Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-27

September 28, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Running backs and special teams coach Tommy Perry joined Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones at Baumhowers Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for the radio show. They covered the Kent State game and what they are going to do during this off week.

Lee jumps straight to the question that many people want to know after the last two game. Is this program ready week-to-week FBS competition? Coach Jones answered that he thinks the program is ready for that level of competition. Talking realistically, he said that when people looked at this years schedule and saw NC State and Kent State, they just hoping that those games would not get embarrassing.

But Coach Jones pointed out that the team played NC State close, even though the final score did not reflect that but if they had made three or four plays then the game would have been much closer. Then he said that the team came out and played “pitiful” in the first half against Kent State. He said that he takes the blame for not being as focused as they normally are for games. He said they played hard, but made some very critical mistakes and didn’t play smart. But they played good in the second half by gaining 330 yards of offense and holding Kent to around 80 yards but they had a chance to score the tying points late in the game.

But he said that they are a growing team, but that they are ready for the FBS level. They are only about 2 1/2 years into this program but they are certainly ready to play at that level.

Stepping back and taking an overall look, they played NC State very well and they played Kent State pretty well. They were in the games and could have made some plays to change the outcome of those games; could have beat Kent State and probably should have beat Kent State. While they may not be ready for Alabama or Auburn, they are surely ready for the lower level FBS teams.

Lee asked if Coach Jones could explain the difference from the first half and the second half. Coach Jones reiterated that he did not think that the team’s focus was there before the game. The looks in their eyes was not something that he had seen before, but that it wasn’t bad like they were completely unfocused but they didn’t have the concentration that they normally have. The second point he made was that this was the first time someone jumped on them. It was the first time that they made mistakes and before they knew it they were down 16-0. They had never been down like that before, they had been down 7-0 and came back against a lesser opponent, but they had not been down that much before so quickly it seemed.

Basically, the team was stunned a bit until someone made a big play in the third quarter to wake them up, loosen them up and get them going again.

Lee then turned his focus towards Coach Perry. He stated that normally the Jags have much better numbers from the running backs than what we had at Kent State. He asked him to talk a bit about that. Coach Perry credited Kent State’s front seven for being very good. He said they were very aggressive, did some movement that confused and slowed the Jags down up front.

Coach Perry went further on what Coach Jones had previously said about the team being stunned and said that the team needs to learn that they don’t need a big play to get going. That they need to keep working, ignore the scoreboard and manufacture good things out of nothing to be competitive. The Jags have talented, competitive players in the backfield but they made some critical errors in the game with lining up and who they picked up.

Perry continued talking about how tough and how physical those running backs were during the game. This is a good learning opportunity for them to look at how their work had a direct impact on the outcome of the game.

Coach Jones then jumped in and said that Kent State was the #1 rush defense in the nation the previous season for a good reason. He also said that they were, by far, the best defense that South Alabama has played thus far. The Jags had a problem running the football for a reason. Kent State has some good linebackers that are well coached. In the second half they were able to find a few things they could do and hit on all cylinders.

Lee then asked a question that many Jaguar fans had been wondering about during and after the game. Was Kendall Houston hurt? Coach Jones said that, before the game, his lower back was tight and the coaches could tell in warmups that he wasn’t the same.

Coach Perry jumped in to say that Kendall is a football player and that he took some hits the previous week at NC State that he was amazed that he was able to stay up.

Lee followed that up with a question about the running game being a staple of the Jaguar offense. He asked when do the coaches on the sidelines start to try to find something different? Coach Jones said that they worked on schemes all week in order to find a way to run the football. He admitted that they may have overdid that leading up to the game. When you go against a rush defense that good, no matter what kind of scheme you come up with, it’s going to be difficult to run the football. You just try to run, as a team, for about 120 to 130 yards and hope you can throw for over 200 yards.

A fan called in and spoke very positively of the coaches and the players. He said that many teams that go down by that much at halftime will come out and hang their heads but this team did not do that. They came out and played with heart and all of their might to try to get back into the game. He said that the fans were very proud of them and that the future is bright for the team.

Coach Jones said that they are not satisfied with losing and are not satisfied with making mistakes. They are going to keep working on those things. Yes they have accomplished some good things, but they want to get better and win.

Travis Toth joined after the first break to promote the Jags upcoming games. Particularly the homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin which will kickoff at 2:30pm and will be televised on UTV44 and ESPN3. Thursday October 13th will be a pep rally at the Bell Tower at 7pm. Starting at 6pm on Friday, they will have their homecoming parade which will be followed by moonlight madness. Moonlight Madness is South’s version of Midnight Madness where the Jags basketball teams can start practice, which will start at 7pm.

Travis also mentioned that they are getting calls for away game tickets. He said that they had to return the remainder of their allotment for the UT-San Antonio game but they still have tickets available for the game versus Georgia State in the Georgia Dome. They will be available up to October 7th before they have to return the remainder.

Lee then turned to Coach Perry again talking about kick returners and how Jereme Jones has done well, particularly in the punt returns. Coach Perry agreed that he has grown up quite a bit and is fitting in nicely. Lee also mentioned a couple of occasions where, if he had called for a fair catch, it would have been down between the 15 and 20 yard lines. But he returned the kick for up to around the 30 yard line. While it’s not the longest run, both coaches agreed that that is a huge difference in field position. Coach Perry ended the conversation by saying that it’s a hard position to coach because you want them to be aggressive but they have to be smart about it.

Coach Jones reporting during The Orthopedic Group injury report that they had a few small things. Corey Waldon has a sprained knee and they think he will be back soon and no later than by Monday. Corey Besteda underwent a minor surgery to remove a small “loose body” from his knee. It was reported that Besteda’s procedure went very well and should be back by the middle part of next week.

The Jags had actually scheduled to play UC-Davis this week, however they bought out their trip to Mobile. Coach Jones said he would have loved to face UC-Davis again, but the off week was needed and well timed after all.

The next question was about recruiting and priorities of their staff recruiting. Coach Jones said they are graduating several players off of the offensive line, so they will be looking to bring in guys up there. They also want to continue to develop depth in the secondary.

Another caller talked about how well the Jags did against a very good defense. Coach Jones agreed and said he was pleased because there was a defensive linemen that they blocked well that made Alabama look silly at times.

Lee read an email asking about what the quarterbacks coach is doing to improve C.J. Bennett and the other Jaguar quarterbacks performance. Coach Jones said that the biggest thing for them is to have their quarterbacks get their progression down and stick with it. They don’t want them to continually anticipate things. Coach Jones said that is the biggest thing for C.J. and that it’s not anything technical throwing the ball.

Lee asked to look back at the first half of the Kent State game and tell us if he got his progressions right. Lee also mentioned that we have to keep it in prospective because C.J. has only started seven games and he is only a redshirt freshman.

Coach Jones reiterated what he and Coach Gregory have said several times; C.J. is a great quarterback. The problem, he thinks, is that C.J. has learned the offense so well that he knows the coverages and where to go with the ball but that he thinks he can make every throw. It’s that he is too aggressive. But he does have an uncanny ability to go to the right guy. But in certain situations it’s the best thing to throw the ball away.

Coach Jones continued by saying that C.J. is a good quarterback and he is going to be a great quarterback. He has already made several big plays for the team and he will make more. Basically, they want a good game manager but they don’t want the quarterback to be scared.

Lee mentioned to Coach Jones a quote that was published from him that said, “losses will make us better.” Lee asked wouldn’t it be better if wins make us better? Coach Jones clarified that it’s not the losses that make you better but the reaction to the losses that make you better. Complacency in human nature is a tough thing to fight. All they have had is good things, they had a 19 game winning streak and all kinds of good things happening to the program. How they react to these two losses will determine what type of team they are and will make them better.

Coach Jones said that the players will have three days off at the end of this week while coaches are on the road recruiting. They will come back in on Sunday and begin their game week preparation for their trip to San Antonio.

Lee asked if they saw that the team was more banged up coming off of back to back FBS games than they did playing teams like West Alabama. Coach Jones, at first, indicated no but upon reconsideration he said yes but only a little bit. Because the FBS teams are bigger, they probably did have more bangs and bruises, but they fared very well through those two game.

Next season it’s going to be very tough he said, with back to back games against Mississippi State and NC State as well as games against Troy and Middle Tennessee.

At the end of the show, Lee asked coach Perry how his wife was doing. It was last year that they announced that she was diagnosed with cancer. But she has recovered well and is a big inspiration for Coach Perry and many others as well.

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.

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

October 31, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USA Makes Statement Against Lamar

October 19, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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South Alabama’s Plan For Their Receivers

September 25, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguars have been doing a great job this season getting lots of receivers playing time. Why are they getting so many players into the game? It’s not because they are playing lowly teams. Nicholls State was a huge test for the Jags and they still had nine receivers catching passes and only one catching more than one pass. The Jags are building depth.

Wide receivers coach Ron Antoine, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and Coach Jones have a plan. They want to play several receivers to build depth but more importantly they want to pressure the defensive secondary. Defenses rarely substitute secondary players. Yes they will bring in different package like a nickel or dime package if necessary. But from play to play, defenses rarely sub cornerbacks.

This is what the Jaguars, or any other team for that matter, wants to exploit. If you can plug in any receiver at any time, the pressure is on the secondary every single play to cover those players. The pressure is not only on the secondary to cover, but also to fight off blocks as well.

The Jaguar receivers have done an excellent job this season of bringing it every single play. They block their assignments every play all the way down the field. As you can see, this is some serious pressure on the defensive secondary.

This also serves another purpose. Courtney Smith is a senior this season for the Jaguars. This is a way to build depth. So, when your team has seniors graduate you don’t have a vacuum of talent when they leave. This will be very important as South Alabama progresses from being unclassified to a full FBS member school.

One one defensive coordinator in recent memory would actually substitute secondary players. That coach was Mickey Andrews at Florida State. His secondary was very good in the 90’s because of this.

Combine South Alabama’s receiving corps with running backs like Brandon Ross, Kendall Houston, Santuan McGee and T.J. Glover the offense is building depth to attack defenses.

This missing key right now is depth in the secondary. The linebacking corps had good depth and talent. The defensive line has become deeper but could still use more depth. The secondary has come up with big plays, yes. But they also have given up several big plays.

This is yet another example of how South Alabama and it’s coaching staff have taken the right approach in bringing football to the school.

Jags Taking The Rest Of The Week Easy; Quarterbacks Set Themselves Apart

August 25, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Brennan Sim looking to throw under the watchful eye of Coach Jones during the first scrimmage.

The Jags final scrimmage of the preseason will be on Friday instead of Saturday. Saturday will be reserved for the fans to meet the players and coaches as well as an opportunity to pick up a copy of Tommy Hicks’ book, “Kickoff: The Story of the University of South Alabama’s Inaugural Football Season”.

Tuesday was the Jags final full contact practice before Saturday’s scrimmage. This will give the players a few days to mend their many bumps and bruises over the last couple of weeks.

The rest of the week will see team go out and work in limited to no contact drills.

Meanwhile back on the practice field, the quarterback position is starting to clear up just a little. Gibbon and Bennett have set themselves apart from Sim and Cotton. Sim looked like he was poised to be the starter coming out of spring drills, but as many know, things can and do change.

Gibbon put on about 20 pounds from last season but still runs a 4.56 40 if I was told correctly. But the different in Myles from last season to this season is quite a lot. His deep passing is still great, he still has decent speed but his drop back passing game still needs some work.

Sim also put on some weight, about 15 pounds to be exact. But he has been nagged with some shoulder problems and missed some practice this preseason.

C.J. Bennett came in and has done a great job learning the offense. He has done well and Coach Gregory seems to be confident enough that he can run the offense that he has been splitting time with the 1st and 2nd team offenses with Gibbon. Gregory also said that Bennett was a polished passer and is as good as anyone you have seen, but could work on his ball handling skills in the run game.

Raymond Cotton has had the most to contend with though. He transferred from Ole Miss just before preseason camp started and had to learn a new system. But probably the largest factor has been his injured shoulder. He injured it back in spring practice at Ole Miss and was feared that he may need surgery to repair it.

But as we know from last season, things do happen and starters can get injured. Thus it’s great to have quality players beyond the starter, not only to step in when needed but also to help keep the pressure on and the competition going to make everyone a better player.

Jags First Day In Pads Plus Media Day Coverage

August 11, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Tuesday was the Jaguars’ first day in full pads and it did not disappoint. An hour long, 70 play “mini” scrimmage in addition to Coach Jones, the coordinators and a handful of players talking with the media to preview the 2010 season.

Reflecting on the scrimmage, coach Jones thought it wasn’t very good. Actually he said, “I think that our practice today was marginal at best. It was our fifth day of practice in a row, we had a heavy lifting session yesterday afternoon so there legs were tired, it was our first day in full pads, it was hot and we had a scrimmage. We didn’t have a good energy level today for the first time this camp. Our first four days were great, but today we hit a wall.”

He continued, “Is that okay? It will be if we come back tomorrow and work our tails off. I’m okay with having a bad day because sometimes I think it shakes you up. You rattle the tree, shake out all the bad apples and then you continue. I don’t want every practice to be happy, sometimes you have to struggle to succeed.”

In the press conference on Tuesday, Coach Jones talked about looking into the future of the program and their goal to be a big-time Division I program. He spoke about how the kids understand the process they are going through and how they have to work hard to get there. He said from day one they have taken a Division I mentality and that they will continue to do so, from the classroom to the weight room and to the practice field.

Coach Jones himself and the players are all excited to move up in competition by facing all four year institutions, including several Division I-AA schools.

Coach Jones went on to mention some of the differences between last year and this year. They tried to get the best player they could get and get them out on the field. Last year they didn’t have any standards, they went out and did their best. Now they can use last season as a standard to improve upon.

During recruiting, they had higher standards. They only went for players better than what they had on the roster. I’m sure this was a time consuming task as they brought in some really good players last year.

My favorite segment was about the character of this seasons team. He said, “It’s probably as good as I’ve ever been around, and I’ve had some great teams with tremendous character. We preach that and believe in it, it’s something we can control. We can’t control how big they are, if we have a 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman that’s what he is. But we can do something about character and the choices we make, and we really harp on that. I think our edge is doing things that are intangible. By that I mean, the work ethic and commitment to the team. We stress that every day.”

In the state of Alabama their are two teams which everyone compares every other team against. Nick Saban’s philosophy is character and work ethic. Coach Jones philosophy, similarly, is to outwork their opponent. But unlike other programs, South Alabama is not where they want to be yet and that gives them a fire to work harder than the team on the other sideline.

However, he still stressed that they are taking great strides but that they are not ready to face a Division I opponent yet. Having North Carolina State scheduled for next season, the Jags have work to do and a target to meet.

Talking about preseason camp, coach Jones said he stressed to his team that they are going to win games this week. The Jags are in the middle of a nine consecutive day stretch of practice. With heat indices of around 108 degrees, he stressed that the one who fight through these workouts will be on top in the fall.

Coach Jones spoke about the ghosts of an undefeated season. “We’re fighting our success last year a little bit. Just because we were 7-0 doesn’t mean anything. If we had been 0-7 it wouldn’t have meant anything to me either. I think that as coaches and players we need to look at it through regular glasses rather than rose-colored glasses because we all get comfortable and think everything is okay. We have to keep looking to be critical of ourselves no matter what the circumstance.”

When he spoke about offseason transfers, he said “Sometimes they fall into your lap, it just kind of works out.” The excitement of a new program and opportunity for early playing time is quite alluring. They can also see how they are doing thing right from the coaching staff to the facilities. Those kind of things are quite compelling to very good players at big schools where they don’t see much playing time.

Coach Jones addressed South Alabama’s quarterback talk by saying, “We are trying to get every one of our quarterbacks reps now, I’m not going to rank them one through four because they all have good qualities. We have a good problem. It will filter out as time goes, and we will have to make a decision in three weeks.”

Then he spoke about Brennan Sim specificly, “Brennan’s a leader. When I talked to [head strength and conditioning coach] Justin Schwind last summer when Brennan came, he told me that he was one of the best leaders we had in the weight room, and he had just gotten there. He is one of those guys who is just a born leader. I haven’t known him since he was growing up, but when he walks into a room there is a presence he has. Brennan has a calming effect on our young players, he has an experience factor that a lot of guys on the team don’t have right now.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark spoke next about the defense. He spoke about how he could not think of how last season could have gone any better from a team standpoint. But that they will have a larger challenge to tackle this season with back to back weeks of games. Last season they had several breaks between games. His list of positives was that they have lots of veterans returning from last season. Last year they were trying to find out who could play, this season they will have to step up.

Players have returned bigger and stronger and they are working on developing depth. One position that he feels that they have developed depth is at cornerback. A position of concern is safety and that the coaches are working on that. He is said that the coaches were very excited about linebacker position with a lot of depth. Defensive end, however, is a position he is looking for players to step up in.

He has a goal of getting three players at each position for depth. They want the defense to be dynamic, which means they need the new players to come in, get the scheme down and play at the level they expect them to. It will take some time in order to progress to that point.

Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said that he expects the offense to be a good football team since they have so many players returning with experience. The continued by saying that they are fostering as much competition at every position as they can. Returning players know that they have pressure on them from the new guys.

However, the Jaguars are returning a good core of skill players in addition to the entire offensive line from last season. Add into the mix the “exceptional” group of freshmen and incoming players and he thinks the pressure and competition will drive them to be even better.

They know that they need to improve since every team on the schedule this season is better than any team they faced last season.

The hot question, again, was about the quarterback position. Coach Gregory said he thought Sim was a little better than Gibbon in the spring, but only slightly. But C.J. Bennett has picked things up quickly since he was there all summer. The newest addition, Raymond Cotton, is in a position where he is playing catch up since he wasn’t on campus during the summer. He was quick to point out that he was very talented. But he ended the QB talk by saying, “The bottom line is we’re going to play whoever gives us the best chance to win games.”

There was no hesitation from Coach Gregory when he spoke about what the offense needed to get better. “The key to getting better offensively is the line. I think a great quarterback deflects praise to the offensive line, because it’s not going to happen if we don’t have an offensive line. I think that’s where we have to make the biggest step in our football program. We’re a little bit undersized with our returning guys, but they are athletic and we need them to step up and play at a high level. Our freshman are just young, but they have size. We’re trying to find out who can provide us depth at each position, but I think we have some young guys who are going to help us out up front.”

He spoke similarly about the freshman running backs as he did about the quarterbacks saying, “The best players will be out there, and if they’re capable of playing, we’ll get them out there. They all have a chance.”

For a more in depth read and quotes from players, check out www.usajaguars.com.

Commentary: Jaguars Winning Ways Similar To National Championship Contender

October 24, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

There is no doubt the Jaguars first season of football has already exceeded many peoples initial vision. They thought that if the Jags could win a couple games, it would be a pretty good season. But with the Jags 4-0 and dominating every opponent in all phases of the game, this was unexpected by many local observers.

South Alabama is starting to get noticed around the state too. UAB and Troy fans are already talking up their programs and talking down to the Jaguars. This started after the first game and again after the second game. Are they already worried about their place in the state’s college football pecking order? If not, then maybe they should.

Looking at the Jaguars and the current #1 team in the state, the University of Alabama, you can see some parallels between the two teams (overlooking the last two or three games by Alabama). The Jags and UA are both led by good defensive play based on stopping the run.

The Jags Justin Dunn would probably be the Jags closest player to parallel the impact of Dont’a Hightower. Hightower played (out for season with a knee injury) inside linebacker and made lots of tackles and stuffed the run. Charlie Higgenbotham would be the closest Alabama’s Rolando McClain. He does a good job helping to stop the run and is able to drop into coverage as well. Although Josh Chestang could also be tagged as a possible McClain parallel too.

In the secondary, Jerron Mitchell is probably the closest cornerback to the skill and ability to match Javier Arenas in coverage and tackling. Althought I haven’t seen him blitz the quarterback like Alabama does with Arenas. While Zach Brownell seems to have the same nose for the football as Alabama’s Mark Barron. They seem to put themselves into the right position to pick off an opponents pass.

Even the Jags and Alabama seem to have somewhat similar strengths and weaknesses on offense. Both teams run the ball very well with a good stable of running backs, but both are somewhat struggling in the passing game. The Jags don’t utilize the ‘pistol’ formation nor do they use the ‘wildcat’ formation either. Coach Jones and Coach Gregory feel that freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon is athletic enough that they do not need to use those formations. So they are too different to be compared to each other beyond the fact they are both starting quarterbacks.

Courtney Smith is big, fast and is a threat to score anytime he gets the ball, which is exactly what you would say about Julio Jones. Its hard to compare the rest of the receiver corps because of how few passes have been thrown and how many receivers have caught passes.

Again, both teams are very strong in the rushing game. Obviously Alabama’s Mark Ingram is quite a spectacular player, but so is Trent Richardson too. There are many traits that are shared by Ingram and Richardson for Alabama and Brandon Ross, Santuan McGee and Anthony Mostella.

I strongly urge you not to misconstrue these comparisons. It’s not meant to further praise Alabama or to proclaim the Jaguars just as good as Alabama. It’s merely meant to go towards showing what a good job coach Jones and his staff are doing here in Mobile. Alabama is currently ranked in the top two spots in all of the polls and rankings. Both teams are winning with fundamentals, strong defenses and a lots of rushing yards.

As mentioned in the Coach Joey Jones Radio Show, the Jags need to work on their passing game to be a more complete team. They are definitely dominating by running the game, but a football team wants and really needs to be able to move the ball by passing or running the ball.

Something else the Jags need to work on lately are their penalties. In the first two games the Jags did not commit many penalties. Against Hargrave they committed 4 for 30 yards and against Army prep they committed 5 for 40 yards. But against Georgia Military they committed 10 for 158 yards and against Louisburg they committed 6 for 52 yards. The Jags improved against Louisburg by reducing their number of penalties and yards but it is still more than the first two games. The Georgia Military game is obviously the low point of the Jags season thus far. If you subtract their penalty yards from their offensive production, they only gained 93 yards.

With this type of play out of such young players the Jaguars have quite a bright future ahead of them. With increasingly better opponents coming in the near future, the Jags will be in the position to play competitively and win.

Jags Make Adjustment To A Short Week Of Practice

October 16, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

For the first time this season, not to mention in South Alabama history, the Jags only had one week to turn around and prepare for an opponent. But the schedule was constructed to work up to this point in the season.

Lousiburg Junior College from North Carolina will enter the game with a 5-1 record and ranked #18 in this weeks NJCA poll. They are quite similar to Georgia Military by running multiple sets on offense and utilizing the 3-3 stack on defense.

The results of the last game versus Georgia Military was a 31-3 win for the Jags while limiting the Bulldogs to 234 yards of total offense.

Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory mentioned that the similarities is a definite benefit for the Jags. “What really was a blessing for us is that Louisburg’s defensive scheme is the exact same as Georgia Military’s,” he said. “All we had to do this week was tweak some things – maybe we want to use some plays we didn’t last week or vice versa, we have taken out plays that we ran against Georgia Military that we didn’t like.

Defensive coordinator Bill Clark said something quite similar about the defense. “Obviously we won’t do all the same things as last week, but it will help us,” he said. “If we went from Army Prep running the option to more of a traditional offense it would’ve been harder.” Coach Clark also mentioned that their workouts through the season has helped the defense to get to this point where they can adjust to playing back-to-back games. “It’s a little bit different, everything is compacted, but we’ve handled it well,” he said. “On defense, we are so focused on adjusting to what the other offense does – the formations, the plays, the tendencies – so we’ve been lucky to have extended amounts of time prior to this week. Of course, Saturday will be the test to see how well we’ve handled it.”

The Jags are approaching this week like it was any other. Their goal is to be a better football team by weeks end than they were at the beginning of the week. “One of the ways we have approached this is to say that we are going to work to improve,” Coach Gregory said. “Sure, we have to work against the scheme of the opponent, but we are really focusing more on ourselves. We want to win every game this year but we are trying to build a football program and lay a foundation, so half of our practice is based on improving fundamentals like throwing, catching and tackling rather than the opposition.”

Even though the Jags are 3-0, the coaches are quick to point out there are improvements to be made. “Right now we don’t throw the ball as well as I would like to throw it,” Coach Gregory said. “That’s a combination of not being good enough at quarterback yet and that we’re not a great pass protection football team yet. That always takes the longest amount of time. We’d like to work on that more in some of these ball games if we get the opportunity, but we’re playing to win.”

Through the first three games the Jaguars have been clearly dominant in the ground game, gaining an average of 257.7 yards per game while only averaging 135.7 yards per game through the air. The coaches are pleased with the performances, however they want a more balanced attack. “The one thing we are trying to do is build a tough, hard-nosed, attacking football team,” Gregory explained. “We’re doing that, but we have to become a more balanced football team not in how much we throw but just having more confidence in our ability to throw.”

On defense the Jags are doing good as well. They have allowed an average of 268 yards per game and only surrendered 16 points in the process. In addition to the yards, the defense has held strong on third down by only allowing seven of 38 attempts to be converted into first downs, which is an 18% success rate.

“Our guys know tackling and takeaways, and when you talk to them and they shoot it back you feel like they are getting it,” stated Clark. “We want to get better fundamentally, we want to be better tacklers. There are things in the last game we saw that we believe we can improve on. We had their quarterback trapped four or five times and couldn’t get him down – he’s a great athlete, but we should be able to do that. The way the players have bought in has been excellent. When you’re a coach they are going to do what you say, but to really get them to believe has been important because we have a really high standard. We feel like we are about excellence, and one of our goals is a shutout. That’s a tough goal when you play four 15-minute quarters, but that’s what we’re looking for. Every week is a chance to improve, we’re only as good as our last game. I’m pleased at this point, but know we have work to do.”

The Jaguars kick off against Louisburg JC on Saturday, October 24 at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

GO JAGS!

Reflecting Back On Saturday’s Game

September 9, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

The Jaguars were undersized in comparison to Hargrave Academy, but matched up well and won the game. – Photo by Doug Roberts.

Saturday’s game is just now sinking in for many people in the Mobile area. Unfortunately several people had the impression that the Jaguars would be pushovers in their first season and would be lucky to win any. Or at least that is the impression that many of the uninformed masses gave.

But now that the Jags have won their first game against a team with such talent as Hargrave Academy, more people are getting excited about Jaguar football, which is great for the program and for Mobile area sports. This is exactly what the school needed, to energize the fan base in Mobile that is historically known to be a bit lethargic.

As for the game itself, the game plan worked pretty well. Coach Jones and Coach Gregory used the running game to play some smash mouth football. This took alot of pressure off of freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon. However it was still obvious at times that he was nervous on several pass attempts, but still played very well.

The defense was very good in the first half at shutting down the Tiger offense. In their seven possessions in the first half, the defense forced two interceptions, a fumble and four punts. The second half was a little different, they gave up two touchdowns in Hargrave’s first two drives but forced an interception and turnover on downs to end the game and preserve the victory.

Another thing that was quite obvious was the staff’s lack of confidence in their kicker. Instead of attempting a long field goal, they decided to go for it on fourth down which ended up turning the ball over on downs. Then again with time running down in the first half and already leading 13-0, the coaching staff could have attempted a field goal to extend their lead to 16-0 but instead they let Nick Owen run the offense and eventually turn the ball over on downs when time expired.

Probably the most biggest game changer was penalty yards, USA was only flagged four times for 30 yards while Hargrave racked up 15 penalties for a whopping 135 yards.

The Jags are going to build on their success in this game. With a game under Gibbon’s belt and with the offensive line passing the test, they can start to expand the playbook some to include more passing during game situations. On defense, they just need to continue what they have been doing already. The defensive line and linebackers did a great job. The secondary looked good at times but they still need some work.

Special teams will get more work in the next two weeks. They gave up more return yards than Coach Jones wanted to see. Plus the kickers need to work on field goals, particularly mentioned was longer field goals of around 38-42 yards.

With the next game scheduled for September 26th, this gives Coach Jones and his staff more time to work the second and third stringers before Army Prep. Which is a luxury most teams do not have, but with so many young players this will help develop depth.

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