Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2010-09-28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Jags!!

Jags Win Big At The 2nd Annual Wiregrass Classic

September 26, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama Football coach Joey Jones oversees his team warming up at Rip Hewes Stadium for the Wiregrass Classic.

It was evident, even before kickoff at the Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, that South Alabama outmatched Edward Waters. Not to belittle the Tigers, but these two teams could not have been any more different. Edward Waters is a private, traditionally black NAIA college with an enrollment of 839 students. While South Alabama is a public school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students.

But Edward Waters has a rich and interesting history. It was founded and initially named “Brown Theological Institute” in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed black slaves. Then the school experienced financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883 it reopened as “East Florida Conference High School” then later it was renamed “East Florida Scientific and Divinity School”.

Within ten years, the educational program was extended and it’s name was changed to Edward Waters College. In 1901 it was destroyed by a fire. Then in 1904 they acquired the site that it currently resides and began to rebuild.

It was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 and by 1960 the college had restored its four-year cirriculum. Then in 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the school as a four-year institution.

Of the 839 enrolled, over 90% of them rely on financial aid and the school has been growing. It was highlighted in among “The Best of Florida Schools in 2004” for the “Biggest Growth for Private Colleges.”

In 2001, the school returned to football after a 34 year absence. In 2004 they joined the newly formed South East Atlantic Conference (SEAC) with two other schools, Webber International University and Concordia College. After Concordia was unable to gain membership into the NAIA, the conference dissolved at the conclusion of the 2008 season. EWC won the conference title in 2004, then shared by EWC and Concordia in 2007 and finally a three way share between all of the schools in 2008.

Edward Waters is currently in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with Dillard University, Fisk University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.

So the differences between South Alabama and EWC are striking.

As for the game, there was no question who was going to win from the outset of the game at Rip Hewes Stadium. Within the first two minutes the Jags had forced a three and out, returned the punt to the EWC 35 yard line and ran two plays to score a touchdown. A 16 yard rush followed by a 19 yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Courtney Smith. The point after attempt was mishandled by Taylor Noon who picked it up and scrambed to the corner of the end zone for two points to put the Jags up 8-0 with 13:03 left in the first quarter.

The Jags second offensive series was stopped and was forced to punt. But on Edward Waters’ first offensive play, the pass was intercepted by the defense setting up another short field. Brandon Ross would go in from four yards for the second touchdown, capping off a four play 41 yard drive in 1:12. The PAT by Jordan Means put the Jags up 15-0 with 7:53 left in the first quarter.

The next EWC possession ended in a three and out. The punt was returned to the EWC 35 yard line to set up the Jags with a short field once again. This time it took the Jags six plays to cover 35 yards. The drive was capped off by a three yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Lemontis Gardner and the PAT by Jordan Means. This put the Jags up 22-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

On the Tigers ensuing possession, the second play from scrimmage was picked off by senior Justin Dunn and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was successful by Jordan Means to put the Jags up 29-0 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers were picked off again on their ensuing possession. The Jags would cover 62 yards in six plays and using 1:52 off of the clock to score another touchdown. The drive was capped off by Brennan Sim’s third touchdown pass of the game, this one covering 10 yards to Bryant Lavender. Jordan Means added the point after to put the Jags up 36-0 with 14:11 to play in the second quarter.

A three and out by the Tigers was followed by a three and out by the Jags as well. Then after EWC moved the ball some, their drive ended with their fourth interception. With Ray Cotton taking over the quarterbacking duties, the Jags went 58 yards in six plays using 3:31 off of the clock to score for the last time in the first half. The drive was capped off by a 20 yard touchdown run by Cotton with the point after by Lawson McGlon to put South Alabama up 43-0 at halftime.

Coach Jones and his coaches took the pedal off somewhat, in the second half. The Jags did score three more touchdown, a 15 yard run by Ryan Scott, and a pair by Michael Nevels of 12 and 11 yards respectively. All three point after attempts were successfully made by Lawson McGlon.

The Jags ended the game with 30 first downs, 391 yards rushing and 112 yard passing for a total of 503 yards total offense. The Tigers had 5 first downs, 97 yards rushing, 47 yards passing for a total of 144 yards of offense.

South Alabama rushed eight different running backs. Kendall Houston had four carries with 48 yards, Santuan McGee had three touches for 46 yards, Ellis Hill eight carries for 46 yards, T.J. Glover had four carries for 41 yards, Ryan Scott had seven carries for 44 yards, Michael Nevels had six carries for 35 yards, Johnny Lockett had six carries for 33 yards and Brandon Ross had only three carries for 16 yards. The leading rusher for the team was Ray Cotton with seven carries and gaining 78 yards.

Three quarterbacks made it into the game. Brennan Sim started in place of Myles Gibbon and went 6 of 11 for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Ray Cotton went 1 for 3 for 16 yards while Gabe Graham went 1 of 2 for 11 yards.

Eight different Jaguar receivers caught passes but none of them caught more than one. Jereme Jones lead the receivers with 21 yards.

The Edward Waters quarterbacks combined to go 2 of 15 with four interceptions against the South Alabama defense.

The kickoff woes continued against the Tigers. Jordan Means kicked four times with two of them going out of bounds. Michel Chapuseaux also kicked four but only one of his went out of bounds. Lawson McGlon kicked twice with none of them going out of bounds.

Umcambre Williams lead the defense with five tackles. Jake Johnson recorded the lone solo sack.

The defensive player of the game came from Edward Waters while the offensive player of the game was Brennan Sim.

Coach Jones spoke after the game saying, “I think they performed very well. The bottom line is we had better players than they did. They really had a class bunch. I thought it was a well-played game.”

He continued, “We got a lot of guys in the game. Our coaches had a plan of who they were going to play if we got up so we could get some good out of this game, and I think we did. Our ones went out there and played well. The two lines stayed in there a good amount of time. They haven’t had a lot of reps, so it was good to get them in the game. We have to have some depth for the end of the year, and we keep trying to develop that. That was the great thing about today, we were able to reward those guys who have been working their tails off all summer long. They deserve it. There’s not many chances when you can do that, and we were glad to be able to get them in.”

The Jags return home to face Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, October 2 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.