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.
Coach Jones and his staff oversee the second scrimmage of the spring at the Jaguar Practice Facility on the South Alabama Campus on Saturday.
The Jaguar defense had another impressive outing in Saturday’s scrimmage at the Jaguar Practice Facility on campus. The first and second teams both combined to only allow a single touchdown prior to red zone drills.
Ken Barefield lead the defense with 12 tackles and an interception with Justin Dunn and Tim Harvey adding six more tackles each. Romelle Jones added five tackles and a group of six others added four tackles each.
The defensive unit had 18 tackles for loss, six of those being sacks and three of them being credited to Tony Threatt.
Brennan Sim lead the first team offense and went 7-for-17 for 80 yards and lead them to their first points on the third drive my their team. Four of the first five plays were rushes by Eli Smith, who gained 31 yards. A Sim pass to Kelly Vail put them on the 16 yard line before Vail was caught for a loss of 12 yards on a reverse. Michel Chapuseaux capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.
The first team offense finally found the end-zone on its last drive after Sim completed three straight passes. The final of the three consecutive passes came on fourth-and-two when he found Kevin Helms for a 28 yard touchdown.
The third team offense was the only other team to put the ball into the end zone for the day. It was the third teams’ first drive and Gabe Graham was facing a third-and-six from their own 39 yard line. Graham would find Bryant Lavender near the left hashmark and he would break a tackle for the 61 yard touchdown.
During the red zone drill, the offense would score on all three possessions. Smith would score on a rush up the middle for five yards. Myles Gibbon would connect with Andrew Martin for an eight yard touchdown. Then Ellis Hill would pound it into the end zone on a fourth-and-one play.
Bryant Lavendar would lead the Jags with 74 yards receiving on two receptions. Jereme Jones had a team high of four catches for 39 yards. While Courtney Smith would add three catches for 20 yards and Ralph Turner would catch two for 37 yards.
Eli Smith would lead the ground game with 13 rushes for 39 yards, while Ryan Scott would add 36 and Santuan McGee would add 31.
As mentioned before, Brennan Sim would complete 7-of-17 passes for 80 yards while Myles Gibbon would go 6-of-9 for 89 yards and the only interception of the day. Gabe Graham completed 4-of-5 passes for 97 yards.
The totals was 266 yards passing, 169 yards rushing for a total oof 435 total yards.
Coach Jones commented on the performance by the defense after the scrimmage. “That’s pretty much what we’ve seen all spring,” he said. “The defense did a good job of stopping the run, they really played well early in the scrimmage. I’m proud of those guys.”
Coach Jones then continued to speak about the offenses performance. “Offensively I thought we got a little better as the scrimmage went on. I told the team afterwards that we’ve just gotten better. When you watch film, I’m not so much worried about the results or how many touchdowns there were. We’re looking at individual plays and the fundamentals, we’ll worry about the scoreboard in the fall. The bottom line is that I’m real proud of the team, we’ve had a great spring thus far. We have achieved our goals.”
The Jags will practice on Monday and Tuesday morning at the Jaguar Practice Facilities on campus. Then Spring Practice will conclude with an intrasquad game on Wednesday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 6pm. Which Coach Jones had this to say about it. “The players are really excited [about Wednesday's game]. They have already went through a player draft and formed two teams. I look at it that those guys will go out and have fun, because the bottom line is that evaluations are pretty much done. The teams will be split, which usually leads to things being a little out of synch. I’m not going to worry about that.”.
This will definitely make for an interesting end to the spring session.
The Jags homecoming saw yet another impressive showcase of South Alabama talent. The Jags score four touchdowns in the first quarter, score a total 64 points and win by 50+ points for the second consecutive game.
Big Brandon Ross opened the scoring when his 15 yard run up the middle finished the 6 play 73 yard drive with less than two minutes gone in the first quarter. The defense would force a three and out punt to set up the Jags second touchdown drive of 5 plays covering 77 yards. Myles Gibbon capped it off with a 15 yard run to put the Jags ahead 14-0 with 9:47 to go in the first quarter.
A second consecutive defensive stand forced the Falcons to go three and out again. Brennan Sim then came in to lead the offense in its third drive and quickly showed his stuff by hitting Courtney Smith (AKA Quick 6) on a 73 yard touchdown strike to extend their lead to 21-0 with 7:02 left in the first quarter still.
The Falcon offense finally got their first first down of the game on their third drive but could only manage to go 28 yards in 5 plays before being forced to punt to the Jags again. The Jags started at their own six yard line but Brennan Sim showed his poise and led the Jags on a 94 yard march in seven plays to score. Brandon Ross carried it in for this second touchdown of the first quarter. This 94 yard drive was the longest by the Jags so far this season. The Jags led 28-0 with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
The Jags then forced the Falcons to punt on their next possession and pinned the Jags back within their 20 yard line again. But the Jags would drive again. Moving the ball 76 yards in 10 plays they settled for a Michel Chapaseaux from 25 yards out to run their lead out to 31-0 with 11:49 left in the first half.
The Jags defense held again and forced their third three and out punt of the game. However a mental error in special teams play gave the ball back to the Falcons at the Jaguar 31 yard line, which they would take advantage of by scoring on a 30 yard pass but failing to convert the PAT left them at 31-6.
A big return on the ensuing kickoff put the Jags at the Falcon 19 yard line. Five plays and 19 yards later, Anthony Mostella took the ball in for a touchdown from one yard out to extend the Jaguar lead to 38-6 with 6:32 left in the first half.
The next Falcon possession was another three and out punt. However the Jags would give the ball right back on the next play with an interception at the Milford 12 yard line. Forced to punt from their own endzone, the punter mishandled the low snap and the Jags pounced causing a safety to put the Jags up 40-6 with 4:35 left in the first half.
With the safety, the Falcons were forced to kickoff to the Jags from their own 20 yard line with a free kick. The Jags would march 44 yards in 5 plays to cap off the first half scoring. This time Eli Smith carried the ball in from 8 yards out to run their lead to 47-6 with 2:18 left until halftime.
Milford would get the ball on the kickoff and put together their best drive of the game, moving the ball 67 yards in 8 plays only taking 1:38 to do it. Their drive ended with a 7 yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left in the half. Would kneel on the ball to go into halftime with a 47-12 lead.
The Jags rolled up a dominating 456 yards of offense in the first half with 322 of them coming on the ground.
The third quarter saw a lul in the scoring with only Michel Chapaseaux adding a 39 yard field goal with 8:57 left in the third quarter for a 50-12 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter Clifton Crews picked off a Falcon pass and returned it 49 yards for a Jaguar touchdown. Lawson McGlon added the PAT for a 57-12 lead. Then on the next Jaguar possession, Ryan Scott scored on a one yard run to end the 11 play 64 yard drive for the last Jaguar touchdown for the final score of 64-12.
Unfortunately Myles Gibbon went down with a foot injury late in the game after a long pass completion. He was helped off the field by the trainers and immediately went to the trainers table where they worked on his ankle. He walked off on crutches and later came back to watch the remainder of the game with the South Alabama students. The initial prognosis is that its a broken ankle but X-rays are scheduled on Monday to confirm.
Twelve different Jags carried the ball for a total of 396 yards, led by Brandon Ross’ 6 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Myles Gibbon ran 3 times for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Passing Gibbon went 2-of-5 for 33 yards, Brennan Sim was 2-for-3 for 90 yards including the 73 yard strike to Smith for a touchdown. Nick Owens was 2-for-6 for 40 yards and an interception. Gabe Graham was 0-for-1.
Receiving Courtney Smith was the only Jag to catch more than one pass with 2 for 76 and the only touchdown. Erling Riis caught one for 30 and Taylor Noon caught one for 29.
Clifton Crews led the way with 7 total tackles but Ken Barefield led the team in solo tackles with 4.
The Jags totaled 538 yards of offense (the most this season) with 397 of them on the ground. The Defense only gave up 185 total yards with only 35 of them rushing.
The Jags were penalized eight times for 89 yards and the Falcons were flagged seven times for 67 yards.
After the game Coach Jones had this to say: “It was a big win again. I’m proud of the kids for playing well. It’s just a matter of executing well and playing hard. We’ve got a short week coming up, and we’re going to start getting ready early in the morning for the game on Thursday. We’re looking forward to it because they’re going to be one of the best teams we play. They’re leading the nation in offense in Division III, so we’ve got a great game to look forward to this week.”
Brennan Sim thought the offense did its job. “I think we moved the ball well. We executed, which we need to continue to do,” he said. “What we saw on film is what we got. We hit them big on a couple of plays because they played a lot of cover zero, so they didn’t even have a safety out there.”
Ryne Baxter, an offensive lineman who got his first start in place of an injured Cory Pitman, said, “The coaches prepared us well. We worked hard all week, so I was ready to step up when I was called on. I was a little nervous at first, but after the first play I knew I was going to be alright.”
Milford Academy head coach Bill Chaplick joined the ranks of opponents coaches who spoke highly of the Jaguar team. “This was a great experience for my guys to come down here. We are normally a blitzing defense and South Alabama was able to take us out of that. We weren’t able to get to the quarterback until we were down 28 points and that killed us. Offensively, we just weren’t able to do anything either.”
The Jags will have a very quick turnaround with their next game coming up on Thursday night. The weather over the next couple days may cause the coaches headaches in preparing for Huntingdon College with the potential for heavy rain for Monday and Tuesday. The Hawks will come into the game with an 8-1 record after downing Coach Jones’ former team, Birmingham-Southern, on Saturday.
Kickoff Thursday night is scheduled for 6pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The Jaguars defense smothered Georgia Military at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday. One name, Zach Brownell, became pretty familiar to the 15,178 fans in the stands as he had three interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown.
The Jaguar defense held the bulldogs in check for the most part. They only gave up 10 first downs and 234 yards of total offense. Including a mere 88 yards rushing and holding them to only 1 of 15 in third down conversions. However the Jags bid for a second straight shutout was thwarted in the final minute of the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Evan Kay.
South Alabama’s offense started off slow against Georgia Military. The first three possessions ended with a punt, a fumble and a punt. But the Jaguars would put the first points on the board with a seven yard touchdown run by Brandon Ross early in the second quarter to cap off a ten play 67-yard drive.
The Jags next possession would end with an interception on an ill advised pass by Myles Gibbon. However the Jaguar defense would give the ball right back to the offense with an interception three plays later. The offense moved 37 yards in six plays but were forced to punt themselves which they downed on the nine yard line.
With the Bulldogs deep in their own territory, the defense turned up the pressure again forcing another interception. Brownell would return it for a touchdown with 1:35 left before halftime to put the Jags up 14-0.
The second half continued the with the Jaguar defense playing strong. They forced the Bulldogs to go three and out and punt on their first possession of the second half. They Jags offense would go three and out as well but would pin them inside their own 15 yard line on the punt. The South Alabama defense would come up big once more when they forced a fumble at the Bulldog 10 yard line which Clifton Crews would pick up and return for another defensive score for the Jags. This put them up 21-0 with 9:05 left in the third quarter.
After the kickoff the Bulldogs started to move the ball, going 29 yards in eight plays before the third and final Brownell interception with 5:12 left in the third quarter at the South Alabama 20 yard line. The Jags would be forced to punt again a few plays later.
The Bulldogs would mount their only other scoring threat of the game at their own 38 yard line. The Bulldogs connected on a long pass to move them into Jaguar territory. But the defense held strong and forced the Bulldogs to settle for a field goal with 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter for a score of 21-3.
Both teams would go three and out on the two ensuing possessions. Then the Jaguar offense found another spark and covered 54 yards in four plays for another Brandon Ross touchdown. On the extra point, the bulldogs would be flagged for a personal foul and would leave the first team kicker, Michel Chapuseaux injured and have to be helped off the field. The trainers took him to the sidelines and was examining his right knee. Shortly they took off his pads, gave him crutches and sent him to the locker room to get out of his uniform. He rejoined the team on his crutches as they gathered for the alma mater after the game.
Both teams would, again, see three and out possessions. The next Bulldog possession would cover 25 yards in six plays but went for it on fourth down and came up short. The Jags would take the ball from their own 40 yard line and drive 38 yards in eight plays eating 3:45 off the clock before Lawson McGlon nailed a 39 yard field goal to cap the game off at 31-3.
Brandon Ross lead the way for the running backs with 15 attempts for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Santuan McGee had 8 carries for 60 yards, Anthony Mostella had 9 for 34 yards, Myles Gibbon had 6 carries for 20 yards and Eli Smith carried the ball twice for 8 yards.
Gibbon went 6 for 13 for 44 yards and an interception for the game. His longest pass went for 32 yards. Nick Owens completed his only pass attempt for eight yards.
Courtney Smith was the only receiver with more than one reception at two for five yards. Kevin Helms, Paul Bennett, Corey Besteda, Erling Riis and Brandon Ross each had one reception each.
Scott Garber punted 7 times in the game and averaged 45.3 yards per punt and downed two inside the Bulldog 20 yard line.
Justin Dunn lead all Jaguars in tackles with 11 followed by Zach Brownell with six. Also Brownell had the three interceptions.
The Jags had 13 first downs with 199 yard rushing and 52 yards passing for a total of 251 yards (their lowest numbers of the season). The game was marred with lots of penalties. The Jags had 10 for 158 yards while Georgia Military had 14 for 136 yards.
After the game Coach Jones spoke about the defense. “Those guys want to get a shutout if they can, but they love scoring touchdowns as well – it’s always fun for them to do that. Those are game changers,” he said. “Obviously, we were great defensively and played a solid game against a very good football program. Zach has a nose for the football, he’s just a very smart football player. The one he ran back for a touchdown right before the half was certainly a big play in the game.”
Coach Jones also spoke about the Bulldog defense. “We knew that their defense was very good. They fly to the football and hit you,” he said. “They gave us some problems and we knew that would happen.”
Myles Gibbon also spoke about Georgia Military after the game. “We knew coming into this game that they were one of the best teams we’ll play all year,” he said. “You have to give credit to them, they’re a good team and a good defense. They were coming with pressure, but we studied their different blitzes and how to block them all week – our offensive line did a fantastic job today.”
Georgia Military head coach Bert Williams spoke about the game against South Alabama. “You have to take your hats off to South Alabama. They played well, played consistently and played hard,” he said. “We got what we expected out there. We just didn’t expect to be as generous with the ball as we were – we gave them touchdowns two and three on turnovers. Those two plays put us in a bad way.”
Justin Dunn had this to say about the game. “We were ready for everything they threw at us. That just goes back to coaching and team play,” he said. “We played our butts off today. What we did was nice, but we’re never satisfied as a defense. We have another opponent next week that we need to prepare for.”
The Jags will host Louisburg Junior College next Saturday with kickoff set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This will mark the first time this season that the Jags will play games in back-to-back weekends.
Coming off of a three week layoff was nothing that the Jaguars could not overcome on Saturday. Not even a rain storm could slow them down too much. The Jaguar offense rolled up 500 yards of total offense while only surrendering 225 to Army Prep in an impressive 56-0 victory.
Of the 500 yards for the offense, 309 came from the running game but built their early lead via the passing game. On the games first series and facing a 3rd down and five, freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon found Courtney Smith on a wide receiver screen for a 63 yard touchdown pass 1:06 into the game.
Army Prep’s first series ended with a punt that was blocked by the Jaguar defense, however the Jags turned the ball back over on a fumble. After the defense forced another punt, Erling Riis returned the punt to the Black Knight 37 yard-line. The Jaguars only needed six plays to get the ball into the endzone when Gibbon hit Corey Besteda on an 18 yard slant play for the touchdown with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
After another Black Knight punt, the Jaguars used 1:31 in four plays to cover 36 yards for their third touchdown of the first quarter. It was capped off by Brandon Ross’s second and final carry of the game for the two-yard touchdown.
A fourth consecutive Black Knight punt set up the Jaguars for a third consecutive scoring drive, a four play 58 yard drive taking only 1:54 off of the clock put the Jaguars up 28-0 with 13:00 left in the second quarter. Brennan Sim came in for relief of Gibbon on this series. Sim found Ralph Turner for a 40 yard gain to start the possession and it was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run by Anthony Mostella.
Army Prep took the ensuing kickoff on an 11 play 46 yard drive before fumbling at the Jaguar 10 yard line. The Black Knight defense tightened up and forced a Jaguar punt.
The Jaguar special teams pinned them back at their own six yard line when Jerron Mitchell scored on a 27 yard interception return with eight minutes left until halftime to extend the Jaguar lead to 35-0.
The second half saw the Jaguars continue their scoring when a fumble recovery would be converted to an 11 yard touchdown run by Ryan Scott with 12:50 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguar defense would force Army Prep to punt again on their next series leading to Scott scoring again on a five yard run for a 49-0 advantage.
Army Prep would then throw another interception on their first play from scrimmage which lead to the Jaguars final scoring drive. Eddy Cabrera would intercept the pass to set up the 5 play 61 yard drive was capped off by an 18 yard pass from Nick Owens to Nick Brunson with 3:10 left in the third quarter for the final score of 56-0.
Army Prep only threatened to score twice in the game, but came away empty handed both times. In the first quarter they completed a 66 yard pass but on the very next play Justin Dunn would force a fumble that Charlie Higgenbotham would recover at the South Alabama 10 yard line. The second threat had the Black Knights in the red zone but back to back sacks ended the possession.
Four quarterbacks saw action in the game for the Jaguars. Myles Gibbon finished 6 of 7 for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, Brennan Sim went 2 of 5 for 46 yards and Nick Owens went 2 of 2 for 23 yards and a touchdown. Gabe Graham did not attempt a pass. In all the Jaguar quarterbacks went 10 of 14 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Courtney Smith led the receivers with two receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown. Nick Brunson was the only other Jag with multiple receptions with two for 23 yards and a touchdown. Corey Besteda was the other Jaguar receiver with a touchdown.
The Jaguar rushed 44 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns total while averaging seven yards per attempt. Eli Smith lead all with nine carries for 94 yards and a long of 31 yards. Ryan Scott had eight carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Pacillo had seven carries for 40 yards, Anthony Mostella had five carries for 40 yards and Santuan McGee also had five carries for 19 yards.
On defense, three Jags had five tackles: Justin Dunn, Logan Bennett and Brett Hancock. Seven Jaguars had three tackles. Clifton Crews and Randon Carnathan both had a each.
Coach Jones was pleased with his team. “It was obviously a great effort. I thought we’d play well, but I didn’t know we’d play that well,” he said. “We had a lot of time to prepare, and that really made the difference today. That’s why we played as well as we did.”
Coach Jones continued, “The biggest thing I talked to the team about today was the way we prepared,” Jones said. “It would’ve been easy for our kids to let up in practice, and easy for our coaches to let up in practice. The kids didn’t lose their focus, they knew that we had an opportunity to be extremely prepared and that’s what happened today. What I learned about them is that they’re listening to what we’re saying, and they’re buying in. Just to see the looks in their eyes in the locker room after the game, you can see that things are starting to turn. You start to see the evolution of a team. We’ve certainly got a long way to go, but I think they’re starting to turn into a team and we’re only going to get better from there.”
Army Prep head coach Tom Simi had good things to say about the Jaguars as well. “We played what is going to be a very good team in South Alabama today,” Simi said. “USA is a program that is just starting, but they have some good players on their team already and I’m sure they are going to rise quickly. Obviously, today was extremely challenging for our kids.”
Coach Jones and the Jaguars will have two weeks to prepare for Georgia Military Junior College for their game scheduled on Saturday, October 10 at 11:30am
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.
Saturday morning was beautiful day for South Alabama to have their scrimmage. It was completely opposite of how the weather had been all week when it force practices to be cut short or canceled. It was also very different for the defense from last weeks performance when they gave up six touchdowns and nearly four hundred yards.
The defense came out with something to prove on Saturday and did they prove it to the offense. They only gave up one touchdown and two field goals outside of the red zone and goal line situational drills. Justin Dunn lead the defense with five tackles and one assist behind the line of scrimmage. Five players, Chris Cooke, Clifton Crews, Bryson James, Matt Saucier and Enrique Williams all had four tackles with Cooke and Williams both having two tackles for loss. Charlie Higgenbotham added three tackles while Josh Chestang had two tackles, both being sacks on quarterback Myles Gibbon. Zach Rone recovered a fumble and Brett Hancock came away with an interception to accound for the two first-half turnovers.
The scrimmage began with the Jaguar offense starting deep in their own territory at the two yard-line. In four plays the offense picked up two first downs. Brandon Ross gained six yards on a run for one of the first downs and Gibbon hitting Kevin Helms on the left sideline for 21 yards for the other first down. On the offenses second series, Enrique Williams tackled Eli Smith for a safety on the second-team’s first snap. However they regrouped and picked up a pair of first downs. Brennan Sim found Corey Besteda for 11 yards for one. Then three plays later Sim found Bryant Lavender for 17 yards for the other first down.
On Saturday, Kim Shugart posted an article on al.com for the Mobile Press-Register about the place-kickers. It covered their troubles in last weeks scrimmage and continued struggles to become consistent. You can read the article here. But it was Michel Chapuseaux who scored the first points for the offense on Saturday with a 38 yard field goal. A key play setting up the field goal attempt was a 35 yard completion from Gibbon to Ralph Turner. On the very next series, Chapuseaux had a 48 yard attempt hit the left upright and bounce off. That attempt was set up by a 19 yard completion to Lemontis Gardner by Gibbon on a third and nine from their own 41 yard line. While Lawson McGlon hit both PAT attempts and Jordan Means hit a PAT as well.
The next series the first-team drove inside the 15 yard line but the second sack of the day by Chestang, eventually led to a fourth and four situation from the 11 yard line. Gibbon then ran a quarterback draw but was stopped one yard shy by Anthony Taylor.
On the second-teams second drive, they drove to the defense’s 38 yard line but Nick Owens was sacked by Alex Tamariz for an eight yard loss on third down to end the series. However, Owens would lead the offense to the events first touchdown the next time on the field, capping off a five play 50 yard drive with an Eli Smith rush off right tackle for 27 yards.
The second possession by the third-team offense crossed midfield as well, but was ended by a fumble recovered by Rone.
After a short break, the defense came back and prevented the offense from scoring on both series following the break. On the first of two red zone possession drills starting at the defense’s 20 yard line, Chapuseaux hit a 39 yard field goal. The scrimmage ended with two touchdowns on goal line drives starting at the 5 yard line. Ross found the end zone on the first team’s first play. Then on third and goal from the six, Owens rolled left and hit Nick Brunson in the corver of the end zone for the other touchdown.
Myles Gibbon went 8-for-13 for 105 yard in the air and 21 yards rushing on six carries. Nick Owens went 6-for8 for 45 yards and a touchdown. Brennan Sim went 2-for-7 for 28 yards and an interception. Gabe Graham went 3-for-4 adding 28 yards also. Each quarterback was sacked once. Combined all four South Alabama quarterbacks went 19-of-32 for 206 yards. Ross had 10 rushes for 47 yards, Eli Smith had four for 30 yards and Anthony Mostella had 3 rushes for 20 yards. Combined the offense rushed 43 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns. The offense combined for 310 yards for the scrimmage. The complete stats can be found here.
After the scrimmage, Coach Jones commented on the defense by saying, “Defensively, they did a great job of bracing themselves in the red zone. They bent between the 20-yard lines, but toughened up. Offensively, we need to learn how to punch the ball in the end zone. That’s where most offenses have problems early in the year, and some of that is not allowing cut blocks because we don’t want to do that to our own guys. When you’re in the red zone, it’s hard to overcome a loss on first or second down, because the defense really has you where they want you.”
“One thing that the defense needs to work on is coming off the goal line,” Coach Jones observed. “One of my pet peeves is when we can’t keep teams pinned deep in their own territory. If we have them on the 2-yard line, let’s keep them down there, make them punt and get the ball around the 50. Then you have a greater percentage chance of scoring a touchdown.”
Jones continued speaking about the offense, “Nick had one of his better practices, he really did well this morning. I thought Myles had a good day too, he didn’t make any glaring mistakes that I saw. He was real poised out there, and he’s not getting flustered running our offense, which I like to see from a young quarterback. Brandon was tough running the ball. He’s not in shape yet because he’s been out a good deal with an injury, so he is not totatlly ready for a ball game. But, he is very tough on the inside.”
Gibbon spoke after the scrimmage saying, “We need to become more effective inside the red zone, because the most important part of an offense is being able to score when you get there. We had some big plays, but when we get down the field we need to execute better. Hopefully we can run the ball better in the red zone because when you’re passing there is so little space to throw to.”
Overall Coach Jones was happy with how the team responded and performed in their second preseason scrimmage. “Overall, I’m very pleased with both sides of the ball,” he said. “I thought we were a little more organized today, especially on the sidelines. One of the things we were trying to do was get them in the types of situations they’ll see in games as best we could, I think they learned a lot from that today. This was a real successful scrimmage.”
However, this team is quite different from the team that showed up for the spring scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium back in April. Coach Jones knew they would react differently because of that and he was right too. “It’s not that they were tight, but you could sense a little difference,” he said. “That’s why we brought them out here. We’ll do it again one more time before the first game to get them used to these surroundings.”
Myles Gibbon spoke about his visit to the stadium after the scrimmage by saying, “It felt good to finally come to where our home will be this fall and be in this atmosphere. When we walked out on the field, I just tried to imagine what it is going to be like having loads of people in here cheering and the stands filled from top to bottom. We’ll see what happens, but it’s exciting thinking about it.”
The Jags will have Sunday off and will return to the practice field for their 3:30pm practice time on Monday.
In the last week, freshmen quarterback Myles Gibbon has separated himself from his competition to move up to first quarterback. Gibbon went 8-for-11 for 118 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage on Saturday. While those numbers may not seem too impressive when you hear Greg McElroy went 19-for-29 for 188 yards and a touchdown. However, it was quite obvious that Gibbon’s talent is shining for the Jaguars and he has the ability to lead the offense.
While it might be preferable to have junior transfer Brennan Sim be the starting quarterback. However his off season medical problems has set him back. After his ordeal over the summer, its actually a small wonder that he is even on the field and playing at the level he is currently playing at. Not to diminish his skills in the least, he did go 5-for-7 for 78 yards himself in the scrimmage.
Gibbon did mention that the crowd that turned out for the scrimmage would rival the crowd that would turn out for his games in Canada on a good day. He was also very appreciative of everyone coming out just to watch a simple scrimmage. But he wasn’t the only one saying that either.
McGee, Mostella, Hill and Smith all showed that they have the ability to start in the backfield. Each one proved that they can run, block and catch the ball out of the backfield, which is what Coach Perry and Coach Jones was looking for in their running backs.
Not to say anything that any observer did not see in the spring or the fall scrimmage, but Courtney Smith has alot of talent. He will probably draw double coverage from defenses, but he has the strength and ability to still catch some balls. But double coverage on Smith will open up some of the other Jaguar receivers to make some big plays.
On defense, junior linebacker Justin Dunn, was always near the ball and in position to make the play. With 10 tackles for the game, he accounted for a tackle on nearly 1/10th of the plays. However the secondary play was suspect at times. Coach Jones acknowledged this by saying that they are still looking for kids to step up and make some plays in the secondary.
At times the offense was out of sync with each other. But with three more weeks of practice before the schools first-ever football game, there is plenty of time for these guys to improve and get more consistent.
Coach Jones has put together a really great staff and that is truly showing with how prepared their players are and how far they have come during this two week football camp. Like many other Jaguar fans, I cannot wait for September 5th to arrive, and neither can the players.
Coach Jones looking over the field at the Jags first fall scrimmage.
Big plays was the name of the game at the University of South Alabama‘s first fall scrimmage. Both offense and defense put on a good show for the crowd who came out for the scrimmage.
The offense collectively had 393 yards and score six touchdowns on the day. The defense posted 15 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as well.
Myles Gibbon lead the first team offense and completed 8-of-11 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Brennan Sim went 5-of-7 for 78 yards. The Jags totalled 217 yards through the air for the game. Courtney Smith lead the Jags with three catches for 68 yard and two touchdowns. Corey Besteda also caught three passes. Corey Waldon had two receptions for 61 yards.
Santuan McGee had 74 yards on eight carries to lead the Jaguars rushing attack. Anthony Mostella had 11 carries for 55 yards. Ellis Hill had 10 carries for 34 yards and Eli Smith had 19 yards. Each of the listed rushers reached the endzone.
The defense was led by Justin Dunn who had 10 tackles. Clifton Crews had seven tackles with four of them for a loss and a team high three sacks. Alex Phifer also had seven tackles. Charlie Higgenbotham, Bryson James and Enrique Williams all had six tackles. Josh Chestang, Andy Dalgleish and Anton Graphenreed all had two sacks each. In the second half, Marquise Diamond came away with the only turnover on an interception near the goal line. The defense allowed less than three yards per carry.
The defense was strong at first, only allowing one first down in the offense’s first four possesions of the scrimmage. However, the offense adjusted and had four big running plays. Eli Smith started it with a 12 yard run, followed by Gibbon’s scramble for 11 yards, then Smith ran for seven yards and finally McGee broke free on the left sideline for a 30 yard touchdown.
Gibbon took a short break while Sim guided the offense for two series. When Gibbon came back onto the field he immediately made a big play. The safeties bit on a play-action fake and Gibbon took advantage with a strike to Courtney Smith for a 55 yard touchdown pass.
The next two series would see the offense start to threaten but the defense would respond with a big play. The first series the offense had three plays of 12 yards or more to get down to the 15 yard line. But the defense would sack Gibbon which lead to a missed field goal by Jordan Means. The next series saw the offense get down to the 24 yard line before stopping Hill for a four yard loss and another missed field goal.
Gibbon returned to lead the offense after the half-time break. The offense started at midfield with McGee opening with a six yard run. Then Ralph Turner was stopped for a two yard loss on a completed pass. Then Gibbon scampered for 10 yards for the first down. Three consecutive run plays gave the offense another first down at the 24 yard line. However Gibbon was sacked on first down for a six yard loss putting the pressure on the offense with a second-and-16 on the 30 yard line. But Gibbon stepped up and found Corey Waldon for a 29 yard gain and a first-and-goal inside the one yard line. Eli Smith was stopped behind the line for a loss of five yards but would score on the following play.
Nick Owens had his best drive of the day two series later. He completed both of this two pass attempts and ran twice for 14 yards. Again, Eli Smith broke a six yard touchdown run, this time up the middle.
Brennan Sim lead a drive late in the day day. He hit Waldon for 32 yards to set up for a 13 yard scoring run by Ellis Hill. Then on the final drive of the day, Eli Smith had runs of nine and four yards to set up Nick Owens for a two-yard touchdown pass to Courtney Smith, his third of the day.
Key third down stops by the defense lead to four missed field goals on the day. They stopped Mostella short of a first down in the red zone on a pass reception. They forced two three-and-outs and ended another drive by stopping Eli Smith short of a first down on a fourth-and-three on the 13 yard line.
“I thought it was a good day, it was a typical first scrimmage. The guys were a little nervous out there with the crowd,” said Coach Jones. “But that’s the reason you do this, to get them exposed to game situations. We have two more weekends to do this.”
Coach Jones continued, “The effort was there, though we did get a little tired towards the end. The emotional level might not have been as high as it has been this month, but the bottom line is that a lot of the things we need to look at will be on film. The biggest thing the guys need to take from today is to learn from their experiences out there.”
“It went well today, we did a little better than I think we should have because it’s harder for the offense going against a defense that has seen our plays for a couple of weeks now,” said first team quarterback Myles Gibbon. “We had some ups and downs, but overall I thought we did pretty well.”
“You can always get into a rhythm, but all it takes is one bad play to get you out of it,” Gibbon explained. “Once we start moving, we want to stay consistent and keep pounding the ball – we don’t want our heads to get too big. If we get good protection up front a big play is going to happen. Our front five blocked well every time we made a big play today,” he continued. “Any time a quarterback can drop back and not feel pressured by the rush, he’s going to be able to throw the ball up and complete some long passes.”
“We ran the football a little better offensively, and had a couple of big throws as well,” Jones commented. “I was proud of the way that the quarterbacks controlled things on the field, and our running backs are really coming along. I think we can stick any of our running backs on the field and they will make plays.”
But Coach Jones reiterated, “Still, we had too many plays on first down where we lost eight or 10 yards – now you’re stuck with second-and-long, which the offense didn’t realize until they were put in a game situation. When it happens in practice and you lose eight yards it’s no big deal because you’re not driving to score a touchdown. In a scrimmage situation, they realize what a problem it is to overcome second-and-18.”
“Defensively I think our team speed is very good,” said Coach Jones. “We need to find a couple more guys who can play in the secondary and come through for us. The defense is playing real hard, their coaches have them playing at a fast pace. We’ve got to do a better job of preventing big plays – anytime you can keep the offense from breaking a big play you give yourself a chance to win the ball game.”
With a crowd of about 1,000 people turning out for this first scrimmage, it was quite refreshing to see the support from the area. The support really impressed some of the players as well. Myles Gibbon said, “It was interesting, this was bigger than anything I’ve seen back home. It’s nice to have that support and have a lot of people come out. They don’t know what to expect yet, so it’s nice that they were out here rooting for us.” He also said they were tired and a bit beat up from the last two weeks of camp. He also mentioned the pain in his legs when running the ball, but his strength of character, his leadership and the crowd helped him to keep going.
“What I told the kids is that we’ve been on the field for two weeks. We have two more weeks, and then we have a game week, so we’re really just halfway through camp,” said Coach Jones. “We’re not a finished product yet. If we get a little better every day, we’ll be fine in a couple of weeks.”
With classes starting on Monday, August 17th, the Jaguars will begin practicing at 3:30pm.