Jags blue out the Reddies 28-3

October 30, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon encouraging the team as they go to the sideline to start the game.

South Alabama rebounds from turnover fueled, double-overtime loss at Georgia state to force a school record seven turnovers in a 28-3 win over Henderson State. Demetre Baker and Jordan Means combined to account for 22 of the 28 points for the Jags while donning their all blue uniforms for the first time.

Last years game was much closer with the Jags icing the game with a late field goal to win 37-31. But the rematch was never in doubt really. Both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions, but Enrique William’s interception on the Reddies second drive got the offense in gear. They started at the HSU 25 and have first and goal on the two yard line, but three consecutive rushes, two by Houston and one by Baker could not get the ball into the end zone thus they would settle for the field goal.

On the Reddie third possession, Clifton Crews would force a fumble on their first play which would be recovered by Gabe Loper setting up Demetre Baker to rush for 16 and 7 yards respectfully for a touchdown to go up 10-0 in the span of about three minutes.

Then on the fourth Reddie possession, they would line up in the punt formation but would fake it and run but would be stopped short of the one yard they needed for the first down. This gave the Jags the ball at the Reddie 29 yard line. Baker would take it into the end zone again for his second touchdown of the game. What looked like a bad snap would be handled by Taylor Noon and pitched to Jordan Means to run with, but he would be caught failing to convert. This left the Jags leading 16-0 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

After a HSU punt on another three-and-out, the Jags would start at their own 27 yard line. Jereme Jones would almost get caught for a loss, but would break a 65 yard run down to the Reddie 8 yard line before being tackled out of bounds. Jones would be injured on the play and taken to the sideline and eventually to the locker room.

The Jags would again fail to punch it in with 1st and goal from the Reddie 4 yard line on three consecutive runs by Baker. The Jags would settle for a field goal by Means what was shorter than an extra point to go up 19-0 with 12:52 left in the 2nd quarter.

Henderson State would finally move into Jaguar territory and get as far as the 43 yard line before the drive fizzled out and forcing a punt which was downed at the Jaguar 14 yard line.

The Jags Paul Bennett would catch a good pass from CJ Bennett but would fumble it to the Reddies at the Jaguar 42 yard line. But on 3rd and 6 on the Reddies possession, the Jags would force a fumble and Romelle Jones would recover it at the Jaguar 44 yard line.

The Jags would then march 56 yards in nine plays with CJ Bennett running it in from 9 yards out to cap off the drive. Means’ PAT would be blocked leaving the Jags lead 25-0 with 4:15 left in the 2nd quarter.

Henderson State would start at their own 32 yard line after a short kickoff was fair caught at their 32 yard line. The Reddies would then begin driving into Jaguar territory getting down to the 37 yard line. But the defense would hold on 4th and 11 at the Jaguar 42 to get the ball back.

The Jags would then use their hurry-up offense to try to put points on the board before halftime. Bennett would find Lamontis Gardner for 3 yards on first down. The Jags would call a time out with 41 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for 8 yards and a first down at the HSU 47 with the Jags calling their 2nd time out of the half.

Bennett would find Corey Waldon for 13 yards down to the Reddie 34. Bennett would rush the offense up to the line and spike the ball to stop the clock. Bennett would tuck the ball and run for 6 yards before stepping out of bounds at the Reddie 28 yard line. After an incomplete pass on 3rd down, Means would line up for a 45 yard field goal into the wind with 9 seconds left until halftime. His kick would just barely make it over the crossbar giving the Jags a 28-0 halftime lead.

Henderson State would add a field goal with 33 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to break the shutout, however that would be the only score in the second half.

The first part of the second half was really sloppy for the Jags. After playing a penalty free first half, they would lose some composure in the second half.

It did give Coach Jones and the team to go deeper into their depth chart for a second time this season. At one point, there was only one starting player in the lineup on offense. JJ Keels saw plenty of time at running back and Greg Hollinger got more time than he had all season as well.

Romelle Jones continues to play like a beast on the defensive line. The secondary is playing thin without Damond Smith and BJ Scott. Jereme Jones suffered a bit of a hyper extension to his shoulder but is okay. We probably will not know if he is able to go on Thursday until Tuesday’s radio show.

Drew Dearman has been seeing more playing time on the offensive line and the coaches seem to be quite comfortable with his play. He did a great job on Saturday.

Coach Jones had the following to say at his post game press conference. “Those takeaways were big and we had a short field on offense a good bit tonight, and that’s always a good thing. I thought we really played a good game defensively for the entire game. We didn’t give up any big plays, and if we don’t do that then we are going to be very hard to score on. They did that tonight and I was proud of them.”

“We were prepared, the coaches had them prepared and we had a good week of practice,” he continued. “We match up with teams that are in the spread formation pretty well. I think our athletes fit the spread defensively, and we had a good pass rush tonight. That’s one thing we haven’t had in a while. We put pressure on the quarterback, and we were hitting them and trying to knock the ball loose.”

The Jags defense held the Reddies to 155 yards passing and a mere 55 yards rushing for only 210 total yards. While the Jags offense racked up 252 yards rushing and another 123 yards through the air for 375 for the game. The Jags also held a 37:06 to 22:54 time of possession advantage as well.

Demetre Baker had his first 100+ yard rushing game with 113 yards on 20 carries. Jereme Jones ran once for 65 yards, Myles Gibbon ran 7 times for 27 yards. JJ Keels ran 12 times for 27 yards. While Kendall Houston only carried the ball three times on the opening drive for four yards and that was his game.

CJ Bennett went 11-of-18 for 101 yards with one interception for the game. Myles Gibbon went 4-of-8 for 22 yards and no interceptions. Corey Walden and Bryant Lavender both caught three passes each. Waldon had 35 yards and Lavender had 26 yards.

The Jags have a quick turn-around as they host Mississippi Valley State on Thursday night with kickoff scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags will be dressed out in their white uniform, so the athletic department is asking the fans to wear white to the game.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-10-18

October 19, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

The Jaguar Defense lines up against UT-Martin.

Along with Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones are joined by secondary coach Duwan Walker at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile Alabama.

Coach Jones, talking about Coach Walker, mentioned that Coach Walker has had to deal with quite a bit of turnover in the secondary in the two and a half years he has been at South Alabama. But has done a great job with it and is well liked and respected on the team.

Coach Walker mentioned that the defense did a good job keeping to their game plan. They kept the offense off balance early, did not allow many “home run balls” execept for one big play early. They also mentioned that Gabe Loper is coming along at an good rate in place of Damond Smith. Coach Walker said they had a really good problem in that they were trying to get him on the field, but it’s unfortunate that the Smith situation happened to get him on the field though. This is the classic case for the backup where you always have to be ready to play.

In the Fuego who’s hot segment coach Jones mentioned Gabe Loper defensively for stepped up in a situation where they weren’t sure how he would react, but thought he would play well, and he exceeded their expectation and had a great game. Offensively Paul Bennett and Kevin Helms were mentioned. Coach Jones said that their blocking has been outstanding lately. They are very physical like the rest of the team, but these two are on an extra level.

The Orthopedic Group injury update segment only had one  questionable player. Melvin Meggs has a rolled ankle and will be evaluated the rest of the week to see how he is leading up to game time.

They mentioned that Jereme Jones is a fearless punt returner and it’s not from the coaches, he has the choice to fair catch they said. Coach Jones said that the rule of thumb on a punt is to put your heels on the 10 yard line and if you have to backpedal, let it go. Also, if there is any doubt let it go.

FIU and Arkansas State play tonight on tv. May not be much interest right now, but Coach Jones said that he watches whenever he has a chance to see how the Jags match up with future opponents.

A caller asked about Ameriol Finley and how he is coming along. They said he is a true freshmen with a great attitude and that he is a great athlete. He can play multiple positions and has played cornerback in a game recently for the Jags. Right now he is getting work at multiple positions and is a bit of a utility player for them right now.

BJ Scott brings alot to the table for the Jags. Mentally, he brings a sense of urgency to the team. He teaches kids how to prepare and how to watch film. The are little things that make such a big difference at this level.

Coach Jones said he has noticed that Scott has become a vocal leader on the team recently which has made a difference. Lee asked if they have considered using him on offense like he was used at Vigor. Coach Jones said he has thought about it often but jokingly he said the defensive coaches frown when he brings that up.

Turning towards Georgia State, they said that they are averaging around 16,000 for their home games, but the Georgia Dome seats somewhere over 70,000. The team isn’t doing so well are are currently 1-5 so far. Lee asked what Coach Jones sees in game film that is going on with their team. Coach Jones said that looking at the tape you can’t really tell what’s going on, they have some really good players and some really good coaches. Sometimes there are internal problems that can cause strife, but Coach Jones does not know if this is what is going on or not. He said that they are like a wounded dog, you never know when they are going to jump up and bite you, so you have to be prepared and not dismiss them because of their 1-5 record.

Lee asked if we recruit against Georgia State. Coach Jones said that we do, we recruit against them and we recruit pretty much the entire state of Georgia. Lots of recruits or potential recruits will be at the game to see who wins. It will be a measuring stick game for sure since both programs are pretty close in age. The state of Georgia has plenty of good players.

After a story by Coach Jones about the worst weather game he has ever played or coached in, Lee asked about conserving timeouts and his strategy with them. Coach Jones said that ideally you want to save them towards the end of a half, but he said that you just don’t want to “lose anything on a drive” which I believe he was indicating momentum. If it’s 3rd and 1 and you have an issue, you don’t want to make it 3rd and 6 if you have too many people or something, so in that case you may want to use a time out to keep the drive going and get that first down.

Asking about communication problems that the Jags had against UT-San Antonio in a dome, Lee asked how they can overcome that. Coach Jones answered that you overcome it by staying calm and poised. You can’t hear the snap count, so you have to go on ball movement and that the calm and composure is especially needed on the offense and offensive line to look at the ball and not to move until the ball is snapped.

Other than that, potential problems for players playing in a dome is the ceiling and lights. If you are not used to it, you can lose sight of the ball. What they did for the walk through before the UTSA game was to take some time and kick some punts so the returners can see what it’s like and get comfortable with it. They also had the quarterbacks throw some high, deep passes so the receivers and defensive backs could get comfortable looking for the ball as well. Coach Jones said that J.J. Keels had an instance where he lost the ball on a wheel route against UTSA.

Lee mentioned that they have three quarterbacks that they play. Coach Walker said that one of their quarterbacks, Little, gave us problems last year because he’s throws the ball very well but has a sternum problem. They have another one that runs the ball very well and can pose problems running. The third quarterback is a bit of a mixture of the other two so he can throw pretty well and also tuck it and run.

The final question was from a caller about the number of players that they will have next year. Coach Jones said they will have 85 scholarship players and will have a total of 130 players on the team.

USA Sports Marketing’s Lloyd came on to talk about the next home game on October 29th, which is just before halloween. This will be the third year of “trunk or treat” for the kids. He urged the fan to decorate for this and bring candy for the kids. They are doing a first, second and third again this year for the best decorated tailgating spot. But the biggest announcement is that the Jags are going to wear their all blue uniforms for the first time versus Henderson State for a “blue out.”

Coach Jones commended the fans for the environment for the homecoming game. They had the second largest crowd at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for a game in the programs history. Coach Jones also mentioned that the Jaguar Prowl was great.

Jags end two game skid with 30-27 double-overtime victory

October 9, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Baker and Jones

Coach Jones looks on as Demetre Baker looks to the sideline before blocking for a field goal attempt.

South Alabama went on the road for their third consecutive game this season and came away with a 30-27 double overtime victory over Texas-San Antonio to end their two game losing skid.

The Jags got on the board early after forcing UTSA to punt on their first series. Starting at their own 22 for their first drive, C.J. Bennett and Lamontis Gardner would spark the offense with a 35 yard pass. Then the Jags would methodically continue marching until Kendall Houston would put the ball in the end zone from the one yard line to cap off a 12 play, 78 yard drive that spanned 7:24 on the clock.

The Roadrunners would answer back on their next possession. After driving 25 yards out to mid field as the first quarter ended, they would open the second quarter with a 50 yard pass from Soza to Okotcha to tie the game at 7 each.

Again sparked by big offensive plays, the jaguars would respond on their ensuing possession. Bennett would find Gardner again for 11 yards to start the drive. Then would be forced to burn a time out when the play clock was running down. Coming out of the time out, Bennett would hit Kevin Helms for a 32 yard gain to go from the Jag 33 yard line to the 35 of UTSA. From there, the jags would have to settle for a 48 yard field goal by Jordan Means to retake the lead 10-7.

Not to be outdone, UTSA would mount their own drive  but would stall at the Jaguar 31 yard line and also settle for a 48 yard field goal to tie the game again at 10 apiece.

The Jags next possession would start at their own 20 yard line and would drive out to the 43 before Kendall Houston would be hit in the backfield and fumbled the ball which would be recovered by UTSA at their own 48 yard line. Soza would connect with Kam Jones for 51 yards to the USA 1 yard line. Okotcha would take it in on the next play to take the lead over the Jaguars 17-10 with 2:54 left in the first half.

On the kickoff, Jereme Jones would find a seam and return it 55 yards to the UTSA 26 yard line before being forced out of bounds. However the defender would be flagged for a personal foul for a half-the-distance penalty to start the Jags at the UTSA 13 yard line. However the Jags offense never found forward gear. Houston would lose a yard on first down. Then an incomplete pass to Corey Waldon would bring up third and 11 going into the Roadrunner student section.

Brian Krauskopf would be flagged for a false start putting the Jags facing 3rd and 16 from the UTSA 19 yard line. After a time out, Bennett would float a lob pass towards the end zone which would be intercepted by UTSA ending the Jags hopes of tying the game before half time.

After running a few plays, the Roadrunners allowed the clock to run down and go into halftime with a 17-10 lead.

South Alabama would receive to open the second half and start at their 30 yard line. Houston would rush for no gain and five yards on back-to-back rushes to open the series. Then facing 3rd and 5, the Jags would burn their first time out of the second half with 13:33 left in the 3rd quarter when the play clock was running down again. Following the time out, Krauskopf would be flagged for another false start backing them up to the 30 and face a 3rd and 10. Bennett would find Gardner for six yards and would be forced to punt.

The Jags defense would hold the roadrunners to a three and out and force a punt. USA would be flagged for holding after the punt and would start their possession on their own 24 yard line. After a one yard run by J.J. Keels, Bennett would complete back to back passes. The first to Bryant Lavender for 17 yards then to Gardner for 18 yards to get into UTSA territory.

Keels would rush for no gain, then Bennett would be flagged for intentional grounding even though he was hit as he was trying to deliver the ball. After the 11 yard loss and loss of down, the Jags faced 3rd and 21 at their own 49 yard line. But Bennett would find Jereme Jones for 30 yards to get the first down at the UTSA 21 yard line. Demetre Baker would take it in from there to tie the game at 17 each with 8:09 left in the third quarter.

UTSA would start from their own 20 yard line after the kickoff. They would move down the field fueled by key long plays. The first was on 3rd down for 21 yards and a 16 yard pass on 4th and one at the Jaguar 46 yard line. However the defense would come up big and force a Soza fumble at the Jaguar 10 yard line which was recovered by Charles Harris.

Houston would end the quarter with three consecutive rushes for 6, 8 and 5 yards respectively.

As the drive continued to begin the 4th quarter, the Jags would again have to burn a time out when the play clock was running down with 13:20 left in regulation. Eventually the UTSA defense would hold and force a Scott Garber punt which would be downed at the 1 yard line.

The Roadrunners would move the ball out to the 25 yard line before a mishap on the snap would occur and be recovered by Soza back at the 3 yard line to face a 3rd and 32. A six yard pass would give the punter a little breathing room. Jereme Jones would field the punt at the UTSA 48 yard line.

Bennett would run for 10 yards and a first down to start the drive, but would then stopeed and forced to punt at the UTSA 44 yard line.

With 4:18 left in the game and UTSA in possession of the ball at their own 24 yard line, they began running the ball and the clock to set up a game winning score. Soza would start the drive with a 9 yard pass. Then Okotcha would run for eight yards and a first down. Soza would thrown on first down again, this time for five yards to their won 46 yard line. Then UTSA would rush four consecutive times to move the ball and continue winding the clock. Okotcha would go for five yards. Then Harrison for 18 to the USA 31 yard line but would go out of bounds to stop the clock.

Then Kam Jones for four more yards and again go out of bounds. Okotcha would rush for 6 yards and a first down to the USA 21. Kam Jones would try to throw the ball on first down but Gabe Loper, filling in for suspended Damond Smith, would be flagged for pass interference putting the ball on the USA 6 yard line with 1:12 left in the game.

Soza would be caught for a loss of 6 yards to the 12 yard line by Jake Johnson. Okotcha would rush on the right side for three yards to the 9 yard line. UTSA would take a time out with 3 seconds left on the clock to attempt a game-winning field goal. Coach Jones would take the Jags final time out to try to ice the kicker.

The 26 yard field goal attempt would be blocked by Randon Carnathan sending the game to overtime for the first time in Jaguar history.

USA would get the ball first to start overtime and would keep it on the ground. Baker would rush for 10, 2 and 12 yards to get the ball to the 1 yard line. Ellis Hill would take it in on the next play and Jordan Means would add the PAT to take the 24-17 lead.

UTSA’s ensuing possession would start with a false start. But Soza would hit Kam Jones for a 30 yard touchdown pass and add the PAT to tie the game at 24 and go into the second overtime.

UTSA would have the ball first and Okotcha would be dropped for a loss by Jake Johnson on the first play. Soza would rush for one yard then throw and incomplete pass as he was hurried by Montavious Williams. Ianno would kick a 43 yard field goal to take a 27-24 lead.

Demetre Baker would scamper 25 yards on the first play of the Jaguars possession to score the game winning touchdown for the final score of 30-27.

UTSA would outgain the Jags overall 409-351 and through the air 263-196. But the Jags would outgain them on the ground 175-146.

Demetre Baker would lead all rushers with 88 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Houston would gain 74 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Soza would be the leading rusher for UTSA with 70 yards on 15 carries.

C.J. Bennett went 11-of-17 for 176 yards and one interception while Soza was 15-of-22 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. UTSA’s Kam Jones would lead all receivers with 103 yards on five catches with a touchdown. Lamontis Gardner would lead the Jags with 70 yards on four catches.

UTSA held the ball longer, 33:51 to the Jags 26:09.

After the game Coach Jones had this to say. “We have a fighting spirit about us. It looked kind of bleak there for a minute when they had the ball down on the five-yard line. But we rushed through and sacked the quarterback and we block a kick, so they never quit. It was a big win for our program. I’m just so proud of them for fighting. We lost two games on the road, and to have another road game right behind them and to come back and win was real big for us.”

“I want to congratulate UTSA. I thought they came out and played a tremendous game — it was a big game for them,” Coach Jones also stated. “The crowd was into it; it was that typical home atmosphere. They had a great game plan and great coaching, and probably deserved to win the game in some ways. But on the other side of it, we said at halftime we were not going to quit.”

“We came prepared and had a good game plan. Good things happen when you fight your tail off,” said running back Demetre Baker. “Their defense was big and solid. I didn’t think they were very fast sideline-to-sideline, but they were much bigger physically.”

Linebacker Jake Johnson spoke highly of the roadrunners. “For a first-year program, they are a heck of a team. They had some great players and had a good game plan against us. I’m glad we came out on top. We had a few mistakes here and there, but that is all correctable. I’m just glad we got out of Texas with a win.”

South Alabama returns to Mobile for their first home game in five weeks when they host Tennessee-Martin for homecoming. The game will kick off at 2:30pm, earlier than normal, since it will be aired live on UTV44, Comcast Sports Southeast and nationally on ESPN3.com.

Jags travel without starting CB

October 8, 2011 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 

Released yesterday, South Alabama has indefinitely suspended starting cornerback Damond Smith. When contacted for more information, Coach Joey Jones only confirmed that Damond Smith was indefinitely suspended and had no further comment about the situation.

When the Jags left Mobile yesterday, Smith was not with the team. On the depth chart, Eddy Cabrera is next in line to replace the 6′, 185 pound Junior. The secondary is deeper at Safety and could see someone move over to fill in at corner. If the Jaguars come out and get a big lead, I would look for Coach Clark and Coach Jones to try a few players at corner to find a good fit as Smith’s replacement.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-20

September 21, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 
Coach Jones Observing warm-ups.

Head Coach Joey Jones oversees the Jaguars pre-game warm-ups at N.C. State.

Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian were joined by defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They immediately started reflecting on the NC State game with an overview of how the team played. Coach Jones said that he thought the team played an very, very good game. He pointed to some basic tenets that coaches look to in order to get their team into a position to win the game. Things such as stopping the run, be able to run the ball yourself and possess the ball more than your opponent, all of which the Jags did in the game. However another area that you need to do well in is turnovers. While the Jags did recover a few turnovers, they also turned the ball over a few times themselves.

But he pointed out Kendall Houston’s performance on the ground as he rushed 18 times for 117 yards against the NC State defense. His was a large majority of the teams 139 yards rushing (minus sack yardage). Defensively the Jags were worried about stopping the NC State run because they were so big, however they were able to stop their running game. They knew their quarterback was good and he had a great night going 17-of-20 for 297 yards, but the two deep post routes were what really hurt the team.

Overall, Coach Jones said that the Jags were very physically tough and played extremely well. They got after them on every play and were not intimidated nor did they back down. He said that lots of great things happened, but that it was one of those games that you have three or four plays in the game you have to make but the Jags didn’t make them. Coach Jones said he has been on both sides of the field in these types of games and they just didn’t get those plays to go their way.

Lee said he had picked out three plays that were key. First was the on-sides kick fumble. Second was the open receiver around the 30 yard line but the ball wasn’t thrown well to him which would have easily been a touchdown. The third play was when Jake Johnson forced the fumbled at the 5 yard line when the Wolfpack was driving which Graphenreed recovered but fumbled back to them. Lee said you could also point to the play deep in the Wolfpack territory when Bennett lobbed a pass to an open Kevin Helms but was picked off at the 5 yard line.

Coach Jones pointed out another one where the Jags scored but the play was called back on a procedure penalty which he also pointed out was not there on film. Coach Jones was quick to follow that up by saying things like that happen and that the bottom line is you have to make plays. He ended that by saying that the core of the game, he thought the team played very well and put themselves in a position to win the game.

They had themselves in a position to win the game if they made some or all of those key plays against a team that beat Florida State the previous year. And this was only the 20th game in the schools history. Coach Jones said he does not like losing but he still considers the game a success for the program. None of them enjoy losing so he talked to the team that they can continue to look back at this game and play the what-if game or they can turn around and concentrate on making themselves better this week. They can correct those things that they did wrong and get ready to play the next game and then they can say that they beat someone.

He’s proud of where the team is but they have to do better.

The first caller said that South Alabama’s “ones” seemed to matched up well with the NC State “ones”, but he asked Coach Jones how different the Jags “two’s” were from the NC State “two’s”. Coach Jones said that there were probably some difference there, but he said he didn’t notice it much. He continued by saying that the Jags are fairly deep at some positions like defensive line, linebackers, receivers and running backs. But they lost Ken Barefield which hurt their secondary depth some. But Coach Jones did not think that personnel was as much of a factor in the game as missed opportunities were in the game.

Lee then turned to Coach Brian Turner and asked him how he felt the Jaguar defensive line did against NC State. He started off saying that it’s never as good as it seems and it’s never as bad as it seems either. He thought that they played well up front and did not get pushed off of the ball as much as they feared they would earlier in the week due to their size. The defensive line did a great job holding their gaps and doing their job.

Lee asked if the Jags had a good pass rush on Glennon even though he completed 17-of-20 passes. Coach Turner said that their gameplan was to blitz them alot but play coverage, however when you do that you tend to only rush three or four guys and when the opponent has five or six guys protecting the quarterback, your rushers are getting double-teamed often. They didn’t get alot of pressure on Glennon, but they did get to him. Romelle Jones came away with two of the Jags four sacks on Glennon. He also said that they should have gotten to him more often.

Lee then introduced the Fuego “Who’s hot” segment. Offensively, Coach Jones said that Kendall Houston was the hot guy for them this week but he also pointed out the offensive line for their work blocking against NC State. Defensively he pointed out Romelle Jones for having probably his best game of his career, he is quick and is also learning the game very well. Also Coach Jones pointed out B.J. Scott and Charles Harris for playing a very good game defensively at the safety positions.

Lee then introduced the Orthopedic Group’s Injury Update. Coach Jones said that the Jags came out of this with some bruises. Ken Barefield got hurt and missed the end of the game but will be able to play against Kent State this weekend. Rush Kendricks has an injured ankle and will not be able to play this weekend. He said that it looks like everyone else will be back, he mentioned Jake Johnson has a small injury with his quad but will be okay.

Lee asked how Johnson played in the game. Coach Jones said he played very well, like the whole defense did. He said for the “who’s Hot” segment it’s hard not to just list out all of the defensive players because of how well they played.

Lee asked Coach Turner about one of the concerns going into the game about intimidation as they went in to play against an ACC team. He asked if he caught any of the intimidation factor early on from the team. Coach Turner said that he did not see any intimidation in their eyes before the game, they were focused and ready to play the game.

They next caller to the show expressed how proud of the program the fans are for how hard they played and how composed they were. Lee asked a few email questions to both coaches. The first asked if NC State showed anything that was unexpected and if they thought the Jag players were in better shape than them. Coach Jones said that they did not show anything that was unexpected and he also said that he thought both teams were conditioned pretty well. Coach Jones didn’t notice anyone out of shape on either team. Coach Turner agreed to both statements by Coach Jones. Nothing surprising and he didn’t notice anyone out of shape either.

Lee then asked about Coach Crain and how he is doing. Coach Jones said that he is doing better, he’s been in the hospital since Friday. They finally found out that he had a staph infection and have him on antibiotics to help that. He has actually been dealing with that for the last month or so Coach Jones said.

The next email quested asked how coach Jones thought about how well Jag Nation traveled to NC State for the game. He said it was incredible. He said that after the Jags would get a big play he would sneak a look up at the Jaguar section going crazy. He said it was probably between 700 and 800 people strong in that section. After the game, the players went over to the Jag section and held up their helmets and thanked the fans for coming to the game to support them.

The next email question asked Coach Jones what the thought about the officiating and if there were any bad calls in the game by the ACC officials. Coach Jones said that there are rules where Coaches will get fined for speaking badly of officiating. Lee then chimed in saying that sometimes a no answer speaks more loudly than an actual answer which Coach Jones agreed with. He also told Lee that things happen and you have to deal with it and move on.

Lee followed up by asking if Coach Jones called the officials over anytime during the game. Coach Jones laughed and said “calling them over” is a good way to put it. Coach Jones then said that he will send in game film and call someone at the conference office to help educate the referees because, as Coach Jones said, everyone makes mistakes (except coaches with a laugh). So they send that film in so help the refs educate themselves and continue to get better.

The next email question asked if there were mismatches or communication problems in the secondary allowing for some big pass plays by NC State. On one big pass play for a touchdown, corner back Damond Smith fell down and the other one was some miscommunication in the secondary. He praised how well the secondary played the whole game, especially against #6 T.J. Graham who was really quick.

Lee followed that up by asking if there was an effort to keep the punts and kickoffs away from Graham. To which Coach Jones said yes, because NC State actually leads the nation in kickoff returns. So they tried to kick some sky kicks. The first kickoff return they got out to around the 42 yard line which was their only long kickoff return of the game.

Lee then asked who was covering T. J. Graham. Coach Turner answered that it depended on where he lined up as to who was covering him. They didn’t assign a specific person to cover him.

Another email question asked about conference realignment and if South Alabama could benefit from it. Coach Jones said that as a fan he doesn’t like it so much but for the school it could be good. While they like the Sun Belt, it could be an opportunity for something good to happen. He said it’s going to happen sometime in the future, you can see it and there will be some big shake-ups on the horizon in the next couple years.

Loyd Meyers joined the show to talk about the homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin on October 15th. On Thursday night October 13th there will be a pep rally at the Bell Tower followed by a volleyball game vs Troy. Friday night there will be a homecoming parade and luck worked out for a moonlight madness where the Jags basketball team can begin practicing for their upcoming season. The soccer team will be playing at The Cage as well.

Lee brought up that they have not talked about C.J. Bennett’s play against NC State yet during the show. Coach Jones said that if you look at the whole game, he played a very good game and made some unbelievable throws. It was great to see that out of a redshirt freshman to go into that type of environment and play that well. He is doing a great job understanding secondary coverages and going to the right place with the ball. He also mentioned that he got the team out of third down many times. Coach Jones did mention that he did have a high throw across the middle that was intercepted. He also mentioned about the throw the Kevin Helms where he floated it behind the safety but he didn’t see the backside corner. Coach Jones also mentioned that they did not show him that coverage in practice so there were some things they could have done to prepare him for that situation a little better.

Lee then turned to ask Coach Turner about their defensive line rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they rotate defensive linemen every three plays no matter what. They want two fresh guys every play pretty much, so they are rotating their interior linemen, their inside linebackers and outside linebackers.

Lee asked about the play of Romelle Jones and if he has been playing better lately. Coach Turner said that the last two games he has been really playing well. He has been the defensive lineman of the week the last two weeks for his play against Lamar and against NC State. Lee asked to clarify if it is the same rotation all the time. Coach Turner answered that it is the same rotation all the time, they are not rotating based on match-ups but every three plays they are getting fresh guys on the field.

Lee then asked about recruiting and stated that he knows that they cannot comment about specific recruits, but asked if they are getting top notch athletes now. Coach Turner said they are definitely getting very good talent. He also said that they currently have 11 verbal commitments on their recruiting board right now. He also said that they are recruiting against schools from the Big East, Conference USA and the Sun Belt. They may be losing some, but they are also winning some battles against those schools. He praised the coaches for their hard work recruiting and staying on the best players for the South Alabama program.

Lee asked that, aside from the verbals, what positions are being recruited this year. Coach Jones said that he says this every year, but it’s true, they are recruiting offensive linemen. They are probably going to lose four seniors on the offensive line so they have quite a bit to fill. Two tight ends with Paul Bennett and Kevin Helms being seniors will need replacing. Offensively they are pretty good, they will always look out to pick up a player here or there for a backup role if they are a really good player.

Coach Jones said defensively they need a defensive end, that they kind of refer to as their outside linebacker who is very athletic to rush the quarterback. Also they need to continue to shore up the secondary. They have some good players back there, but they don’t have depth.

Lee asked about C.J. Bennett being a redshirt freshman and if that would be detrimental to trying to bring in other quarterbacks to the program the next four years. Coach Jones said that they do not want a player who does not think they cannot come in and beat out C.J.

Lee then asked about popular spots for South Alabama to recruit. Coach Turner said that when the program started, they were not recruiting the entire state of Georgia. They are now. He indicated that obviously Alabama is their home state, but they are also recruiting Florida all the way down to Miami, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Coach Turner also mentioned that Myles Gibbon is from Canada so they are willing to go anywhere to get good players to find players that fit into the program and fills their needs.

Lee then transitioned to previewing the Kent State game. Lee said that this is a little different than the schools other 2-for-1 series. We travel to Kent State, then they travel here before we visit them again. Coach Jones said that they are a very good defensive team but they have struggled on offense but they have played Alabama so it’s hard to tell how good they really are because how strong the Alabama defense is this season.

Lee flashed back to the NC State game again by asking about Scott Garber and the special teams play. Coach Jones said that the special teams play was very good. He thought the kicking game was much improved against NC State. He said Jordan went 2-of-3 hitting a 46 yard attempt and missing a 44 yarder. He also thought that Scott’s punted was very good too. They changed and went to a rugby punt style.

Following up on that, Lee asked who and why they decided to go with the rugby style punt. Coach Jones said it’s hard to return a rugby style punt because it’s a low punt but it takes time for the punter to move out and kick it that it gives the coverage team time to get down and cover the returner. So you can get 40 and 50 yard punts pretty easy without a return because of that.

Lee asked about Garber being run into during one of his punts, he said that he thought that it was an automatic 15 yard penalty and a first down. Coach Jones said that it’s a judgement call, that they have bumping the kicker and hitting the kicker with two different penalties and that it’s a judgement call. He indicated that Coach Perry read the rules once they returned back to Mobile and that is how it is written, it’s a judgement call.

Lee said that they talked last week about trick plays. Wake Forest burned NC State with a couple of them and he asked if the Jags ran any. Coach Jones said that they tried a reverse but the defense caught it for a loss. The play-action pass on 3rd and one to Kevin Helms he thought was a good call at the time. Then there was a play at the five yard line where the tight end was wide open at the corner of the end zone but Bennett didn’t see him and went down for a sack. They weren’t trick plays he said, but they were different plays to call at those times and they didn’t execute them very well.

Coach Turner previewed what the defense sees in Kent State coming up this weekend. He said that they started the season throwing the ball much more, but now they have settled in running with a 260 lb running back. He said that it was going to be a good match-up between the two teams.They have a very good defensive lineman who game Alabama some problems blocking and Alabama has some very good offensive linemen. They round out the program saying that the team definitely has a different attitude going up to Kent State and that it should be a very good and competitive game.

Additionally it was announced during the WNSP morning show and reiterated again during the radio show that South Alabama picked up another verbal commitment from Georgia. Lamar Counties Fredrick Walker is a six foot two inch, 320 pound nose tackle. He wasn’t interested in any big programs so he turned down Central Florida and South Florida. He chose South Alabama over Georgia Southern to make the 12th verbal for the Jags 2012 recruiting class.

South Alabama and Kent State kick off on Saturday October 24th at 2:30pm. The game will not be televised, however Kent State will be broadcasting the game online at KentStateSports.com for free for the first time.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-06

September 7, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian was accompanied by defensive coordinator Bill Clark for the Joey Jones Radio show from Baumhower’s restaurant on Airport Boulevard.

Lee asked about perspective about the UWA game. He asked if he thought that the Jags played a good game. Coach Jones started off by saying “I don’t know,” he then continued by saying that he thought the players played hard, that they got after it physically, they were there emotionally and were ready to play. But he said that they did make some mistakes and did not play what he considers ‘South Alabama Football’. He mentioned the four turnovers in the first half and the play on special teams.

He also mentioned the field position because the offense didn’t play well and the mental mistakes and the special teams play had them, on average, starting at their own 19 yard line. He did not know where the defense averaged their starting position but he thought it would be near midfield.

He then said that if your field position is that bad you are not going to play well. But, bottom line, those things are fixable and they have to turn them around quickly. If they want to be a good football team, they have to fix them quickly.

Lee then mentioned to Coach Clark that they have less to work on than Auburn’s defense. Coach Clark was quick to deflect that by telling Lee that, to them, it’s all about the next game. As they were looking back on the game, they liked the effort but they also have things they want to work on and get better at. Coach Clark also mentioned that it he likes that they have film of their opponent for the next game. For UWA all they had was what film they had from the previous year.

Lee then went about talking how Steve Spurrier benched Steven Garcia then he came off the bench to lead the team to a come-back win. He then transitioned that into talking about Kendall Houston and Demetre Baker being suspended for the first half of the game against UWA and asked if they have been in the game, would it have been different?

Coach Jones said yes it would have been different, however you don’t know for sure that it was. Jones also said that when you walk out onto the field without two guys like them and Corey Besteda, who is another big play guy at receiver, it leaves a bit of a void that the team has to overcome.

The Jags did score on their opening drive of the game, but Coach Jones said they threw the ball alot in that drive. But then the turnovers took over. He rounded out the answer by saying in the future they want those guys out on the field and that they do not want that to happen again.

Lee introduced the ‘Who’s hot’ feature sponsored by Fuego Mexican Restaurant. On offense, Jones recognized Kendall Houston for his job coming in and playing a good game and breaking lots of tackles. Defensively he recognized Enrique Williams for his performance. Williams had 11 tackles after coming back from a shoulder injury in preseason camp.

Lee and Coach Clark began talking about the defense and the secondary. Lee asked about how B.J. Scott, Damond Smith and Charles Harris in the secondary changes the defense. Coach Clark agreed with Lee’s comment that they are good cover guys so they can leave them in coverage and get a good pass rush on the quarterback.

Jones agreed with what Lee Shirvanian said about what a good job the defense did to prevent Worsham from making any big plays. While he did lead their team with five receptions for 44 yards, his longest was 13 yards.

Lee mentioned that in previous airings of this show, Coach Jones had said that special teams had improved. So he asked Coach Jones if he had a better game at that phase of the game. Coach Jones said no, but he did say that there were some positive things and negative things. But they know what they need to work on and they will get to work to correct them.

The first email question that Lee asked was if there have been any difficulty keeping the players and staff focused with NC State and Kent State games approaching. Coach Jones said he has not thought about those games and cautioned that his players better not be thinking about those games either. He cautioned that Lamar has had this game circled since last year and want to come to Mobile and win. So his players better not be caught looking ahead because Lamar could jump up and bite them.

Coach Clark answered from the prospective of the staff that it has not been hard to stay focused on Lamar and not look ahead to the two games ahead.

The next question emailed to Lee asked if that was indeed the wishbone formation that he saw near the goal line against UWA. Jones confirmed that it was the wishbone and went on to say that they use it when they get near the end zone.

Lee stepped back after a short talk about the wishbone and the single wing offense to talk about high school football. When he moved to South Alabama in the 80’s, he said that the offenses were ‘the quarterback hands off to the running back’ type of offenses. Now you see shotgun formations, trips left and trips right. The offenses have really opened up.

Coach Clark then chimed in talking about how the high school offenses have evolved. The rise of the throwing quarterback then the advent of the running quarterback. Then you put those together. Coach Clark also mentioned that Coach Jones was one of the first to use the spread and throw the ball around alot in the high school ranks in Alabama.

The next sponsored segment was the Orthopedic Group injury update. Coach Jones said that the team came out of the game looking great on the injury front. Looking back to what they were like during the summer, they are looking really good. He said it was about two pages of injuries, down to one page, down to half a page and now it’s only about three players with injuries. He announced that Greg Hollinger will be back for the Lamar game, which is a tall receiver that has shown some good play in practice.

Coach Jones said he came in last year and tore his quad muscle then this year he hurt his shoulder at the beginning of the summer. Greg is about 6’3″ and weighs about 215-lbs. Jones said that last year he was a terror against the first team defense, which Coach Clark agreed with. They are now ready to get him on the field.

Lee asked about Melvin Meggs, who he saw leave the game. Coach Jones said he had cramps and that was all with him. He also mentioned B.J. Scott having cramps late in the game as well. Other than those, he said that they don’t have any injuries.

Lee asked about Enrique Williams and his injury last year going into this year. Coach Clark said that it wasn’t a worry that he was missing practice time. He continued by saying that he has been in the system for a while so they were comfortable with his play, but he was still out there with Coach Crain and the linebackers so he would know what was going on without physically participating.

Lee asked coach Clark as to who is their field guy who makes sure they are lined up correctly and takes control on the field. Coach Clark said that they depend on the Mike Linebacker who is either Jake Johnson or Bryson James and they also depend on their safeties Scott and Charles Harris.

Lee circled back to Hollinger and asked how much playing time he would see. Coach Jones said that they rotate in receivers quite a bit and feel they are interchangeable. They are two deep so he would expect Hollinger to see action for about half the game because they feel he is that good of a receiver.

Lee made light that Lamar will be the first team that we will have faced twice. He also said that the defense played very well, shutting out Lamar at home. Coach Jones agreed, he said that it was the start of a three game series with road games against Lamar and UC-Davis before returning to Mobile to face Georgia State. They really considered it the first road game too, the Dothan game wasn’t the full road game experience to them.

The WNSP staple caller Scooter called in and asked a few questions and made a couple comments. One of his questions was to Coach Jones about his preference of field, was it grass or artificial. Coach Jones said he was a traditionalist and preferred grass, but that field turf has come a very long way and makes such financial sense now for many places. Scooter followed it up with a question about burns and scuffs on the artificial turf. Jones said that they do still get burns and scuffs, but it’s not like what it used to be on the old turf.

Lee asked about the field turf and drainage since it rained heavily on Thursday. Coach Jones said that it drains very well, within 30 minutes or so it was drained and in great condition. It’s one of the major advantages of the artificial fields.

Another caller asked that, if South Alabama defeats NC State, would he name every player on the team as captain for the rest of the season like Coach Belichick. Coach Jones said that was a great idea and he might do that if they win, but he quickly turned the conversation back to Lamar.

Lee turned the conversation from TV, that one caller was calling about, to uniforms as being a big issue after the first week of play. Coach Jones let out a very audible “Oh god” when uniforms were mentioned. Lee asked if USA would ever go to something like the Georgia uniforms. Jones was quick to say “no.” However, he did mention that his wife liked the Georgia uniforms. But Coach Jones said that the Georgia uniforms were nowhere near as bad as the uniforms that Maryland wore for their game.

Coach Jones said that he has liked some of the Nike ProCombat uniforms that they have designed in the last few years, but that the Maryland uniforms were horrible. Coach Clark agreed and said that they took away from the game itself. They like to do things that the kids like, but Maryland’s were just too over the top.

Lee mentioned Tim Brando and what he said on his show about the uniforms. Brando said part of the allure of college football is the tradition of college colors so he was against it. Coach Clark said that they (South Alabama) likes to mix it up, but as long as you stay within your colors.

Another caller asked for Coach Clark to comment on Ken Barefield’s play on Saturday. Clark acknowledged that it was a very good comment. He said that Ken is a very good player and since his move to linebacker from safety, it gives them a fifth defensive back in the game in a way. They felt that they have found him a better place to play because of his agressiveness during the game. He can be their Sam or nickle linebacker. He is very mobile, as fans saw during the game when he leapt over the offensive player attempting to block him. Plus he added an interception in the red zone.

Lee asked both Coach Jones and Coach Clark as to what Lamar brings when they come to Mobile on Saturday. Coach Clark said that they had two of their starting receivers out and their starting tight end out on offense, but from last year to this year they added three transfers to their offensive line. The guard they added was the #2 guard in America two years ago and signed with USC but didn’t get in there. The right tackle came from Arkansas, is a big guy at about 6’7″ or 6’7″ and 300+ pounds who transferred to them. Their quarterback threw for over 400 yards before playing us last year. But they brought in a transfer at quarterback that signed with West Virginia and was the #5 running quarterback in the state of Texas, while also returning their quarterback from last year. He also said that they just have good players across the entire team.

Lee asked if the Jags would see much of a change in their defense from last year. Coach Jones said that they have changed personel some, but the biggest change has been the interior of their defense. They have changed from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3 defense. Last year they had lost two linemen to injury. They will have some big guys inside and he said that probably their two best players are the two guys on the inside.

Lee said that Kendall had a break-out game against Lamar by rushing for over 160 yards against them. He asked if the Jags could do that again. Coach Jones said he hopes so, but that the offense has to be balanced and they have to be mindful of the plays that they call.

Lee said he was a little hesitant to ask, but he asked both coaches what they thought of the Kent State game. Coach Jones said that the Kent State defense scared him a little because they were getting through Alabama’s offensive line at will early in the game. They did a good job of stopping the run early. But he wasn’t really watching them all that closely, they were watching the game as a game and preparing for Lamar. They will get to Kent State when it’s time.

Defense stands strong on Tuesday

August 17, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Field Goal Unit

Jordan Means lines up for a field goal attempt in the Jaguars Fan Day scrimmage.

The Jags returned to the practice field after their second two-a-day of the preseason camp. After the offense shined the day before, the defense stepped up their game.

As the preseason routine has gone, practice began with special teams work moving onto individual and group drills. They then worked on inside running game and play-action passing before moving into skeleton passing drills while Offensive and defensive linemen worked on pass protection.

The team took a 10 minute break before returning to team work against the scout team. The offense and defense came together and worked on third-down situations and two-minute drills.

In the third down drills, the defense forced five incompletions, two pass breakups and a sack in 12 plays. The offense gained positive yardage on only four of the 12 plays. Two of the positive yardage plays were quarterback draws by C.J. Bennett and Trey Fetner. Fetner would be key to the other two positive yardage plays with completions to Corey Besteda for 40 yards and a swing pass to Tyrome Bivins for 10 yards.

The defense stood strong again in two-minute drills. The first play saw Damond Smith intercept a pass to kill the drive. The next drive saw the defense force an incompletion. Fetner would follow up with a 21 yard completion to Donte Rome to get to the 29 yard line. Fetner would move the ball between the hashes to set up a 47 yard field goal. The defense would attempt to ice Jordan Means with timeouts, but it would not faze him as he would slip the uprights anyway.

Coach Jones spoke after practice how he liked seeing the defense respond. “You like to see guys who respond to adversity. The defense had a rough day yesterday and it responded (today). That’s what it’s all about – getting out there and fighting. We have a bunch of competitive guys.”

Speaking about how the practice went in general, Coach Jones had the following to say, “It went really well. I thought it was a better overall practice today than it was yesterday. For the end of camp, I think we’re okay. We don’t have anyone with dead legs, we just have some tired guys. But I’m real pleased with where we are.”

The Jags will visit Camp Grace for team-building exercises instead of hitting the practice field on Wednesday. “It helps you overcome your fears,” Coach Jones said. “You have your team helping you, and you find ways to work out a solution out there. It’s really a neat deal, and our kids love it. It’s just another way we can get together and team-build without having to be on a practice field, so I think it’s a valuable tool for us in the middle of camp.”

It also allows some of the banged up players to heal and for everyone to get a little rest from the drills they have been going through for the last two and a half weeks.

They will return to the Jaguar Practice Facility with their final two-a-day practice of preseason camp beginning at 6:15am on Thursday morning.

Fan Day scrimmage 2011

August 14, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Jersey and Pads

South Alabama had their first two-a-day practice on Tuesday. In their morning practice, they had a very physical and vigorous workout that might have been a preview for the Fan Day scrimmage coming up on Saturday, August 13.

Practice began with special teams work with roughly the first 10 minutes were devoted to work with the punt team. After that, the offense worked on individual and group work which featured screen drills along with routes for tight ends, receivers and running backs.

The next session had the offense and defense working on the running game, both inside and outside, along with play-action passing. The offense then went to skeleton passing drills against the their defensive counterparts. While the skeleton drills were going on, the offensive line worked on pass protection against the defensive line.

The team then took a 10 minute break from the heat before resuming practice. After a stretching session, the offense took the field against the scout team working primarily on reverses.

The offense and defense then took the field against each other. The first 12 plays from scrimmage were snapped from the offense’s 20-yard line. Demetre Baker took the first ball for no gain. Then Myles Gibbon recovered a fumbled from a low snap which resulted in a loss of yards for the offense. Kendall Houston then rushed for 15 yards on the third play which was followed by a six-yard run by Devin Robinson. Baker kept the momentum with a 10-yard rush on fifth play.
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