Commentary: Jaguars Winning Ways Similar To National Championship Contender

October 24, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

There is no doubt the Jaguars first season of football has already exceeded many peoples initial vision. They thought that if the Jags could win a couple games, it would be a pretty good season. But with the Jags 4-0 and dominating every opponent in all phases of the game, this was unexpected by many local observers.

South Alabama is starting to get noticed around the state too. UAB and Troy fans are already talking up their programs and talking down to the Jaguars. This started after the first game and again after the second game. Are they already worried about their place in the state’s college football pecking order? If not, then maybe they should.

Looking at the Jaguars and the current #1 team in the state, the University of Alabama, you can see some parallels between the two teams (overlooking the last two or three games by Alabama). The Jags and UA are both led by good defensive play based on stopping the run.

The Jags Justin Dunn would probably be the Jags closest player to parallel the impact of Dont’a Hightower. Hightower played (out for season with a knee injury) inside linebacker and made lots of tackles and stuffed the run. Charlie Higgenbotham would be the closest Alabama’s Rolando McClain. He does a good job helping to stop the run and is able to drop into coverage as well. Although Josh Chestang could also be tagged as a possible McClain parallel too.

In the secondary, Jerron Mitchell is probably the closest cornerback to the skill and ability to match Javier Arenas in coverage and tackling. Althought I haven’t seen him blitz the quarterback like Alabama does with Arenas. While Zach Brownell seems to have the same nose for the football as Alabama’s Mark Barron. They seem to put themselves into the right position to pick off an opponents pass.

Even the Jags and Alabama seem to have somewhat similar strengths and weaknesses on offense. Both teams run the ball very well with a good stable of running backs, but both are somewhat struggling in the passing game. The Jags don’t utilize the ‘pistol’ formation nor do they use the ‘wildcat’ formation either. Coach Jones and Coach Gregory feel that freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon is athletic enough that they do not need to use those formations. So they are too different to be compared to each other beyond the fact they are both starting quarterbacks.

Courtney Smith is big, fast and is a threat to score anytime he gets the ball, which is exactly what you would say about Julio Jones. Its hard to compare the rest of the receiver corps because of how few passes have been thrown and how many receivers have caught passes.

Again, both teams are very strong in the rushing game. Obviously Alabama’s Mark Ingram is quite a spectacular player, but so is Trent Richardson too. There are many traits that are shared by Ingram and Richardson for Alabama and Brandon Ross, Santuan McGee and Anthony Mostella.

I strongly urge you not to misconstrue these comparisons. It’s not meant to further praise Alabama or to proclaim the Jaguars just as good as Alabama. It’s merely meant to go towards showing what a good job coach Jones and his staff are doing here in Mobile. Alabama is currently ranked in the top two spots in all of the polls and rankings. Both teams are winning with fundamentals, strong defenses and a lots of rushing yards.

As mentioned in the Coach Joey Jones Radio Show, the Jags need to work on their passing game to be a more complete team. They are definitely dominating by running the game, but a football team wants and really needs to be able to move the ball by passing or running the ball.

Something else the Jags need to work on lately are their penalties. In the first two games the Jags did not commit many penalties. Against Hargrave they committed 4 for 30 yards and against Army prep they committed 5 for 40 yards. But against Georgia Military they committed 10 for 158 yards and against Louisburg they committed 6 for 52 yards. The Jags improved against Louisburg by reducing their number of penalties and yards but it is still more than the first two games. The Georgia Military game is obviously the low point of the Jags season thus far. If you subtract their penalty yards from their offensive production, they only gained 93 yards.

With this type of play out of such young players the Jaguars have quite a bright future ahead of them. With increasingly better opponents coming in the near future, the Jags will be in the position to play competitively and win.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-13

October 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Joey Jones joined with Lee Shirvanian and Dameyune Craig at Baumhower’s Wings Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for today’s show.

First question they are going to start with, now that the Jags are 3-0 and they have defeated what they think will be their best competition of the year. Where do you think this program is in terms of what level of competition could you compete with Division I-AA, Division II or division III. If you could redo the schedule where do you think they could go? Coach Jones talked to the team yesterday about some of their goals for the rest of the year and what they can do to get there. He then, kind of reluctantly, went on to talk scores. The #2 Junior College team beat Georgia Military 28-8 and the Jags beat them 31-3, but by the scores they could compete with that team. However, Coach Jones was quick to remind the listeners that it does not mean they could beat them but it indicates that they could compete with some of the best JC’s in the country.

Coach Jones then said they could probably get on the field with many of the Division I-AA schools, but not the Appalachian States or other traditional big schools in that division.

Lee then asked Coach Craig said he really didn’t know because they have alot of freshman. But that they have a really great group of kids that go out and work hard and learn, so its hard to compare. He thinks they could do well in Division II and maybe Division I-AA. He also thought they could probably do well in the SWAC conference.

Lee also mentioned that they tried to schedule Alabama State but it didn’t work out. But Coach Jones hopes to schedule them in the future thinking it would be a good game.

Lee mentioned that the team has a lot of Freshman but they also have a fair amount of Junior College linemen and asked if that was the difference for the team. Coach Jones said that they came in and gave the team a maturity factor that rubbed off on the younger guys. They are more calm with something bad happens in a game.

Lee followed up asking if the Jags would be looking to bring in some more Junior College players and transfers like Courtney Smith and others. Coach Jones said you should always look to better your team any way you can. Meaning that they have Brandon Ross that expressed an interest in coming to USA. The same with Charlie Higgenbotham. He said they have to spread their wealth, they took Brandon even though they had a pretty good line-up at running back because he was a difference maker.

Lee asked Coach Craig what positions they were looking to focus on this recruiting season. He answered that they are looking at defensive ends, cornerbacks and safeties. They feel pretty good about receivers and running backs but they can always use offensive lineman.

Looking back at Georgia Military, Coach Jones said that they knew that defensively they were a good team. Also they felt like there were some deficiencies on their offensive line that they could exploit and pressure the quarterback. They hurried and hit the quarterback a lot but didn’t get too him. The defense ran him around the field so much that at one point he had full body cramps and they also hit him every time he threw the football which was good for the Jags.

Lee asked about Michel Chapuseaux’s injury which Coach Jones said he was alright. It looked worse than it was and it scared him some. It was a hard hit but he’s okay. Offensive guard Jon Griffin turned an ankle but is expected to be fine for the game on Saturday. Then John Mark Patrick who continues to out due to his knee problem.

The offense only scored two touchdowns and didn’t have a chance to catch many passes because they didn’t throw much. They just want to do what they can to win, players are working hard to make a play when its their time and to just do their roll in the game plan.

Lee joked with Coach Craig about his days at Auburn and how the Georgia Military quarterback moved around to make plays. Coach Craig joked that his games ended better, he didn’t throw interceptions but rather threw more touchdowns. But he gave credit to Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, for doing an outstanding job with the guys on defense and that it has been a pleasure working with him and everyone on the staff.

He even included Coach Schwind the strength and conditioning coach on what a good job they have done and how well they work together. He continued saying that the summer workouts they did with the players getting them prepared for camp really made a huge difference.

A listener emailed in a question about the special teams punt coverage. He was saying that one punt went into the end zone where the coverage team had a chance to catch it close to the endzone but allowed it to hit and go in for a touch back. He wanted to ask if they are coached to catch it if they have a chance like that and the receiving team is not trying to catch it.

Coach Jones said that the kids are instructed to catch the ball in that instance. They have stressed that and have worked on it. He said as a coach he looks back on that and asks himself if they did that enough in practice and did they put their kids in that situation enough for them to make it happen in the game. He then said he takes full blame for that because they should work on that enough so that it becomes second nature to them.

Certain positions they are looking at Junior College players to recruit. But right now they are looking to find the best players at the positions that they are looking to fill in. If they could find some Junior College defensive backs, coach Craig said that would be great. It would help them to get more experience in the backfield. Lee then made the observation that Zach Brownell and company are doing a good job in the defensive backfield. Coach Craig said its more about creating depth. They are comfortable at certain positions about their depth but when if one player gets hurt and it completely changes your game plan, that is a pretty tough situation.

The Jags finally have back to back game weekends. It feels good to finally have this and the kids are ready for it too. But Coach Jones said they feel they have used the previous off weeks very wisely and it has paid off on the field.

After Coach Jones said previously that Georgia Military was going to be their biggest test of the year for the Jags. Where do they go now? Coach Jones said they are trying to teach these kids to work every day. This is something that will help them on the field and in life. He also told them if they come out onto the practice field and work for two hours every day and get a little bit better every day then they are going to be better the next game and better at the end of the season. Coach Jones says he does not like to talk about going undefeated but that is their goal for the season. But how do they get there? They don’t get there by talking about it every day. They work towards achieving that by going out and working hard to get a little bit better every day.

Lee said that previously that it was mentioned that they felt like some of their receivers could possibly play in the NFL. So Lee asked if that was possible and who they might be. Coach Craig said that Courtney Smith has the intangibles. He has size and speed but some things he needs to work on to get there and he is willing to work to get there. They also have some young guys that are being redshirted right now. Kelly Vail from LeFlore was also mentioned.

When asked by Lee about who has the best hands, Coach Craig answered it would either be Lim Windham or Corey Besteda.

Coach Craig again praised the other coaches on the staff and said that the biggest thing he learned was that they can get Freshmen ready to play. Before he thought that they just were not ready to play coming into the team but what Coach Jones and the rest of the staff have done has changed that. They got these player in summer so they could work out and it has payed off big time because they are ready to play.

Coach Jones said that Louisburg may not be as talented as GMJC but they are still talented. They have players committed to Temple and other schools like that. They mentioned that they like to roll out the red carpet to teams when they arrive to play the Jags. They like to show them around the field house and to show off their facilities. Coach Jones said he has not been to many schools but he is pretty confident that they probably have among the best if not the best facilities in the Sun Belt and probably are good enough to make some of the lower end SEC schools a bit envious.

Jaguars Gameday Vs Georgia Military

October 10, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Today is shaping up to be the Jags toughest opponent so for this season. Georgia Military has players the size of Hargrave, but since they are a Junior College they will also have Sophomores to lead the Freshmen. They probably have the best running back they have seen all year, plus a quarterback that can run and make plays himself. This could shape up to be quite an interesting game.

Its an early game with kickoff at 11:30am, so as I’m writing this they are waking up and either eating breakfast or will be in the next few minutes. The WAVE transports will start running at 8am from Bel Air Mall. If you are not coming to the game, make sure to tune into UTV-44 from 10:30-11:00am for the Joey Jones Show.

GO JAGS!!

Coach Joey Jones TV Show Preview

October 8, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

I hope Pat Greenwood and UTV-44 will not mind this, but I am going to post an overview of the Coach Joey Jones TV Show that will air Saturday morning only an hour before kickoff. You really should record it and watch it later if you can. Its set to air from 10:30am for a half-hour leading into the SEC Network Game of the Week.

Pat and Coach Jones began the show talking about the win over Army Prep. Coach Jones said during the second drive by the Jags, he could see the Army Prep defense showing signs of weakness. They were visibly huffing and puffing, resting their hands on their hips and getting down into the stance late. He credited the humidity for helping to wear them down so early, but he also praised the Jags for jumping on the early and hard.

Pat also mentioned Courtney Smith’s new nickname of ‘quick six.’ He then asked coach Jones if they saw something that they wanted to exploit with the screen pass to Courtney. Coach Jones said that they thought they could possibly score early behind the passing game and thats what Coach Gregory thought also and it worked.

They spoke about the fumble by Courtney in the first quarter and Coach Jones said that is something they work on in every practice, including the practices since Army Prep.

Pat pointed out that Myles had a good game. Coach Jones agreed and said that he had more confidence going into the second game and did a good job.

Coach Jones mentioned after reviewing the Ralph Turner play that they need to get the ball into his hands more since he is a playmaker.

Pat asked if Coach Jones knew they were as deep at running back as they seem to be after so many players got touches against Army Prep. Coach Jones said he actually did not think they were quite that deep at RB, but he was quite happy to see so many players get some playing time. Plus Coach Jones said that the team is much farther along that they thought they would be and he is quite happy about that.

Coach Gregory joined Pat and Joey for a segment where they talked about his previous experience. When asked if he was pleased about the first two games and in particular the Army Prep game, Coach Gregory said he was not satisfied. The team left alot of points out on the field early and they have to work on converting scroring attempts into points.

Pat and Greg went back to his time at South Florida and how he missed the start of the program but was there for their rise on the national landscape. Coach Gregory said he was quite surprised at the calibre of players that Coach Jones and his staff have assembled. He wasn’t at the school when they were recruited and wasn’t sure what he would have to work with when he took the job. He also mentioned that he thought South Alabama is in a great place to recruit and he thinks that the Jags can develop like South Florida has.

Looking to Georgia Military, they mentioned that they run multiple formations on offense and they utilize a 3-3 stack type defense. The stacking of defensive players helps to mask where the linebackers are going to attack and such. Coach Gregory also mentioned that they bring alot of pressure.

The injury report is pretty clear. The Jags have recovered from some bumps and bruises and is pretty much healthy. The only exception is John Mark Patrick who is still sidelined with a knee injury from the Hargrave game.

Coach Jones reiterated that Georgia Military brings experience in both players and coaches to the game. He likened it to having two Hargrave’s with one with a years experience to mentor the young players.

GO JAGS!!

Looking forward to Georgia Military, since 1995 they have had 30 NFL players with 18 different teams. So they are a very talented team.

Jags Preparing For Big Test From Georgia Military

October 7, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags will have a step up in competition this weekend when Georgia Military Junior College comes to Mobile on Saturday. The Jags have opened the season with two wins against prep schools, but Saturdays matchup will be their first one above the prep level.

Georgia Military comes into the game with a record of 3-2, however they are ranked 14th in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll which was released on Tueday. Over the past decade, they have been to the national championship game three times while winning it once. They have had 18 players sign with Division-I schools last year. So obviously they are very talented. Looking back they are consistently good.

The Jags strength so far this season has been their rushing game where they have averaged 287 yards per game and almost six yards per attempt. That will be tested in this game because their opponents strength has been their defense, particularly against the rush. The Bulldog defense have allowed and average of 91.8 yards per game and 2.9 yards per rush.

The Jaguar defense has allowed and average of 284.5 yards per game so far, with only 109 per game rushing. Also the Jags defense has nine take-aways, five interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

This game has the makings of a very good game and a quality test for the young Jaguars. “Georgia Military has a lot of weapons and guys that can score on you quickly. That always worries you as a coach,” Coach Jones stated. “They have a very athletic quarterback who can throw the ball and run it as well, and probably have the fastest running back that we’ve seen on film this year.”

Obviously with two such evenly matched teams the difference maker may come down to special teams play. Michel Chapuseaux converted all of his PAT attempts against Army Prep plus his one and only field goal attempt of the season. However in the first game Coach Jones seemed skittish about attempting field goals in the first game against Hargrave, opting instead to go for it on fourth down. If the game comes down to a field goal, could Chapuseaux or McGlon come on and convert?

The Jags punter, Scott Garber, has punted only twice so far in the first two games, but he is averaging 52 yards per punt with both being downed inside the opponents 20 yard line. While Erling Riis is averaging 19 yards per punt return for the Jags. Also the Bulldogs are only averaging 30.5 yards per punt and have not attempted any field goals.

But also don’t forget about punt pressure. The Jags blocked a punt against Army and Hargrave, however the Hargrave punt block was flagged as roughing the kicker. The stat to remember here is that the team who blocks a punt wins 85% of the time. You can believe that Coach Jones and Coach Perry knows that stat and will be looking for good special teams play on Saturday.

Following are some quotes from the Jaguars media day from Monday. Possible problems the Bulldog’s offense may post to the Jags defense: “Number one, they run multiple formations. They have a very athletic quarterback that can throw the ball and run it as well. (Georgia Military) probably has the fastest running back (Tobias Palmer) that we’ve seen on film this year. He’s a very good player. They have a lot of weapons and guys that can score on you quickly. That always worries you as a coach.”

Advantages Georgia Military has over a team like Hargrave: “The advantage that (Georgia Military) has is that they have these kids for two years. During that second year, there is a big change from your freshman year to your sophomore year. They have players that are older and who have been in big games. They can teach the younger players what it is all about. That’s like our team. I think we have some older guys that have been able to teach our younger players what it’s all about, so we should be pretty similar to them. The two previous teams that we played have been all freshman. They both have been very talented, but didn’t have the older guys to try and show them how to do things.”

Coach Jones’ thoughts about the early kickoff time: “I think that it is going to work out real good for us. I like the idea of getting up and eating your pregame meal at 7:30 a.m. You don’t have to sit around all day and worry about the game. I have always liked early games, both as a player and as a coach.”

Kickoff for the Jags and Georgia Military is set for 11:30am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Come out and cheer the Jags on against a very good team.

Go Jags!!

Jags Win Impressively Over Army Prep To Stay Undefeated

September 27, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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