Defense Stiffens Up In Second Preseason Scrimmage

August 23, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Saturday morning was beautiful day for South Alabama to have their scrimmage. It was completely opposite of how the weather had been all week when it force practices to be cut short or canceled. It was also very different for the defense from last weeks performance when they gave up six touchdowns and nearly four hundred yards.

The defense came out with something to prove on Saturday and did they prove it to the offense. They only gave up one touchdown and two field goals outside of the red zone and goal line situational drills. Justin Dunn lead the defense with five tackles and one assist behind the line of scrimmage. Five players, Chris Cooke, Clifton Crews, Bryson James, Matt Saucier and Enrique Williams all had four tackles with Cooke and Williams both having two tackles for loss. Charlie Higgenbotham added three tackles while Josh Chestang had two tackles, both being sacks on quarterback Myles Gibbon. Zach Rone recovered a fumble and Brett Hancock came away with an interception to accound for the two first-half turnovers.

The scrimmage began with the Jaguar offense starting deep in their own territory at the two yard-line. In four plays the offense picked up two first downs. Brandon Ross gained six yards on a run for one of the first downs and Gibbon hitting Kevin Helms on the left sideline for 21 yards for the other first down. On the offenses second series, Enrique Williams tackled Eli Smith for a safety on the second-team’s first snap. However they regrouped and picked up a pair of first downs. Brennan Sim found Corey Besteda for 11 yards for one. Then three plays later Sim found Bryant Lavender for 17 yards for the other first down.

On Saturday, Kim Shugart posted an article on al.com for the Mobile Press-Register about the place-kickers. It covered their troubles in last weeks scrimmage and continued struggles to become consistent. You can read the article here. But it was Michel Chapuseaux who scored the first points for the offense on Saturday with a 38 yard field goal. A key play setting up the field goal attempt was a 35 yard completion from Gibbon to Ralph Turner. On the very next series, Chapuseaux had a 48 yard attempt hit the left upright and bounce off. That attempt was set up by a 19 yard completion to Lemontis Gardner by Gibbon on a third and nine from their own 41 yard line. While Lawson McGlon hit both PAT attempts and Jordan Means hit a PAT as well.

The next series the first-team drove inside the 15 yard line but the second sack of the day by Chestang, eventually led to a fourth and four situation from the 11 yard line. Gibbon then ran a quarterback draw but was stopped one yard shy by Anthony Taylor.

On the second-teams second drive, they drove to the defense’s 38 yard line but Nick Owens was sacked by Alex Tamariz for an eight yard loss on third down to end the series. However, Owens would lead the offense to the events first touchdown the next time on the field, capping off a five play 50 yard drive with an Eli Smith rush off right tackle for 27 yards.

The second possession by the third-team offense crossed midfield as well, but was ended by a fumble recovered by Rone.

After a short break, the defense came back and prevented the offense from scoring on both series following the break. On the first of two red zone possession drills starting at the defense’s 20 yard line, Chapuseaux hit a 39 yard field goal. The scrimmage ended with two touchdowns on goal line drives starting at the 5 yard line. Ross found the end zone on the first team’s first play. Then on third and goal from the six, Owens rolled left and hit Nick Brunson in the corver of the end zone for the other touchdown.

Myles Gibbon went 8-for-13 for 105 yard in the air and 21 yards rushing on six carries. Nick Owens went 6-for8 for 45 yards and a touchdown. Brennan Sim went 2-for-7 for 28 yards and an interception. Gabe Graham went 3-for-4 adding 28 yards also. Each quarterback was sacked once. Combined all four South Alabama quarterbacks went 19-of-32 for 206 yards. Ross had 10 rushes for 47 yards, Eli Smith had four for 30 yards and Anthony Mostella had 3 rushes for 20 yards. Combined the offense rushed 43 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns. The offense combined for 310 yards for the scrimmage. The complete stats can be found here.

After the scrimmage, Coach Jones commented on the defense by saying, “Defensively, they did a great job of bracing themselves in the red zone. They bent between the 20-yard lines, but toughened up. Offensively, we need to learn how to punch the ball in the end zone. That’s where most offenses have problems early in the year, and some of that is not allowing cut blocks because we don’t want to do that to our own guys. When you’re in the red zone, it’s hard to overcome a loss on first or second down, because the defense really has you where they want you.”

“One thing that the defense needs to work on is coming off the goal line,” Coach Jones observed. “One of my pet peeves is when we can’t keep teams pinned deep in their own territory. If we have them on the 2-yard line, let’s keep them down there, make them punt and get the ball around the 50. Then you have a greater percentage chance of scoring a touchdown.”

Jones continued speaking about the offense, “Nick had one of his better practices, he really did well this morning. I thought Myles had a good day too, he didn’t make any glaring mistakes that I saw. He was real poised out there, and he’s not getting flustered running our offense, which I like to see from a young quarterback. Brandon was tough running the ball. He’s not in shape yet because he’s been out a good deal with an injury, so he is not totatlly ready for a ball game. But, he is very tough on the inside.”

Gibbon spoke after the scrimmage saying, “We need to become more effective inside the red zone, because the most important part of an offense is being able to score when you get there. We had some big plays, but when we get down the field we need to execute better. Hopefully we can run the ball better in the red zone because when you’re passing there is so little space to throw to.”

Overall Coach Jones was happy with how the team responded and performed in their second preseason scrimmage. “Overall, I’m very pleased with both sides of the ball,” he said. “I thought we were a little more organized today, especially on the sidelines. One of the things we were trying to do was get them in the types of situations they’ll see in games as best we could, I think they learned a lot from that today. This was a real successful scrimmage.”

However, this team is quite different from the team that showed up for the spring scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium back in April. Coach Jones knew they would react differently because of that and he was right too. “It’s not that they were tight, but you could sense a little difference,” he said. “That’s why we brought them out here. We’ll do it again one more time before the first game to get them used to these surroundings.”

Myles Gibbon spoke about his visit to the stadium after the scrimmage by saying, “It felt good to finally come to where our home will be this fall and be in this atmosphere. When we walked out on the field, I just tried to imagine what it is going to be like having loads of people in here cheering and the stands filled from top to bottom. We’ll see what happens, but it’s exciting thinking about it.”

The Jags will have Sunday off and will return to the practice field for their 3:30pm practice time on Monday.

Spring Scrimmage A Resounding Success For South Alabama

April 11, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

 

players, managers, trainers and staff have been involved. To come to a game like this, where I was expecting 1,500 people to be out there, to see 8,000 fans is a great testament to the city of Mobile and how they are going to support this program. I think that this town is ready for football, and they are excited about Sept. 5 coming soon.”

 

The first team offense dominated their second team opponents in the defense on Friday. Richard Ross and Matt Saucier both scored twice as the first team offense scored points on all five of its possessions. Similarly, the first team defense dominated its opponents in the second team offense by only allowing six total yards and no first downs.

The first team offense did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard. They drove 70 yards on four plays in 1:47 with Ross bouncing off two tackles to finish a 25 yard run for a touchdown. Turner sparked the possession with a 36 yard gain on a reverse to open the series.

With just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Ross scored again on a one yard pludge into the endzone to cap off an eight play, 59 yard drive. On third down, Saucier found Lim Windham for a 14 yard strike to keep the series going. Later, Saucier set up the Ross score with a 12 yard scamper.

On the first units’ next drive Saucier accounted for most of the yards running the ball. He had a 14 yard run early in the series. Then one play after Saucier ran for 33 yards down the sideline, he hit Kevin Helms for an eight yard touchdown pass. The 2:13 drive spanned 60 yards on five plays.

The first team offense also put together a long drive that ended with a field goal. The drive lasted for more than eight minutes with Saucier keeping the drive alive with two big plays on third down. First was a scramble for a first down and the second was a key thrid down completion to Paul Bennett for another first down. Lawson McGlon capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.

Saucier would score the final points of the game with a one-yard quarterback sneak with 4:08 left in the ending quarter. In all on the final drive, Saucier ran four times. The drive covered 47 yards on eight plays including a 27 yard pass to Anthony Mostella.

The only first down the second team offense saw was on a pass interference call on its first play from scrimmage. Then two plays later they came the closest they would all game to gaining a first down when they faced a third-and-one at their own 44 yard line. Dunn hit Marquis Chapel and dropped him for a two yard loss forcing them to punt.

In total, USA gained 278 yards of offense on 43 plays with an average of 6.5 yards per snap. However, the first team offense accounted for 272 of those yards. Saucier was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 10 rushes including a touchdown. He was also 7-13 for 78 yards and a touchdown through the air.

Santuan McGee gained 41 yards on three attempts and Ross had 29 yards on three rushes while scoring twice. Ralph Turner gained 52 all-purpose yards, running for 35 and catching two passes for 17 yards. Turner was the only Jaguar player to have more than one reception.

Justin Dunn and Eric Dalgleish each had four stops, both accounted for two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, in leading the first team defense. With Dunn and Dalgleish leading them, the first team defense forced five three-and-outs with the last one seeing Richard Courtney score on a fumble return of 21 yards, which was forced by Dalgleish.

Following the scrimmage, Coach Jones announced the winners of the program’s first ever spring awards as voted on by the coaches. Trey Clark (offensive line), Andy Dalgleish (defensive line), Justin Dunn (linebacker), Tim Harvey (defensive backs), Kevin Helms (tight ends), Santuan McGee (running backs) and Courtney Smith (wide receiver) were presented with the Outstanding Performance Award at their position with Michel Chapuseaux, Eric Dangleish, Jordan Means, Anthony Mostella and Ralph Turner sharing the honor on special teams.

Paul Bennett (tight end), Josh Chestang (linebacker), Chris Cooke (linebacker), Lamontis Gardner (wide receiver), Anton Graphenreed (defensive back), Cory Pittman (offensive line), Richard Ross (running back), Matt Saucier (quarterback), Anthony Taylor (defensive line) and Lim Windham (wide receiver) were named the most improved players at their position.

The Jaguar Leadership Award was given to Bennett on offense and Harvey on defense. Dunn, Brian Krauskopf, Jerron Mitchell and Erling Riis earned the Jaguar Strength Award. Bennett and Clark were also given Outstanding Academic Awards.