Monday press conference reflecting on Lamar, Looking ahead to NC State

September 13, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Offensive Line

Coach Turner working with the Offensive line between drives.

On Monday South Alabama head coach Joey Jones and two players participated in their Monday press conference recapping the Lamar victory and their trip to Raleigh, North Carolina for their first game against an FBS opponent.

Similar to Coach Jones post game comments, he reiterated that he thought the team played well overall. But that there are always things that can be worked on. He was pleased with the intensity and how physical the team played as well. Also, he thought the team played smart by not turning the ball over unlike last week when the Jags turned the ball over four times in the first half.

Coach Jones then turned towards the next game against North Carolina State. He mentioned their quarterback whis is 6’6″ with a strong arm. They also have good play makers outside with a good running back and big offensive linemen. Defensively, they also have good players and are well coached.

Coach Jones spoke about the team facing it’s first FBS team. “I think the biggest difference is that we’re going into a stadium that will probably have 60- to 70,000 people at the game,” said Coach Jones. “The crowd noise can be a different factor. Obviously we have never been in front of a crowd the size of the one that could end up being at the game. We’re going to make sure we get the crowd noise playing during practice to try and mimic that as much as we can so we’ll be used to it. Other than that, our preparation will be the same. We prepare for every game the same way. Our kids are excited about playing in an environment like that. I think that anytime you have a game like this, the emotional level is always going to be up. You want to go out and gain the respect of whoever you play against. Our goal each week is to gain the respect of our opponents by how hard and smart we play, and by the discipline with which we play.”

Both tight end Kevin Helms and linebacker Jake Johnson said that they are preparing for NC State just like they would any other game. They are not going to treat them special and they are not deviate from what has gotten them to the point they are now.

Kevin Helms spoke about what this game means to the South Alabama program. “It will show us who we really are and what kind of teammates we have on our team. We’ll see who has the heart and who is really a football player. This will either make us or break us. I hope the recruits and fans can see what kind of a team we are. Coach Jones preaches ‘be physical, be tough and be nasty,’ and hopefully we can go out and show everybody what kind of team we are.”

Talking about the differences between NC State and previous teams that South Alabama has faced, Jake Johnson said, “The biggest thing when you play a team like that is how they execute during a game. We’ve played some good teams since I’ve been here at South Alabama, but when you play a team like North Carolina State, their execution is going to be perfect. I like that better because I can read their linemen better. That’s the biggest thing for me, everything is smoother because they’re so well coached.”

He continued speaking about the difference preparing for a team like NC State and the expected crowd. “It will be nice playing in front of a huge crowd. I haven’t played in front of 60- or 70,000 people in awhile. But that’s the only thing that will really be different. It will be nice playing in a great atmosphere.”

Helms also spoke about the difference preparing for NC State and the crowd. “I’ve never played in front of a big crowd, except here in Mobile. I came from a junior college, where there aren’t a lot of people watching and the same in high school. The big difference will be how loud N.C. State’s fans will be. Noise really makes a difference, you can have stupid penalties if it’s real loud. Hopefully we’ll go through practice this week and prepare for it.”

South Alabama and NC State kicks off at 5pm central time (6pm eastern) and will be televised on ESPN3.com with radio coverage by WNSP on WNSP.com and 105.5 FM.

Go Jags!

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.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2010-10-26

October 26, 2010 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 1 Comment 

I picked up a little late into the show and Coach Jones was already talking about how Kendall Houston is a big bruiser in the middle, but Santuan McGee is a little faster and can attack the perimeter. They felt that the game was going towards being a perimeter running game because they were stacking the box more so they decided to play McGee more.

Lee then asked Coach Jones about the fumble that occurred with 2:15 left in the game at the South Alabama 36 yard line when they had about a yard to go for the first down. Coach Jones said that Trey Clark and CJ Bennett had a miscommunication on the snap which lead to the fumble. They were trying to get them to jump offsides and if that did not work, they were going to run a quarterback sneak.

Lee brought up an instance that happened in the Kentucky Wesleyan game about headsets. Coach Jones explained that the opponents headsets went out. Well, in most conferences, they have rules or contracts that if one sides headsets go out, then the other side has to take theirs off. In this case, this was not written into the contract for them to play, so USA did not have to do that but they went ahead and took their headsets off. But it was noticed that they were using cell phones to communicate, so Coach Jones called a time out and talked to the head referee and stated if they are going to use a cell phone that USA could use their headsets. Which was allowed.

Lee brought up the old football adage that “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none,” and asked coach Jones if he had ever heard of that. Then he followed up by asking about how that works with three, clearly meaning Gibbon, Sim and Bennett. Coach Jones jokingly said that then you have three quarterbacks. But more seriously, Lee asked how they determine who is going to play a series. Coach Jones answered by saying that it’s mostly by feel. Certain quarterbacks bring certain qualities to the table so determine what they want to do in the game and work on that throughout the week and see how the players react and how they look throughout the week.

Offensive line coach John Turner joined Lee and Joey on the radio show and immediately started talking about the offensive line. Lee remarked that people have told him that putting together an offensive line is the “toughest, most difficult thing to do in football.” Coach Turner agreed that it has been tough, but he never completely agreed that it fits his description. He mentioned that if you go back to look at the game film from their first scrimmage it was, as he said, a “borderline fiasco.” He then went on to praise them for working really hard to become some great offensive linemen. However, he cautioned that they are not there yet, but they are working every day to get better.

Lee followed up by asking what Coach Turner meant by “borderline fiasco.” To which Coach Turner answered by saying that they weren’t quick and coach Gregory had just gotten there and was just installed his new offense. So they had to change all of their calls and all of their communication on the fly. Then Coach Clark’s defense was coming out with multiple blitz’s and everything which put a lot of pressure on the offensive line.

Coach Jones was quick to praise the offensive line because, without them, the offense would not be able to do anything. He then spoke highly of his offensive line unit and how hard they have worked to improve and help this team win each week.

Lee then mentioned Cam Newton and the Auburn offensive line and how it has improved. Coach Turner agreed that it was quite evident that the Auburn offensive line has worked hard to get better and it is evident. But Lee followed up talking about how, in most cases, the player like Cam Newton who is making the plays get so much praise while the offensive line is basically a  second thought. Coach Turner said that it goes with the territory, when a player decides to play that position, they understand it. They don’t worry about seeing their names in the paper, they are proud of the plays they make and the success the team has when they do a good job.

Lee paraphrased an email question about, when the Jags get to the FBS level, how many of the current players will still be with them. Coach Jones said that the team will lose seven seniors this season and many six to nine next season. So most of the players will be here in 2012. They will have 85 scholarships and probably will not lose but about 18 players up to then.

Going back to the offensive line, Lee asked how the Jaguar offensive line will stack up against opponents next year like Kent State and NC State. Coach Turner said that if you look at them on paper, you would say no. But he said that you cannot measure what is inside these players. Coach Turner then emphasized that he knows these guys are going to be ready, they are going to get after it and will play hard when the time comes.

A caller asked about Georgia state, which lost their previous game against Old Dominion 34-20. Coach Jones said that they were close at halftime but the score got stretched out in the second half. Ole Dominion went and got more junior college players so they are fairly mature. They went 9-2 last season in their first season of football.

Another email question came in asking if the players, after two road wins including the one in California, are up for this game. Coach Jones said that there is no doubt that they are ready. This team is closer to us and feels more like a rival type game. Probably the closest thing they have to one right now. The players are looking forward to playing at home again as well.

Coach Jones said he cannot wait to see the crowd and neither can the players. They know its going to be a bigger crowd, that they are coming home and that it’s going to be a big game against a good team.

Lee asked Coach Turner how they prepare for Georgia State. Coach Turner said that they line up in multiple fronts and bring multiple blitz’s against opposing teams. So he anticipates a big time challenge for the guys on the offensive line. They will have to be able to recognize all the different looks and be able to make adjustments within their schemes.

When asking about recruiting linemen, it was obvious that they want to recruit size, strength, smarts and good foot speed, just like anyone else. But Coach Turner said that their offense likes to move, that they like to pull linemen and move them around on each play, so they like athletic offensive linemen. But Coach Jones has said from day one that they want “tough, tough football players.” Coach Jones also said that when other teams look at their game film, they are impressed by how tough and how hard these guys play. It’s a real testament to the South Alabama players.

Georgia State likes to pass the ball, similar to UC-Davis. However they like to run the ball a bit more than UC-Davis does. UC-Davis seems to throw the ball, then run to try to do something a little different. While Georgia State is a bit more balanced between the two.

Lee then pointed out that Coach Turner was a coach at UT-Chatanooga which is a Division I-AA team. He asked if the Jags would match up well against them. Which Coach Turner replied that the thought that they would when he was trying to answer someone just the other day. He went through a mental list of the players they had up there and said that he believed USA would be a strong contender against them and in that division of football.

Coach Jones cautioned that while many football fans expect us to play teams like Alabama, but he said his guys are not experienced enough to play against Alabama. He praised how well his staff has done and that they will let teams like Georgia State go play Alabama while they work on getting better and building a program step-by-step.

Travis Toth came on to preview the upcoming game against Georgia State. He said from a marketing standpoint it’s their biggest game since the inaugural game. Plus other factors like Alabama and LSU having their bye weeks, former Alabama coach Bill Curry coaching the other team and the Jags returning after a very successful two game road stretch. Also another measuring stick because they go to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on November 18. This is the weekend for those people to come to the stadium and check it out.

Travis also stressed that it is a “white-out” as the team will be wearing their white uniform from head to toe. This should be the largest crowd to date, Coach Jones said that Kendall broke the record rushing, Courtney broke the record receiving and that it’s time to break and attendance record.

South Alabama kicks off against Georgia State on Saturday at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. GO JAGS! Beat those panthers.!

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2010-09-28

September 28, 2010 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 2 Comments 

Ray Cotton takes a knee to run the final seconds off the clock against against Pikeville.

With Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian they had defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner on the show. Coach Jones called an audible so to speak, instead of his normal “Joey Jones Special” of black and white chicken, he went with something else.

Lee opened up talking about the road trip to Dothan to play Edward Waters. The win was great but Lee praised how well the trip itself went. Coach Jones said that many people, especially the players, did not realize how much time and effort went into planning this trip. They want to make the trip as similar to a home game as possible. Coach Jones estimated about 2,000 fans for the Jags and about 300 or so for Edward Waters.

Lee asked Coach Jones what the players got out of the game on Saturday. His answer was that they got several things out of it. The big thing was they got lots of players in the game to help build some depth. This is something that will be crucial for the team, not only going down the stretch, but also in coming years as the Jags will be playing better opponents. Also, it’s hard to get your subs time to play when you are playing very good teams where you not only want your best players on the field, but you need them on the field to help you win the game.

One position that Coach Jones mentioned where they want to continue to build more depth is the offensive line. This is something that all teams want to build and it seems that all teams continually feel that they are not deep enough on the offensive line.

Coach Jones said that the two’s got anywhere between 36-44 plays each on Saturday which is a good number for subs. Plus they got scout team players into the game. One name that was mentioned by Lee was Michael Nevels who scored two touchdowns late in the game. Lee said he was glad to be on the trip just to be able to hear about his story. Nevels was about 6th or 7th on the depth chart and he got in to play and scored twice.

Lee started talking about the Jags game plan where they wanted to throw the ball early. Lee remarked that the Jags could have just run the ball down the throat of Edward Waters without even throwing the ball and won the game easily. But Coach Jones said that they wanted to throw early because when you get ahead by about four touchdowns you don’t want to continue throwing the ball and be perceived as running up the score on the other team. After they scored the first touchdown in two plays, which were both passing plays, they decided then to starting reining it back some and start to mix it up.

Lee mentioned that in the second half he noticed that the clock continued to run. Coach Jones mentioned that he and the EWC coach agreed to let the clock run.

Brian Turner came on and spoke about the recruiting front. He said that they meet every week specifically about recruiting. They start many of their meeting speaking about recruiting and spend lots of their time reviewing video and evaluating players. Lee asked how many players they were looking at and Brian answered that they currently have 125 players on their recruiting board. Among them, some have offers from Alabama or Auburn while others do not have an offer as of yet.

Lee asked of that number that they have on their board, how many they are looking to sign. Coach Turner said they are looking to sign from 20-22 players. It’s based on their needs at certain positions and if they hit that number that’s great. If they don’t they will save them for the next year.

Lee then turned his attention to Coach Jones in asking where their emphasis is this year in recruiting. Coach Jones answered that the secondary needs depth. Next he mentioned offensive lineman which he also said that he believes that you cannot have enough offensive lineman. He estimates that a team needs to have anywhere from 16-18 scholarships in offensive lineman.

Lee mentioned special teams, in particular kickoff’s. Coach Jones said that is a real concern for the team right now. Lee asked what they can do about it and Coach Jones said that he thinks, that right now, its a mental issue. That the mind controls the body. Obviously they know how to kick the ball because they have gotten to this point. They know the steps, they know the routine. They just have to get their minds back on track. He likened it to a baseball player going through a slump, they just have to keep working through it until they work out the issue causing the problem.

Lee had a few email questions for Coach Jones. The first was asking when the first Sun Belt Conference opponent appear on the Jags schedule. Coach Jones answered that it will be 2012 when they will be playing a full Sun Belt schedule. He does not know who they will be playing yet, but they have eight games slotted for Sun Belt teams. This will be a year before they are eligible for the Sun Belt championship in 2013.

Next question asked about the policy for South Alabama in scheduling FCS teams once they become full members at the FBS level (IE Division I-A). Teams can play one a year, the rest will be FBS teams. But they may be some years when we won’t play any FCS teams. For the four non-conference games a year, they want to shoot for three FBS teams and maybe one FCS teams per year. A qualification to that was that two of the games will be “big games.” Like upcoming games against Tennessee, LSU or Ohio State which are also referred to as “money games.” It doesn’t matter who they play, they will look for the team who pays the most money to help with recruiting and give the players experience as well.

The next question was about Edward Waters. South Alabama currently has them scheduled for a game in 2011 but the person emailed asking if Coach Jones may be looking into buying them out for next year in order to schedule a better opponent. Coach Jones declined to say anything about this since they most likely have a contract for a two game series. But he did confirm that they have had some talks about that.

The next email was from someone asking about several players specifically so here are their names and what the coaches had to say about them. Terrell Brigham, defensive back, a really good athlete and a true freshman who is progressing well. Ryan Onkka, tight end, who Coach Jones thinks he is really talented but that he needs to put on about 30 pounds. Rush Hendricks, tight end, a tough, physical kid who is also very smart with a good ACT score and is picking up the offensive pretty well. Will Thompson, defensive end, he came in to the team in January but is a true freshman on the field and has made it into every game thus far. Davin Hawkins, defensive back, good size freshman that has helped out on special teams. Desmond Jones, linebacker, a walk on that is doing a great job and coach Crain his pretty high on him. But Coach Jones added that all of these players are freshman who are in the process and need to learn their positions and their side of the ball.

Lee then moved on to recap injuries. Myles Gibbon and Richard Ross did not play due to injury while C.J. Bennett did not play due to discipline reasons. Myles practiced today though his knee bothered him a little bit, but Coach Jones expects him to play on Saturday. Richard Ross did not practice today and thinks he is a 50/50 chance to play on Saturday.

The Jags came out of the game with EWC pretty healthy. Bryson James came out with an injured shoulder but he will be okay.

Coach Jones reiterated his stance that he will not take away a players starting job because of an injury, but they do still have to compete. He will continue to be the starter until someone beats them out.

Brian Turner breaks down Kentucky-Wesleyan (3-1) a bit by saying that they have a very good offense. Their offensive line protects the quarterback well. The quarterback is a lefty with good accuracy. Overall the offense is good. They spread the ball around. Coach Jones thinks they are well coached and could score on the Jags. But they will prepare for them and see what happens on Saturday.

After the second break, Lee came back and spoke with Coach Jones about Justin Dunn who intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown in the first quarter against EWC. But then he moved on to talking about linebackers and, in particular, he mentioned Ray Lewis, an NFL player who was interviewed on the Colin Cowherd show. Lewis said that it’s not about speed with linebackers, it’s about angles. Coach Jones completely agreed. He said the entire game of football is about angles, from offensive line to linebackers to receivers. It all hinges around angles. A guy who understands that can play faster on the field.

The first caller to the show asked how her cousin, who plays football in Louisiana and loves South Alabama, could get recruited by the Jags. Brian Turner answered that first they need to send their video in to the program so they can evaluate him on film. Also they need to include their information so they can get materials out to them and, if they are a senior, start calling and talking with and recruiting them.

Travis Toth spoke about Saturdays game encouraging fans to wear their red to help them with the “red out” the stadium. The team will be wearing red from head to toe which is a departure from their normal home attire of red jersey’s over white pants. The weather forecast is 0% chance of rain with a high of about 82 degrees. He then touted how affordable it is to go to a South Alabama game, from parking at Bel Air Mall and riding the Wave to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to the ticket prices and good seating with affordable concessions. It’s just a great deal all around to come out and support South Alabama on a beautiful football weekend.

Lee also noted that the Auburn game is an early one and the Alabama game doesn’t kick off until 7pm so you can still catch both of them as well as get out to the Jags game and have one heck of a day.

Coach Jones mentioned that they have had about 23,000 people out to the two home games thus far this season and that they have a great crowd travel to Dothan for the game. He also mentioned that they have a great core group of fans that are going to be there for the team and he appreciates every single person who makes it out to the games.

Travis said that he was shocked to arrive at around noon, which he thought was going to be early for the day, and see the visitor side full of tailgaters already cooking it up and enjoying the day.

Lee asked Coach Turner about recruiting again, this time to see if they are expanding outside of the immediate area and the south east. Coach Turner said that they are getting interest and video from every state in the Union. The main difference between what they are recruiting now and what they were recruiting when they started is the caliber of player. Coach Turner was unsure the type of player they were going to be able to get but they have been amazing at what they are getting now. They are going head to head with Conference-USA, the Big East and whomever they have to go against for players and they are winning those battles.

Lee asked what kind of players Coach Jones will have to get to compete with NC State, who the Jags play next year. Coach Jones said that they are going to get more players that USA is going to get right now, they are an established Division I team for a while. But what South Alabama has to do is to evaluate better. Everyone knows who the blue chip guys are and many will go after them. What South Alabama has to do is to find the guys who may be an inch too short for these top level programs but who play like those players and bring them into the program. Where the top programs will get a defensive end who is 6’5” and weighing 250 or more, the Jags need to find that 6’4” or maybe a little shorter player who is only about 210 but that they think can be 250 pounds and get them there.

The difference when South plays NC State will be depth. When USA starts to bring in their second string guys against NC State’s second string guys who are the same size just a bit younger, that’s going to be the difference.

Lee asked if USA subscribes to recruiting services who rank players with the familiar stars rating. Coach Turner answered that yes, they do use those services and that it helps of course. Coach Turner says that some of the 5 star ratings could be overrating players. What Coach Jones tells them is that they are going to go after players who fit their need. If they can play, fit their system and they think that they will do well then they will recruit them and bring them in if they can. Pretty much Coach Jones summed it up as if the recruiting services are picking up the players and ranking them, then they are pretty good players. Some will be overrated some will be underrated, but that the majority of them will be pretty good players. If other schools like them are recruiting players then they feel that they are right trying to recruit them also.

Sorry, but I missed the final segment of the show but this recap is also getting quite lengthy. So wear your red out to Ladd-Peebles on Saturday at 4pm to cheer on the Jags as they try to go 4-0 on the season and 11-0 all time in school history thus far.

Also visit http://coachoftheyear.com/ and vote for Coach Joey Jones for Division I-A coach of the year. Currently he is still sitting nicely in 3rd place behind Gene Chizik of Auburn and Nick Saban of Alabama and ahead of Bo Pelini of Nebraska and Dabo Swinney of Clemson.

Go Jags!!

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-09-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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