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Jaguars Hit The Practice Field For First Day Of Spring Camp

February 21, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama began their spring football practice session Thursday morning with excitement. Coming off of their first season of competition could be enough for some, but to go an undefeated 7-0 mostly with very decisive victories, one could not write a better script.

The Jags had 115 players in helmets on the first day with lots of familiar faces both coaching and being coached. But they also had a few new faces who enrolled this spring such as Jonathon Cameron and Jereme Jones. Plus a new face on the coaching staff to replace Dameyune Craig who left to join Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State. But in steps Ron Antoine to coach the receivers.

Coach Jones stated that every position is up for grabs. But this spring session was going to be used to further emphasize toughness in addition to fundamentals, but that the running game will get lots of work.

One of those position battles that will definitely be interesting to watch this fall will be the quarterback position. Brennan Sim, a transfer from Oregon State last year, was at a huge disadvantage coming into fall practice last season. He had surgery after developing pneumonia in order to remove some of the infection, which caused him to miss the majority of the preseason conditioning work.

Sim is now healthy and has been participating in the off season workouts and conditioning. But he is also continuing to look good on the field as well. He impressed the coaches last season as he picked up the offense and gained playing time throughout the season. When Myles Gibbon was injured in the sixth game, he got the start in the final game of the season.

With equal footing to begin spring camp, the Sim and Gibbon battle for the starting spot promises to be something to watch. Nick Owen, who was the third string quarterback last season, has left the team and returned to California which leaves Gabe Graham as the third string.

It’s expected that when C.J. Bennett arrives in August, that he may be in the mix for the starting position as well. But that will have to wait until fall camp begins.

Last year on the first day of spring practice, there was a lot of unknowns. But since then several have been answered. But on this first day of practice they all knew where to be and what to do. Coach Jones is no longer starting from scratch as he was last year, but he is building a program before our eyes. He now has players with experience and they are teaching the newcomers the process and they are improving.

Florida State Hires Dameyune Craig To Coach Quarterbacks

December 18, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

It was announced today by Pat Greenwood that Dameyune Craig had accepted an offer from Jimbo Fisher and Florida State to coach quarterbacks for the Seminoles.

Fisher recruited, signed and coached Craig at Auburn in the 90s. This is a tough loss by Coach Jones and the Jags because Craig was a very talented recruiter in the area. He will likely recruit here for the Seminoles because of his strong ties with the area.

Craig was on WNSP with Pat Greenwood and they spoke about his ties with Fisher and his time with the Jags. He spoke about meeting in the basement of the Mitchell Center early on in the program. How they had to sell the program to kids with only a wood covered hill to show and designs in their minds for the field house and practice fields.

He said that the Jags program was in very good hands with Coach Jones. He knew it from the beginning and he continues to the Jags improving as they march towards FBS play.

This is the second coach to be picked off from Coach Jones staff since he was hired to start the program. Les Koenning was hired by Dan Mullen and Mississippi State after Mullen was hired to take over the Bulldogs program last year. Hailed as one of the top young coaches in the country, Craig will be missed by the Jag Nation.

We at Thunderjags wish Dameyune the best at Florida State and hope he will help South Alabama land a couple good games against the Seminoles in the coming years.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-13

October 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Joey Jones joined with Lee Shirvanian and Dameyune Craig at Baumhower’s Wings Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for today’s show.

First question they are going to start with, now that the Jags are 3-0 and they have defeated what they think will be their best competition of the year. Where do you think this program is in terms of what level of competition could you compete with Division I-AA, Division II or division III. If you could redo the schedule where do you think they could go? Coach Jones talked to the team yesterday about some of their goals for the rest of the year and what they can do to get there. He then, kind of reluctantly, went on to talk scores. The #2 Junior College team beat Georgia Military 28-8 and the Jags beat them 31-3, but by the scores they could compete with that team. However, Coach Jones was quick to remind the listeners that it does not mean they could beat them but it indicates that they could compete with some of the best JC’s in the country.

Coach Jones then said they could probably get on the field with many of the Division I-AA schools, but not the Appalachian States or other traditional big schools in that division.

Lee then asked Coach Craig said he really didn’t know because they have alot of freshman. But that they have a really great group of kids that go out and work hard and learn, so its hard to compare. He thinks they could do well in Division II and maybe Division I-AA. He also thought they could probably do well in the SWAC conference.

Lee also mentioned that they tried to schedule Alabama State but it didn’t work out. But Coach Jones hopes to schedule them in the future thinking it would be a good game.

Lee mentioned that the team has a lot of Freshman but they also have a fair amount of Junior College linemen and asked if that was the difference for the team. Coach Jones said that they came in and gave the team a maturity factor that rubbed off on the younger guys. They are more calm with something bad happens in a game.

Lee followed up asking if the Jags would be looking to bring in some more Junior College players and transfers like Courtney Smith and others. Coach Jones said you should always look to better your team any way you can. Meaning that they have Brandon Ross that expressed an interest in coming to USA. The same with Charlie Higgenbotham. He said they have to spread their wealth, they took Brandon even though they had a pretty good line-up at running back because he was a difference maker.

Lee asked Coach Craig what positions they were looking to focus on this recruiting season. He answered that they are looking at defensive ends, cornerbacks and safeties. They feel pretty good about receivers and running backs but they can always use offensive lineman.

Looking back at Georgia Military, Coach Jones said that they knew that defensively they were a good team. Also they felt like there were some deficiencies on their offensive line that they could exploit and pressure the quarterback. They hurried and hit the quarterback a lot but didn’t get too him. The defense ran him around the field so much that at one point he had full body cramps and they also hit him every time he threw the football which was good for the Jags.

Lee asked about Michel Chapuseaux’s injury which Coach Jones said he was alright. It looked worse than it was and it scared him some. It was a hard hit but he’s okay. Offensive guard Jon Griffin turned an ankle but is expected to be fine for the game on Saturday. Then John Mark Patrick who continues to out due to his knee problem.

The offense only scored two touchdowns and didn’t have a chance to catch many passes because they didn’t throw much. They just want to do what they can to win, players are working hard to make a play when its their time and to just do their roll in the game plan.

Lee joked with Coach Craig about his days at Auburn and how the Georgia Military quarterback moved around to make plays. Coach Craig joked that his games ended better, he didn’t throw interceptions but rather threw more touchdowns. But he gave credit to Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, for doing an outstanding job with the guys on defense and that it has been a pleasure working with him and everyone on the staff.

He even included Coach Schwind the strength and conditioning coach on what a good job they have done and how well they work together. He continued saying that the summer workouts they did with the players getting them prepared for camp really made a huge difference.

A listener emailed in a question about the special teams punt coverage. He was saying that one punt went into the end zone where the coverage team had a chance to catch it close to the endzone but allowed it to hit and go in for a touch back. He wanted to ask if they are coached to catch it if they have a chance like that and the receiving team is not trying to catch it.

Coach Jones said that the kids are instructed to catch the ball in that instance. They have stressed that and have worked on it. He said as a coach he looks back on that and asks himself if they did that enough in practice and did they put their kids in that situation enough for them to make it happen in the game. He then said he takes full blame for that because they should work on that enough so that it becomes second nature to them.

Certain positions they are looking at Junior College players to recruit. But right now they are looking to find the best players at the positions that they are looking to fill in. If they could find some Junior College defensive backs, coach Craig said that would be great. It would help them to get more experience in the backfield. Lee then made the observation that Zach Brownell and company are doing a good job in the defensive backfield. Coach Craig said its more about creating depth. They are comfortable at certain positions about their depth but when if one player gets hurt and it completely changes your game plan, that is a pretty tough situation.

The Jags finally have back to back game weekends. It feels good to finally have this and the kids are ready for it too. But Coach Jones said they feel they have used the previous off weeks very wisely and it has paid off on the field.

After Coach Jones said previously that Georgia Military was going to be their biggest test of the year for the Jags. Where do they go now? Coach Jones said they are trying to teach these kids to work every day. This is something that will help them on the field and in life. He also told them if they come out onto the practice field and work for two hours every day and get a little bit better every day then they are going to be better the next game and better at the end of the season. Coach Jones says he does not like to talk about going undefeated but that is their goal for the season. But how do they get there? They don’t get there by talking about it every day. They work towards achieving that by going out and working hard to get a little bit better every day.

Lee said that previously that it was mentioned that they felt like some of their receivers could possibly play in the NFL. So Lee asked if that was possible and who they might be. Coach Craig said that Courtney Smith has the intangibles. He has size and speed but some things he needs to work on to get there and he is willing to work to get there. They also have some young guys that are being redshirted right now. Kelly Vail from LeFlore was also mentioned.

When asked by Lee about who has the best hands, Coach Craig answered it would either be Lim Windham or Corey Besteda.

Coach Craig again praised the other coaches on the staff and said that the biggest thing he learned was that they can get Freshmen ready to play. Before he thought that they just were not ready to play coming into the team but what Coach Jones and the rest of the staff have done has changed that. They got these player in summer so they could work out and it has payed off big time because they are ready to play.

Coach Jones said that Louisburg may not be as talented as GMJC but they are still talented. They have players committed to Temple and other schools like that. They mentioned that they like to roll out the red carpet to teams when they arrive to play the Jags. They like to show them around the field house and to show off their facilities. Coach Jones said he has not been to many schools but he is pretty confident that they probably have among the best if not the best facilities in the Sun Belt and probably are good enough to make some of the lower end SEC schools a bit envious.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-01-28

January 28, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Lee Shirvanian is on the road with the Men’s basketball squad as they travel to Denver for their match-up tomorrow night. Brian Stross is taking his place on the radio show and he has recruiting coordinator Brian Turner and Wide Receivers coach Dameyune Craig. With just one week to go until National Signing Day is upon us we will talk a little about recruiting, the Signing Day Party, the unique situation these kids are coming into and a possible tradition to start for game one.

USA will host about 9 or 10 potential recruits this weekend for their official on campus visits. As for recruiting, Sunday it goes ‘quiet’. That means they can have recruits on campus but the coaches cannot leave campus to recruit. Then on Monday it begins the recruiting dead period. The coaches may only call a recruit one time a week during the dead period to check in with them. During open recruiting they can call as many times as they wish.

They spoke about the Signing Day Party that is scheduled for 4pm on February 4th at the Mitchell Center. Joe Gottfried will speak about the football program, Coach Jones will speak about the signing class and the position coaches will speak about the position players. They are at work on compiling videos to show for each of the recruits they sign.

In previous shows they talked about how the facilities are a huge recruiting tool for USA. They spoke today about the impact the Senior Bowl will be to incoming recruits as well. They really think its going to help with landing recruits because if a player is good enough for the Senior Bowl and with USA’s proximity to the game they will definitely look for talent nearby.

The situation at USA will be very unique. New kids will be coming in but they will not have older guys to learn from so the coaches must work extra hard to teach them in a way that they will understand so they can go out on the field and execute. However, thier teaching will extend beyond the sidelines of the stadium. They will have to mentor them about what they should and should not do off the field and on campus. They expect to see them get better and better as time goes on.

Looking ahead to fall football, a caller asked about when the football team would arrive at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the game. Dameyune said they would normally arrive two hours before the game to being their warm-ups and such. Brian Stross also asked about possible traditions like what Clemson, Alabama and Auburn have and others like Georgia have picked up recently with their walks to the stadium. Coach Jones is eager to start a tradition like that from Game 1. He is thinking about having the buses let them off on Virginia Street somewhere and have them walk the rest of the way to the Stadium.

Get your football season tickets now, also come out and support the Jaguar basketball teams. Go Jags!

Joey Jones Show Recap 2008-12-02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Jags! and Roll Tide!