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.

Jag Defense Plays Better In Second Scrimmage Of 2010

August 21, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon, running the first series with the first-team offense, scores the first touchdown of the scrimmage.

The second scrimmage of the preseason was a bit more even than the first one last week. Less touchdowns but also less turnovers. Which pleased Coach Jones when it was all said and done.

Several players were out due to injury on the defense. None severe, just nagging injuries which the coaching staff decided to sideline for the scrimmage. Randon Carnathan, Justin Dunn, Tim Harvey, Jake Johnson, Romelle Jones and Alex Page all sat out the scrimmage.

The Jags ran about 93 plays, close to their goal of 100. Overall the offense gained 251 yards with the first team defense only allowing 48 in their seven series on the field. The only two turnovers of the day were recovered by Jarred Williams and Montavious Williams, but both were committed by Ellis Hill, but one was a bad exchange from Brennan Sim. Anthony Taylor made back-to-back sacks for the first-team defense while Kendell Bagnerise added one right after Taylor to back the offense up 18 yards in one possession.

With so many playmakers out on defense, Jonathan Cameron and Bryson James led the defense each with four tackles. Zach Rone lead the second team defense with five tackles.

Myles Gibbon led the first team offense 80 yards in seven plays on their first possession to score the first touchdown. Brandon Ross made the big gain on the series with a 39 yard run, including knocking a defensive back flat on his tail, to set up the touchdown. After two runs by Santuan McGee, Gibbon ran to the left and made the corner of the end zone for the score.

C.J. Bennett led the first team offense the second time they were on the field. He would lead the offense down the field but could not get into the end zone and they settled for a 37 yard Michel Chapuseaux field goal.

The second first-team touchdown would be from a combination of Gibbon and Bennett under center. With the offense facing fourth down from the defense’s 43 yard line, Myles would hit Bryant Lavender for a 14 yard gain on the left sideline. Then Bennett would enter the game who would fine Ralph Turner open on the right side of the field for a 29 yard touchdown. The series covered 60 yards in six plays.

The second-team offense would have it’s best drive of the day on their first possession of the game with Bennett at quarterback. He would start the series off with a 14 yard completion to Lamontis Gardner. Then after a handoff for a short gain, he complete a pass to Gardner for eight more yards and a second first down of the series. But the series would come to an end after a fumbled handoff on third down was recovered by the offense and forced them to punt.

Bennett went 5 of 8 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown, Brennan Sim completed three for 27 yards and Gibbon completed one for 14 yards. Corey Besteda, Gardner and Lavender each caught two passes while Ralph Turner led the receivers with a touchdown and 29 yards on one reception.

Coach Jones had the following to say after the scrimmage: “We changed things up, but I thought we looked a little sharper. There were a few penalties out there, which we have to get corrected in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it was a good day. It was more like a game, we called all the special teams out there so they had to be alert on the sidelines. My overall feeling is that the offense and defense got better, and special teams were pretty consistent.”

He continued, “We will evaluate this film and go into next week with an idea of who our ones and twos will be. Of course, it’s not over because these kids compete for jobs every day, but we have to find a starting point when we begin next week.”

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Jaguars Process Continues: Red White Game 2010

March 11, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones watches as Myles Gibbon leads the White team offense as they try to score in the second Red-White Game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The University of South Alabama Spring Football Game showcased alot of talent on both sides of the ball, but it also showed that there is improvement still yet to be had. The defense on both sides really stepped up when needed and the offenses showed flashes of brilliance, however neither side showed any all-around dominance.

On the first drive of the game, the white offense lead by Myles Gibbon, drove 70 yards in 13 plays to put the first points on the board. With the drive facing a fourth-and-one near midfield, it was actually gut-check time. Do they play it safe and punt or do they roll the dice?

Well, the white team rolled the dice and and it payed off. Gibbon completed a pass to Paul Bennett for 13 yards for the first down and to cross the midfield stripe. This play got the offense in gear. Myles carred the ball for six yards, then Santuan McGee rushed twice for 13 more yards. Then Brandon Ross followed with a 17 yard gain to the one yard line on a sweep to the left. Gibbon would cap off the drive with a one yard dive into the end zone to give the White team an early 7-0 lead.

On the second drive of the game, the Red team would drive 55 yards down to the White team’s 25 yard line before getting stopped on a fourth-and-five play.

The White team would take the ball and drive 69 yards in just six plays. The majority of the yards were picked up on a 52 yard strike from Myles Gibbon to Courtney Smith on a post route. However an incomplete pass into the end zone on fourth down from the one yard line would end their drive.

Brennan Sim would lead the Red teams drive from the one yard line and go 99 yards to even the game with less than three minutes until halftime. After trying to run for a few yards of breathing room in the shadow of their endzone, Sim would find Donte Rome for a 14 yard completion on third down to keep the drive alive. Sim would go back to Rome for a 16 yard completion.

On the next play, Brandon Norton would record a sack on Sim costing the Red team eight yards. But he came back with a fake option run which the defensive back bit on and found Kelly Vail on a post pattern which he turned into a 73 yard touchdown.

The second half was a defensive showing with only one score in the second half to show for it.

The drive began when Zach Brownell intercepted a pass and returned it eight yards to the 38 yard line. Gibbon then found Courtney Smith for a first down play to get the ball to midfield. McGee, two plays later, would find a seam and go for 12 yards and another White first down at the Red teams 34 yard line.

Then on third-and-ten, Paul Bennett caught another Gibbon pass in the right flat for 22 yards just as time expired in the third quarter. But the Red team defense would not give up. They would cause three consecutive plays for a loss, including back to back sacks by Clifton Crews and Josh Chestang. This placed the ball on the 36 yard line. With fourth-and-24, the coaches options were limited.

Gambling for a win and some game pressure experience, the White team ran on Jordan Means to attempt a 53 yard field goal. The snap and hold were good and when Means put foot to ball and sent it sailing, everyone watched holding their breath. As the ball barely cleared the cross bar, everyone was wondering if it made it. Then when the referees hands went up in the air, the onlookers gave their loudest cheer of the night as the White team celebrated as well.

The drive and kick covered 13:52 and left about 11:30 for the Red team to try to match them and the White defense did not let the Red team get a drive going of any substance and held on for the victory.

Myles Gibbon went 8-for-9 passing for 131 yards with four of them to Courtney Smith for 83 yards. Paul Bennett had two receptions for 35 yards while Lamontis Gardner also added two receptions. Santuan McGee lead the team rushing with 10 carries for 43 yards and Brandon Ross carried the ball five times for 33 more yards.

The White defense was lead by Romelle Jones with five tackles, 1.5 of them for a loss. Richard Courtney and Logan Bennett each added four tackles while Bryson James had three. In total, the White defense only allowed 207 yards.

Brennan Sim went 13-for-22 with 184 yards. Kelly Vail caught four passes for a game high of 94 yards. Ralph Turner also had four receptions for 39 yards. The Red team offense could only muster 13 yards on 14 attempts, but Eli Smith lead the way with six rushes for 18 yards.

Ken Barefield lead all players with nine tackles, two of them for a loss. Michael Wilson added seven. Clifton Crews and Enrique Williams added four each as well. The Red defense only allowed 12 more yards than the White defense for 219 yards.

Head Coach Joey Jones was on the field observing the play the entire evening. Coach Jones had this to say about the game, “I think the kids had some fun out there. It was a good-spirited night, they’ve been at each other the last couple of days and had a good time. It was a good way to end a long spring training.”

“That was great,” added Coach Jones when asked about the Jordan Means’ field goal attempt. “I was over there and they were ready to run a fourth-down play to try and at least gain some yardage. I reminded them the wind was behind them, though I wasn’t trying to be a head coach. Jordan has a good leg, I knew if he got it going straight he had it. It was a great kick.”

All in all, the players had a great time. There were good spirited ribbing and text messages going back and forth all week according to Romelle Jones. Myles Gibbon added that it was like playing with a completely new team since both teams only had one practice in order to prepare for the game.

At halftime, Mobile businessman David Gwin who is a strong supporter of South Alabama Athletics along with his wife Lynn were recognized for their $100,000 donation for a football sculpture. The sculpture, as stated by President Gordon Moulton, will stand about 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide in the front circle of the entranceway to the Jaguar Football Field House and will be made entirely out of stainless steel.

Coach Jones and his staff honored several players for their efforts in spring practice. Each position received a Most Improved award with the winners being: Quarterback Brennan Sim, Running Back Eli Smith, Wide Receivers Bryant Lavender, Tight End Robby Stoner, Offensive Lineman Levi Slaydon, Defensive Lineman Kendell Bagnerise, Inside Linebacker Brett Hancock, Outside Linebacker Josh Chestang and Defensive Back Michael Wilson.  Other special honors went to Corey Walden on Offense and Ken Barefield on Defense. Charlie Higgenbotham received the “I Like To Practice” award and Brennan Sim earned the High Academic Honors award.

The process to join Division-I football continues on Saturday, September 4 when Pikeville (Kentucky) travels to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to open the 2010 Football season.

Jag Football, 8-0…Sort Of…

December 12, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags football team won their eighth competition of the year. But this time it wasn’t on the football field. No, this time it was on the asphalt.

Some of the Jags football team participated in the annual Ronald McDonald House Fire Truck Pull held in Pensacola, Florida. They were representing Mobile McDonald’s Owner Operators in the competition.

Thirty-five teams competed in seven divisions in the event. The Jags competed in the retail division which included five other teams. Each team included 20 individuals pulling a 61,000-pound fire truck a distance of 50 feet. The Jags completed it in a time of 10.302 seconds to narrowly edge out teams like the Escambia County Professional Firefighters and Fire & Emergency Services Gulf Coast. They posted times of 10.376 and 10.463 seconds each, respectively.

Jags that competed were Ken Barefield, Paul Bennett, Eddy Cabrera, Jamie Driskell, Justin Dunn, Lionel Fuentes, Scott Garber, Myles Gibbon, Gabe Graham, Dalvin harris, Danzel Harris, Brian Kauskopf, Andrew Martin, Lawson McGlon, Alex Phifer, Philip Press, Donte Rome, Donald Scott, Courtney Smith, Anthony Taylor Josh Terry, Michael Wilson, and Justin Walker.

No Letdown In Practice After The Programs First Victory

September 10, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon scrambling for a touchdown in Saturday’s historic 30-13 win in South Alabama first-ever football game against Hargrave Military Academy. – Photo by Doug Roberts.

Coach Jones was concerned on Tuesday that the team might have a lack of focus and intensity in practice. But on Tuesday he could tell they had leftover energy from Saturday’s big win over Hargrave Academy.

Wednesday’s practice began with about 15 minutes of special teams work, then it was following special teams was about 30 minutes of position drills. Next the offense had a 10 minute session of recognizing and picking up blitz’s from the defense then a 15 minute session of skeleton passing drills.

Then the Jags went into some situational work. They spent about 15 minutes in red zone situations with drives beginning at either the 20 or 25 yard lines. The first possession was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Eli Smith on fourth-and-goal. The very next offensive possession saw Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smtih for a 25 yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone.

The defense forced a field goal attempt, which was missed. Then Gibbon found Kelly Vail on a crossing pattern which scored another touchdown when Vail found the pylon on the left side of the end zone. This touchdown was followed up by a defensive stop with another missed field goal attempt. Brennan Sim also threw for a touchdown.

Practice ended with 20 minute scrimmage with the Jags utilizing the second and third string players to develop experience and depth for the squad. Zach Rone sacked Brennan Sim twice to force a three-and-out on the first drive. Sim would lead the offense into the red zone on the next possession. Eli Smith started the drive with a nine-yard run to get a first down. Then Sim would complete passes of 21 and seven yards to Donte Rome to get two more first downs on the drive. A two yard run by Jeremy Pacillo would put the offense at the 18 yard line, but an Eddy Cabrera interception after an incomplete pass would end the drive at the five yard line.

The defense would force another three-and-out after a tackle for loss, a sack and a broken-up pass on third-and-16.

Gabe Graham would hit Josh Dees for a 12 yard first down pass to get to the Offense’s 49 yard line. A three yard pass to Rome would move the offense across midfield, but he was sacked on fourth down to end the day.

Coach Jones spoke after practice about the teams intensity, “Practice has been really good, we’ve come out here twice and got after it. We’ve tried to keep the intensity level up, and they have done well responding to that. I’ve been real surprised, to be honest, because when you’re three weeks away from a game right after a big win you expect a letdown – they haven’t done that. In the back of their minds, I think they would like to have a game this Saturday, but they’re not letting that show in practice.”

Even though the season has officially started, Coach Jones and his staff are going through a practice schedule that is similar to what they did during preseason camp. “We feel that the format is a good for learning in practice,” Coach Jones said. “We change things up with the situations that we cover, but we feel that it is a format we want to use most of the time.”

“We’re trying to get our young kids to watch film, to teach them and let them learn,” Jones said about second and third stringers scrimmage at the end of practice. “We’re going to let them go again tomorrow. We feel that we have a good hour and 45 minutes to practice with the older guys, and since the younger guys are working hard as well this gives them 20 minutes to get out there for live action.”

The Jaguars will practice again Thursday afternoon with a tentative scrimmage set for Friday, but will have the weekend off. The next game will be Saturday, September 26 against Army Prep with kickoff at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.