have had for that since I’ve been here. They [the players] were excited, and the fans were very excited. The one thing our kids continue to do , they’re shaking hands and hugging little girls and having a good time walking through, it’s been a great tradition for us that I think will only get better and better as time goes on.”

When asked how well the defense played in the first three quarters, coach Jones answered with the following statement. “I think the whole team played well. The defense played real well, we stopped what they did well running the football, and that’s where you start trying to stop an offense. The stretch play — which is an outside running play — we did a great job of stopping that, and that was the best play they had in their offense. When they didn’t have that anymore, they had to resort to something else which I think helped. And again, offensively, keeping the ball away from them, running the clock, getting the third-and-twos and making it to move the ball as methodically down the field as possible; that’s the kind of team we are. And we didn’t have any turnovers. If we don’t have any, we have a chance to play with anybody.”

Coach Jones then began talking about this weekend’s contest in Atlanta against Georgia State. “As far as Georgia State, it all starts with the head coach. Bill Curry is a great football coach and a great man. They’re putting a program together like we are and have recruited some really good, athletic players. I have all the respect in the world for their coaching staff.”

“Offensively, quarterback Drew Little really makes them go. He gave us a hard time last year, completing a lot of passes. He’s a big guy, a Roethlisberger-type who is 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and can really deliver the ball. They’ve got two more quarterbacks that they’ve rotated into games, so you really don’t know what to prepare for other than to prepare for all of them. I think they are more athletic than they were on defense last year, they’ve done a good job recruiting real tall, rangy athletic guys. They run a lot of different looks, they’re real hard to prepare for from a standpoint of what we’re going to do so we have to cut our game plan down some offensively to be able to attack all the looks they have.”

Coach Jones was then asked what Georgia State does offensively that might concern him. “The biggest thing is the multiplicity of it, they have Kelton Hill who is a great runner and a good thrower, Drew Little is more of a thrower and not a runner, then you’ve got Schlechter, who is a combination of the two. The difficulty is being able to have plans when those guys come in the game, and our guys realizing when they come in and making adjustments accordingly.”

Another question asked about playing in a domed stadium again, the Jags won their previous experience in a dome against UT-San Antonio in double overtime. “That was a great atmosphere we played in at San Antonio. Our kids liked it, they really did. It was a little difficult to communicate with the crowd as loud as it was, but the kids really liked the atmosphere. I think they are very excited about going to the Georgia Dome, a lot of them haven’t been there so it will be the first time for most of them playing in the dome. It’s a great place and it’s their Homecoming so I would think they have a good crowd there as well.”

Jaguar cornerback Anton Graphenreed commented on the defensive performance in the first half against the Skyhawks. He said that they “We pretty much just stuck to what we practiced all week. I think we held on to our fundamentals a lot longer this game, especially in the first half. Everything was just dominant from the snap of the ball. I just wish we could have come out in the fourth quarter and put the nail in the coffin, but that’s something that we just have to work on and stay on each other about not letting up because no one is going to let up on us.”

Graphenreed also mentioned that this weekends game will be a bit of a homecoming for him being from Georgia. Lots of his family and friends will be there for the game. He also has experience in the Georgia Dome twice in high school.

He also said that last years game was similar to the last weekends game against UT-Martin. He said that the Jags jumped out early but didn’t finish well. He wants to make sure that they go out and not let up this weekend.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-13

September 14, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 


Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian were joined by director of football operations Brendt Bedsole at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard.

First thing was a quick look back at the Lamar game. Coach Jones said that the Jags played pretty well. Both the offense and defense were solid but special teams needs more work. One of the major miscues in special teams play was a kickoff that went out of bounds.  The talk quickly turned to Saturday’s game against NC State. Coach Jones said that they are well coached, they have a good quarterback and good receivers. Their defensive front is sound as well. He also mentioned receiver “number 6″ T.J. Graham, a 6′ 180-pound senior wide receiver for the Wolfpack, as someone who scares him.

As for preparations, Coach Jones said that they will prepare for this game just like any other game. However a deviation from their normal preparations thus far will be the addition of stadium noise to their practices. NC State will have 60,000+ fans there, they will be loud and will be a factor. So they will use speakers to play music, fight songs and general crowd noise.

The first email question asked about getting second and third string players into games. Coach Jones said this is key to helping build depth by exposing them to game situations. It also helps to let those guys get repetitions that can’t get so many at practice.

The next question was about offensive linemen.

Another email question was about the Sun Belt wins against BCS teams. FIU defeated Louisville, Troy has traditionally been a strong team, Louisiana-Lafayette has been coming along. North Texas has hired a good coach that should turn them around and a new stadium. Florida Atlantic should be turning it around as well with a new stadium. But wins speak well for the conference tring to find it’s way.

Asked about scheduling Southern Miss as a regional rival and what took them so long to do that. Coach Jones said that they make a great rival because these two schools are so close together. But they had their schedules set so far out that it was difficult to schedule with them. The date that they had open sooner was already scheduled with another team for the Jags.

Back to NC State, they said that the players will not have the opportunity for a walkthrough of the stadium until around 6pm on Friday evening. Even then the weather may be suspect. The players should not be overwhelmed in their stadium. Carter-Finley stadium seats 57,583 people but Ladd is not a dinky stadium seating nearly 40,000 itself.

Coach Jones mentioned again that NC State has a good, big quarterback who stands at 6’6” with a good arm. He does a good job of making the most of what’s around him. After a loss last weekend to Wake Forest, they will bounce back and be ready for the Jags.

Logistically speaking, South Alabama will send 68 players and 65 staff and support personnel. President Moulton, the vice president and others will all be on the flight as this is a historic event for the school.

They did take some time to joke about last years flight to UC-Davis and how old the plane was. One of the jokes was that the kids knew it was old because it still had ashtrays.

Lee asked if they have challenges now that they also have replay. Coach Jones said that they do, if the challenge does not go the Jags way then they lose a time out. They have two challenges per game. This is a bit of a test this year before getting into Sun Belt games next season.

Caller said that the Jags have gotten off to a great start with the program and asked if that was a help or a hinderance in scheduling games. Coach Jones said that, when you are talking about FCS teams it may be a hinderance. Teams that are kind of like South Alabama would probably see a hinderance, but SEC teams like LSU and such aren’t worried about them. They will pay lots of money (Coach Jones said $1 Million) to play them.

Someone emailed a question about Anton Graphenreed and that it seemed that he was getting beat by the receivers. He asked how that can be corrected for a team like NC State. Coach Jones said that some of those were because of communication problems between the safety and the corner. The corner thought he had help over the top by the safety when the safety did not properly communicate that he was not helping over the top. Things like that.

Another question was asked about rotating Kendall Houton and Demetre Baker at running back and if that might hurt them by trying to establish a flow in the game. Coach Jones said no, he thinks it’s great to give those guys a rest. It will help them over the course of a season to not take as many hits, keep fresher legs and wear down defenses. It may cause problems with a quarterback, but running back he doesn’t think so.

An email question came in asking about trick plays. Coach Jones said that everyone works on some trick plays but you don’t use them often. Coach Jones isn’t a big believer in trick plays, but you always have them ready just in case you need to swing the momentum in your favor in a close game. If you are ahead, you don’t want to waste that play. You only use it when you need it.

Lee turned to Bedsole and asked him to talk about facing a team like NC State. He said that even at FCS schools, the starting 11 could probably play at some FBS schools. But South Alabama, in his estimation, has probably 35-40 guys that could play at a school like NC State at this point in their program.

Lee asks about the mental part of the game. Could NC State look past South Alabama to their next game. Could they lose focus. Coach Jones said that it can happen. As a coach, he has seen times when it was hard to get the team up for a not so good opponent. But with NC State coming off of a loss, he does not think that will happen. South Alabama’s challenge is to not over hype the game and to make sure they peak towards the end of the week just in time for the game.

Talking about travel, the Jags will travel two weeks in a row. But they did that last year with Lamar and UC-Davis. However it would be nice to have a week between NC State and Kent State.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-08-23

August 24, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 1 Comment 
Baker and Jones

Coach Jones looks on as Demetre Baker looks to the sideline before blocking for a field goal attempt.

The Joey Jones Radio Show started season three with host Lee Shirvanian and guest Joel Erdmann today.

They started the show off by talking about the depth chart now that they are finished with preseason camp and are into game prep mode. The first thing that Lee asked coach Jones about were there any surprises that emerged that he wasn’t thinking about. Coach Jones said that they don’t have many changes.

He mentioned on the offensive line that Levi Slaydon did not return so they had to fill that position. Jermaine Smith and Brian Krauskopf have stepped up and are neck-and-neck for that starting job. Other than that change, the offensive line is the same as last season. At tight end it is pretty much the same with Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett there. A little bit of a change will be the backfield with the addition of Georgia transfer Demetre Baker with Kendall Houston. He indicated that they would be co-starters in the backfield.

When coach Jones moved onto receivers, he mentioned that they have more names out there than they did last year. Last year Courtney Smith was the big name and the other receivers were ‘the others’.

Lee then started talking about the defense and mentioned that there were many familiar names on that side of the ball. He first mentioned Cori Barnett at the Sam position with Ken Barefield as his backup. Barefield played defensive back last season for the Jags.

When asked about how Cori emerged as being a starter, Coach Jones said that he had a great spring and awarded him with a scholarship for how well he did in the off-season. He mentioned that he is a bit undersized but still plays very well, he’s smart and knows all the answers to questions over on defense. Ken will still play alot.

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Jags hold on to defeat Georgia State in battle of new programs

October 31, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach John Turner working with the offensive line in the second half of the Jaguars game against the Georgia State Panthers.

South Alabama fended off a second half rally by Georgia State to hold on to a 39-34 victory at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. It was evident that two weeks of travel had taken their toll on the Jaguars. Coach Jones mentioned that it was Wednesday before the Jags recovered from their trip to California. But South Alabama’s play in the second quarter was enough for the Jags to stay ahead late in the game with field goals.

On the opening drive, the Panthers moved the ball methodically with three first downs in the opening four plays of the game to go from their 40 yard line to the Jaguar 19. They would top off their 10 play 60 yard drive with a 2 yard touchdown pass from Drew Little to Sidney Haynes on 4th down.

The Jags would answer as CJ Bennett would lead the offense on a 9 play 72 yard drive themselves. Kendall Houston would score from nine yards out, however Jordan Means would miss the point after attempt leaving the Jags behind 7-6.

After Georgia State got a first down on a clutch 3rd down completion, they would stumble due to a holding penalty and the Jaguar defense would force them to punt.

With 1:50 left in the first quarter, the Jags took over with great field position on their on 45 yard line. Then on second down, Bennett would find a ton of open green grass and would scamper for 26 yards down to the Panther 25 yard line before tripping up. However the Jags would not be able to move the ball any further. Lawson McGlon would miss the 42 yard attempt to leave the score 7-6 in favor of the Panthers.

The Jags defense would force another punt by the Panthers, however TJ Glover would fumble the punt giving the Panthers an easy chance to score at the Jaguar 14 yard line. Little would hit Jordan Giles to inside the Jaguar one yard line and would score two plays later on a quarterback sneak. With the PAT, the Panthers would go up 14-6 with 11:33 left in the second quarter.

South Alabama would answer right back with a 21 yard completion from Bennett to Courtney Smith on 2nd down to move out to the Jaguar 47 yard line. The first of three straight runs by Kendall Houston would move the ball across mid-field. With 2nd and 8 from the Panther 40, Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for a 40 yard touchdown strike. McGlon’s extra point would once again put the Jags within one at 14-13 with over nine minutes left in the second quarter.

After a 15 yard kickoff return to the Georgia State 30 yard line, Tim Harvey would pick off a deflected pass at the Panther 39 yard line. The Jags would open the possession with a completion from Bennett to Ralph Turner for 24 yards down to the Panther 15 yard line. Three plays later Bennett would connect with tight end Kevin Helms for a nine yard touchdown pass to take the lead. McGlon’s extra point would put the Jags up 20-14 with 6:57 left in the second quarter.

The Jaguar defense would hold the Panther offense to a three and out. South Alabama would not have an opportunity to return the punt as it was kicked out of bounds at the 20 yard line.

South Alabama would put together an impressive drive on the ensuing possession. After an incomplete pass and a five yard false start penalty, the Jaguars were facing 2nd and 15 from their own 15 yard line. Then a rush by TJ Glover would go 14 yards to the Jaguar 29 yard line. Then Kendall Houston would add six more yards for the first down and then some extra. Bennett would run for 13 yards down the left side before stepping out of bounds at the South Alabama 48 yard line. A completed pass from Bennett to Lavender would go for 18 yards to the Panther 34 yard line. Bennett would run for seven more yards followed by a Houston rush for 17 more yards to set up the Jags with a 1st and goal from near the 10 yard line. Back to back rushes would gain four yards from Glover and three more from Houston to give the Jags a 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line.

After a Jaguar time out, Bennett would throw to Jereme Jones on the left side of the endzone where he would make an amazing one-handed catch for the touchdown. McGlon kick would put the Jags up 27-14 with 41 seconds left until halftime.

Georgia State would start at their own 45 yard line after Chapuseaux’s kick would dribble out of bounds on what looked like an onsides kick or a surprise squib kick. A 13 yard completion would put the ball at the Jaguar 42 yard line. On the second play, Tim Harvey would pick off his second pass from Drew Little and would return it 47 yards to the Georgia State 18 yard line with 14 seconds left.

Coach Gregory, coming downstairs in preparation for halftime, had to hurry to the sidelines to call a pass play towards the endzone to try for a touchdown without any timeouts left. Courtney Smith just could not hold onto the ball in the endzone so the Jags decided to kick a 35 yard field goal. Lawson McGlon would make it to extend the Jags lead to 30-14 with 3 seconds left until halftime.

The 3rd quarter would be pretty quiet as both teams combined for three 3 and outs in the first four possessions. But the Jags would get in gear after a Panther punt would only go 27 yards out of bounds at their own 49 yard line. Houston would carry twice to open the possession for 8 and 5 yards respectively and a first down at the Panther 36 yard line. A 7 yard completion from Bennett to Lavender would put the ball at the 29 yard line. A rush for no gain by Glover would be followed by a 22 yard completion from Bennett to Lavender at the Panther 7 yard line with a first and goal.

Houston would then run for four yards down to the three yard line before getting dropped for a loss of three back to the six yard line. Bennett would then be hurried and would step up in the pocket and find Ralph Turner for an apparent touchdown, except an ineligible receiver down field would wipe it off the board. After an incomplete pass, the Jags faced 4th and goal at the 11 yard line. Lawson McGlon would make the 28 yard field goal to extend the Jags lead to 33-14 with 3:52 left in the 3rd quarter.

Chapuseaux’s kickoff would be fielded at the 9 yard line and Albert Lewis would return it 50 yards to the Jaguar 41 before being forced out of bounds. A two yard rush would open the drive for the Panthers before calling a timeout. on 2nd and 8, Andy Dalgleish would sack Drew Little for eight yards back to the USA 47 yard line. The next play would make up for it and much more as Little would connect with Danny Williams for a 47 yard touchdown to cut the lead to 33-21 with 2:11 left in the 3rd quarter.

TJ Glover would return the Panther kickoff 46 yards down to the Georgia State 38 yard line to start the next possession. Houston would power for 13 yards to the Panther 25 yard line and a first down. On 2nd and 10, Houston would rush for nine yards just shy of the first down at the Panther 8 yard line and running out the time in the 3rd quarter.

To open up the 4th quarter, Houston would run for six yards to the Georgia State 2 yard line. An pass intended for Lemontis Gardner would go incomplete in the end zone. CJ Bennett’s quarterback sneak would be fumbled and recovered by the Jags at the 1 yard line to bring up 4th down. With some shouts from the crowd, Coach Jones decided to kick the field goal to extend the Jaguar lead to 36-21 with 13:25 left in the game.

Georgia State would open their drive with a 39 yard completion from Little to Sidney Haynes to get down to the Jaguar 25 yard line. A four yard completion to Danny Williams would set up for a 20 yard completion to Travis Evans for first and goal at the Jaguar 1 yard line. The quarterback sneak would net them a touchdown, but Romelle Jones would stand big in the middle and block the extra point attempt leaving the Jags ahead by nine points at 36-27 with 11:24 left in the game.

A short kickoff would be fielded by Kevin Helms and returned 14 yards to the Jaguar 44 yard line. Three consecutive runs by Houston would go for 7, 7 and 10 yards respectively to net the Jags two first downs. TJ Glover would follow up with a 17 yard rush down to the Panther 15 yard line. Then the Georgia State defense would snuff out any further Houston Rushes, holding him to one yard on two plays. A 3rd and 9 pass attempt would fall incomplete off of Kendall Houston’s fingertips to bring up 4th down. McGlon would make a 31 yard attempt to put the Jags up 39-27 with 7:34 left to play.

A 26 yard kickoff return would put the Panthers at their own 44 yard line to start their next possession. The Jaguar defense would hold strong to begin the possession, but a 10 yard completion would add 15 more yards when Anton Graphenreed would be flagged for a facemask placing the ball at the Jaguar 20 yard line. An eight yard pass would put the Panthers at the Jaguar 11, but a delay of game penalty on 4th and 1 would put them back at the 16 yard line. An 11 yard completion on 4th down would give the Panthers a first down on the 5 yard line. On the next play Kelton Hill would run up the middle for the touchdown, cutting the Jaguar lead down to five points, 39-34 with 3:57 left in the game.

Starting at their own 26 yard line, faced a similar situation as the week earlier. They only needed two first downs to finish out a close game. Houston would run on the first two plays, going for 4 and 2 yards to bring up a 3rd and 4 at the Jaguars 32 yard line. Georgia State would call a timeout with 2:58 left to preserve time and prepare a defense. Bennett would find Courtney Smith for 5 yards and the first down. Houston would then run for 2 yards out to the USA 39 yard line. Another timeout by Georgia State would exhaust their allotment for the second half with 2:15 left in the game.

Houston would drive forward for six yards to bring up a 3rd and 2 from the Jaguar 45 yard line. Coach Jones would let the time run all the way down before calling a timeout with 1:28 left. Houston would find a hole and go for nine more yards and the crucial first down. With no timeouts left for Georgia State the Jags would kneel the ball twice and end the game.

South Alabama would go for 474 total yards, 293 on the ground and another 181 through the air. While Georgia State would gain the most through the air with 234 yard passing and only 46 yards rushing for 280 total yards.

South Alabama was 8 of 14 on third down conversions while Georgia State was 3 of 10. USA did not go for it on 4th down while the Panthers was 2 for 2 on 4th down conversions.

Kendall Houston would carry the ball 31 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. CJ Bennett would run 10 times for 80 yards and TJ Glover would add 35 yards on five carries.

CJ Bennett would play the entire game, going 12-of-24 for 181 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Bryant Lavender would lead the receivers with four catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Courtney Smith would add four more catches and 52 yards. Three other Jaguars caught passes.

Georgia State’s leading running back was Kelton Hill with three rushes for 25 yards and a touchdown. Travis Evans added 6 carries for 14 yards.

Drew Little would go 20-of-34 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Danny Williams would catch 5 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Sidney Haynes would catch 4 for 50 yards and the other touchdown. Six other receivers caught passes for the Panthers as well.

Lawson McGlon went 4-of-5 kicking field goals. Making kicks of 35, 28, 18 and 31 yards and missing one from 42 yards. Jordan Means would miss one PAT attempt and McGlon would make his three attempts.

Coach Jones remarked after the game, “We got ahead at halftime by playing really well offensively in the first half, and the defense made adjustments and played well after the first drive. We’ve been ahead a lot at halftime and the other team would fold, but this team didn’t fold. They came back out and got rolling on offense, and just played much better in the second half. My hat’s off to the Georgia State team for coming back and making a really good game out of it.”

Georgia State head coach Bill Curry remarked on the South Alabama program after the game. “I’m very much an admirer of coach Jones and the South Alabama program. I have been since the beginning,” explained Curry. “The way they do things, their emphasis on academics, integrity, the way they win, the way they dominated the turnover margin in their games and the way they had dominated the fourth quarter coming into our game. We hope to become a more consistent team and do a better job, so we can match up with them the next time we play, and we will get that done.”

South Alabama will host Henderson State for homecoming on Saturday, November 6 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm.

USA Makes Statement Against Lamar

October 19, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar offensive line lines up against the Lamar defense. They helped Kendall Houston rush for 166 yards, the new single game record for Jaguar running backs, and did not allow a sack in the game.

South Alabama went on the road to Beaumont, Texas to begin their season-defining three game stretch and came home with a big win and a huge statement, 26-0. The Lamar Cardinals had averaged just over 341 yards per game but were held to a season low of 161 yards of total offense as the Jaguar defense came out ready for a big fight.

The Jags were quite conservative with their play calling in the game. After losing your first string running back to a season ending ACL tear, it was good play calling on Coach Gregory and Coach Jones’ part. While the scoreboard did not show what the Jaguar faithful were used to, it was definitely a resounding win.

The defense would score the only touchdown in the first half and the offense would only score one touchdown in the game. The rest of the scoring rested on the foot of Lawson McGlon who was officially 4-for-5 in the game but did make a kick that was nullified by a penalty. So a position that, at the beginning of the season, looked like it could lose a close game turned out to be the one that put the game out of reach.

“We sputtered somewhat on offense when we got the ball into the red zone, but we moved the ball well between the 30s,” said Coach Joey Jones after the game. “We had to settle for four field goals, but when you’re on the road sometimes that happens. I’m really proud of Kendall and the way he came in for Brandon after we lost him last week. He really stepped up and ran like a Division I running back tonight.”

“We know that UC Davis is a very good team. They’ve beaten San Jose State and won their conference last year,” Coach Jones stated on their upcoming opponent. “They’re a very sound team, we are going to have to go out to California and see what we’ve got. But, our kids are real excited about that. We’re trying to take this thing with baby steps, and we’ve taken some big steps already. It’s a great win, but where we stand I don’t know. At the end of the year I think we’ll be able to look back and see where we are as a team. All I know is that we came on the road, and were on the bus for six hours. The kids did a great job being focused, and we played a great ballgame. It’s a big win for our program.”

“You have to play great defense on the road, and we did that tonight,” Coach Jones commented. “I’m real proud of the staff and players. They played lights out tonight. They knew this was their first big challenge, and answered that call.”

The Jaguars did not come out of the game unscathed. Unfortunately Chris Brunson suffered a broken ankle in the first half of the game against Lamar and will be out for the remainder of the season. Brunson was also a backup to Trey Clark, the center, who suffered a sprained ankle but should be okay. Coach Jones will probably try Brian Krauskopf in practice until Clark’s ankle is better and to give him experience in case he is needed in a game situation.

The Jags travel to Davis, California to face the Aggies of UC-Davis in a 4pm (Central, 2pm Pacific) game against their second of three consecutive FCS teams and their second in a row on the road. For a more detailed breakdown of the game, continue below.

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Jaguars Hit The Practice Field In Shells

August 9, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Sunday

Sunday saw the Jags hit the field with shells while adding more contact. The hits were easy to hear and were definitely hard but full tackling was not allowed. They were only allowed to hit and hold up short of bringing someone to the ground.

Sunday’s practice began with more special teams practice. On Friday, they began with punt coverage but on Sunday they began with kickoff coverage. After beginning with special teams, the Jags then broke off into positional drills. Quarterbacks worked with receivers on timing and routes while running backs worked on handoffs and blocking. Linebackers, defensive linemen and defensive backs all working on basics as well.

After positions, the Jags then went into an inside drill session, which actually had the Jags hitting for the first time in summer camp. The offensive and defensive units swapped players in and out numerous times to more reps in for the new players. As Coach Jones said after practice, “The only way you can find out about guys is by giving them reps. I think we have some good young players who can build some depth for us at each position. Today, I felt like we got more people in practice, and we need to continue to do that.”

After the inside drill, the offensive and defensive linemen seperated to work on individual position technique. The secondary, linebackers, receivers and running backs worked against each other in pass coverage drills.

Monday

Similar to before, they had an 11-on-11 live-action session for ten plays. Freshman running back T.J. Glover rushed twice and broke one off the left end for 25 yards. In the two carries, he totaled about 30 yards but impressed the coaches and onlookers in the process. The Jaguars running backs coach Tommy Perry said, “He’s fast and you notice it. We’re trying to make things work so we can get him the ball in space, because he is electric. He’s a freshman, so he has to learn what to do, but as a coach you get excited when you see that extra gear, because he definitely has that.”

I would definitely look for Glover to be used in motions, misdirections and screen plays in the coming year with his speed.

The defense stepped up on six plays by stopping the offense for no gain on three rushes. They also forced two incomplete passes and and interception by redshirt freshman Eddy Cabrera.

After the 11-on-11 session, the offense worked on picking up the blitz with the defense. The first play of the drill saw Myles Gibbon hit Bryant Lavender, a freshmen, on a go route for 30 yards. Brennan Sim went 3-for-3 in the passing drill averaging close to seven yards per pass. He completed passes to Jereme Jones and Courtney Smith.

Monday was another practice in shells for the Jaguars. Practice began with a period of special teams practice, again focusing on kickoff returns and ended the practice with kickoff coverage.

The practice was similar to what the Jags will continue to do throughout preseason camp, but only with shells and limited hitting. They had multiple periods of third down situational drills and multiple 11-on-11 drills.

The first third down situational drill had the offensive line and running backs practice running plays against the defensive interior. On the other side of the field, quarterbacks and receivers worked against defensive backs  in coverage. During this set of drills, Anthony Taylor and Charlie Higgenbotham came away with sacks as well as forcing and recovering a fumble.

One of the 11-on-11 sessions was running plays in the red zone. The offense started witht he goal of making a first down starting at the 20. On the first play, Sim connected with Courtney Smith for a nine yard gain, short of the first down when Anton Graphenreed tackled Smith one yard shy of the first. The offense then had two big gains on the defense with Houston on a rush and a screen play to Johnny Lockett from C.J. Bennett. But the defense held on the next two plays.

The final 11-on-11 of the day continued the outstanding play by the defense. They only allowed two first down in ten plays with three consecutive sacks. Jake Johnson was in on two of them as well as Ben Giles and Ucambre Williams. The first play saw the offense make a first down with a pass from Sim to Courtney Smith on a slant. The offense’s only other first down was on a quarterback draw by Raymond Cotton on their last play.

The offense was hot early in the third down 7-on-7 drills. They converted about half of their attempts with Bennett being responsible for four first downs with four completions to four different players. Brennan Sim helped to get three first down. Only two Jaguars, Taylor Noon and Bryant Lavender, caught two passes for first downs.

Coach Jones commented on the practice afterwards by saying, “It was a very good practice, though I thought we had a little lull in the middle to latter part for the first time. That’s normal, and what I was proud of is that they fought back at the end of practice. We’re in the middle of nine straight days of practice, and that ‘s tough. They just have to get a little better every day, and so far we have improved.”

The Jags continue their nine consecutive days of practice on Tuesday when they don full pads for the first time this preseason camp.

Jags Roll Up Another Impressive Victory To Stay Undefeated

October 18, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags posted another big win on Saturday with their 41-7 victory over Louisburg JC. Brandon Ross scored a season best three touchdowns in the win with 138 yards on 13 carries.

The Jags started out slow on this windy, chilly day. The Jags and the Hurricanes traded possessions and both sides were less than stellar punting the ball. But finally the Jags got their offense in gear after holding Louisburg to a three-and-out situation. Brandon Ross found a hole and broke free for a 60-yard run before the Hurricanes stopped him five yards short of the goal line. Anthony Mostella scored up the middle on the very next play to give the Jags a 7-0 lead.

Ross’ big run would be the only premiere play of the first quarter as both teams would combine for less than 100 yards of offense and seven punts.

The second quarter was a much different story. The Jags would rack 173 yards to 46 yards for the Hurricanes in the second quarter alone. With 7:50 left until halftime, the Jags would march 50 yard in five plays which was capped off by a 10 yard touchdown run by Brandon Ross for a 14-0 advantage.

Ross would get his second touchdown run of the game with 4:26 left in the half with a two yard run to top off a four play 60 yard drive in 1:21 to put the Jags up 21-0.

The Jags would drive once more before halftime to add to their lead. Lead by Myles Gibbon, the Jags went 77 yards in seven plays taking 1:49 off the clock. Gibbon would find Kevin Helms wide open in the left corner of the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown reception. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT leaving the Jags up 27-0 with 53 seconds until halftime.

A good kickoff return to start the second half would set up the Jags at the Louisburg 34 yard line and it would only take the Jags 43 seconds to find the endzone. Brandon Ross would get his third touchdown of the day to top off the three play 34 yard scoring drive with a 20 yard romp for the score. Chapuseaux would make the PAT to put the Jags up 34-0.

The Jags would kickoff after the touchdown and the Louisburg return man would bobble the ball and retreat back trying to find a hole to advance but would be tackled at the one yard line. This would lead to the Hurricane’s longest sustained drive of the game. Going 11 plays for 33 yards in 6:52 before punting away to the Jaguars.

The Jags would start at their own 20 yard line and drive 80 yards in nine plays. Santuan McGee would finish up the scoring for the Jags with a one yard run for the touchdown, putting the Jags up 41-0 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

The Hurricanes would avoid the shutout though. Driving 60 yards in seven plays in 3:03. The big spark was a 30 yard pass play to the Jaguar one yard line to set up the touchdown. It was the one and only time the Hurricanes made it into the red zone all day. The touchdown capped the scoring for the game with the final score being 41-7.

The next two Jaguar drives would end with fumbles before the final possession ran out the clock to end the game.

The Jags had 474 total yards for the game, 310 rushing and 164 passing with 22 first downs. Louisburg had 222 total yards, 52 rushing and 170 passing with 12 first downs.

A total of 10 Jaguars carried the ball for the 310 yards. Brandon Ross led the way with 13 carries and 138 yards, Ralph Turner had 2 carries for 49 yards, Santuan McGee 6 carries for 41 yards were the highlights.

Myles Gibbon was 6-of-9 for 89 yards and a touchdown, Brennan Sim was 6-for-7 for 70 yards and Nick Owens completed his only attempt for five yards.

Nine Jaguars combined for the 13 receptions. Courtney Smith had 2 for 25 yards, Drew Ezell had 2 for 23 yards, Kevin Helms had 2 for 15 yards and the only touchdown reception of the game, and Corey Besteda also had 2 for 13 yards to round out the multiple catch receivers.

Josh Chestang, Anton Graphenreed and Justin Dunn all had five tackles for the Jags.

Brandon Ross spoke after the game about his performance. “I always practice keeping my feet moving. I’m still trying to get better at it,” he said. “I do not want to get tackled by one person. If I’m going to get tackled, I’d rather get tackled by a group of defenders.”

Coach Jones mentioned Ross’ running in the post game press conference. “We challenged him to run like that every play. He’s starting to understand that he’s got a 230-pound body that’s hard to tackle,” coach Jones said. “When you lower your shoulders and a free safety is coming up to tackle a guy like that, that’s a tough thing to tackle. When he learns to run like that all the time, he’s got a chance to be a great one. He’s got a chance to be a very special running back and probably play beyond college.”

Gibbon also commented on Ross’ running ability as well as the entire running back stable. “Brandon is a great running back; everyone has seen that,” Gibbon said. “Even when he gets tired and we take him out, we have another three running backs that can get in the game and get the ball rolling. Having good running backs makes our lives a lot easier.”

Coach Jones further commented about the Jags play. “I thought we came out and played fairly well. The biggest thing we’re challenging our kids with is no matter who we’re playing, we’ve got to play with character,” Jones said. “We’ve got to practice with character, we’ve got to work hard to study our opponents film, and we’ve got to not change anything about the way we prepare for a game. That was our challenge this week. I thought the kids did that, they were prepared.”

Louisburg head coach John Sala gave a glowing commentary about the Jags in the post game press conference. “We came into this game with the mind-set to win it. We had a great chance and thought we could do a really good job,” he said. “Give a lot of credit to South Alabama. When they are that sound fundamentally and you have those types of players, that is a hard combination to beat. We go against better players all the time, but none that are that well-coached. That combination is just hard to beat at any level.”

The Jags will have next Saturday off before hosting Fork Union Military Academy on Saturday October 31 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium with kickoff set for 4pm.

Depth Chart Changes And Secondary Commentary

September 3, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

There have been some shifts in the starting lineup that has been noted this week. Montavious Williams moved from defensive end to inside at defensive tackle and from second team to the first team. Alex Page has also moved from the second team to first team at defensive end replacing Anthony Taylor.

Benefiting from Friday’s situational scrimmage, Lawson McGlon has kicked his way to first-team place-kicker. Wilson was also named as one of the two kick returners with Santuan McGee.

While Santuan McGee was listed number one on the depth chart early in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said on the Joey Jones Radio Show on Tuesday that Brandon Ross was the starter at running back. As for tight ends, Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett have switched places on the depth chart but are listed as co-starters.

Some other notable changes have taken place as well. Due to some injuries in the secondary, the Jags had to make some changes just to get through fall camp. Ken Barefield started fall practice as a wide receiver but was moved to safety but was convinced to move by defensive backs coach Duwan Walker. Then just a few weeks after making the move, he was marked as a starter.

Zach Brownell, a freshman safety himself, missed most of fall camp recovering from an injury, but had this to say about Barefield, “He works hard watching film, and he’s been paying a lot of attention. I give him some tips here and there, and those might have helped him out, but he’s done a great job of learning the position on his own.” Brownell returned to practice this week and has quickly made his way back to playing on first-team defense.

Coach Walker looks on the positive side of Brownell’s time off due to injury, “It probably worked out well because he got his legs up under him, and now he’s good and healthy and ready to go,” Walker said. “We were in a position where we had to practice some other kids, so to get these other guys back on the field has definitely built in some depth for us. We feel pretty good about going into the season as far as depth is concerned.”

Tony Threatt, another freshman safety, also spent time away due to injury. He has since returned to practice and is expected to help contribute depth at safety along with Matt Saucier and Alex Phifer.

If you are a new reader to this site and happen to recognize Saucier’s name, it was because he was the first team quarterback in spring practice. He has since made the move to safety in fall camp. Coach Walker likes the idea of Saucier playing defense. “We like guys that handle the ball every down, and as a quarterback you’ve got the ball in your hand every down,” Walker said. “After being a quarterback, you have some kind of idea of what the offense is trying to do. He’s a smart kid, and it was easy for him to pick up.”

I’m sure you noticed that that all of the five safeties that will be seeing significant playing time are all freshmen. They will have help in the secondary from four cornerbacks who do have experience playing beyond high school. Junior Michael Wilson and Sophomore Anton Graphenreed are expected to start on Saturday and they will be joined by Sophomores Jerron Mitchell and Steven Pease. However, Coach Walker doesn’t look at Graphenreed and Wilson as starters with Mitchell and Pease playing backup, he sees them collectively as players. “We don’t look at ourselves as having starters at cornerback, we just think of it as having kids that we can roll in,” Walker said. “Steven Pease is going to be a great player for us, and along with Jerron Mitchell, we expect those guys to be able to roll in at the corner position.”

With the schools first-ever game fast approaching, there is little worry about the inexperience at safety. They may be freshmen in status, but many have offensive instincts which can translate to on-field experience.

As of Thursday morning, 15,818 tickets remain for Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium according to the usagameday.com website.

Jaguars Practice Despite Bad Weather

August 17, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterback Myles Gibbon looking for his receiver at Saturday’s scrimmage. He has been listed at the top of the teams first released depth chart on Monday. Photo by Doug Roberts

The Jaguars hit the practice field despite the effects of Claudette on Monday. Heavy rains only delayed the Jaguars practice by about ten minutes as they took the field after a day off for their first post scrimmage practice. They hit the field for just over two hours at around 3:30pm, which is their new practice time now that classes have started on campus.

Their practice schedule was similar to the previous two weeks of camp. Special teams, position drills, skeleton drills and so forth. In the final hour they had their 11-on-11 drills and workouts against the scout teams. In the situation play, the coaching staff had them work on two-minute drills and red zone plays.

While the routine stayed pretty much the same, today did mark another first that will have many peoples attention in the coming days. Coach Jones finally released the team’s first depth chart based on the previous two weeks performance and the scrimmage on Saturday. There is a list of 27 starters on offense and defense due to different formations with six of them true freshmen that did not take part in the spring practice. A total of 22 players from the signing class are on the depth chart and should see action in the coming fall schedule.

Not surprisingly, the offense is the more experienced unit taking the field. Three of the four projected starting receivers have used at least one year of eligibility playing at other schools while four JuCo transfers are listed as potential starters on the offensive line. Both players at the tight end position have experience at the collegient level as well as Brandon Ross, who is also a potential starter in the backfield. While quarterback Myles Gibbon and receiver Corey Waldon are the only true freshmen listed as first in their respective positions.

The defense is a different story all together, with six of the nine linemen and five of nine secondary players are all true freshmen. The players with experience are Andy Dalgleish who took part in spring practice and John Mark Patrick who played at Troy last fall. While cornerbacks Anton Graphenreed (Lenoir-Rhyne University) and Jerron Mitchell (Birmingham-Southern), both sophmore transfers will likely be starters. Also Justin Dunn (Birmingham-Southern) and Charlie Higgenbotham (University of Alabama) are set to be starters at the inside linebacker slots.

Coach Jones spoke about the evaluation process after Mondays practice. He had this to say, “We were just looking for guys who wanted to compete. Saturday’s scrimmage provided game situations, so we were able to see how they reacted. We discounted the first few plays since a lot of the kids were nervous when we first got out there, but once they got into it we could see how they play in front of a crowd. Some guys practice well but play even better in game situations. Other guys practice better than they play in games. That’s something we’re trying to evaluate as well. It’s still a long process, there’s two weeks before we have a game week. There are guys who are listed second and third who could end up as ones, and there are listed starters who could end up third at their position. They know that, so until we get to game week we won’t make a final depth chart.”

He also spoke about the practice itself and unlike previous practices, he did not have the best things to say about his team. “I don’t think we had a great practice, I thought it was average. I told the guys they can control two things – their effort and their intensity. Balls were wet and we were dropping passes, but that’s to be understood since this was really the first time we practiced in weather like this. That doesn’t worry me. But, the mindset that we came out with today is what bothered me. We have to come out with a different attitude this week or we will just be average. We are going to play like we practice, and I think they understand that.”

Coach Jones went on to speak about the change in routine and how it affected the players. He said, “I think the change in routine affected a lot of the guys today, but as a coach I tell them there are no excuses for that. I expect them to come on the field and be ready. Sure we were in class today and it was raining, and we can’t control that. We can control how we come out and practice, so hopefully we will learn from this. We’re still in camp even though school has started. Some of the practices may be a little longer, but we are trying to get as much work done as we can.”

The Jaguars will return to the practice field on Tuesday at 3:30pm.

For the full South Alabama depth chart, click here.

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