Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-09-01

September 1, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian were at Wings Sports Grill on Airport Boulevard for the Joey Jones Radio Show and covered several interesting topics. Coach Jones strayed from his ‘unofficially’ named ‘Joey Jones Special’ (the black and white chicken platter) to get the chopped steak.

The first thing mentioned was Hargrave played their first game over the weekend against Radford, which they won handily 63-3. However the score does not indicate the level of talent they played. Radford is merely a club football team in their second year. However on the other hand, don’t let that disuade you about the level of talent that Hargrave puts on the field.

Coach Jones has talked to many people in the area and each one has said that they plan to be at the first game against Hargrave. Many people said they are staying home to watch USA instead of traveling to watch Alabama take on Virginia Tech. But Coach Jones said he is still going to estimate a crowd of about 35,000 for the first game if the weather is nice.

Lee then asked Coach Jones to talk about how good Hargrave is. He made sure to reiterate that Hargrave is a very talented team with lots of Division-I players. They are capable of big plays. The offensive line is better this year than it was last year and possibly in the last couple years and it is a concern of Coach Jones and his staff. The defensive front and secondary has some good players. The team has to stay focused and work to prevent big plays from happening on both sides of the ball.

Hargrave has only lost two games in the previous two years and Coach Jones also said that they have been a very good team over the last few years. But he doesn’t want the team to get caught up thinking about how Hargrave is going to play, but focus on how they are going to play themselves. He thinks the conditioning factor and their preparation will benefit the Jags and help lead them to a victory. Hargrave has the ability to choose from a vast number of players, not many schools has that luxury. They had read somewhere they Hargrave gets to school from about 3,000 players a year at about five different camps.

Comparing the Jaguar defensive line against the Hargrave offensive line, the defensive line may be a little under sized but the Jags play very hard, they are quick and agile. He thinks they can keep pace with Hargrave because they have worked so hard for so long already and they have the footwork to use their speed to cause problems.

Its very hard for the Jags to get a sense about Hargrave’s team because they have such a huge player turnover each year. But similarly, Hargrave will have a difficult time preparing for South Alabama since they have yet to play a game. It will be critical for South Alabama to make good, effective halftime adjustments.

To start the second segment offensive coordinator Greg Gregory joined Lee and Joey. Lee asked Coach Jones about injuries, was there anyone out for the first game? Coach Jones answered that the Jaguars are healthy for the most part, there are two or three players who are pending right now. The thing he is worried about most is the flu, there are a couple guys with flu-like symptoms that he wants to get healthy quick.

Lee then asked how did Coach Gregory come to the decision to start true freshman Myles Gibbon at quarterback, since its the most asked about position on a football team. Coach Gregory affirmed that Gibbon won the job. Each of the quarterbacks received equal number of reps during camp. They all worked hard and Myles was very mature for a freshman, he is 20 years old. While he has separated himself from Brennan Sim and Nick Owen, they are still very close to each other competition wise.

Lee followed up asking if he was worried about the level of competition Myles saw since he is from Canada. Coach Gregory flat out said no. At first he would have, but after seeing him face the Jaguar defense for the last several weeks, he has done very well and that is not a concern at this point.

Coach Gregory followed that up by saying that Myles is a guy that could go into most places and compete from the beginning. He may redshirt the first year at some established programs, but he can compete with the best of them.

Lee asked about possibly rotating quarterbacks. Coach Jones said no, they want to go with one quarterback and he is not one to rotate quarterbacks. He continued by saying that Sim and Owen are close to Gibbon’s talent and they feel that either one could step in and win the game for the Jags in needed. Coach Gregory said that there are two very important things when evaluating a quarterback. The first thing to look for is a quarterback that won’t get you beat. Then the second thing is for a quarterback that gives you the ability to make some big plays to help you win.

Lee asked “what does Myles bring to the table?” Coach Gregory said his size (listed as 6’3″ 210 lbs), his speed (he will run a 40 between 4.5 and 4.6) and his strong arm can throw the ball deep. They will have to wait and see how accurate he is until he is in a game situation.

Lee asked about how they go about putting together an offensive game plan. Coach Gregory said that you start with what you do best. There are things that they do well and that they will do in all of their games, they try to fit them into the game by formation against the defense. Then you find and install some wrinkles that you can use to try to get some big plays to help you win.

Having a young quarterback and a young defense on the field, the Jags must execute well. Coach Jones told us that he asked the players to think about how they were going to respond. How were they going to handle the crowd and how are they going to respond if they miss a block or commit any number of possible mistakes on the field. Both teams are young and inexperienced so both teams will make some mistakes. But Coach Jones thinks whoever minimizes the number of mistakes will win the game.

Lee asked Coach Jones about leadership and he responded by saying that he thinks Myles is a great leader. He is a bit soft spoken but he has a winning swagger about him that rubs off to all of the other players.

A caller asked how do they monitor players to keep them out of trouble. Coach Jones said they cannot monitor them all the time. The NCAA does not allow schools to have football dorms like Coach Jones and Coach Gregory had when they played in college. They had to check in with their monitors all the time. Students now stay in general student dorms or apartments and they just can’t be monitored all the time. So part of the recruiting process is to make sure you get kids that are well disciplined and to discipline those when and if they warrant it.

Lee Shirvanian mentioned that he was at a high school game on Saturday and there were lots of kids cramping up. So he asked what precautions is USA taking to try to prevent this. Coach Jones said that they will get plenty of fluids leading up to the game and there will be plenty of fluids available on the sidelines. Another thing that has been overlooked by many but they are doing is to get more salt in their diet and to make sure they have a good amount of fat on them as well. Kids with low body fat, once they burn through their carbs, will start burning muscle and they will cramp up. The forecast shows that it should be about 85-88 degrees for the game, Coach Jones would actually prefer 95-98 because he feels it would benefit them over Hargrave.

Lee then asked about the running game, if they had a clear number one running back. Coach Gregory said that their clear #1 running back is Brandon Ross. However they have two or three backs, that if something happened, could easily step up and give them a good chance to win. The will rotate running backs and spread the carries around, however Ross should get the majority of the carries. They do have situational backs because some block better than others, some catch the ball better out of the backfield than others. He also reaffirmed that the Jags are a one back offense, but not to be confused with being a spread offense. They are a one back team with power running and passing but also some option thrown in.

Lee then asked if they have something akin to the ‘wild cat’ formation, something like the ‘wild jaguar.’ They both said no, Gibbon can run with the best of them and could get as many yards or more than the running back so they don’t need that type of formation for him.

Lee then asked how they found Gibbon. Coach Jones said one of the coaches saw him in a football camp and started recruiting him. Many schools stay away from Canadian players because they take different classes up there as opposed to in America. So they have to take some time and take extra courses in order to be eligible by the NCAA.

Coach Jones commented that they know of about 9 of 13 players on defense that have committed to Division-I schools. Also Coach Gregory has been recruiting from Hargrave for about 20 years, so he knows Hargrave pretty well. He has a good relationship with Hargrave’s head coach and when he told him that he was taking the job at South Alabama, his response was that he wanted to come down and play.

Another question from Lee was about footwear for the game. What kind of shoes do they wear. Coach Jones said that they use just normal cleats. The turf at Ladd-Peebles Stadium is actually a little shorter than on the practice field and that makes it a little faster. He does want to get the player out at Ladd one more time before the game because of that difference.

The final question was how many players were going to suit up for the game. Coach Jones said they were going to dress out about 96 players. Lee followed up asking how many of those were scholarship players, which Coach Jones answered that about 50 of them were scholarship players. He went on to say that their team is about 50/50 scholarship and walk-ons right now.

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!

Joey Jones Show Recap 2008-12-02

December 3, 2008 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Jones was not on the show today, he is recruiting in his regions of New Orleans. However, Dameyune Craig filled in with Lee Shirvanian from Wings Sports Grill.

The first topic on the show was the buzz going around today about the job security of Coach Tubberville up at Auburn. Today marks the third day of meetings with the Athletic Director without any real press releases or vote of confidence in the Auburn coach. This has led to many people calling the WNSP radio station with rumors, unnamed sources and so forth stating that either Coach Tubberville was out or still in as coach of the Auburn Tigers in 2009. Unconfirmed reports of a 1pm news conference has circulating but at the time of writing, nothing has come out about it.

We are in the midst of recruiting season and that is exactly where Coach Jones is right now. One caller asked if USA was recruiting the quarterback from Leroy, who is playing in the state championship game later this week. Coach Craig would not say anything about it directly, but did affirm that USA coaches are busy recruiting the best quarterbacks in the area and the region to come play for the Jaguars.

Craig also made light that Alabama and Auburn are only recruiting about 5-8 players in Alabama this year. There is no immediate cause for that but that situation would give USA a prime opportunity to try to get some local talent that may be overlooked by those schools.

Another caller asked about receivers and quarterbacks that are on the team right now. Coach Craig said that they have two Division I receivers right now. One is a transfer from UAB that is pretty quick and they hope to have him cleared to play next fall. The other is a transfer from Southern Miss, also with good speed. The Jags currently have a quarterback from Louisiana and they are recruiting more at all positions.

When asked about what kind of responses potential players are giving USA coaches since USA is a new school starting a football program, Coach Craig recounted a question that was asked to the staff. One kid called up and asked how likely the program is to fold before he graduates. It was obviously not a question that came from the kid himself. It was something that other coaches hinted or dropped in his ear during the recruiting process. That’s part of it.

When asked about recruits who have verbally committed to Auburn. If Coach Tubberville is relieved of his duties, how likely is it that they will still go there? Coach Craig said that some players commit to coaches or playing styles. Many commit to the school itself and they are not likey to change their commitment. USA is committed to football. Its very evident in the money being put into top notch facilities and the campus and that is a big reason how we will get good recruits.

Finally, when Lee Shirvanian asked Craig for his SEC Championship pick, he chose Florida over Alabama. I pick Alabama, not because I am an Alabama fan, but because I think Alabama matches up well with Florida. Coach Saban and Coach Steele are very good and devising defensive schemes to disrupt the other teams offense. Auburn has a pretty good defense and the Alabama offense did a good job early of breaking tendencies and keeping Auburn on their heels. Then when the Auburn offense failed to move the ball and give the defense a rest, Alabama’s offensive line just dominated their defense.

With Harvin possibly out it will take away a big offensive threat from Florida but don’t let tha fool you. They have some players and lots of speed. If it gets into a footrace, Florida has the advantage. But if its a smash mouth, dig into the trentches game it is Alabama’s advantage.

Go Jags! and Roll Tide!