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South Alabama Come From Behind To Defeat Western Kentucky 31-24

September 15, 2013 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 
The Jaguars rally at mid field after they enter the field to just prior to kickoff against Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The Jaguars rally at mid field after they enter the field to just prior to kickoff against Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The University of South Alabama football team fought back from an 11-point deficit at halftime to tie the game in the fourth quarter and then get the winning touchdown in the last two minutes of the game to defeat conference foe Western Kentucky 31-24. The Jags improve to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference while Western Kentucky falls to 1-2 on the season and 0-1 in Sun Belt play.

Senior cornerback Tyrell Pearson was key to helping the Jaguars defeat the Hilltoppers. He had not seen any playing time in the previous 11 quarters of play until the fourth quarter of the game against Western Kentucky. But he made two key plays in the final stanza to help propel the Jags to the win.

With less than three minutes left in the game, Doughty’s pass is picked off by Pearson with only green turf between him and the endzone to set up the Jaguars go-ahead touchdown. Then with Western Kentucky facing 4th and 10 at the Jaguar 13 needing a touchdown with :05 left in the game, Pearson would pick off Doughty’s pass in the endzone to seal the victory.

The Hilltoppers opened the game with a 5 play, 79 yard drive spanning 2:40 to quickly go ahead 7-0. However the Jaguars would respond with their own drive. Highlighted with passes by Ross Metheny to Jereme Jones for 18 yards, Wes Saxton for 7 yards, Danny Woodson Jr for 9 yards to get down to the Hilltopper 37 yard line. Then Metheny would run for 13 yards before hitting Shavarez Smith for 15 yards for a 1st and Goal at the WKU 9 yard line. Facing 4th and goal inside the 1 yard line and after a time out, Metheny would lean on his offensive line and get the touchdown to cap off the 10 play, 75 yard drive spanning 4:14 to tie the game at seven.

The Hilltoppers would put together another scoring drive of 15 plays, 73 yards taking 7:34 off of the clock to take a 14-7 lead over the Jaguars.

The Jags next possession would begin with :32 left in the first quarter at their own 28 yard line. A rush by Jay Jones for four yards would end the first quarter. Starting the second quarter, Metheny would find Saxton for a 37 yards pass to get down to the ‘topper 31 yard line. The Jags would only be able to get to the 25 yard line before behind held to a 42 yard Aleem Sunanon field goal to cut the Hilltopper lead to 14-10. The drive was 6 plays, 47 yards and took 1:36 off the clock.

The Jaguar defense stiffened and opened the WKU possession with a 12 yard sack of Brandon Doughty by Romelle Jones to put them 2nd and 22 at their own 27 yard line. On 4th and 16, WKU would boom a 52 yard punt and T.J. Glover would lose two yards on the return to be downed at the Jaguar 13 yard line.

After getting a first down on a Trey Fetner run around the right side of the line out to the Jaguar 27 yard line, Metheny would be sacked for a 13 yard loss back to the 14 yard line. The Jags would not be able to get a first down and Scott Garber’s punt would go 42 yards and the returner would lose a yard on the return to the WKU 42. A holding penalty would back them up to the 32 yard line with 9:10 left before halftime.

The Hilltoppers would put together a 6 play, 68 yard drive over 3:23 to score a touchdown on a 20 yard pass for Western Kentucky to take a 21-10 lead with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

The ensuing USA possession would start at their own 25 yard line but on the first play they Metheny would connect with Saxton again for 23 yards out to the 48 yard line. Facing 4th and 1 at the WKU 43, Coach Jones would call a time out after lining up for a punt. After the time out, the snap in the punt formation would go to Trey Fetner and he would roll out to the right and try to connect with Jereme Jones, but the ball would fall incomplete to turn the ball over on downs with 3:20 left before halftime.

The Jags received the ball to begin the second half. Glover would return it from the two yard line out to the 27 before being hit and fumbling the ball forward where Desmond LaVelle would recover it for the Jaguars at the 39 yard line. Brandon Bridge would enter the game at quarterback and after back-to-back incompletions, he would find Corey Waldon for a 15 yard first down into Western Kentucky territory at the 46 yard line. He would take a seven yard sack but would connect with Saxton for a 24 yard gain to the ‘topper 29 yard line. After another seven yard loss by Bridge, Dinham would gain 10 yards on a rush to set up Sunanon’s 43 yard field goal that he would put through the uprights. The USA drive went 35 yards over nine plays spanning 3:25 to cut the Hilltopper lead to 21-13 with 11:35 left in the 3rd quarter.

South Alabama’s defense would force a punt on the next WKU possession, only allowing one first down and 24 total yards.

Starting at their own 11 yard line with 8:59 left in the 3rd quarter they would begin a critical drive, both for the team and for the fans in the stands. Brandon Bridge would pull the ball down and run for 23 yards out to the Jaguar 38 on 3rd and 6 for a fresh set of downs and getting the Jaguar offense in gear. Jay Jones would rush for five yards, then Bridge would find Bryant Lavender for six yards out to the Jaguar 49 yard line. After an eight yard sack, Bridge would load up and connect with Jereme Jones for 25 yards and a first down at the WKU 34 yard line.

Facing 3rd down and 4 at the WKU 28, Coach Jones would call his second time out of the half with 5:04 left in the 3rd quarter. Bridge would connect with Jereme Jones again for seven yards and another key first down. on 3rd and 8, Bridge would scramble for 15 yards and slide down at the 4 yard line. Jay Jones would punch it in with 3:23 left in the game to cut the Jaguars deficit to two points. Coach Jones would immediately call for a two-point conversion to try to tie the game. They would use some trickeration with a snap to the running back, a lateral to Jake Howton who would throw to a wide open Ross Metheny in the end zone to tie the game at 21.

Western Kentucky would begin at their own 28 after the kickoff. A few plays later, facing 2nd and 10 at the Jaguar 15 yard line, Romelle Jones and Clifton Crews would combine for a 12 yard sack on Doughty back at the Jaguar 27 yard line to end the 3rd quarter, a quarter in which the Jags held a time of possession advantage of 9:01 to 5:59.

Doughty’s 4th down pass would fall incomplete and they would have to settle for a 44 yard Garrett Schwettman field goal to take a 24-21 lead with 14:47 left in the game.

The ensuing kickoff would go out of bounds at the Jaguar 8 yard line, the penalty would place the ball at the 35 yard line. The Jags would have to call their second time out of the half prior to the first down play after the kickoff as the play clock was running down. On the first down play, Bridge would scramble for a 26 yard gain to the Western Kentucky 39 yard line before getting out of bounds. Jay Jones would then rush for 12 yards to the WKU 27. Bridge’s pass on 3rd and 3 at the WKU 20 intended for Saxton would fall incomplete but Sunanon would drill a 37 yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 12:28 left in the game.

On the ensuing WKU possession, Anthony Wales would return the kickoff 30 yards out to the WKU 45 yard line to begin the drive. A few plays later, facing 4th and 2, Bobby Petrino would decide to go for the first down, but the Jaguar defense would hold as the pass would fall incomplete giving South Alabama the ball at the Jaguar 47 yard line with 10:25 left in the game.

Ross Metheny would return to the game and would connect with Shavarez Smith for a leaping catch for a 50 yard gain at the Western Kentucky 3 yard line. Kendall Houston appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown, but after review, they placed the ball at the one foot line for 3rd and goal. Metheny would be unable to punch it in and Coach Jones decided to kick what seemed like an easy three points. However, Sunanon’s 17 yard kick from the right hashmarks would stay right of the goalpost leaving the game tied at 24-24.

Western Kentucky would take over at their own 20 yard line and drive down to the Jaguar 46 before Doughty’s 3rd down pass was intercepted by Alex Page at the WKU 42 yard line with 4:24 left in the game.

Looking like the Jaguars were going to be able to drive down and set up a game-winning score while milking the clock, Western Kentucky would force a fumble by the sure-handed Jereme Jones to give them the ball at their own 17 yard line with 2:59 left in the game.

On 3rd and 10, Doughty would connect with Norris for 29 yards and a first down at the WKU 46 yard line. But on the very next play, Tyrell Pearson would make a break on the throw and intercept it at midfield for what looked like a pick-six touchdown. However, he would be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for celebration at the 1 yard line, negating the touchdown. The 15 yard penalty would back it up to the 16 yard line with 2:12 left in the game.

Jay Jones would open the possession with a two yard rush to the WKU 14 and forcing Petrino to use one of his time outs with 2:02 left. Metheny would rush for 12 yards and a first down at the two yard line before getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. Kendall Houston would only manage a one yard gain to around the 1 yard line forcing Petrino to use another time out with 1:46 left in the game. Trey Fetner would finally put the ball in the end zone to give the Jaguars a 31-24 lead with 1:38 left in the game.

The Hilltoppers would field the kickoff at their 13 and return it 21 yards to their own 34 yard line. Montell Garner would be flagged for pass interference spotting the ball at the 43 yard line with an automatic first down. Andrews would rush for 15 yards to the Jaguar 42 yard line. Another pass interference would be called, this time on Maleki Harris to place the ball at the 41 yard line. The Hilltoppers would get down the Jaguar 13 yard line with a 1st and 10 and time continuing to run. Alex Page would put pressure on Doughty to force and incomplete pass. After another incomplete pass, the Jags would call a time out on 3rd and 10 to set their defense and get a quick breather.

After the time out, Pat Moore would put the pressure on Doughty to for another incomplete pass bring up 4th and 10 at the 13 with :05 left in the game. Bobby Petrino would use his final time out to set up his last chance. This time Doughty would be pressured again and Tyrell Pearson would intercept it in the end zone to seal the Jaguar victor, 31-24.

South Alabama was outgained by Western Kentucky in total yards 427 – 414, passing yards 282 – 270 and rushing yards 145 – 144. WKU had 26 first downs to the Jaguars 18. The Hilltoppers ran 74 offensive plays, while the Jags ran 66. WKU converted 9-of-17 third downs while South Alabama converted 5-of-13.

Jay Jones led the Jags with 49 yards rushing on 11 carries. Bridge added 42 on six carries. Dinham and Metheny both added 22 yards.

Ross Metheny went 11-of15 for 193 yards and was sacked once. Bridge wen 5-of-11 for 77 yards and had two sacks. Fetner went 0-of-1.

Receiving, Wes Saxton had 91 yards on four receptions. Shavarez Smith had 72 yards on three catches. Jereme Jones added 68 yards on four receptions. Woodson, Waldon, Lavender and Dinham all also had catches in the game as well.

Qudarius Ford led the defense with 12 tackles. Enrique Williams was right behind him with 11 and combined with another Jaguar for a tackle for loss. Clifton Crews had six tackles and a half of a sack. Romelle Jones added four stops including 1.5 sacks.

“The game was as exciting as it gets. I can’t take any more of those kind of games,” Jag head coach Joey Jones joked after the game. “That’s three in a row that have come down to the last play. But I’ll take the win.”

“I’m so excited for our guys, they fought through until the end,” he continued. “Last year we weren’t making plays at the end of the game, this year we are.”

Metheny stated after the game, “I think we executed at a higher level tonight, offensively. Going in tonight I think we had a better game plan and to be able to respond to adversity the way we did. We just executed at a high level tonight. We can see what we can do offensively when we do that.”

“That’s a tough loss, we had our opportunities to win the game,” said Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino. “Starting right at the end of the first half, we have control of the game and a chance on a two-minute drive to go score, and we don’t take advantage of the opportunity. They (South Alabama) made some plays in the second half. We had our chances at the end, we dropped a couple of touchdown passes and threw an interception, so we just didn’t get it done. I thought we would come down here and perform well, so I’m pretty disappointed in our performance but you have to take your hat off to South Alabama. They played well.”

“I want to commend coach Petrino and his team. Western Kentucky is a great football team. We knew that coming in,” Jones stated. “They have a first-class organization, they do things right. For us to come out on the winning side against those guys is definitely the biggest win we’ve had since I’ve been here at South Alabama. You saw how big and physical they were, and our guys stood up to the challenge.”

South Alabama will have an off week before returning to action in Knoxville, Tennessee on September 28 when they face the University of Tennessee at Neyland Stadium.

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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Jags Get Back To Business Sunday Night Preparing For Western Kentucky

September 9, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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No rest for the Jaguars as they have one of the top teams in the Sun Belt coming to Mobile this Saturday in Western Kentucky. The Jags hit the practice field Sunday night in shorts and helmets to begin preparation for the Hilltoppers.

The Jags ended their seven game losing skid when they defeated Tulane in the Superdome. Coach Jones told his team that they have to approach every game just like they did last week. That means intense practices and methodical preparation.

The coaching staff saw some good things in the film from Saturday, but they found some bad as well. The second half began with three costly turnovers by the Jaguars. Two interceptions and a fumble that would eventually give the Green Wave the lead. Coach Jones wants them to close out the game earlier since the Jags were up by 21 points at one point.

The Jags suffered two injuries on Saturday. Jerome McClain suffered a concussion and will be required to pass medical tests before returning to practice or game play this week. Randon Carnathan suffered an Achilles’ heel injury. Coach Jones said that Carnathan’s injury does not look good right now and is feared to be lost for the season due to the injury. Carnathan missed the remainder of the season last year with an ACL injury.

Carnathan could join Melvin Meggs and Will Thompson who will both miss the season with injuries. Meggs tore his ACL in summer workouts while Will Thompson had ankle surgery prior to the first game of the season.

The Jags will host Western Kentucky Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for a 6:30pm kickoff.

South Alabama Defeats Tulane 41-39 In The Superdome

September 9, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
South Alabama celebrates their 41-39 win over Tulane on Saturday, September 7, 2013 in the Superdome.

South Alabama celebrates their 41-39 win over Tulane on Saturday, September 7, 2013 in the Superdome.

Hard work pays off.

After the season opening loss to Southern Utah, the Jags refocused and went through a week of hard nosed workouts to prepare for their trip to New Orleans. They were determined to prove they are a better team than what the fans saw on Thursday night against the Thunderbirds.

They did just that.

“That was a great win for a lot of reasons,” head coach Joey Jones said after the game. “We struggled last week at the end of the game. We played well for three-and-a-half quarters but then lost it. In this game we played well, but then they came back and we bowed up and won it. That’s a sweet way to win a ballgame. Tulane is a much improved team.”

“But my hat’s off to my staff,” Jones continued. “We worked 16 hours a day since last Thursday night because we care about these players. And these players care about this team. They came and worked, we had a great practice week. They did everything we asked them, never dropped their heads and they came out and won the ballgame today. That’s what it’s all about. That is a good life lesson for them there.”

The Jaguars got started early when Jay Jones picked up 29 yards on the first play from scrimmage. After an incomplete pass, Metheny would gain 11 yards on a quarterback draw. Metheny would cut up the middle again and race in for a 35 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead in only 47 seconds of play.

Tulane responded with passes from Nick Montana to Rob Kelley for 15 yards, Ryan Grant for eight but Terrell Brigham would force a fumble that would be recovered by Montell Garner at the Tulane 46 yard line. The second possession would not yield points for the Jaguar though, as Cris Dinham could only manage eight yards on 3rd and 11 and would lose two yards on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs.

After a three and out by the Jaguar defense, Ross Metheny and the Jaguar offense would begin at their own 40 after a 16 yard punt by Tulane. Metheny started the drive with a five yard run, but a personal foul on Sam Scofield would add 15 yards to put the Jags in Tulane territory at the 40 yard line. Metheny would then connect with Wes Saxton for 26 yards before connecting with Shavarez Smith for the 14 yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead with 10:18 left in the opening quarter. The drive spanned three plays covering 60 yards in 56 seconds.

The Green Wave would respond on their next possession. Montana would hit Grant for a 41 yard gain with Orleans Darkwa capping it off with a run over right tackle for two yards for the touchdown to cut the Jaguar lead in half at 14-7 with 5:56 left in the first quarter.

South Alabama would get it back on their next possession. Dinham opened the series with a four yard rush to the Jaguar 29 before Metheny went back to his tight end Wes Saxton for 24 yards down the sideline to the Tulane 47 yard line. After a short gain by Dinham again, Metheny would run on back to back plays for seven and five yards. A couple plays later, facing 3rd and 3 at the Tulane 30 yard line, Metheny would connect with Davin Hawkins for his first career touchdown reception as the Jags lead extends to 21-7.

The Jaguar defense would force a punt on Tulane’s next possession. Metheny would open the Jaguars drive on the USA 20 yard line and would quickly throw a strike to Danny Woodson for 41 yards to the Tulane 39 yard line. Metheny’s pass intended for Bryant Lavender would fall incomplete, however a pass interference call would would move the ball down to the Tulane 24 yard line. Kendall Houston would end the quarter with a four yard rush up the middle to the Tulane 20. Metheny would find Saxton open on 3rd and 6 to get the first down at the Tulane 12 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Metheny would run for 12 yards on a quarterback draw for the touchdown and a three score lead at 28-7 with 13:52 left in the second quarter.

The Green Wave would piece together an 11 play, 80 yard drive for a touchdown to cut the Jaguar lead to 28-14 with 10:23 left in the game.

On the kickoff, T.J. Glover took the ball out of the end zone and only got out to the 12 yard line, but an illegal block would move it back to the Jaguar 6 yard line. USA managed one first down before being forced to punt from their 17 yard line. However, a bad snap would get past Scott Garber, but a heads-up play by him prevented a touchdown and only gave Tulane two points on a safety to make the score 28-16.

The Jags defense would force a three-and-out on the next Tulane possession, but on the second down play, Randon Carnathan would be injured and did not return to the game. More on his injury below.

T.J. Glover would return the punt 27 yards from the Jaguar 14 to the 41 to start their possession. On the first play, with Brandon Bridge in at quarterback, the Jags would be flagged for a false start to back them up to five yards. Jay Jones would get it back and then some with a 13 yard rush up the middle just short of midfield. Two plays later on 2nd and 9, the offense would be flagged for another false start to make it 2nd and 14 and coach Jones would call a time out to settle his offense down. The Jags would be forced to punt two plays later. Garber’s 46 yard punt would go into the endzone for a touchback with 3:06 left until halftime.

Tulane would open their possession with another deep pass from Montana to Grant for 45 yards to get to the Jaguar 35 yard line. The Jaguar defense would hold the Green Wave to a 47 yard field goal as Tulane cut Jaguar lead to 28-19 with 1:31 left until halftime.

Starting from their own 25 after the touchback on the kickoff, Jay Jones would rush for five yards on back-to-back plays as it looked like Coach Jones and Coach Matthews were content to run out the clock on the half. But then Metheny would find Jereme Jones for an 18 yard gain to the Tulane 47 yard line. The offense would run to the line to spike the ball as the Jags only had one time out with 14 seconds left till halftime. Metheny would then go back to Saxton again for 10 more yards to the Tulane 37 with :07 seconds left and they would call their final time out. Metheny would connect with Saxton one more time for eight yards and he would get out of bounds at the Tulane 29 yard line. Aleem Sunanon would make the 46 yard field goal attempt to lead the Jaguars into the lockerroom with a 31-19 lead at halftime.

Tulane would begin the second half with Dante Butler returning the kickoff from the endzone to the 19 yard line before Rush Hendrix would take him down. A false start would back them up to their own 14 yard line. On 3rd and 14, Romelle Jones would sack Montana for a six yard loss at the Tulane 9 yard line.

The Jags would have Glover’s 12 yard punt return brought back as E.J. May was flagged for an illegal block to start a bad possession for the Jaguars. Two plays later on 3rd and 5 at the Tulane 48 yard line, Metheny’s pass would bounce off of Bryant Lavender’s chest and would be intercepted by Nico Marley and returned 30 yards to the Jaguar 30 yard line, but a personal foul would move the ball to the 15 yard line. Tulane would score a touchdown three plays later when Darkwa would take it in from one yard out to cut the Jaguar lead to 31-26 with 11:42 left in the 3rd quarter.

On the ensuing possession for the Jaguars, facing 3rd and 8 from the Jaguar 27, Metheny would find Jereme Jones across the middle for 11 yards and a first down. But two plays later Metheny, running the read option, would fumble the exchange with Dinham that would be recovered by Marley at the Jaguar 39 yard line. The Jags would force an incompletion by Montana on 4th and 2 at the Jaguar 31 to give the offense the ball back on downs with 8:47 left in the 3rd quarter.

Metheny would start the possession with a 12 yard run before connecting with Saxton on back-to-back passes for 12 and 4 yards. But on 3rd and 5 at the Tulane 40, Metheny would be flushed from the pocket and try to float a pass to Saxton on the right sideline, but a leaping defender would pick it off and return it 25 yards to the Jaguar 40 before offensive lineman Drew Dearman forced him out of bounds saving a touchdown.

Montana would connect with Grant again for a 40 yard touchdown pass on their first play. Grant would be flagged for excessive celebration and the Jags would be flagged for roughing the passer. The defensive penalty was enforced on the kickoff while the celebration penalty was enforced on the PAT. Tulane would get their first and only lead of the game at 33-31 with 6:35 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Jags would drive 17 yards before being forced to punt which was fair caught at the Tulane 20 yard line. On 3rd and 8 from their own 22, Montana was sacked for a 10 yard loss by Alex Page. The special teams unit stepped up to help the offense as Qudarius Ford blocked the Tulane punt and Terrance Timmons would recover it in the endzone for a Jaguar touchdown to give the Jags the lead once again at 38-33 with 1:13 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Tulane and the Jaguars next possession would be three-and-out’s. Tulane’s next possession would be a disaster. A nine yard rush by Kelley would come back on a holding call to make it 1st and 20 at the Tulane 45. A bad snap would cause them to lose six more yards for a 2nd and 26 at their own 39 yard line. Montana’s screen pass to Butler would be sniffed out by Romelle Jones for a four yard loss to make it 3rd and 30 at their own 35. Clifton Crews would then sack Montana for another six yard loss to make it 4th and 36 from the Tulane 29.

The Tulane punt would be fielded at the Jaguar 25 by Glover and returned one yard, but Montell Garner would be flagged for a personal foul to move it back to the Jaguar 13 yard line with 10:43 left in the game.

The Jags would go three and out again and Scott Garber’s 45 yard punt would be returned only three yards to put the ball at the Green Wave 45 yard line. Montana would try another deep pass but Roman Buchanan would pick him off at the Jaguar 16 yard line and  it would be upheld after a review.

The Jags would take over at their own 16 yard line with 9:46 left in the game and a 38-33 lead. Metheny would open up with a 15 yard completion from Metheny to Davin Hawkins but he would fumble it out of bounds at the Jaguar 31 yard line. Then Metheny would load up again and connect with Shavarez Smith for a big 43 yard gain to the Tulane 26 yard line. After a rush by Dinham for no gain and an incomplete pass, the Jags faced 3rd and 10. Metheny would hand it off to Dinham who took it over left end and would go out of bounds after a 14 yard gain to the Tulane 12 yard line and another South Alabama first down. Jay Jones would run off left end for eight more yards to the Tulane 4 yard line. Houston would lose two on a rush, then on 3rd down Metheny’s pass to Jereme Jones would fall incomplete. Coach Jones would opt to take points and kick a 23 yard field goal to put the Jags up 41-33 with 6:07 left in the game.

Brandon McKee’s kickoff would be fielded at the one yard line and David Hawkins would bring down the Green Wave returner at the 18 yard line. Montana would find Matt Marfisi for 18 yards to the Tulane 36. After a deep pass intended for Grant fell incomplete, he came right back to Grant for nine yards on the sideline. Darkwa would get the first down on 3rd and 1 by getting two yards. Montana, after an incomplete pass, would find Xavier Rush for 10 yards and another first down. A run by Montana would go for 11 yards to get into Jaguar territory at the 43 yard line. A screen pass to Kelley would gain six yards, then a slant pass to Sydie London would gain three more yards to the Jaguar 23. Two plays later Montana would complete a pass to Rush for 10 more yards to the Jaguar 12 yard line. After a draw play only gained two yards to the Jaguar 10 yard line, Tulane would take a time out with 1:31 left in the game. After lining up, the Jags would take a time out to adjust their defense. On 2nd and 8 at the Jaguar 10 yard line, Montana’s pass appeared to be intercepted by Roman Buchanan, but after a review it was called an incomplete pass. On the next play Montana would hit Grant for a 10 yard touchdown to draw them within a two point conversion with 1:19 left in the game.

On the two point play, Montana was pressured out of the pocket to the right sideline when the Jaguars brought a blitz, he would put up a throw but it would be intercepted by Maleki Harris leaving the Jaguars up 41-39. The Jags would use their final time out to set up for the onsides kick. The kick would go nine yards and would be recovered by Bryant Lavender at the Tulane 44 yard line. The Jags could finally end the game with the victory formation.

South Alabama put up great offensive numbers. They gained 328 yard in the first half, which almost equaled the the 335 yards they gained in the whole game against Southern Utah in the previous game.

The Jags ended the game with 465 total yards of offense, 297 yards through the air and 168 on the ground. USA gained 25 first downs to Tulane’s 20. Tulane ended with a slight edge time of possession with 30:03 to USA’s 29:57.

Ross Metheny ended the game as the leading rusher with 75 yards on 11 attempts and two touchdowns. Jay Jones gained 64 yards on 11 carries, Dinham added 28 yards on 10 carries and Houston had 17 yards on 7 carries.

Tulane’s Orleans Darkwa rushed 10 times for 32 yards and two touchdowns.

Ross Metheny went 19-of-30 for 290 yards and two touchdowns while taking two sacks and two interceptions. Bridge was 1-of-2 for seven yards.

Nick Montana went 29-of-47 for 327 yards and three touchdowns and one interception.

Wes Saxton led the Jaguars with 92 yards on 7 catches. Jereme Jones added four catches for 50 yards, Danny Woodson also had 50 yards on three catches. Shavarez Smith gained 57 yards on two catches with a touchdown. Davin Hawkins caught two passes for 45 yards and his first career touchdown as a Jaguar. Two other Jags had catches as well.

Tulane’s highly touted receiver lived up to his billing with 187 yards on 14 catches and two touchdowns. Xavier Rush was the next closest with 34 yards on three catches.

Defensively, Qudarius Ford led the Jags with 8 total tackles, two pass breakups and a punt block. Romelle Jones and Terrell Brigham both added seven stops with Jones collecting two tackles for loss and one sack. Clifton Crews and Alex Page both had a sack as well. Roman Buchanan had the only interception for the Jaguar defense.

Tulane’s Sam Scofield led all tacklers with 15 total, 13 solo and two for loss. Robertson added 11 tackles, two for loss and a sack for the Green Wave.

South Alabama scored touchdowns on four of their first five drives.

Tulane rebounded early in the second half by turning three Jaguar turnovers into 14 points to take the lead on the Jags.

Qudarius Ford said after the game, “We practiced that punt block all week. We knew they weren’t going to be ready for it. When the coaches called it, I knew it was going to work. We just executed. We saw how the wings always flared out, and it left the underneath gap wide open. I knew when I got through that it was money.”

It was the first time since Tennessee-Martin on October 15, 2011 that the Jaguar offense has put together multiple scoring drives that were under a minute.

The 21-7 first quarter marked the most point production by the Jaguars in the first quarter of a game since they scored 20 against Lamar on September 10, 2011. They gained 245 yards and 11 first downs in the opening quarter.

The 465 yards of total offense is the most against an FBS school in the University’s short history. Metheny’s four scores is another school-record.

“We were just taking what they gave us and kept rolling,” Ross Metheny stated after the game. “We made the plays tonight, and that’s what our offense is set up to do. We put ourselves in position to make the plays, we just have to make them. We struggled with that a little last year and last week as well. But we finally made the plays and did what we were supposed to do tonight.”

“We got up big early,” Metheny continued. “The offense played great the first half, probably the best offensive half we have had. Then we came out and had three turnovers fairly quickly in the second half, but the defense was playing really good in the second half. We had to have a big play, and we blocked the punt. The punt return staff did a great job of coming up with that punt block. It was something we saw on film, and it worked just right. You have to make those plays in order to win big games and we did it.”

“It’s the biggest win we’ve ever had,” Jones stated. “We have a lot of games coming that we can win. Winning is a habit. We want our guys to win, and they have done that. I’m so proud of the way they fought back, and fought against the fact we lost last week late in the game and came out here and won a tough game on the road.”

“Tulane is a much-improved team, and they have a good football program,” he continued. “They’re going to do well in Conference USA. For us to come on the road and win one like that is big for the South Alabama football program. Curtis Johnson (Tulane head coach), his staff and the players acted first class the entire game. My hat’s off to them. They are the kind of team you want to play against, because they play the game the right way.”

Coach Jones spoke about true freshman Roman Buchanan by saying, “Coming in and playing like that in Division I football as a true freshman is big. We know he’s a great player, and he’s going to be a great one in the future for sure.”

Coach Jones also spoke about stopping the two-point conversion at the end of the game. He said, “That was big. Most teams want to sprint out to the right, and I went up to coach Sherrer and asked him if we were going to bring edge pressure and he said, ‘We’re going to bring everybody.’ We brought an all-out blitz and pressured the quarterback, and he couldn’t really get his feet set to throw the ball. It was a great call by coach Sherrer.”

When asked if he would like to see a series between the two schools, Jones replied, “I would love for it to be. Two hours away; we’d love to have a rivalry with them in the future.”

However the two teams are not scheduled to play again until October 10, 2020 when Tulane travels to Mobile.

Randon Carnathan’s injury turned out to be some sort of Achilles heel injury and was in a protective boot on the sidelines when he returned to the sideline. The extent of his injury is unknown

JuCo tranfer Jerome McClain came out of the game with a concussion. He will have to clear medical tests before he will be allowed to return to practice or games.

Losing two defensive linemen will hurt their depth at that position.

Jereme Jones consecutive games with a catch streak is up to 29 now.

South Alabama will open Sun Belt play on Saturday when they play Western Kentucky for the first time. The game will feature Bobby Petrino’s up-tempo offense that they used to defeat Kentucky on the road to open the season. South Alabama and Western Kentucky is set to kick off at 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Come out and support your Jaguars in this key Sun Belt game. Go Jags!

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 09-03-2013

September 4, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 2 Comments 
Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

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

Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones were joined by offensive coordinator Robert Matthews on the radio show on Tuesday hosted at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

Coach Jones mentioned Aleem as being a good kicker and that he just needs to get into the game and hit a few kicks to get his confidence going since he is a redshirt freshman. The Jags have had a pair of fifth-year seniors over the last two seasons at the placekicker spot and they brought a lot of experience to the team at that position.

He also spoke about the fake punt by Southern Utah that went for a first down. He mentioned that they ran the same exact fake punt play in practice during the week and there were supposed to be five guys spying the punter but they all failed to do their job.

Coach Matthews, along with being the offensive coordinator, also coaches the offensive line. He thought the line did a pretty good job by opening some decent run lanes for the running backs and protecting the quarterback. They weren’t perfect and that is something they have to work on, but it was an encouraging game because that was all correctable.

Lee asked how he thought the offense performed. Coach Matthews reiterated what coach Jones said that they did well at times but need to put more points on the board and take advantage of opportunities. They need to make some of those big plays on offense and become more explosive. He also mentioned that South Alabama was up by eight points in the fourth quarter and they had the ball late, so it was up to them to get a few first downs and win the game.

Lee asked about a play late in the game with the ball at the 50 yard line where SU was about to get a big pass play to set up a score. He mentioned that some people mentioned to him that that play was illegal, so he asked Coach Jones about it. Coach Jones said that it was not an illegal play, but they ran a guy on the field late from the sidelines after the formation was set so the defense didn’t account for him. The result was a wide open receiver. He does not know if it was a planned play or what, but it was not reviewable play if it were an illegal play.

Question from a listener about the quarterbacks. He mentioned that last season Coach Jones indicated he didn’t like the rotation. Both Jones and Matthews said that they are better at the quarterback position over last season. Ross Metheny has improved and Brandon Bridge is progressing in the offense. It goes back to something Coach Jones has said every season, if they have players that good, impact players they will find a way get them on the field because that helps to give them the best chance at winning the ball game.

Caller asked three different questions to Coach Jones. The first was the E.J. May interception that was ruled incomplete. Coach Jones said that, via the replay board, he was able to see that the ball came out and that it was a good call so they did not challenge the play. His second question was about a power formation with two tight ends which Coach Jones said that they do have that formation, but they just don’t have that many big tight ends. His last one was about the two quarterback system again concerning a rotation. Coach Jones referred back and reiterated some of his comments earlier in the radio show.

Another caller asked about West Florida possibly adding football, but not Division I. Coach Jones said it would be good for them, he just hopes they don’t go Division I and pull some players that might go to South Alabama.

While answering another part of the callers question, Coach Jones indicated that Dejon Funderburk was going to redshirt this season, but the way he stated it was that it was not their decision and somehow it came from the NCAA. But he did say that with him and transfer Marvin Shinn, they may have the best scout team recevier corps in the nation.

Talking about Tulane, they have a good running back returning this season. They also have a very good receiver that returns as well. Coach Jones said he may be one of the best they face this season.

Lee mentioned that this will be the last season Tulane plays in the Superdome because they are building their own stadium. He asked how it is different to play in a dome. Coach Jones mentioned that it is different for punt returners because it messes with the depth perception. Kickoff returns isn’t really affected because of the contrast behind the ball.

Lee mentioned the start for the Sun Belt this season with Texas State defeating Southern Miss in Hattiesburg and Western Kentucky defeating Kentucky. Both Louisiana teams, Lafayette and Monroe, both didn’t fare so well this week. A big game this weekend for Lee is Western Kentucky at Tennessee since the Jags will face them in a few weeks. Plus Bobby Petrino is familiar with the SEC so it could be a very interesting game.

Lee asked about Arkansas State’s game at Auburn this weekend and if it’s a big advantage for a head coach to face the team he left from the previous season for a new team. Coach Matthews said that there were several coaches left at ASU that were under coach Malzahn and knows what his schemes will be like. But coach Malzahn should be very familiar with the personnel that he will be facing.

Coach Jones ended the show talking about the team. Lee asked him how important the game at Tulane is after losing to Southern Utah. Coach Jones said that every game is important and that they will not be favored by 20 points or anything in any of their game. But he wants his team to be one that goes out every week and gets better while playing hard nosed football. If they do that they can win some games.

Jags Lose Heartbreaker On Kick As Time Expires

August 30, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

The South Alabama Jaguars fell to Southern Utah on a 28-yard field goal by Colton Cook as time expired 22-21 Thursday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This is the Jaguars second loss in a season opener game in the last two seasons. Similarly, Texas-San Antonio defeated the Jags on a field goal with 16-seconds remaining in the game a year ago.

The Jags started the game with two first downs in their first three plays before a pass interference penalty on Wes Saxton turned what would have been a 20-yard completion into a 3rd and 25 that the Jags could not convert. Garber’s 41-yard punt would put the Thunderbirds at their own 23 yard line to begin.

Southern Utah start quickly with a 12 play 61 yard drive to get the first points of the game on a 33 yard field goal by Colton Cook.

On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would pick up the ball after a bounce and return it down the left side for 43 yards to the Jaguar 48 yard line. JuCo transfer Cris Dinham woudl open the drive with a four yard rush before Ross Metheny would find Jereme Jones for an 11 yard completion for a first down and extending his consecutive game with a reception streak. After an incomplete pass to Saxton, Metheny would find Juco tranfer Shavarz Smith for 13 yards to the Thunderbird 20 yard line. Dinham would rush for another five yards before Jay Jones would get stopped for no gain. On Third and five at the SU 15 yard line, Metheny would get sacked by Zak Browning for a nine yard loss. Aleem Sunanon’s 41 yard field goal attempt would sail wide right.

On the first play of the Southern Utah drive Montell Garner would be flagged for pass interference with the ball being placed at the spot of the foul the Thunderbirds would have it first and 10 at their won 38 yard line. Aaron Cantu would find Alphin open and he would scamper for 54 yards to the Jaguar 8 yard line. After a Thunderbird time out, RaySean Martin would run on back-to-back plays for 7 yards and one yard to score the touchdown to put the Thunderbirds ahead 10-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

The Jags would get one first down on their next drive before being forced to punt. The Thunderbird returner would call for a fair catch at their own 11 yard line.

The Jags would hold SU to a three-and-out giving the Jags great field position at the SU 43 after a 30 yard punt by Brock Miller.

Brandon Bridge would take over at quarterback for the second quarter. The drive would open with an 11 yard rush by Jay Jones followed by a 12 yard run by Bridge to move the ball down to the SU 20 yard line. After two incomplete passes to Saxton and Rush Hendrix, the Jags would call a time out. Bridge would run for 1 yard on 3rd and 10 then Coach Jones would opt for a 37 yard field goal attempt by Sunanon which was blocked. Very frustratingly Chris May would be flagged for an personal foul tacking on another 15 yards to give the Thunderbirds great field position at their 44 yard line.

Cantu would complete a 12 yard pass to the Jaguar 38 yard line to convert on 3rd and 4. But on the next play Cantu would be sacked and he would fumble the ball and inadvertently kicked down the field that Southern Utah would eventually recover after a 27 yard loss to face 2nd and 37 from their own 35 yard line. THeir situation would be complicated further after a false start backed them up five more yards for 2nd and 42 at their own 30 yard line. After a loss of two and a gain of one on back-to-back rushes, the Thunderbirds would be forced to punt on 4th and 43 from their own 29 yard line.

South Alabama would begin their drive at their won 28 yard line after the 43 yard punt is downed by T.J. Glover. Bridge would complete a pass to Dinham for four yards before handing it off to him again for one yard. On 3rd and 5, Bridge would find Danny Woodson Jr for 10 yards out to the USA 43. Bridge would run for four yards on first down before connecting with Smith for 13 yards to the SU 40 yard line. Bridge would take the snap and take off for a 40 yard touchdown to put the Jags on the board but still trailing the Thunderbirds 10-7 with 4:37 left in the first half.

The second half would begin the same as the first half for the Thunderbirds. After the Jags stopped SU on third down to force a 4th and 2, a fake punt would net 26 yards and a first down at the Jaguar 28 for the Thunderbirds. The Jags would hold again but Cook would connect on a 37 yard field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 at the 11:15 mark in the 3rd quarter.

The Jags would respond on their ensuing possession with Jay Jones opening with a 9 yard rush out to the USA 36 yard line. Two plays later, Jones would run up the middle for 57 yards to the SU 4 yard line before being caught. Kendall Houston would run for three yards and no gain on back-to-back carries. SU would call a time out before Randon Carnathan would get a carry into the end zone. After the time out facing 3rd and goal at the 1, Rush Hendrix would be called for a false start to back them up to the 6 yard line. Metheny would find Jereme Jones on a slant for a six yard touchdown. The point after would put the Jags up 14-13 with 7:38 left in the quarter.

A roughing the passer on the touchdown play would put the kickoff at the 50, but Hendrix would be flagged for an off-sides on the kickoff. The rekick from the USA 45 would be fair caught at the Thunderbird 11 to give them worse field position.

The Jaguar defense would force SU to go three-and-out in back-to-back possessions. The Jags would begin their drive at the USA 36 with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Dinham would run on three-consecutive plays for 4, 8 and -1 yards respectively. Metheny would find Woodson open for a 33 yard gain down to the SU 20 yard line before being forced out of bounds. Two plays later Metheny would find Woodson again for a 20 yard touchdown down the left sideline to put the Jaguars up 21-13 with 14:47 left in the game.

The game would be a bit of a stalemate until close to midway through the quarter. On 3rd and 9 at their own 23 yard line, Bridge’s pass intended for Hendrix would be intercepted at the USA 43 yard line.

SU would capitalize on the mistake. After a 7-yard sack on Cantu by Maleki Harris, Cantu would find Griff McNabb open for a 44 yard gain to the Jaguar 6 yard line. Three plays later Cantu would find an open receiver for the touchdown. Their two-point conversion attempt would fall incomplete to leave the Jaguars up 21-19.

The Jags would go three-and-out on the next possession giving the Thunderbirds the ball with 4:43 left in the game.

Martin would rush for 6 then 9 yards on back-to-back carries out to the 50 yard line. They would steadily match down the field with a big 16 yard pass completion to put them at the Jaguar 27 yard line. The Jags would take a time out with 42 seconds left with the ball at the Jag 22. Malik Brown would rush for 13 yards to the Jaguar 9 yard line. After a two yard loss the Thunderbirds would let the clock run down before taking a timeout with 2 seconds left in the game. Cook would connected on the 28 yard field goal to end the game. Southern Utah 22 – USA 21.

The Jags would end the game with 16 first down to SU’s 14. Offensively the Jags put up 335 yards of total offense with 187 coming on the ground and 148 through the air. The Jags were 5-of-14 on third down.

The Jags defense allowed 317 total yards of offense with 183 yards passing and 134 yards rushing. SU converted five of their 15 third downs.

Jay Jones would lead the rushing attack with 92 yards on 9 carries. Bridge would add 60 yards on 7 carries, Dinham had 22 yards on 7 carries, Houston 17 yards on five carries, Metheny had 11 yards on three carries adn Valentin had one yard on 3 carries.

Shavarez Smith and Jereme Jones both caught five passes for 52 and 26 yards respectively with Jones getting the only touchdown of the two. Woodson would catch three for 63 yards and a touchdown. Five other Jags would catch a pass in the game.

Ross Metheny would go 12-of-17 for 112 yards and two touchdowns and a sack. Bridge would finish 6-of-11 for 36 yards and an interception.

Southern Utah’s Raysean Martin would rush for 110 yards on 23 carries for a game high. Cantu went 13-of-24 for 183 yards and a touchdown with three sacks. McNabb and Norris would catch 4 passes each for 77 and 20 yards respectively to highlight the receiving corps for SU.

“I want to congratulate Southern Utah for winning the ballgame,” said head coach Joey Jones. “We didn’t have a ton of mistakes, but they made the plays in the fourth quarter when they had to and ended up beating us. My hat’s off to them.”

“It’s a big disappointment. Any time you lose it’s a disappointment,” Jones said. “There’s nothing I can say in there to make them or myself feel any better. We lost a very important ballgame tonight. We’re a better team, but we have to look at ourselves and evaluate what we’re doing. We’re going to have to win some close games to have a good year, and that was one we let slip by.”

“We’re a better football team than that,” Ross Metheny stated. “We’re going to put a better product on the field, and like I said, we’ll just go back and learn. There’s two things we can do with this, we can either use it, learn from it and go forward, or we can tuck our tails and not benefit from it. I promise you that number two is not an option.”

The Jags will next play on the road in New Orleans against Tulane on Saturday, September 7 at 2:30pm in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Jags Open Second Week Of Practice Tuesday

March 5, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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South Alabama opens their second week of spring practice Tuesday morning for their fourth practice session.

The staff continue to get as many players repetitions as time and circumstances allow them to do. They continue to add some new wrinkles to the offense and evaluate players as much as they can. With over 100 players taking part in spring practice, the focus continues to be on fundamentals and evaluation.

But the learning process continues. The new plays have been filmed and reviewed. The coaches have broken them down, players have reviewed them and mentally prepared for Tuesday’s workout.

Offensively, running back Jay Jones has garnered attention in the Jags first three practices. He has showcased his speed to get to the edge but also the ability to run off-tackle up the middle as well. That was something the Jags staff wanted to get when they recruited him.

He joins some experienced players in the backfield in Kendall Houston, Demetre Baker and Terrance Timmons among others. Cristobal Dinham and freshman Kaleb Blanchard will join them this fall.

Jay actually ran a similar offense in his first season at Northeast Mississippi Community College, which has helped him grasp it quicker than anticipated. While he still has a long way to go, he believes that coach Matthews’ scheme fits him well and factored into his decision to come to South Alabama.

Jay will definitely have the upper hand on the players who will join the team this summer. He will know more about the offensive playbook and will have plenty of time in the weight room and conditioning program ahead of the newcomers.

Coach Jones likes having competition at positions on the team. He believes the players work harder and allows the staff to get a good evaluation of the players from that competition. Plus it’s good to have more options and styles to choose from on game day. Competition will make the team better.

Injury wise, the Jags have had only one serious injury. Cornerback Eddy Cabrera will miss the rest of spring practice with a broken fibia. Cabrera’s had another players leg whipped into him, breaking the fibia in the process. He had surgery performed by Dr. Albert Pearsall, the team physician, and is expected to be ready by fall practice.

Two other players are recovering from concussions. Defensive back Charles Harris suffered his on Saturday while defensive end Ridge James suffered his on Sunday. Once they are cleared by the medical staff, they will return to the practice field for the Jags.

The players will hit the field looking to improve their execution in preparation for what coach Jones referred to as a “half-scrimmage” coming up on Thursday. The Thursday session will begin as a normal practice, but with the scrimmage at the end. It will also be the last practice session for over a week as the team will have spring break off before returning to the practice fields on Tuesday, March 19 at 6am once again.

Jags Football To Be Without Hollinger This Season

January 19, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Recruiting · Comment 
Game Captains for South Alabama Romelle Jones, B.J. Scott, Greg Hollinger and Alex Page meet the Troy captains at mid-field for the coin toss in the two teams first meeting and the Jaguars first Sun Belt Conference game.

Game Captains for South Alabama Romelle Jones, B.J. Scott, Greg Hollinger and Alex Page meet the Troy captains at mid-field for the coin toss in the two teams first meeting and the Jaguars first Sun Belt Conference game.

While head coach Joey Jones and his staff are in the midst of recruiting for the 2013 class and trying to hire coaches to fill two positions on his staff, he will have a spot at tight end to fill.

The Jags will be without Greg Hollinger next season as he is not enrolled and will not return to South Alabama according to AL.com. Hollinger, a 6’4″ 230-pound former Jaguar would have been a senior during the 2013 season. He had to sit out his freshman year due to academic reasons.

Last season Hollinger caught 22 passes for 321 yards, averaging 14.6 yards per reception, and two touchdowns. In 2011 he caught four passes for 76 yards as a wide receiver.

Those numbers put him 6th on the team in receptions last season, 5th in yardage and tied for second on the team in touchdown receptions.

The Jags will return Wes Saxton who caught 26 passes for 336 yards last season and Jared Palmer who caught two passes for two yards last season. Also Rush Hendricks, Ryan Onkka and Kyle Sappington were all on the roster last season for the Jags.

Twin defensive backs Steffon and Steven Fuller, who were exected to enroll at South Alabama this semester, have not enrolled as of Friday. Instead, they are expected to enroll for the summer semester in May, however they will miss spring practice. They are expected to contend for starting spots this fall.

As for recruiting, Coach Jones and his staff have been vigorously recruiting. They are keeping in touch with prospects who have already given their verbal committments as well as talking with other prospects they hope to sign to the school.

This weekend a small group of prospects will be visiting. Xavier Johnson, is a 5’10” 167-pound running back from Tampa, FL., who verbally committed to South Alabama prior to the start of this past season but backed off his committment just before football season began. He rushed for 1,736 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. While his numbers were down for his senior season, he still scored 10 touchdowns. Since then he has solidly reaffirmed his committment to the Jags.

Kevin Gary, a 6′ 180-pound wide receiver from Georgia Military where he caught 21 passes for 429 yards and 7 touchdowns his past season. Terrence Upshaw, a 5’9″ 180-pound running back from Duluth Georgia, who is ranked as a 3-star recuit by Rivals.com.

De’Shawn Beck, a 5’9″ 180-pound wide receiver from Los Angeles Harbor College. During the 2012 season he caught 37 passes for 647 yards and five touchdowns. Beck’s teammate Jarrell Wright, a 6’3″ 300-pound defensive lineman, who tallied 41 tackles, 9.5 tackles-for-loss and six sacks.

Earlier this week Jones said that the main needs of this season’s recruiting class are defensive linemen and offensive playmakers. Based on these recuits, that is what they are looking at.

However, the biggest on-campus recruiting weekend for the Jags will be next weekend. At this time they expect to have as many as 20 prospects on campus for a whirl-wind recruiting effort.

South Alabama will be able to sign a full class of 25 players.

South Alabama Looking To Finish Strong In 2013 Recruiting Season

January 15, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Recruiting · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

Head Coach Joey Jones speaks to his team after the conclusion of the Jaguars first practice of preseason camp.

With about two weeks left until National Signing Day, the Jags continue to look to get verbal commitments from recruits as well as holding onto the ones already verbally committed to the program. Verbal commitments are non-binding. But the 2013 class may be the best yet for the Jaguars.

This season South Alabama will have a full compliment of 85 scholarships as all other FBS schools have. They can assure recruits that they can compete for the Sun Belt Conference Championship and can be eligible to play in a bowl game as they have finished their two-year transition period into the FBS ranks.

The Jaguar program have received more verbal commitments this recruiting season than they any previous recruiting season. If they can attract just a few more players they are actively recruiting, then Coach Jones will be quite pleased with this recruiting class they have worked hard to obtain.

In previous recruiting classes, Jones and his staff focused on recruiting players for the secondary and offensive line. Those positions were considered areas of need. They needed players who could contribute immediately. Those positions are now strengths on the team, so the coaching staff is now targeting needs at defensive line and the skill positions on offense. But they will be signing players at other positions as well, especially if a talented player becomes available regardless of the position.

“On the offensive side of the ball, we’re looking for playmakers, and that means running backs and receivers,” Jones said in an interview with AL.com. “Defensively, we’ll try to find more defensive linemen because we have a lot of senior d-linemen this year and we’re obviously trying to recruit some depth there.”

Romelle Jones, Pat Moore, Ridge James, Alex Page, Montavious Williams, Randon Carnathan and Byron Sneed will all be seniors on the defensive line for the 2013 season. Some of those names are well known by Jaguar fans and have contributed to South Alabama’s defensive strength since the program began, including their second place ranking last season in the Sun Belt Conference.

Six junior college players signed in December and have enrolled or are expected to enroll in classes this week. If so, they will be available to participate in spring practice, which may start near the end of February. There may be some in that group that may not be able to enroll until May though.

As previously reported here back in December, junior college signees running back Cristobal Dinham, twin defensive backs Steffon and Steven Fuller, linebacker Desmond LaVelle, running back Jay Jones and cornerback Montell Garner have enrolled or are expected to enroll this week.

South Alabama had some recruits visit campus over the weekend but their biggest recruiting weekend is coming up in two weeks. They will be in town when the Senior Bowl and Mardi Gras are both taking place for a whirlwind recruiting weekend.

“The guys we signed from junior college, we feel good about them and the guys we have,” Jones said to AL.com in reference to the defensive backs in particular but also the junior college group as a whole. “We feel good there. I feel like our needs have been met there.”

“We do feel good about where we are, but we’ve got to finish,” he continued. “That’s one thing we’ve got to do. It’s just like every year, we’ve got to finish strong. There are a lot of times when it comes down to three or four players at the end. If you land those guys you’re in really good shape and you can have a great year.”

Just like Jones and his staff preaches to the players during practice, Jones also says it to himself and his staff. “We’ve got to finish strong.” The Jags have verbals from some great players and in about two weeks we will see how well they finish and how well they build on their progress this past season.

Go Jags.

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark Interested In Jacksonville State Opening

December 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

South Alabama assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Bill Clark has expressed interest in the head coach opening at Jacksonville State University.

Coach Clark is an Anniston native and an 1990 graduate of Jacksonville State has not interviewed for the job. Yet.

But he has informed head coach Joey Jones about his interest in the position and well as informed the JSU officials of his interest in the position.

“I was called about the job on Friday when it first was announced that coach Crowe had been let go and I had an interest in looking at it,” Clark said Monday night to AL.com. “Obviously I’m very happy here and I have a great job. I talked to Joey about after the game on Saturday and he knows I’m going to look into it and see what it entails.”

Jacksonville State ended the season with a 6-5 record with losses to Arkansas to start the season and to Florida to end the season. Crowe posted an 87-57 record in his 13 seasons as the Gamecocks head coach. JSU athletics director Warren Koegel dismissed Crowe, the second-winningest coach in school hisotry, with two years on his contract.

Crowe led the Gamecocks to the Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2003, 2004 and 2011. He also led them to three NCAA FCS playoff appearances but failed to win a playoff game.

Coach Clark received his bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State in 1990 in physical education. His first coaching job was an assistant at nearby Piedmont High School. He later served as an assistant at Tuscaloosa County High, Coffee County GA. High and Dothan High schools before being named head coach at Prattville.

He was the head coach at Prattville from 1999 – 2007 where he won two Class 6A state championships and his final two teams won 30 consecutive games. His 2007 Prattville team was ranked #2 in the country by USA Today.

Clark racked up a 107-11 record at Prattville with a 90.7% winning percentage. The last regular-season loss by one of his Prattville teams was in 2002. He was named the Alabama High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year following his final season with the Lions.

He left Prattville to join Coach Jones’ staff at South Alabama. He was one of the first hires by Coach Jones.

South Alabama’s defense have done a great job over the last four seasons. This year the defense still dug in even though they lost a number of players to season ending injuries. Quadarius Ford injured his knee in preseason camp. They then lost senior defensive linemen Anthony Taylor to a broken leg at Mississippi State before losing Randon Carnathan to a torn ACL at Louisiana-Monroe.

There were many times this season the defense was beat by big plays, particularly in the secondary. However the Jaguar defense would dig in their heels and all but shut down their opponents in the second half of many games.

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