Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 09-10-2013

September 12, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

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Head coach Joey Jones, Lee Shirvanian were joined by assistant coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They were quickly talking about how good the Jags win over Tulane was for the team. The Jags came out quick and finished the game. Coach Jones was very proud of the team and mentioned that most of the plays went our way and we were able to get the win.

Ross is the first Jaguar to be the Offensive Player of the Week. He was ready to play, prepared well and knew where to go with the ball.

Lee asked about the blocked punt the Jags had against Tulane. He asked if that was schemed. Coach Jones said it was. They saw on film how they protected on punts and saw a gap between their wing and their tackle. He also mentioned that their personal protector moved up to the line to change the protection but the center snapped the ball before they could change it and they were wide open to block the punt.

Injury report by Coach Jones noted that Randon Carnathan is going to miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles heel injury. Late in the season last year he tore his ACL and spent the offseason rehabbing and earning his spot back and then this happens to him in the second game of his final season.

Jerome McClain, who went out of the Tulane game with a concussion, was cleared to rejoin the team on the practice field on Wednesday. That is a bright spot for the defensive line since they lost Will Thompson in the preseason because of ankle surgery and now Carnathan.

Lee turned to Coach Turner, who coaches the defensive line, and asked how Carnathan’s injury affects them. Turner said that it’s tough losing a player, especially a senior with the experience and leadership they bring and Randon bring personally. They are deeper at that position and they rotate lots of players so they should be okay.

Romelle Jones was named the defensive lineman of the week by the coaches for his performance against Tulane with seven tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack with four quarterback pressures.
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Monday Press Conference

November 20, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones held his weekly press conference. Coach Jones was joined by wide receiver Bryant Lavender and linebacker Bryson James to reflect on the Jaguars game against Middle Tennessee and to preview their trip to Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend.

Below are some highlights from the press conference.

Coach Jones opened the press conference with his opening statement. “It’s been a long journey from playing our first Sun Belt game with Troy to this point. One thing I think is that we have become a better football team throughout the season, we’ve probably improved more throughout this time than any time we ever have as evidenced by our team playing with a team like Middle Tennessee, who is probably going to play for the [Sun Belt] championship. It’s 17-12 in the fourth quarter and we had chances to make plays and win the ball game, and we don’t do that.”

“But we are right there,” Jones continued. “I think that we have found out that we can play with Sun Belt teams now. Do we have to get better and learn how to win games? No doubt about it. But in our first year I’m real pleased with the progress, though I am certainly not happy with the results at this point. We are at a point where we want to be, though we wish we had won a few more games.”

Jones then spoke about what concerns him the most about Louisiana-Lafayette. “Offensively they have really become much better, they are running their quarterback a lot more. Earlier in the year they were careful to run him because they lost their other quarterback, but now they have [Terrance] Broadway in there and he is doing a great job running the football. He is scary when he pulls it down. And they are throwing it well all the time, they were already good at that, so it has given diversity in that they can run it or throw it. They have big offensive linemen who run the zone very well, they have a complete offense that you have to defend all over the field.”

“They are playing with a lot of confidence,” he continued. They are good on defense. They are flying to the ball. They lost a couple of games a few weeks ago to North Texas and Arkansas State, but have bounced back with big wins including over Western Kentucky. They are playing really well right now with a chance to get into a big bowl game, that’s what’s on their agenda at this point.”

“For us, it’s another Sun Belt game and another chance for us to get a Sun Belt win, that’s what our kids are looking forward to.”

Jones then spoke about how facing similar quarterbacks this seas will help to prepare them for Louisiana-Lafayette. “It’s helped that we have played against a lot of spread teams in this league who have great quarterbacks, but I think Broadway is probably the best runner that we will face. He can pull it down, he is just like a running back with the ball in his hands, he can break tackles and has good speed, so he can run for 50 or 60 yards easily. We have to be smart about what we do and be in good position on defense.”

He was then asked about how he feels about the Jaguars defense. “We do a great job every preparing, I really want to compliment our staff and what they do scheme-wise to get ready for games. Our players are buying into it, playing hard-nosed football and getting after it. If we don’t give up the big plays in games that we continue to talk about we would be doing great defensively. But I am real pleased with how we are playing defensively overall, we have given the ball back to the offense several times on three-and-outs, they’ve done a great job.”

“We are preparing for this team like anyone else, but experience against some of the teams in this league has helped us.”

Coach Jones then spoke about the Jaguars game against Middle Tennessee again. “After the second quarter of the game [Saturday] we are down three running backs for this year. We lost Brandon Ross early in the year, then we lost Demetre [Baker] and Kendall [Houston], so we are basically with our fourth-string running back in the ball game. You lose that depth at running back and it certainly is a factor. I think that hurt the running game a little bit in the second half. The backs we have left are smaller backs that are really good outside runners, but are probably not guys you want to pound inside. Losing that in the second half hurt us offensively.”

“In the first half I thought we had a really good half,” Jones continued. We had 220 yards but only had six points to show for it, but we moved the ball fairly well. Our running back situation became pretty thin in the second half.”

“They [Baker and Houston] are day-to-day, we will find out more toward the end of the week.”

Wide receiver Bryant Lavender began by talking about what he has learned while competing in the Sun Belt Conference. “We had a lot of high hopes going into the season. It hasn’t gone the way that we planned it. At this level you have to make plays. You need big-chunk plays from an offensive standpoint, and just have to keep grinding. You have to have faith in the defense that if we [offense] go three-and-out that they will get the ball back for us or sometimes get a defensive score.”

Lavender then spoke about how competitive the team has been in conference play this season. “We expected to be in the games and win some of them that we play. We are very confident in our abilities. That’s why we were brought here, to play ball and get an education. Being uneasy about being able to play with these guys [conference competition] was not a question. It was whether or not we could make the play or make the tackle when we needed it. Unfortunately, we have not done that in most of the games like we should have. But we have learned that you have to make the play in the close games.”

He then spoke about the importance of finishing strong in the last two games of the season. “It would be great for the program and our university to close out [the season] with another conference win and a win at Hawaii, just to send us [into the offseason] on a good note. Last season, we did not finish out on a good note losing to Cal-Poly. It would set another stone for our program to get another Sun Belt victory. It would be great for us and would give us a jump-start on what we need to do for the upcoming year. It would catapult us into the next season, and have us ready to work even harder. When you get that last taste of victory, you got to have more. We haven’t had the taste of victory in a long time.”

Lavender then spoke about how the experience of playing in the Sun Belt Conference this season will be beneficial to next season. “We have to understand as a team that nobody will give us a win, or no one is going to give us a chance to make a play. We have to go out there and take it. We have to have that dog mentality. But we understand there are going to be times where there will be bad plays. You have to have a short-term memory. You can’t remember what you did last play, because it will take you two plays to get ready for the next play if you do that. You just have to keep pushing, and we have to keep pushing each other and have confidence in one another that we are going to get it done.”

Linebaker Bryson James spoke about what he has learned in competing in the Sun Belt Conference this season. “We [defense] have found that not allowing the big play means everything. That’s one thing that [defensive coordinator] coach [Bill] Clark always tells us that it’s the one play, missed tackles and little things like that, that hurts us. I have learned that it’s about preparation and watching film.”

James also spoke about how competitive the team has been this season in conference play. “I think we have brought it to every team we have played this year. We played as hard as we can. We haven’t started out as fast as we have wanted to in every game. As a whole, I feel like we haven’t actually played a full game. We’re all brothers and we all play as one, but as a unit we haven’t put together a full game.”

He then also addressed the importance of finishing strong in the last two games of the season. “For me, we’re going back to the home state of Louisiana. All of my family is going to be there, so I just want to put on a show and hopefully my teammates will do the same and we can come out with a win.”

Finally James spoke about how the experience of playing in the Sun Belt Conference can be beneficial to next season. “I talk to a lot of the players, and I tell them that there are a lot of the little things that play a part in the game –  skipping a class, a rep or workout – those little things count. It’s always the little things that people look over, and they tend to get into a habit. We’re going to be leaders next year, and those are the things we have to stop.”

Jags Fall To North Texas 24-14 On Saturday

November 12, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Receiver Jereme Jones looks in the pass from CJ Bennett in the first half of the 33-31 loss to Texas-San Antonio.


Jags gave up two long touchdown runs over 50+ yards as they lost to North Texas 24-14 on Saturday.

After holding the Jags on a fourth and one at the 49 yard line, Jereme Brown broke the second play of the second quarter, the first play of the possession for UNT, for a 51 yard touchdown run to tie the game with the Jags 7-7.

South Alabama would mount another scoring a little past midway through the second quarter that began with a 17 yard completion from Ross Metheny to Wes Saxton. After an incompletion, Metheny would complete passes to Bryant Lavender and Greg Hollinger for 6 and 14 yards respectively. A facemask penalty would move the ball to the North Texas 13 yard line where Metheny would find Jereme Jones for the touchdown and a 14-7 lead with under three minutes to go in the half.

The next possession by North Texas would begin with an illegal formation penalty against the Jags on the kickoff and wouldn’t get any better after that.

After an incomplete pass, UNT’s Derek Thompson would complete back to back passes for 15 and 18 yards to quickly move down to the Jaguar 33 yard line. Another incomplete pass and a rush for one yard forced the Mean Green to call a time out with 1:33 left in the half to consider their options for a 3rd and 9.

Coming out of the time out, Thompson would connect with his receiver for an 18 yard gain and a first down. After two more incomplete passes and UNT wuold face another long third down play. This time they would only get four yards but one of the Jaguar defenders would pick up the ball, thinking it may have been fumbled, and took off with it. That would draw a delay of game penalty on the Jags to give the Mean Green a fourth and 1 at the Jaguar 5 yard line. Then a substitution infraction would give UNT a first down at the 2 yard line. After a rush for no gain and an incomplete pass, Thompson would find an open receiver for the touchdown to tie the game at 14 with 17 seconds until halftime

South Alabama would begin the second half with a promising drive that would stall at the North Texas 11 yard line with a fourth and 1. Michel Chapuseaux would attempt a 28 yard line but it would miss wide right.

After taking over at the Jaguar 20 yard line, UNT would be flagged for a false start. But this would not matter as Brandin Byrd would take the first down handoff 85 yards for a touchdown to take a 21-14 lead with 9:32 left in the third quarter.

On the next Jaguar possession, Terrance Timmons would fumble the ball away at the Jaguar 46 yard line. North Texas would capitalize by driving down for a field goal to cap off the scoring 24-14.

A couple of possession later, the Jags had a golden opportunity to cut into the Mean Green lead when Tyrell Pearson would pick off a pass at the North Texas 40 yard line and return it down the left sideline. He would return it 38 yards to the two yard line and try to dive/reach for a touchdown, but the officials would rule it a fumble that would go into the end zone and out of bounds giving the ball back to North Texas at the 20 yard line.

The fourth quarter would become a punt fest. The Jags would go for it near midfield when they faced a fourth and 23 at the Jaguar 47, but Metheny’s pass completion to Gabe Loper would come up 2 yards short of the first down.

The Jags record falls to 2-8 (1-5 SBC) while North Texas’ record improves to 4-6 (3-3 SBC).

South Alabama held edges in some statistical categories. Jags edged the Mean Green in total yards (366-303), net passing yards (233-106), first downs (24-12) and time-of-possession (33:08 – 26:52). North Texas would lead the Jags in rushing yards 197-133.

Kendall Houston led the Jaguar running game with 42 yards on 11 carries, and his first touchdown since Georgia State over a year ago, as he filled in for Baker who did not see the field in the second half. Baker would end the game with 39 yards on six carries, Glover would add 36 yards on eight carries and Metheny would gain 17 yards on eight carries.

Metheny would go 23-of-45 for 233 yards and a touchdown. Lavender would haul in six passes for 36 yards, Jereme Jones would add five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Saxton had three catches for 38 yards, Corey Besteda had two catches for 31 yards, Loper added 26 yards on two catches. Greg Hollinger and Corey Waldon would both add a catch for 14 yards each.

Alex Page and Bryson James would both end the game tied for the most tackles with seven. Jake Johnson would add six tackles and a tackle-for-loss. The Jags were unable to get to the quarterback for a sack in this game.

“We played a good first half. We played hard and smart. They dominated us in the third quarter,” Jaguar head coach said after the game. “We had a good drive [to open the second half], and we missed a chip-shot field goal that would have put us up 17-14. We were playing great defense but we missed the field goal, then they scored on a long run and kind of dominated us from that point on. We didn’t much on offense after that.”

“We’re just a few guys behind right now,” Jones continued. “Everything we do has to be perfect, but I told them in the locker room that we have to stick together. This is as tough of a thing as any of us have been through, nobody likes to lose. We have to stick together and back up and support each other. This [transition to FBS] is a tough thing to go through. My hat’s off to North Texas. They came out and made great adjustments at halftime, and played a better game in the second half.”

“The good teams learn from the losses, watch film, make corrections and move forward. That’s what we have to do,” quarterback Ross Metheny said. “We have to put it behind us. It’s tough. There comes a point where being so close is not enough. We’re so close in so many games, and hopefully we’ll put it all together. We have three more chances to win football games, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

“I told the guys in the locker room that I will never quit on them,” stated Jones. “We knew this year was going to be like this, so we have to stick together. Those guys really care about each other, and that’s all I can worry about right now. I can’t worry about what anybody else says. We just have to keep working and building these men up. They’re going through a tough thing right now. They have been asked to step up in a very good Division I league and try to win, we’re just coming up a little bit short in a lot of games.”

South Alabama returns home to Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday for their final home game of the season against Middle Tennessee. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm on Saturday.

Jaguar’s Defense Improves In Second Game Of Season

September 11, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Bill Clark works with the linebacker corps during pregame warmups prior to the Jags 9-3 win over Nicholls State.

The Jaguar defense played a very stingy game against Nicholls State on Saturday. They produced six sacks and 14 tackles for loss against the Colonels for a total loss of 60 yards. That was more like what head coach Joey Jones and defensive coordinator Bill Clark wanted to see out of the Jaguar defense.

The Jags had problems getting pressure on the quarterback and catching ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. They only had 15 sacks and 59 tackles for loss all last season. That is only an average of 1.5 sacks per game and 5.9 tackles for loss per game.

They got a slow start against UTSA when they failed to record a sack and only managed five tackles for loss.

While the Jags didn’t have any film to review for the Colonels, they did have a plan that consisted of getting in the backfield, causing problems and making plays. And that’s what they did.

In addition to the stats mentioned above, they forced two interceptions and a fumble recovery while only allowing 118 yards of total offense. Coach Clark summed it up well after the game. “We got after the quarterback. We said that was our goal coming in. We schemed the whole week trying to get four guys coming at all times and the d-line really gave us a great push. It starts with pressure. That sure helps you out a lot.”

“We got some turnovers today, some takeaways, and we had a lot of three-and-outs,” Clark continued. “We had a tough penalty near the end and we can’t have any penalties, especially gifts like that. But sometimes when you’re playing hard and you’re running your tail off, you get some of those. We’ve just got to be smart, and for the most part I think we have. But our emotion, our energy, the way we tackled, being physical, that’s everything we preached this week. It kind of got back to being who we are. Sometimes, you have to step up. The offense is going to step up one week and we’ll step up another, but this week it was our turn and that’s what a team game is all about. It was our turn to do it and it will make us better for it.”

Jake Johnson got started early by sacking the Colonel quarterback on their third play from scrimmage. He would end the game with eight tackles , 2.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry. Also Pat Moore added five tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a pass break-up in his first start for South Alabama. Two of his sacks came in the second half in the red zone. Anthony Taylor had two tackles for loss and a sack. Terrel Brigham and Bryson James came away with interceptions in the game.

Looking ahead to the next couple games which include away games to NC State and Mississippi State before returning to host their first-ever Sun Belt game against in-state foe Troy University then following a week off they travel to defending Sun Belt champs Arkansas State, Coach Clark had the following to say. “I think this stretch is huge. We’ve got to go in with some confidence. You’re playing people who have got some great skilled athletes and they’re well coached. That’s the elite of the elite, so we have to play. The one we’re going to this week, at the end of the year (last season) they were scoring 50 points a game. I don’t know what they’re doing right now, but we’ve got our work cut out for us. This week we’ll just focus on N.C. State and then we’ll go from there.”

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’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.

South Alabama Hits The Field In Full Pads

August 7, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterbacks Trey Fetner and transfer Ross Metheny participating in position drills.

The Jaguars took to the practice field for their fifth time during preseason camp on Tuesday morning. Though this was the first time they were able to don full pads.

Practice went for almost three hours at the Jaguar Practice Facility behind the Football Fieldhouse on the South Alabama Campus. After warmups, they began with special teams and position-specific drills. Then the offense and defense faced off against each other in first and third-down situational drills which lasted for about 15 minutes.

Highlights from this segment included a 35-yard completion from Trey Fetner to Cameron Broadnax, a 15-yard run by Ross Metheny, a 10-yard gain by T.J. Glover and another 10-yard gain by Fetner. While on the defensive side of the ball, Will Thompson notched a sack and a fumble recovery and Bryson James and Eddy Cabrera both notched a pass breakup each.

The next session was the 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills for about 15 plays. C.J. Bennett went 4-of-7 with a touchdown pass to Wes Saxton for five yards. Metheny recorded three pass completions with one of them going for a 10-yard touchdown to Cameron Broadnax.

The Jaguar offense and defense met in the next session with the ball placed at midfield. Highlights from this drill was a 15-yard rush by Kendall Houston and a 17-yard completion from Bennett to Terrance Timmons. Defensively Thompson added a tackle-for-loss to his daily total, Cabrera added another pass breakup as well and Jake Johnson also recorded a pass breakup.

Coach Jones thought practice went well again. “I thought we had a good practice intensity-wise,” Jones said. “The defense is getting better in pass coverage. I’ve noticed that and talked with coach Walker about that during practice. We’re sticking much tighter to the receivers and the zone coverages are harder to find, so we’re getting better on defense. Offensively, it’s a continuation but I think we’ve made some progress. I really like the effort again. They came out with intensity and practiced hard, so we’re excited about that.”

Senior Linebacker Jake Johnson was excited to put the pads back on as well. “It’s always good to get the pads back on,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this season since I came here to play. It’s a great opportunity to really show what our team is made of. We have gotten bigger, faster and stronger, which is really key.”

B.J. Scott also mentioned that the Jaguars are getting better. “We had good weather and guys were flying around. We got better today,” said Scott. “We are preparing and getting ready every day, and we’ll see what we can do when it’s time. But we should be better off with the experience and leadership we have on defense this year.”

The Jags will return to the field at 7:15am on Wednesday.

Jags Begin Spring Practice Facing Lots Of Changes

February 15, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

As the Jaguars hit the practice field today for the beginning of spring football practice, the offense will begin to make a big change. Players and coaches believe that it will be a change for the better.

With the hiring of Robert Matthews as the new offensive coordinator, the offense will move from a more pro-style offense to a spread offense. Coach Jones believes this will give the team the best chance to put up lots of points. Also, they believe it will take pressure off of the offensive line as they don’t have to sustain their blocks and be pressured to hold protection on every play. The offensive line replaces three starting seniors from last season. While their replacements are larger, they are less experienced than the outgoing seniors.

Additionally Coach Jones believes the switch will also allow the staff to take advantage of the different running types of the running backs on the roster.

Adding to the pressure of learning the new offense, the Jags will be stepping up their schedule in the fall as they go into the season year of the two-year transition into the FBS level. As part of this, South Alabama will play an eight game Sun Belt schedule in addition to a non-conference schedule of all FBS schools consisting of road trips to Mississippi State, NC State, and Hawaii while hosting Texas-San Antonio and Nicholls State.

“It’s a good bit different because it’s a spread offense and we’re going to be in the gun, which is really what I have run most of my years in coaching,” Coach Jones said. “I decided three years ago to run the power [offense] and be a physical football team, but the spread is what I really feel comfortable with and I think we’ve got the people to do it.  Sometimes you need some change, I think it excites you.”

“We understand that we are going to have to get it done quickly, because of the schedule we’re playing,” Jones continued. “We’ve got to be as good as we can be, so there is a sense of urgency to getting this done and getting it done right. It’s probably the biggest thing this spring that we’ve got to concentrate on. People are wondering if we are going to win a game next year, I have no clue what will happen from a win-loss standpoint, but I do know that we will be competing at the highest level of college football in the country. We’ve gotten there pretty fast, but we have got to elevate our play and become much better at what we do.”

After the season finale loss to Cal Poly back in November, Coach Jones changed his approach some. The staff has introduced competition to their everyday life. “Not only on the practice field this spring, but going to class, study hall, in the weight room,” he said. Jones believes that if its second nature the Jaguars will do it when on field. “There are consequences now, because there will be in the fall if we don’t play well.”

“We meet after every season as a staff and we meet as a team. The thing I challenged the team with was that I felt that leadership is something we have got to concentrate on this year,” said Coach Jones. “We have broken down into 13 different teams within the team, and each one has a captain. Everything they do in the offseason program is done by that team; there is peer pressure, things they have to do every day. And if they do anything the wrong way or just miss, they pay for it. We were a pretty disciplined team, but we are going to take it to the highest level. We’re not trying to punish them, we’re trying to create great discipline.”

As mentioned previously, Coach Jones announced changes in responsibilities for his assistants, both on the offensive side and on the defensive side of the ball. First year offensive coordinator Robert Matthews will take over working with the offensive line, while John Turner moves to tight ends, and Bryant Vincent moves to quarterbacks. Defensively Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, will take over coaching the linebackers while Kurt Crain moves to defensive tackles and Brian Turner will concentrate on the defensive ends. Duwan Walker will continue coaching the secondary and Tommy Perry will continue coaching the running backs.

“After bringing coach Matthews in, he knew exactly what he wanted with the offensive line and had coached tackles. Rather than training somebody else and creating a learning curve there, I just felt like we would move him in and let him coach them,” said Coach Jones. “John was extremely happy about it, tight ends are a different dimension but he really liked the idea, and Bryant has been coaching quarterbacks his whole life and is really comfortable with them. Bill wasn’t really coaching a position, which I wanted him to, and he is comfortable with linebackers. Kurt had coached defensive linemen at Auburn, that’s really what he has always coached, and is excited about the move.”

Offensively, all of the changes make very good sense. Coach Matthews did a great job with the offensive line in his previous stints. Also Coach Gregory was the quarterbacks coach, so Coach Vincent’s move there also puts him back into coaching a position he is very familiar and comfortable with.

Defensively, Coach Crain has done a great job with the inside linebackers. His work with the defensive tackles will make a big difference as well.

There are a few players who will not be able to take part in spring drills or will not be at full speed. Kendall Houston and Enrique Williams are not scheduled to practice while they are recovering from offseason surgeries. Bryson James will not be able to return, if he is able to return at all, until late in the spring drills. Brandon Ross and B.J. Scott will take part, but in a limited role.

While the team is coming off a season that saw their first loss, facing a complete change of the offensive scheme and actually ending the season with a loss, Coach Jones is not worried how the team will respond. “I have never seen our team quite this motivated because they realize the challenges ahead. But they’re also excited about those,” he said. “This is where they all wanted to be, they’ve dreamed about playing these kind of teams every week. There’s no doubt there is a difference.”

Tuesday morning quarterback C.J. Bennett joined the WNSP morning show and talked about the changes on offense. He said that he played in a spread offense throughout high school, so the change to a pro-style offense was a bit of a transition for him. So he thinks the transition back to the spread will be an easy one for him. He also mentioned that they replace three offensive linemen and named Drew Dearman, Shaun Artz, Melvin Meggs and Trey Clark while they also expect big things from McKeller as well.

As for the running backs, Bennett said he has never seen a runner like Kendall Houston. He has excellent balance and a hard runner. Baker adds more speed and having a healthy Brandon Ross will make for an excellent trio of runners in the backfield.

They have a big challenge in front of them, but you better believe that this team has the heart and drive to tackle it.

Jags wrap up second week of spring practice

March 5, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones observing his team as they warm up in Dothan for the Wiregrass Classic last season.

South Alabama completed it’s second week of spring practice and will now have four days off while students are on spring break.

On Monday, the first day of the second week of practice, started at 7:00AM and went for about two hours. The practice was split into two overall periods which focused on individual and team practice. Coach Jones said he is more interested in the individual portion in the spring, rather than the team portion. “I like to see how much better each guy is getting, and to evaluate talent. I think we have some individuals who are, and we’re challenging the ones who aren’t so that by the end of the spring every player will get better, that’s the whole goal.”

The Jags focused on first downs and third down plays in the red-zone on the first day of the week. Jereme Jones made a nice diving catch in the back corner of the end zone to score a touchdown. Also, Kendall Houston caught a screen pass for a score from CJ Bennett. Coach Jones remarked that he thought the final segment was pretty even, but that he would have to watch the game film to determine for certain.

On Tuesday, the Jags hit the field at 7:45AM for another two-hour workout. Coach Gregory, the offensive coordinator, echoed Coach Jones’ words about spring practice being about individual from Monday when he stated, “We’re not anywhere close to where we want to be as an offensive football team, but that’s really not our goal in the spring.  Our goal has been to focus on individuals.”

Coach Gregory then continued along this line of talk when he used a couple Jaguar players as an example, such as returning receiver Corey Besteda and the new player Greg Hollinger. “For instance, are Corey Besteda and Greg Hollinger going to become big-time receivers, or are they just going to look like big-time receivers? Is Tremain Smith going to become a big-time offensive tackle or look like one? I’m using those guys as examples, but how good is each individual player going to be? That’s what it is really all about.”

Another interesting insight from Coach Gregory on Tuesday was when he spoke about scheming in the spring. “As far as scheming, we try to do enough to have a chance to move the ball but we don’t game plan. We’ll come back and do that in the fall. I never want to look at a situation in the spring thinking we have to win this drill, because I don’t want to do something now that we will not do next season.”

Another group of positions that is receiving lots of focus this spring is the offensive line. The offensive staff is working hard on individual fundamentals. Coach Gregory mentioned that he is looking at their ability to block, their footwork and their hand placement.

Offensive line coach John Turner said that they are working to improve everything they do. “We start with our split and stance, then we look at our first step, hat placement and our hands. We go back and try to break down every play to see if we are accomplishing those things. And we try to harp on effort. One thing that we know is that we are going to play hard — I don’t care if they are 190 pounds, we are going to play hard by God. So we go back and grade that every day to make sure that we are challenging ourselves to give a great effort.”

What helps the Jaguars on the line is that they will be returning all five players who started the 2010 season finale against Arkansas-Monticello. Center Trey Clark, guards Jon Griffin and Melvin Meggs and tackles Brian Krauskopf and Levi Slaydon. Additionally, Chris Brunson who started four games for the Jaguars last season before a season ending injury will also return. However, four of the five will exhaust their eligibility at the end of the 2011 season. Meggs is the only underclassman.

However that has allowed several of the Jaguars underclassmen from the second recruiting class to work in and become integral contributors to the unit. Coach Turner named Ucambre Williams, Drew Dearman, Shane Doty and Chris May as some of the integral members of the group.

Coach Turner’s commented on these younger players by saying, “I tell you what, we’re finding some players. We are looking at some younger guys who are getting better. Obviously, they still have a long way to go, we’re not there yet. But I am proud of them, they have improved every day. You can see them compete, you can see them fight. They are not backing down. They are working very hard to try and get their assignments and learn where they are supposed to be.”

Injuries have affected the offense this spring. Brunson and Shaun Artz have been unable to participate in drills. While Brandon Ross is continuing to recover from knee surgery. TJ Glover is being moved from running back to wide receiver.

Coach Gregory mentioned the injuries when he spoke. “T.J.’s absence has hurt us the most. We know Brandon can play, but we’re moving T.J. and there were some things we wanted to do with him at receiver that we wanted to look at in the spring but have junked. I think the big loss is Chris and Shaun. They are two big bodies, and we need to get bigger up front. Shaun is 290 and Chris is almost 300 pounds, we need them in there as starters or top back-ups who are going to play a lot.”

Thursday, the Jags hit the practice field behind the fieldhouse for the eighth time, marking the halfway point of spring practice. In addition to their individual drills, the team period focused on third and goal situations in the red zone. Then both first and second team offensive units had one chance to score during a two-minute drill.

CJ Bennett guiding the first team from their own 40 yard line into the red zone with three consecutive completions to Bryant Lavender, Kevin Helms and Jereme Jones. But the group had to settle for a 28 yard Jordan Means field goal.

The second team offense lead by Myles Gibbon crossed midfield on their second play when Gibbon found Taylor Noon for a gain of 24 yards. Three consecutive incomplete passes forced a 4th and 10. Gibbon found Greg Hollinger in the back corner of the end zone for a 36 yard touchdown on the last play of the team session.

Just like the offense, the defense has been working on the basics at each position. They begin each practice with tackling. As Coach Bill Clark, the defensive coordinator, says they are trying to be expert tacklers because that is what defense is all about. It’s about proper technique and angles.

Another facet that the Jaguars are working on is take-aways. In the course of winning all 17 of the schools games thus far, they have totaled 48 turnovers. They had 23 in the first season and 25 in the second season. Coach Clark wants to increase that number again in order to help give the team an even better chance to win.

Coach Clark comments, “We always say that a turnover is a gift that the offense gives us. We’re not looking for gifts, but we’ll take them. “We know that we have to physically take the ball away, and there’s a science to that — punching it out, stripping it, scooping and scoring.  There are a ton of techniques to it, and we want to create that mentality that we will get the ball back to our offense.”

Another technical aspect that is being worked on this spring is how the defenders pursue the opposition. Coach Clark explains by saying, “Our goal, when you look at our defense, is to have people say they’ve never seen anyone run that fast to the ball. But there’s a way to do that. There’s leverage, which shoulder to keep the ball on. That’s how you keep from having big plays against you. So that’s where we start, putting those three things — pursuit, tackling and takeaways — together. Then you go to individual fundamentals. And so far we’ve been pleased, it’s been a real good spring up to this point.”

Coach Clark looked to shore up the secondary in the offseason. With transfers from four-year schools and junior colleges added to the roster, everything was looking pretty good. However only two players, Spanish Fort’s Ameriol Finley and Damond Smith have been able to participate in drills these first two weeks.

Coach Clark talked about the secondary. “The future is bright, but we’re a little frustrated. There are different reasons why guys aren’t here, and though we see them coming they’re not here yet. A lot of the guys who are out there now people have seen before, and they have improved. They have another year of experience and are another year older, so we’re excited about them. A lot of these guys have been with us and are going into their third season. That in and of itself is exciting. When we add these guys on the way, we feel like it’s going to be a good situation.”

While the Jags continue to run a 3-4 defense, Coach Clark and Coach Jones have created a hybrid position which combines the responsibilities of defensive end and outside linebacker. So far, the individuals who have made the move into this hybrid position have been Anthony Taylor, Logan Bennett, Clifton Crews and Alex Page.

Coach Clark elaborates on this new position. “For us, the position has fit real well. We think it fits our personnel probably a little bit better. “You can see from watching us that it is a little bit different, and I think it’s going to help us for what we’re seeing being done offensively.

He continues, “Defensively, it’s all about stopping what offenses are doing. You look at your schedule and identify who our opponents are, because we have to look ahead to those teams and what they do. We always say that we are reactors on defense, we counter the trends in offensive football. You can see from the national championship game the spread formations used and the speed of the game, and that’s what we have to get ready for.”

Then to wrap up the week, the Jaguars moved their Saturday scrimmage to Friday morning at 7:30AM due to weather concerns. The team took part in a full scrimmage when it ran through about 100 snaps.

The Jaguar defense held the offense to less than 300 total yards while giving up two touchdowns and three field goals. The scrimmage lasted almost two hours.

The offense started quick with Myles Gibbon moving the team 70 yards in 14 plays which was capped off by Ellis Hill scoring the touchdown on a 2-yard run. The third and four play back on the offense’s 37 yard line was one of the highlights on the drive. Gibbon connected with Greg Hollinger for 34 yards to move the chains. On another third down play later in the drive. When the offense needed 14 yards, Gibbon found Richard Ross for 15 for another first down.

Gibbon would finish the scrimmage 5-of-6 for 57 yards to lead the stable of quarterbacks.

CJ Bennett lead the offense on it’s ensuing drive. Bennett found Lamontis Gardner for 12 yards then Jereme Jones for nine more yards to move the offense across midfield. Kendall Houston reeled off a 16 yard run on third and one to move the chains and get into field goal range. However, an attempt at a 50 yard field goal would fly wide right. Bennett would complete five passes for 50 yards in the scrimmage.

The defense would strengthen and limited the offense to only two field goals on the next nine possessions. Both field goals came on drives led by Ray Cotton. But the defense also forced two turnovers during that stretch.

Bryson James both forced and recovered a fumble on the defense’s 27 yard line. Jonathan Cameron intercepted a pass at the goal line on the first play of a drive that started on the 30 yard line.

Another drive that started at the defense’s 30 yard line resulted in a touchdown. Demetre Baker ran on the first four plays of the possession for a total of 20 yards. Then Bennett found Ross for an eight yard completion. Then Baker ran again for a one yard gain. Then Kendall Houston capped it off with a one yard run.

James and Justin Harris both recorded four stops tieing for team best. Jake Johnson led a group of four players who made three tackles.

Richard Ross and Greg Hollinger were the lone players to record multiple receptions with Hollinger leading all with four catches for 55 yards. Julien Valentin led the ground game with eight carries for 41 yards. Baker and Santuan McGee each added 24 yards.

Coach Jones spoke after the scrimmage saying, “I think we have some guys who have gotten fundamentally better, especially the freshmen who joined us at the beginning of last season. They have really jumped. Each coach was taking their guys trying to get everyone involved in the scrimmage. I told them not to even worry about trying to group guys together. We ran about 100 plays including the kicking game, which was what we wanted to do. And I don’t think anybody got hurt, which is always a positive.”

Coach Jones continues with comments about both sides of the ball starting with defense. “Defensively we had a good day, they got after it; they played with a lot of effort and intensity.”

Then he commented about the offense by saying, “All three quarterbacks came out and played well today. They were calm in the huddle and did a good job running the team. We also got a little better blocking on the offensive line today. I know I keep saying this, but it’s not about who won the scrimmage. I don’t even care. It’s about who is getting better fundamentally. That’s what we keep looking at and the way we set practices up.”

In addition to the offensive versus defensive plays, the Jaguars also worked on special teams play throughout the scrimmage. One period was devoted to kickoff returns while another was devoted to kickoff coverage. All three kickers on the roster attempted a minimum of three field goals during and after the scrimmage.

The Jags will have four days off with the next practice scheduled for Wednesday at 7:45AM.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2010-09-28

September 28, 2010 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 2 Comments 

Ray Cotton takes a knee to run the final seconds off the clock against against Pikeville.

With Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian they had defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner on the show. Coach Jones called an audible so to speak, instead of his normal “Joey Jones Special” of black and white chicken, he went with something else.

Lee opened up talking about the road trip to Dothan to play Edward Waters. The win was great but Lee praised how well the trip itself went. Coach Jones said that many people, especially the players, did not realize how much time and effort went into planning this trip. They want to make the trip as similar to a home game as possible. Coach Jones estimated about 2,000 fans for the Jags and about 300 or so for Edward Waters.

Lee asked Coach Jones what the players got out of the game on Saturday. His answer was that they got several things out of it. The big thing was they got lots of players in the game to help build some depth. This is something that will be crucial for the team, not only going down the stretch, but also in coming years as the Jags will be playing better opponents. Also, it’s hard to get your subs time to play when you are playing very good teams where you not only want your best players on the field, but you need them on the field to help you win the game.

One position that Coach Jones mentioned where they want to continue to build more depth is the offensive line. This is something that all teams want to build and it seems that all teams continually feel that they are not deep enough on the offensive line.

Coach Jones said that the two’s got anywhere between 36-44 plays each on Saturday which is a good number for subs. Plus they got scout team players into the game. One name that was mentioned by Lee was Michael Nevels who scored two touchdowns late in the game. Lee said he was glad to be on the trip just to be able to hear about his story. Nevels was about 6th or 7th on the depth chart and he got in to play and scored twice.

Lee started talking about the Jags game plan where they wanted to throw the ball early. Lee remarked that the Jags could have just run the ball down the throat of Edward Waters without even throwing the ball and won the game easily. But Coach Jones said that they wanted to throw early because when you get ahead by about four touchdowns you don’t want to continue throwing the ball and be perceived as running up the score on the other team. After they scored the first touchdown in two plays, which were both passing plays, they decided then to starting reining it back some and start to mix it up.

Lee mentioned that in the second half he noticed that the clock continued to run. Coach Jones mentioned that he and the EWC coach agreed to let the clock run.

Brian Turner came on and spoke about the recruiting front. He said that they meet every week specifically about recruiting. They start many of their meeting speaking about recruiting and spend lots of their time reviewing video and evaluating players. Lee asked how many players they were looking at and Brian answered that they currently have 125 players on their recruiting board. Among them, some have offers from Alabama or Auburn while others do not have an offer as of yet.

Lee asked of that number that they have on their board, how many they are looking to sign. Coach Turner said they are looking to sign from 20-22 players. It’s based on their needs at certain positions and if they hit that number that’s great. If they don’t they will save them for the next year.

Lee then turned his attention to Coach Jones in asking where their emphasis is this year in recruiting. Coach Jones answered that the secondary needs depth. Next he mentioned offensive lineman which he also said that he believes that you cannot have enough offensive lineman. He estimates that a team needs to have anywhere from 16-18 scholarships in offensive lineman.

Lee mentioned special teams, in particular kickoff’s. Coach Jones said that is a real concern for the team right now. Lee asked what they can do about it and Coach Jones said that he thinks, that right now, its a mental issue. That the mind controls the body. Obviously they know how to kick the ball because they have gotten to this point. They know the steps, they know the routine. They just have to get their minds back on track. He likened it to a baseball player going through a slump, they just have to keep working through it until they work out the issue causing the problem.

Lee had a few email questions for Coach Jones. The first was asking when the first Sun Belt Conference opponent appear on the Jags schedule. Coach Jones answered that it will be 2012 when they will be playing a full Sun Belt schedule. He does not know who they will be playing yet, but they have eight games slotted for Sun Belt teams. This will be a year before they are eligible for the Sun Belt championship in 2013.

Next question asked about the policy for South Alabama in scheduling FCS teams once they become full members at the FBS level (IE Division I-A). Teams can play one a year, the rest will be FBS teams. But they may be some years when we won’t play any FCS teams. For the four non-conference games a year, they want to shoot for three FBS teams and maybe one FCS teams per year. A qualification to that was that two of the games will be “big games.” Like upcoming games against Tennessee, LSU or Ohio State which are also referred to as “money games.” It doesn’t matter who they play, they will look for the team who pays the most money to help with recruiting and give the players experience as well.

The next question was about Edward Waters. South Alabama currently has them scheduled for a game in 2011 but the person emailed asking if Coach Jones may be looking into buying them out for next year in order to schedule a better opponent. Coach Jones declined to say anything about this since they most likely have a contract for a two game series. But he did confirm that they have had some talks about that.

The next email was from someone asking about several players specifically so here are their names and what the coaches had to say about them. Terrell Brigham, defensive back, a really good athlete and a true freshman who is progressing well. Ryan Onkka, tight end, who Coach Jones thinks he is really talented but that he needs to put on about 30 pounds. Rush Hendricks, tight end, a tough, physical kid who is also very smart with a good ACT score and is picking up the offensive pretty well. Will Thompson, defensive end, he came in to the team in January but is a true freshman on the field and has made it into every game thus far. Davin Hawkins, defensive back, good size freshman that has helped out on special teams. Desmond Jones, linebacker, a walk on that is doing a great job and coach Crain his pretty high on him. But Coach Jones added that all of these players are freshman who are in the process and need to learn their positions and their side of the ball.

Lee then moved on to recap injuries. Myles Gibbon and Richard Ross did not play due to injury while C.J. Bennett did not play due to discipline reasons. Myles practiced today though his knee bothered him a little bit, but Coach Jones expects him to play on Saturday. Richard Ross did not practice today and thinks he is a 50/50 chance to play on Saturday.

The Jags came out of the game with EWC pretty healthy. Bryson James came out with an injured shoulder but he will be okay.

Coach Jones reiterated his stance that he will not take away a players starting job because of an injury, but they do still have to compete. He will continue to be the starter until someone beats them out.

Brian Turner breaks down Kentucky-Wesleyan (3-1) a bit by saying that they have a very good offense. Their offensive line protects the quarterback well. The quarterback is a lefty with good accuracy. Overall the offense is good. They spread the ball around. Coach Jones thinks they are well coached and could score on the Jags. But they will prepare for them and see what happens on Saturday.

After the second break, Lee came back and spoke with Coach Jones about Justin Dunn who intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown in the first quarter against EWC. But then he moved on to talking about linebackers and, in particular, he mentioned Ray Lewis, an NFL player who was interviewed on the Colin Cowherd show. Lewis said that it’s not about speed with linebackers, it’s about angles. Coach Jones completely agreed. He said the entire game of football is about angles, from offensive line to linebackers to receivers. It all hinges around angles. A guy who understands that can play faster on the field.

The first caller to the show asked how her cousin, who plays football in Louisiana and loves South Alabama, could get recruited by the Jags. Brian Turner answered that first they need to send their video in to the program so they can evaluate him on film. Also they need to include their information so they can get materials out to them and, if they are a senior, start calling and talking with and recruiting them.

Travis Toth spoke about Saturdays game encouraging fans to wear their red to help them with the “red out” the stadium. The team will be wearing red from head to toe which is a departure from their normal home attire of red jersey’s over white pants. The weather forecast is 0% chance of rain with a high of about 82 degrees. He then touted how affordable it is to go to a South Alabama game, from parking at Bel Air Mall and riding the Wave to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to the ticket prices and good seating with affordable concessions. It’s just a great deal all around to come out and support South Alabama on a beautiful football weekend.

Lee also noted that the Auburn game is an early one and the Alabama game doesn’t kick off until 7pm so you can still catch both of them as well as get out to the Jags game and have one heck of a day.

Coach Jones mentioned that they have had about 23,000 people out to the two home games thus far this season and that they have a great crowd travel to Dothan for the game. He also mentioned that they have a great core group of fans that are going to be there for the team and he appreciates every single person who makes it out to the games.

Travis said that he was shocked to arrive at around noon, which he thought was going to be early for the day, and see the visitor side full of tailgaters already cooking it up and enjoying the day.

Lee asked Coach Turner about recruiting again, this time to see if they are expanding outside of the immediate area and the south east. Coach Turner said that they are getting interest and video from every state in the Union. The main difference between what they are recruiting now and what they were recruiting when they started is the caliber of player. Coach Turner was unsure the type of player they were going to be able to get but they have been amazing at what they are getting now. They are going head to head with Conference-USA, the Big East and whomever they have to go against for players and they are winning those battles.

Lee asked what kind of players Coach Jones will have to get to compete with NC State, who the Jags play next year. Coach Jones said that they are going to get more players that USA is going to get right now, they are an established Division I team for a while. But what South Alabama has to do is to evaluate better. Everyone knows who the blue chip guys are and many will go after them. What South Alabama has to do is to find the guys who may be an inch too short for these top level programs but who play like those players and bring them into the program. Where the top programs will get a defensive end who is 6’5” and weighing 250 or more, the Jags need to find that 6’4” or maybe a little shorter player who is only about 210 but that they think can be 250 pounds and get them there.

The difference when South plays NC State will be depth. When USA starts to bring in their second string guys against NC State’s second string guys who are the same size just a bit younger, that’s going to be the difference.

Lee asked if USA subscribes to recruiting services who rank players with the familiar stars rating. Coach Turner answered that yes, they do use those services and that it helps of course. Coach Turner says that some of the 5 star ratings could be overrating players. What Coach Jones tells them is that they are going to go after players who fit their need. If they can play, fit their system and they think that they will do well then they will recruit them and bring them in if they can. Pretty much Coach Jones summed it up as if the recruiting services are picking up the players and ranking them, then they are pretty good players. Some will be overrated some will be underrated, but that the majority of them will be pretty good players. If other schools like them are recruiting players then they feel that they are right trying to recruit them also.

Sorry, but I missed the final segment of the show but this recap is also getting quite lengthy. So wear your red out to Ladd-Peebles on Saturday at 4pm to cheer on the Jags as they try to go 4-0 on the season and 11-0 all time in school history thus far.

Also visit http://coachoftheyear.com/ and vote for Coach Joey Jones for Division I-A coach of the year. Currently he is still sitting nicely in 3rd place behind Gene Chizik of Auburn and Nick Saban of Alabama and ahead of Bo Pelini of Nebraska and Dabo Swinney of Clemson.

Go Jags!!

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