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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Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-09-18

September 19, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones looking on as the Jaguars warm up for their game at North Carolina State.

Lee Shirvanian and Jaguar head football coach Joey Jones is joined by defensive line coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

Lee opened the show by saying that the number 1 question people asked him was who is going to be the quarterback. Lee then talked about how quarterback is the one position in all sports that brings the most scruitiny and speculation.

Back when he was at Alabama, coach Jones said that they ran the wishbone a lot and so they rotated between two or three quarterbacks because they were kind of like running backs themselves. Now, you pretty much go with one quarterback the whole game. What the Jags are trying to do is to get one of the quarterbacks to seperate themselves from the rest so they can have a definite starting quarterback as they head into Conference play. He mentioned that the Jags plan to rotate again this week but that they have to make a decision after that for Troy. As for who played the best between the two this week, Coach Jones said they both played pretty well and that he could not make a call about who was better.

Jones continued by saying that both quarterbacks completed around 66% of their passes, which is very good, but third down was their issue overall as an offense. Coach Jones said that NC State’s defense had something to do with that, they did a great job rushing the quarterback. He continued saying that their defensive front was much better than last year. Coach Jones ended by saying that the Jags did well except for third down.

Lee pointed out an interesting stat that the Jags are last place in the Sun Belt offensively on third down, but the defense is in first place in the conference on third down. Coach Jones said that is something they have to correct.

Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s Restaurant, where the Joey Jones Show takes place, asked what he was going to do about the cowbells while in Starkville. Coach Jones said that they are practicing with speakers blaring the sound of cowbells so they will be used to it when they play Mississippi State on Saturday. Coach Jones said that they just have to be able to communicate.

Coach Jones then introduced Coach Turner, he is the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Turner was part of the original staff and came to South Alabama from Troy.

Lee’s first question to coach Turner was to ask if he thought the Jaguar defensive line did well against a skilled, veteran NC State line. Coach Turner said that he thought they did play well overall. There were times that they didn’t play well and that caused problems and allowed a few touchdowns. But overall they played well.

Lee then asked coach Jones how he felt about the game and how it went. Coach Jones answered by saying that the offense was terrible and that third just killed them. But, if you look at the offense on first down, they played really well and more like what they wanted to do. They wanted to get five or six yards on first down but then their defensive front got to the Jaguar quarterback at times and caused problems. Additionally they were not able to run the ball effectively either.

Jones then spoke about the defense by saying they started off pretty well but gave up some big plays like the post route and wheel routes that went for touchdowns. But from that point forward, the defense did well and in the second half the defense played extremely well. Also, the offense started moving the ball in the second half and scored some points. He further mentioned they could have kicked some field goals but went for it on fourth down and that they missed a field goal before halftime and they had a bad snap on another attempt, so they could have had 13 points on the board like last year. But he said that they were not trying to just put points on the board but they were trying to come back and win the game.

Lee asked about what do they do after coming out from halftime down 28-0 against a team that, on paper, is a better team. Lee further asked if you stay with the game plan or do you throw everything you have at them. Coach Jones said that he thinks the best thing for you to do is to become fundamentally sound at everything you do and to go out and execute each play. They have to go out there and do what they have planned to do and not anything extra; just go execute your game plan.

But coach Jones was most pleased that his team never gave up and continued to fight the entire game. He said that they could have easily gave up after that rough first half, but they didn’t and that will pay off in the future. They just have to keep fighting.

Lee turned the conversation toward recruiting. Lee stated that they cannot mention any names of recruits, but asked if he can confirm anything about verbal committment numbers. Coach Turner said that they do have 15 verbal committments right now and are working hard to keep those recruits on-board with the program.

When asked about positions that they need for next season, coach Turner mentioned defensive linemen are a major issue and defensive backs. Additionally they need some wide receivers and running backs.

Lee asked a question that he has asked a few times before, would they like to see an early signing period like basketball has and suggested possibly August. Coach Turner would like to have it before August, because the “big schools” like Alabama and Auburn will be evaluating kids during camp and he would like for schools like South Alabama to have a shot to get those kids in camp.

Coach Jones reiterated his point that he thought it would be great for everybody. He said it would make it clearer for schools who are trying to fill needs on their team. Plus those schools don’t have to worry about getting a verbal committment then keeping that player committed for six months. Coach Jones also understands the negative of it where a kid could visit an Alabama and fall in love with it and sign early then the other schools do not have a shot at him. But he still thinks it would be more positive overall.

They then had the injury report sponsored by The Orthopaedic Group. Overall they did well. Romelle Jones had a knee injury but will be back this season, just not sure when right now. Also Corey Besteda who rolled his ankle and will be fine and should be ready by Wednesday.

Lee asked Coach Turner about Romelle and what he means to the team. His answer was that Romelle is a tremendous player and brings so much to the table. He does not know if he would be back for this weekend’s game, but hopes he could be back by the Troy game.

This led to Lee asking about the defensive line rotation. Coach Turner said that they average about four or five plays before they rotate some fresh players into the game. He tries to keep the linemen fresh, especially against the larger offensive linemen.

Lee asked for an explaination about “playing a perfect game” that many coaches refer to as a way to beat a team that they are an underdog to. Coach Jones said you cannot play a perfect game, but you need to play a mistake free game where you don’t make any turnovers and don’t give up any big plays. That’s about as close to perfect as you can get.

Coach Jones then lays out how he thinks teams like Louisiana-Monroe defeats an Arkansas. He said you have to keep the game close somehow until the third quarter and then you apply pressure onto that team. ULM kept it close, then Arkansas lost their quarterback and got some momentum going their way and suddenly they are tied. Last season the Jags did that before a late touchdown by State put them up 35-13. This season they couldn’t score early to keep it close. Plus they scored their first three touchdowns in quick succession.

Lee then asked Coach Turner if he was on the Troy staff when they started and what he saw then versus what he sees now. Turner said the first big game they played was Nebraska and were a 50+ point underdogs going into Lincoln. Then at halftime the score was 21-14 in Nebraska’s favor. But he said that once those players realized that they could play with Nebraska, it “snowballed.” They ended up defeating Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and Missouri in the next few years. The players believed that they could play with any of those teams. But they also played games where they were blown out, like a 50-0 defeat at Nebraska.

Coach Turner said that about 75% of it was recruiting. They had more players who wanted to play there after they began playing those type of teams. He said that the other 25% was mental.

Travis Toth, the associate athletic director of marketing, came on talking about the Mississippi State game for fans who are traveling. He said that MSU is proclaiming it as a “White-Out” but the team will be wearing their traditional home Maroon uniforms. So the school is encouraging Jags fans to wear BLUE to the game to stand out. Then the following week the Jags will be wearing Red for Troy. Lots of big things will be going on for the Troy game, including recognizing the 2012 Sun Belt Champion Lady Jaguar Softball team.

Lee mentioned that ESPN writer Ivan Maisel wrote about the Sun Belt this week in his article. Maisel wrote that Sun Belt teams are 2-1 in overtime games this season against SEC opponents and 2-5 overall. Previously, the Sun Belt was 0-35 total against the SEC with an average score of 40-11. ULM and Western Kentucky both have wins while Troy was very close against Mississippi State last week.

Coach Jones mentioned that ULM only won 3 or 4 games last season he thought. He said tht he thought these teams are putting a lot of money into recruiting and facilities and that that committment is paying dividends.

Lee then asked about Coach Turner about some things that the defensive line will have to do specifically in order to stop Russell, Perkins and the rest of the Bulldog offense. Turner said that their offense begins with their offensive line. Their line is big, athletic and do a good job at pass protection and also in run blocking. He continued by saying that their running back is very good and their quarterback has a good arm as well.

Turner also said that the Bulldog quarterback is more athletic than NC State’s Mike Glennon, but he does not have as strong of an arm as Glennon. He poses a different problem than Glennon.

Coach Jones said that the Jags HAVE to play better offensively. He said that they will be going up against a huge defenive line at Mississippi State.

Coach Jones spoke about how they have been working for the last few years to build a team and that now they are almost having to do it again as they are transitioning into FBS play. They need to recruit more good players to help build out depth.

Coach Jones went on to say that from here on out the Jags will be playing the best of the best at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. They have NC State and Mississippi State coming in here in the next few years along with the Sun Belt schools like Troy, ULM and FIU that will be here. They need the fans in the area to continue to support the school.

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.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-20

September 21, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 
Coach Jones Observing warm-ups.

Head Coach Joey Jones oversees the Jaguars pre-game warm-ups at N.C. State.

Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian were joined by defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They immediately started reflecting on the NC State game with an overview of how the team played. Coach Jones said that he thought the team played an very, very good game. He pointed to some basic tenets that coaches look to in order to get their team into a position to win the game. Things such as stopping the run, be able to run the ball yourself and possess the ball more than your opponent, all of which the Jags did in the game. However another area that you need to do well in is turnovers. While the Jags did recover a few turnovers, they also turned the ball over a few times themselves.

But he pointed out Kendall Houston’s performance on the ground as he rushed 18 times for 117 yards against the NC State defense. His was a large majority of the teams 139 yards rushing (minus sack yardage). Defensively the Jags were worried about stopping the NC State run because they were so big, however they were able to stop their running game. They knew their quarterback was good and he had a great night going 17-of-20 for 297 yards, but the two deep post routes were what really hurt the team.

Overall, Coach Jones said that the Jags were very physically tough and played extremely well. They got after them on every play and were not intimidated nor did they back down. He said that lots of great things happened, but that it was one of those games that you have three or four plays in the game you have to make but the Jags didn’t make them. Coach Jones said he has been on both sides of the field in these types of games and they just didn’t get those plays to go their way.

Lee said he had picked out three plays that were key. First was the on-sides kick fumble. Second was the open receiver around the 30 yard line but the ball wasn’t thrown well to him which would have easily been a touchdown. The third play was when Jake Johnson forced the fumbled at the 5 yard line when the Wolfpack was driving which Graphenreed recovered but fumbled back to them. Lee said you could also point to the play deep in the Wolfpack territory when Bennett lobbed a pass to an open Kevin Helms but was picked off at the 5 yard line.

Coach Jones pointed out another one where the Jags scored but the play was called back on a procedure penalty which he also pointed out was not there on film. Coach Jones was quick to follow that up by saying things like that happen and that the bottom line is you have to make plays. He ended that by saying that the core of the game, he thought the team played very well and put themselves in a position to win the game.

They had themselves in a position to win the game if they made some or all of those key plays against a team that beat Florida State the previous year. And this was only the 20th game in the schools history. Coach Jones said he does not like losing but he still considers the game a success for the program. None of them enjoy losing so he talked to the team that they can continue to look back at this game and play the what-if game or they can turn around and concentrate on making themselves better this week. They can correct those things that they did wrong and get ready to play the next game and then they can say that they beat someone.

He’s proud of where the team is but they have to do better.

The first caller said that South Alabama’s “ones” seemed to matched up well with the NC State “ones”, but he asked Coach Jones how different the Jags “two’s” were from the NC State “two’s”. Coach Jones said that there were probably some difference there, but he said he didn’t notice it much. He continued by saying that the Jags are fairly deep at some positions like defensive line, linebackers, receivers and running backs. But they lost Ken Barefield which hurt their secondary depth some. But Coach Jones did not think that personnel was as much of a factor in the game as missed opportunities were in the game.

Lee then turned to Coach Brian Turner and asked him how he felt the Jaguar defensive line did against NC State. He started off saying that it’s never as good as it seems and it’s never as bad as it seems either. He thought that they played well up front and did not get pushed off of the ball as much as they feared they would earlier in the week due to their size. The defensive line did a great job holding their gaps and doing their job.

Lee asked if the Jags had a good pass rush on Glennon even though he completed 17-of-20 passes. Coach Turner said that their gameplan was to blitz them alot but play coverage, however when you do that you tend to only rush three or four guys and when the opponent has five or six guys protecting the quarterback, your rushers are getting double-teamed often. They didn’t get alot of pressure on Glennon, but they did get to him. Romelle Jones came away with two of the Jags four sacks on Glennon. He also said that they should have gotten to him more often.

Lee then introduced the Fuego “Who’s hot” segment. Offensively, Coach Jones said that Kendall Houston was the hot guy for them this week but he also pointed out the offensive line for their work blocking against NC State. Defensively he pointed out Romelle Jones for having probably his best game of his career, he is quick and is also learning the game very well. Also Coach Jones pointed out B.J. Scott and Charles Harris for playing a very good game defensively at the safety positions.

Lee then introduced the Orthopedic Group’s Injury Update. Coach Jones said that the Jags came out of this with some bruises. Ken Barefield got hurt and missed the end of the game but will be able to play against Kent State this weekend. Rush Kendricks has an injured ankle and will not be able to play this weekend. He said that it looks like everyone else will be back, he mentioned Jake Johnson has a small injury with his quad but will be okay.

Lee asked how Johnson played in the game. Coach Jones said he played very well, like the whole defense did. He said for the “who’s Hot” segment it’s hard not to just list out all of the defensive players because of how well they played.

Lee asked Coach Turner about one of the concerns going into the game about intimidation as they went in to play against an ACC team. He asked if he caught any of the intimidation factor early on from the team. Coach Turner said that he did not see any intimidation in their eyes before the game, they were focused and ready to play the game.

They next caller to the show expressed how proud of the program the fans are for how hard they played and how composed they were. Lee asked a few email questions to both coaches. The first asked if NC State showed anything that was unexpected and if they thought the Jag players were in better shape than them. Coach Jones said that they did not show anything that was unexpected and he also said that he thought both teams were conditioned pretty well. Coach Jones didn’t notice anyone out of shape on either team. Coach Turner agreed to both statements by Coach Jones. Nothing surprising and he didn’t notice anyone out of shape either.

Lee then asked about Coach Crain and how he is doing. Coach Jones said that he is doing better, he’s been in the hospital since Friday. They finally found out that he had a staph infection and have him on antibiotics to help that. He has actually been dealing with that for the last month or so Coach Jones said.

The next email quested asked how coach Jones thought about how well Jag Nation traveled to NC State for the game. He said it was incredible. He said that after the Jags would get a big play he would sneak a look up at the Jaguar section going crazy. He said it was probably between 700 and 800 people strong in that section. After the game, the players went over to the Jag section and held up their helmets and thanked the fans for coming to the game to support them.

The next email question asked Coach Jones what the thought about the officiating and if there were any bad calls in the game by the ACC officials. Coach Jones said that there are rules where Coaches will get fined for speaking badly of officiating. Lee then chimed in saying that sometimes a no answer speaks more loudly than an actual answer which Coach Jones agreed with. He also told Lee that things happen and you have to deal with it and move on.

Lee followed up by asking if Coach Jones called the officials over anytime during the game. Coach Jones laughed and said “calling them over” is a good way to put it. Coach Jones then said that he will send in game film and call someone at the conference office to help educate the referees because, as Coach Jones said, everyone makes mistakes (except coaches with a laugh). So they send that film in so help the refs educate themselves and continue to get better.

The next email question asked if there were mismatches or communication problems in the secondary allowing for some big pass plays by NC State. On one big pass play for a touchdown, corner back Damond Smith fell down and the other one was some miscommunication in the secondary. He praised how well the secondary played the whole game, especially against #6 T.J. Graham who was really quick.

Lee followed that up by asking if there was an effort to keep the punts and kickoffs away from Graham. To which Coach Jones said yes, because NC State actually leads the nation in kickoff returns. So they tried to kick some sky kicks. The first kickoff return they got out to around the 42 yard line which was their only long kickoff return of the game.

Lee then asked who was covering T. J. Graham. Coach Turner answered that it depended on where he lined up as to who was covering him. They didn’t assign a specific person to cover him.

Another email question asked about conference realignment and if South Alabama could benefit from it. Coach Jones said that as a fan he doesn’t like it so much but for the school it could be good. While they like the Sun Belt, it could be an opportunity for something good to happen. He said it’s going to happen sometime in the future, you can see it and there will be some big shake-ups on the horizon in the next couple years.

Loyd Meyers joined the show to talk about the homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin on October 15th. On Thursday night October 13th there will be a pep rally at the Bell Tower followed by a volleyball game vs Troy. Friday night there will be a homecoming parade and luck worked out for a moonlight madness where the Jags basketball team can begin practicing for their upcoming season. The soccer team will be playing at The Cage as well.

Lee brought up that they have not talked about C.J. Bennett’s play against NC State yet during the show. Coach Jones said that if you look at the whole game, he played a very good game and made some unbelievable throws. It was great to see that out of a redshirt freshman to go into that type of environment and play that well. He is doing a great job understanding secondary coverages and going to the right place with the ball. He also mentioned that he got the team out of third down many times. Coach Jones did mention that he did have a high throw across the middle that was intercepted. He also mentioned about the throw the Kevin Helms where he floated it behind the safety but he didn’t see the backside corner. Coach Jones also mentioned that they did not show him that coverage in practice so there were some things they could have done to prepare him for that situation a little better.

Lee then turned to ask Coach Turner about their defensive line rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they rotate defensive linemen every three plays no matter what. They want two fresh guys every play pretty much, so they are rotating their interior linemen, their inside linebackers and outside linebackers.

Lee asked about the play of Romelle Jones and if he has been playing better lately. Coach Turner said that the last two games he has been really playing well. He has been the defensive lineman of the week the last two weeks for his play against Lamar and against NC State. Lee asked to clarify if it is the same rotation all the time. Coach Turner answered that it is the same rotation all the time, they are not rotating based on match-ups but every three plays they are getting fresh guys on the field.

Lee then asked about recruiting and stated that he knows that they cannot comment about specific recruits, but asked if they are getting top notch athletes now. Coach Turner said they are definitely getting very good talent. He also said that they currently have 11 verbal commitments on their recruiting board right now. He also said that they are recruiting against schools from the Big East, Conference USA and the Sun Belt. They may be losing some, but they are also winning some battles against those schools. He praised the coaches for their hard work recruiting and staying on the best players for the South Alabama program.

Lee asked that, aside from the verbals, what positions are being recruited this year. Coach Jones said that he says this every year, but it’s true, they are recruiting offensive linemen. They are probably going to lose four seniors on the offensive line so they have quite a bit to fill. Two tight ends with Paul Bennett and Kevin Helms being seniors will need replacing. Offensively they are pretty good, they will always look out to pick up a player here or there for a backup role if they are a really good player.

Coach Jones said defensively they need a defensive end, that they kind of refer to as their outside linebacker who is very athletic to rush the quarterback. Also they need to continue to shore up the secondary. They have some good players back there, but they don’t have depth.

Lee asked about C.J. Bennett being a redshirt freshman and if that would be detrimental to trying to bring in other quarterbacks to the program the next four years. Coach Jones said that they do not want a player who does not think they cannot come in and beat out C.J.

Lee then asked about popular spots for South Alabama to recruit. Coach Turner said that when the program started, they were not recruiting the entire state of Georgia. They are now. He indicated that obviously Alabama is their home state, but they are also recruiting Florida all the way down to Miami, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Coach Turner also mentioned that Myles Gibbon is from Canada so they are willing to go anywhere to get good players to find players that fit into the program and fills their needs.

Lee then transitioned to previewing the Kent State game. Lee said that this is a little different than the schools other 2-for-1 series. We travel to Kent State, then they travel here before we visit them again. Coach Jones said that they are a very good defensive team but they have struggled on offense but they have played Alabama so it’s hard to tell how good they really are because how strong the Alabama defense is this season.

Lee flashed back to the NC State game again by asking about Scott Garber and the special teams play. Coach Jones said that the special teams play was very good. He thought the kicking game was much improved against NC State. He said Jordan went 2-of-3 hitting a 46 yard attempt and missing a 44 yarder. He also thought that Scott’s punted was very good too. They changed and went to a rugby punt style.

Following up on that, Lee asked who and why they decided to go with the rugby style punt. Coach Jones said it’s hard to return a rugby style punt because it’s a low punt but it takes time for the punter to move out and kick it that it gives the coverage team time to get down and cover the returner. So you can get 40 and 50 yard punts pretty easy without a return because of that.

Lee asked about Garber being run into during one of his punts, he said that he thought that it was an automatic 15 yard penalty and a first down. Coach Jones said that it’s a judgement call, that they have bumping the kicker and hitting the kicker with two different penalties and that it’s a judgement call. He indicated that Coach Perry read the rules once they returned back to Mobile and that is how it is written, it’s a judgement call.

Lee said that they talked last week about trick plays. Wake Forest burned NC State with a couple of them and he asked if the Jags ran any. Coach Jones said that they tried a reverse but the defense caught it for a loss. The play-action pass on 3rd and one to Kevin Helms he thought was a good call at the time. Then there was a play at the five yard line where the tight end was wide open at the corner of the end zone but Bennett didn’t see him and went down for a sack. They weren’t trick plays he said, but they were different plays to call at those times and they didn’t execute them very well.

Coach Turner previewed what the defense sees in Kent State coming up this weekend. He said that they started the season throwing the ball much more, but now they have settled in running with a 260 lb running back. He said that it was going to be a good match-up between the two teams.They have a very good defensive lineman who game Alabama some problems blocking and Alabama has some very good offensive linemen. They round out the program saying that the team definitely has a different attitude going up to Kent State and that it should be a very good and competitive game.

Additionally it was announced during the WNSP morning show and reiterated again during the radio show that South Alabama picked up another verbal commitment from Georgia. Lamar Counties Fredrick Walker is a six foot two inch, 320 pound nose tackle. He wasn’t interested in any big programs so he turned down Central Florida and South Florida. He chose South Alabama over Georgia Southern to make the 12th verbal for the Jags 2012 recruiting class.

South Alabama and Kent State kick off on Saturday October 24th at 2:30pm. The game will not be televised, however Kent State will be broadcasting the game online at KentStateSports.com for free for the first time.

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!!

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-09-22

September 22, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

The show started with Lee and Coach Jones joking about having enough time to get ready for Army Prep. Coach Jones likened it to getting ready for a bowl game, which Lee pointed out would not be too far in the future. Lee also mentioned a pep rally this evening at Bel Air Mall from 6-7pm plus a pep rally on campus, probably at the Mitchell Center on Friday.

Mentioning the need for game time experience, Coach Jones said that game experience is invaluable. The team can practice for weeks on end, but game experience is needed to reinforce what they have gone over on the practice field. They understand why they ran something 45 times the last week when they see and understand it on the field during a game.

Speaking about Army Prep, coach Jones said they are very disciplined, more so than Hargrave but probably not as athletic as Hargrave. As we have mentioned over the last two week, Army Prep runs the triple option (defending the triple option, Jags continue Prep).

Army Prep copies the varsity team down to a T. Everything from Offense, defense, and special teams are all the same between the two squads. Coach Jones mentioned that it will be a challenge and the Jags must match their discipline but that he felt really comfortable about his team.

Lee asked about the triple option and Coach Jones answered that the quarterback can give the ball to the full back up the middle or keep it around the end or pitch to the back off the end. Its just like the wishbone offense except they line up in the double split formation. This is where they have two split ends that line up about a yard outside the tackle.

Lee called Army Prep and was told by their athletic director that these kids can not and will not be recruited by South Alabama. They were very secretive about any information about the players. All of these players have been tagged for West Point Academy. Coach Jones said he has heard it both ways, that they can and they cannot recruit their players. But he decided to be on the safe side and not recruit any Army Prep players.

Coach Brian Turner came in for the second segment. Lee introduced him and congratulated him on his defensive lines work against Hargrave in the first game.

Lee then turned to recruiting since Coach Turner is the recruiting coordinator for the Jaguars. Coach Turner said that they can make 42 evaluations as per the NCAA. So they have six coaches traveling seven times during the year to make their number of 42 evaluations. The coaches are still evaluating players and their board has about 100 players that they are watching or have already offered scholarships to. Coach Jones said that they ahve to re-evaluate and re-rank players from time to time to make sure they do the best with their resources. They have been doing that over the last week. Coach Jones said that when you have two scholarships for defensive linemen or a receiver, you want to make sure you use those two scholarships wisely.

Lee asked about Coach Turners thoughts on kids verbally committing early and the possibility of an early signing period. He said No if its in December. He thinks it would hurt schools like South Alabama if it were to be in December. But if the early signing period was in May he would be for it. Lee asked what if it was in September? Coach Turner said he possibly would be for it.

Lee asked how many scholarships can USA give in February? Coach Jones said they have about 25 scholarships to give, but they also have some gray shirts commitments so they probably have about 20 to sign actually in February.

Beginning segment three, Lee mentioned again that Coach Jones will be at Bel Air Mall this evening from 6-7pm signing autographs and attending the pep rally scheduled there.

Lee and Joey talked about some college football happenings around the nation briefly and then asked if USA could play any Sun Belt schools earlier than their first full year in Division-I. Coach Jones said yes, they could but in 2012 they would still be a Division I-AA school and that Division I school can only schedule one per year. Most of the schools already have one scheduled but that they are also still working on the schedules that far out.

Lee then asked Coach Turner, how many defensive line players are in the rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they have nine players in the rotation. During Hargrave they had 10 but due to a knee injury one will be out for Army Prep. He also said that is a good part of being a young team is having the ability to rotate a large number of linemen into the game.

The fourth and final segment started with the injury report. Coach Jones said they are very healthy except for John Mark Patrick, who went down late in the Hargrave game with a knee injury. They think he should be back this season and hope to have it back for Georgia Military.

Lee asked about transfers from other schools. Coach Turner said that the player has to initiate the contact and then before the coaches and talk and try to recruit the player, they have to have a release from the school. Coach Jones said that if a player transfers between schools in the conference, they have to sit out a year but Coach Turner said that he would not want a player transferring to another school within the conference.

Lee also brought up how he liked how the Auburn players were coached to give the ball to the officials, even in the end zone. It makes for a more speedy game and it seemed more classy. Coach Jones agreed, he does not like kids to showboat or toss the ball around. USA also runs a more up-beat offense but they have taught the players to hand the ball to the official especially during the hurry-up drills.

Joey Jones Show Recap 2008-12-17

December 18, 2008 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Jones was back in Mobile for his radio show this week with Brian Turner, the recruiting coordinator for the South Alabama Jaguars. Today marked the first day for Junior college transfers to sign with new schools.

Coach Jones had 13 scholarships available from this signing year and would be able to sign up to about two weeks into 2009 if necessary to use all of the 30 allocated scholarships in a given year. Jags staff have been busy recruiting their areas as well as hotbeds like California and Texas for players. They have been focusing on offensive and defensive linemen.

When the show went on the air, Coach Jones and his staff had already received six faxes from signees and expected about five more to come in relatively soon. Here is a rundown of some of the signees from the show.

Early James, quarterback from Jones County Junior College who is listed at 6’2″ and 191lbs. Coach Jones said he was a dual threat and was very athletic. He can play all over the field from Wide Receiver to Safety in addition to Quarterback. LSU and some other big SEC schools were recruiting him and some had dropped off. His family lives in Moss Point, MS so he wanted to stay close to them which factored into his choice of USA. Many schools do not have the type of offense that West Virginia has so many of the schools recruiting him were trying to decide if they wanted to move him to safety. He was ranged 44th among all junior college players by rivals.com. Last seasons stats: completed 115-239 passes for 1,406 yards and 12 TD’s leading Jones County to a 7-2 record and a #14 ranking in the final National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

Kevin Helms is a tight end from Mississippi Gulf Coach Community College. He is listed at 6’3″ and 225lbs. His hometown is Gulfport, MS. He is skilled at both blocking and has good hands. He can line up on the outside or down in a three point stance and be respected and each. He is willing to block or catch on any given play. Coach Jones also gave the hint that they will be using the tight end alot in their offensive scheme. He was named to first-team all-state and his team was rated fourth in the final NJCAA rankings and he helped lead them to a 12-0 record and the NJCAA National Championship in 2007.

Corey Pittman, also from Mississippi Gulf Coach Community College, is listed as being 6’5″ and 300 lbs from Chickasaw, Alabama. He was selected first-team all-state as a sophomore.

Heath Blount from Northeast Mississippi Junior College is 6’6″ and weighs 290 lbs as an offensive lineman.

Chris Brunson from Tyler, Texas is listed at 6’3″ and weighs 300 lbs as a lineman.

Brian Krauskopf is another offensive lineman from Texas. He is listed as being 6’3″ and weighing 285 lbs. He was named second-team all-region and all-state last season at Blinn Junior College. He helped them to a 9-3 record and a final ranking of 11th in the NJCAA polls. They finished the season 3rd in the nation with an average of 427.5 yards of total offense per game in 2008.

Chris Payne from Vicksburg, Mississippi is a 6’3″ offensive lineman weighing in at 320 lbs.

Levi Slaydon from Pearl River Community College in Mississippi is a 6’3″, 270 lb offensive lineman. His squad finished 8-3 and ranked 13th in the last NJCAA poll. They also was 14th nationally with an average of 370.8 yards per game of total offense.

Steven Pease is a Freshman listed as 5’11”, 175 lb defensive back from Williamstown, New Jersey. He helped Millford Academy (N.Y.) to a 9-3 record by breaking up 10 passes, four tackles for a loss and one interception. He was chosen as the teams most improved defensive player.

Each of these players will enroll at USA in January and will be able to participate in the program’s first ever spring practice. The schedule still can not be released until sometime after the new year since it still has not been finalized.

USA has been recruiting against teams such as Memphis, Southern Miss, other Sun Belt teams, Conference USA teams, and SEC teams. One they are expecting to sign was being recruiting by UCLA.

The Jags may pick up more players in the coming weeks as they go home and think about things. They may decide that they are not where they want to be and after talking with family could decide that South Alabama is the school for them.

Lee Shirvanian asked if Coach Jones believed in giving kickers scholarships. He replied yes, that one reason why he believed in giving them scholarhsips is because they are starting a new program and they need to make sure to have kickers on the team.

After what they have signed, they are pretty much done on offense with the exception of another quarterback. On defense, they want to get more defensive linemen and defensive backs. Also, they would not turn away any good linebackers either, but the DL and DB’s are the spots they identified as being spots of real need.

Continuing with other aspects of recruiting, someone asked if building a program around too many junior college transfers is a bad idea, Coach Turner replied that you want to build your programs foundation with freshmen then use Junior college transfers to fill in needs.

Someone asked if Gene Chizik’s recruiting could put a dent in Saban’s recruiting in the state of Alabama. Coach Turner said that he is a good recruiter wherever he has been but probably not. He was a hot coach coming out of Texas two years ago but his tenure at Iowa State has seen him cool off alot since then.

On the topic of recruiting players who are verbally committed to other schools but are in the midst of a coaching change (hint, Auburn), there is a feeding frenzy for their recruits. When asked if USA would get into that and have they, Coach Jones said yes they will and yes they have and indicated that they have made some calls to players that have been recruited by Auburn.

A caller said that he saw on ESPN that an assistant from Iowa State was being interviewed by Gene Chizik and that two coaches from South Alabama were also being considered for positions. His question was that if they lost two coaches would that set the team back. Coach Jones said that they would not want to lose any of their coaches but they want to move up and he wants the best for them. Its the nature of the business. But if they did leave they would have to find coaches and work hard for the players to make sure that their loss does not negatively impact the team.

If anything about this comes to our ears here at Thunderjags.com, we will pass it along as quickly as possible.

Go Jags!