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Jags Open Second Week Of Practice Tuesday

March 5, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Alabama Completes First Two-A-Day Practice

August 10, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

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

Thursday morning, the Jags completed an hour-and-a-half practice session. It was the first half of the Jags first two-a-day scheduled for preseason camp.

They opened practice with special teams work before they broke off and went into individual group position drills. Later in the practice the offense and defense worked against each other. Kendall Houston notched a touchdown running the ball and C.J. Bennett found Jereme Jones for a touchdown pass as well.

The morning session had lots of emphasis on routes. Receivers were tasked with getting seperation from defenders in certain instances, improvising routes on the fly. Nathan Sassaman bumped a defender on a fly route and caught a pass for a touchdown.

During the full team drills, the defense caused problems. C.J. Bennett had problems finding players and had at least three interceptions. A string of three pass defenses in a row was followed by an interception by a defensive lineman. Enrique Williams had an impressive stop on Demetre Baker up the middle. Eddy Cabrera notched a couple of pass breakups.

Ross Metheny had similar problems as Bennett did, but did showcase some impressive scrambling ability. Corey Besteda continued to impress observers with a behind the back, one-handed catch.

The staff closed the practice with more special teams work followed by conditioning drills.

“I thought we came out with a great attitude this morning,” said head coach Joey Jones. “We looked real sharp. I was pleased with it overall. They worked and had a good session with the offense going against the defense. I thought we achieved what we needed to achieve today. We have to come back out this afternoon and be ready to go. There’s nothing easy about it, we just have to suck it up and go.”

He continued by saying, “We have to fight through the tough things. Toughness is one of the three things we talk about. We have to practice toughness to be tough, so that’s why we do it.”

The Jags returned to the Jaguar Practice Facility for a 4:30pm practice session. The second half of the Jaguars two-a-day practice saw some emphasis on running backs working on holding blocks on passing plays.

After a session of 11-on-11 work, the team moved to red zone passing plays. Bryant Lavender and Greg Hollinger made some great catches against the Jaguar defenders.

The team also practice a two-minute drill for the first time this preseason. The first string, led by Bennett, failed to convert on 4th down at the 34 yard line. The second string, led by Metheny, drove down to the 26 yard line with ten seconds left before having to settle for a field goal.

Kicker Michel Chapuseaux kicked for the first time this preseason. Both he and Aleem Sunanon were kicking well from 40+ yards out. Chapuseax nailed a 47 yard field goal in a hurry-up situation with 3 seconds remaining.

The Jags will return to the practice field for a lighter practice session as they prepare for their first scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday. The Saturday scrimmage will be closed to the public.

South Alabama Hits The Field In Full Pads

August 7, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterbacks Trey Fetner and transfer Ross Metheny participating in position drills.

The Jaguars took to the practice field for their fifth time during preseason camp on Tuesday morning. Though this was the first time they were able to don full pads.

Practice went for almost three hours at the Jaguar Practice Facility behind the Football Fieldhouse on the South Alabama Campus. After warmups, they began with special teams and position-specific drills. Then the offense and defense faced off against each other in first and third-down situational drills which lasted for about 15 minutes.

Highlights from this segment included a 35-yard completion from Trey Fetner to Cameron Broadnax, a 15-yard run by Ross Metheny, a 10-yard gain by T.J. Glover and another 10-yard gain by Fetner. While on the defensive side of the ball, Will Thompson notched a sack and a fumble recovery and Bryson James and Eddy Cabrera both notched a pass breakup each.

The next session was the 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills for about 15 plays. C.J. Bennett went 4-of-7 with a touchdown pass to Wes Saxton for five yards. Metheny recorded three pass completions with one of them going for a 10-yard touchdown to Cameron Broadnax.

The Jaguar offense and defense met in the next session with the ball placed at midfield. Highlights from this drill was a 15-yard rush by Kendall Houston and a 17-yard completion from Bennett to Terrance Timmons. Defensively Thompson added a tackle-for-loss to his daily total, Cabrera added another pass breakup as well and Jake Johnson also recorded a pass breakup.

Coach Jones thought practice went well again. “I thought we had a good practice intensity-wise,” Jones said. “The defense is getting better in pass coverage. I’ve noticed that and talked with coach Walker about that during practice. We’re sticking much tighter to the receivers and the zone coverages are harder to find, so we’re getting better on defense. Offensively, it’s a continuation but I think we’ve made some progress. I really like the effort again. They came out with intensity and practiced hard, so we’re excited about that.”

Senior Linebacker Jake Johnson was excited to put the pads back on as well. “It’s always good to get the pads back on,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this season since I came here to play. It’s a great opportunity to really show what our team is made of. We have gotten bigger, faster and stronger, which is really key.”

B.J. Scott also mentioned that the Jaguars are getting better. “We had good weather and guys were flying around. We got better today,” said Scott. “We are preparing and getting ready every day, and we’ll see what we can do when it’s time. But we should be better off with the experience and leadership we have on defense this year.”

The Jags will return to the field at 7:15am on Wednesday.

Jags Complete Third Practice Of Preseason Camp Saturday

August 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones talking with wide receiver Carr Tigner during preseason practice.

South Alabama got started early on Saturday morning to beat the rain chances and completed their full practice schedule for the day. It was overcast most of the morning, but the humidity made it pretty warm. The hydration staff roamed all morning making sure the players were well hydrated to help prevent players from overheating and cramping.

The Jags practiced for almost two-and-a-half hours on Saturday in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) with the offense focusing on inside running plays. In all, the offense ran over 100 plays against the defense working on the inside run, 7 on 7 skeleton passing and full-team drills.

The first half of practice focused on individual drills and fundamentals. The quarterbacks worked with the running backs and receivers in 10 minute periods while the offensive line worked with Coach Matthews. Additionally, the receivers and defensive backs would work one-on-one on while other personnel worked on inside drills.

The defensive linemen and outside linebackers worked on the sleds early in the practice. The secondary and inside linebackers did drills with Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, while also going through various formations before going against the offense.

During skeleton drills, C.J. Bennett started with back-to-back completions to Jereme Jones and Bryant Lavender. Transfer quarterback Ross Metheny hit Jared Palmer in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown later in the drill. Tyrell Pearson deflected a pass as well as picking off a pass that was deflected by lineback Jake Johnson. Darrius Morrow also broke up a pass during the drill.

Bryant Lavender added three receptions during the final team drills of the day. Corey Besteda added a few catches during the day as well. One fully extended catch and a Tyrone Prothro-like near catch along the sideline, however it appeared that he could not come down with it in the end.

In the first practice, there were four or five players who obviously cramped up. After the practice, the staff made sure to remind them to eat plenty of food and, particularly protein and drink lots of gatorade. It was obvious today that the staff helped the players to correct those problems from the first day.

Coach Jones made note in the post-practice talk that he is seeing the benefits from the offseason strength and conditioning workout regimen. The benefits are not only physical, but mental and in leadership roles.

“We’ve got more leadership on this football team,” Head coach Joey Jones said. “What I am hearing is guys leading others, which hasn’t happened as much in the past. That’s going to make things better as we go through this football season.”

“I was happy with the effort, they came out ready to go and their minds were on it,” he said. “Obviously we have some things that need to be sharpened up, but this was really just our second day of practice. We have a way to go, but I was real proud of the effort.”

“We wanted to concentrate on running the football and stopping the run when you put shoulder pads on for the first time,” Coach Jones further explained. “The inside drill went really well, I thought the defense got after it while the offense hit a few plays. It was good to see the intensity. I’m not worried about results right now, I’m concerned with the process. It’s not going to be perfect now, we know that, but if we continue to work on the process we’ll have a chance to be good later on.”

There were times when the offense looked flat later in practice. But that really is to be expected at this time. Coming into preseason camp, the quarterbacks and receiver tend to have an edge but the defense will typically pick up quickly and surpass the offense. Which I believe explains today. Also, this is the third day of intense workouts in the humid weather, that much intense work will take something out of you this early in camp.

On the injury front, Brandon Ross was dressed out but did not participate in contact drills. However he did hold pads for certain drills. Qudarius Ford iced up his knee late in practice. Will Thompson had an occasional limp. Eddy Cabrera got winded late in the conditioning drills.

In recruiting news, Alabama commit Darius Paige appeared at practice today. Paige, a 6’3″ 275-pound defensive tackle from Pensacola, Florida observed practice with Assistant Athletic Directory Haven Fields. Paige, who committed to the Crimson Tide back in May, has been offered by a number of schools including: Arkansas State, Clemson, FIU, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Alabama.

The Jags will have Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday morning at 7:15am.

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.

Coach Jones’ Worry Alleviated With Good Physical Practice On Thursday

August 21, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Defensive huddle during the Jaguars first scrimmage on August 15, 2009. Photo by Doug Roberts.

The weather held off enough that Coach Jones continued with practice on Thursday. With only two days until the teams second full scrimmage, he wanted to make sure the Jags had a good physical practice, and he accomplished what he set out to do.

The staff completely deviated from what has come to be known as the ‘usual schedule.’ They began practice with about 30 minutes of special teams drills, focusing primarily on their hands team for onsides kicks. They about 20 minutes of small group, one-on-one competition at various different positions. Then they were put through about an hours worth of situational work during their two hour practice. and then ended the practice with another 30 minutes of special teams work in punt and kickoff coverage.

In the previous two and a half weeks of preseason camp, they would only work in live 11-on-11 drills for less than half that time. That changed on Thursday.

About an hour into the practice, after the special teams and individual workouts, the offense ran about 10 minutes of first-down plays from midfield. Then they started first-down drills from the defense’s 20 yard line, working on their red-zone offense. On the first possession with third-and-six, Myles Gibbon found Paul Bennett for a seven yard completion to get the first down. The very next play saw Santuan McGee run off the right tackle for a touchdown.

On the next two drives, the defense would turn up the pressure and turn it into their favor. Eddy Cabrera would intercept a pass at the goal line. Then Anthony Taylor would pitch in with two of the defenses three tackles for loss in the ensuing possession. The the final drive saw Marquise Diamond break up a pass at the end zone to force a field goal attempt, which was missed.

The final situation drills of the day had the offense lining up to run third-down plays of distances of nine, five and two yards. Again the defense stepped up with seven straight stops. Justin Dunn and Bryson James recorded key tackles during that run. However Gibbon would finally end the dought by hitting his 6’5″ receiver Courtney Smith to gain a much needed first down. But then the defense would again stop the offense short of first downs on six of the next eight tries.

Coach Jones was quite pleased with the physical workout and had the following to say. “I think we had a great physical day. The kids were ready mentally, and I noticed their legs were a little fresher as well. That’s probably because we’ve had some extra time off the last two days due to the weather. The coaches noticed in the weight room this morning that they were bouncing around, so now we’re thinking as a staff that we ought to plan more often to give them breaks during camp. Sometimes the rain forces you to do that, and I think that in this case it was really a good thing for us.”

Coach Jones had good things to say about the defense. “The guys on defense have been practicing extremely hard, and they are learning where they need to be,” he stated. “They were playing tentative the first couple of weeks because they were constantly asking themselves, ‘Where do I line up?’ Then, ‘What’s my responsibility?’ Then, ‘What is the offense doing?’ It’s hard to decipher all of those things, but now it is starting to become second nature and they are able to just react and run. The defense has definitely gotten more confident in what it is doing.”

Talking about changing up the practice routine, coach Jones had the following to say. “Any time you change the routine up, I think the kids like that. They hate to come out to practice and do the same thing every day. We’re trying to get them to learn about these different situations, and to understand certain things like when you’re inside the 25-yard line the quarterback can’t take a sack. Sometimes in practice you just run plays, but this is a more realistic scenario that they will see in games.”

Coach Jones also went on to explain why the staff, until now, has not had a lot of situational work during camp. “The first weeks we were just putting as much information in their heads as possible,” he said. “With the scrimmage coming up on Saturday and another next weekend, that’s when we really want to prepare them for everything they will see in a game.”

Since Wednesday’s practice was canceled, the Jags will be out on the practice field very early on Friday, at 5:45am. It will be a less physical workout in helmets and pads, but they will be working on passing drills and the special teams kicking game but no tackling. The reason for such an early workout, “We’re going to practice in the morning for two reasons,” Coach Jones stated. “One is because we want to try and avoid the rain, which has been a problem for us this week. And two, it will give the players a full 24 hours to rest before the scrimmage so hopefully their legs will be fresh.”

Also the Jags are scheduled for a 9am scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday.