Jaguars Process Continues: Red White Game 2010

March 11, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Gottfried Honored At His Retirement Ceremony

August 27, 2009 · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

Joe Gottfried was honored today for his 28 years of service to the University of South Alabama. University President Gordon Moulton hosted the ceremony held on Thursday afternoon at the Mitchell Center. Gottfried served the last 25 years at athletic director before he stepped down from this position on August 1st.

He is a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and would earn his master’s degree from Morehead State in 1969.

Coach Gottfried, a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and 1969 graduate of Morehead State where he received his master’s degree, came to USA as an Assistant Athletic Director in 1981. He served in that position through 1984 when he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director. Previous to USA he had successful coaching stints at Ashland and Southern Illinois. In addition to being in the USA Athletic Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Ashland College and Crestline (Ohio) High School Halls of Fame.

The Jaguars athletics experienced success both in competition as well as in the classroom under his direction. Plus he probably had the most impact on the school’s architecture in recent years, with the development and improvement of the athletic facilities. Gottfried was also very instrumental in adding football as the 17th program for the school. He initially lead discussions in an attempt to bring football to the USA campus in 2001 and was finally approved by the Board of Trustees on December 6, 2007.

Gottfrieds impact can be seen in the $30 million Mitchell Center, which is the home of the men’s and women’s basketball program as well as offices for athletic department presonnel, Stanky Field which underwent a $3.5 million renovation prior to the 2005 season, a 4,000 square-foot baseball clubhouse built in 1996, the intramural fields on the west side of campus, the softball complex built prior to the 2007 season which was the first-ever for the program, a new locker room for the softball and soccer programs, improvements to Jaguar Gymnasium, the Striplin Center, “The Cage” soccer facility, the USA Track Complex, the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts, the football field house and the football practice fields.

However just as important the athletics is the academics which also flourished under coach Gottfried. With the addition of football, the athletic department is at an all-time high of more than 300 student-athletes. In the latest Academic Progress Rate report released by the NCAA last month, 13 of 16 programs in competition at South Alabama scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. Also under coach Gottfried, 83% of South Alabama’s student-athletes that have completed their eligibility have graduated. There have been 37 individual student-athletes that have been named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List for maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA while 32 others have made the Sun Belt Acadeimc Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.

Also 75 South Alabama student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 of the schools coaches were selected the SBC Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. South Alabama has claimed the Vic Bubas Cup 10 times in a 13 year span. No school in league history has earned the award more than USA. South Alabama teams have won 104 league titles, appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, and have had 123 individual student-athletes qualify for NCAA postseason play. Including two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles. Plus, in baseball, 95 players have signed with prefessional teams including 17 who have made it to the Major Leagues.

Thank you coach Gottfried for your hard work and dedication to South Alabama Athletics, thank you for taking time to talk to students and fans, and thank you for putting South Alabama in the position continue to improve its level of competion for many years to come.

Dr. Joel Erdmann Named To Replace Gottfried As Athletic Director

July 20, 2009 · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

On Sunday afternoon, university president Gordon Moulton, introduced Dr. Joel Erdmann as the next athletic director for the University of South Alabama. Dr. Erdmann was one of over 50 applicants for the position after Joe Gottfried announced his upcoming retirement on August 1st.

Dr. Erdmann is 46 years old and has served as athletic director at Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, Louisiana for the previous two years. Previous to that he served in the same capacity at Division II North Alabama for five years between 2002 and 2007. During his time at UNA, the football team won two Gulf South Conference Championships (2003, 2006) and Division II Regional Championship (2003). While at Southeastern Louisiana the school captured its first ever Southland Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy and also captured two conference championships while also playing an instrumental role in facility upgrades.

Three candidates were interviewed on campus in the previous few weeks, Erdmann, Brian Wickstrom from UTEP and Derrick Ramsey from Coppin State. President Moulton phoned Erdmann over the weekend and offered the job to him.

Erdmann has previous ties to the university. He held several positions at USA where he received his master’s degree in physical education. He was a graduate assistant coach for the baseball team, assistant to the athletics director, executive director of the Jaguar Athletic Club and other capacities including handling compliance issues, game operations and special projects. He was also a tenured associate professor in the College of Education.

Dr. Erdmann is a native of South Dakota where he graduated from South Dakota State . He earned his doctorate from Florida State University in Sports Managament and Athletic Administration in 1995.

President Moulton spoke about Dr. Erdmann at the press conference on Sunday by saying, “Joel Erdmann brings to the University of South Alabama the experience that comes from having led other athletic programs, as well as a familiarity with and appreciation for USA athletics stemming from his earlier leadership position here. Dr. Erdmann is the right person to take the torch from Joe Gottfried and lead University of South Alabama athletics to the next level.”

Following are Dr. Erdmann’s remarks about his selection to be USA’s fourth Athletic Director since the school was founded in 1963. “I appreciate President Moulton and everyone who was involved in the selection process. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this tradition-filled department and look forward to capitalizing on the addition of football while maintaining a high level of excellence throughout all sport programs. It is truly a privilege to be a member of the University of South Alabama and a memorable time to be a Jaguar.”

I hope this is the right hire for the position. I thought this would be a good time to hire a solid name to further strengthen the athletics department, however its also nice to have someone that seems to truly appreciate the University and has the excitement and energy to help lead it along. With Football set to kick off its first season in a mere 46 days, that enthusiasm and energy will definitely be tested quickly.

The funniest line to end the statement was from the usajaguars.com press release. The last line says, “A native of Bismarck, N.D., Erdmann is married to the former Tina Milton. The couple has three dogs and a cat.”

Go Jags!

Joey Jones Show Recap 2008-11-12

November 13, 2008 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 1 Comment 

This week Matthew and I decided not to try to go to Wings for an in-person viewing of the show but rather I stayed home and listened on the radio. So come to find out why Coach Jones wasn’t on last week was because he and his staff was in Kentucky taking a chance to observe their staff go about their daily routine. I guess seeing how an SEC coaching staff goes about its day is something that could help a new program get started.

President Gordon Moulton was the special guest on the show this week and together they talked about several things which I will get into during the course of this article. The first thing mentioned was that less than a year ago (December will be one year) since the football program was approved at USA and look how far we have come. We have a little over 100 players and about 800 signed up online for the marching band. This has all been accomplished in the last 11 months. Currently, USA is on track to be the fastest program to go from inception to Division I play in NCAA history (at least since they started keeping track of this stat).

President Moulton made light that this could mean a few rough years to begin with but ultimately if so both he and coach Jones believe this is best for our program. But those tough years could be offset by the teams we play. Getting into matchups with teams like Tennessee, whom we have a date with in 2013, could help the program along both financially and personel wise.

Coach Jones made light that practice has been going well and the team and staff have been working hard to keep their competitive fire going even though they are not taking the field against opponents this year. Its easier to keep that fire going when you work all week implementing a game plan to pit against a team on Saturday. But it takes some special players and staff to keep up that kind of will all semester without any opponents.

The BCS was mentioned during the show by the host Lee Shirvanian. President Moulton said that up until now that his talks with other university presidents did not include football because we did not have that program. But university presidents take issue with a playoff system because it would be that much more time out of the classroom for the players. When you get eight teams playing a playoff you end up extending the already long season by another three games. Coach Jones supported the idea of the ‘plus one’ scenerio put forth not long ago but it could easily be extended to a four team playoff where #4 vs #1 and #3 vs #2 would then pit the winners against each other. But then again it would be easier to extend that playoff to add more teams like the fear by president Moulton.

Lee Shirvanian brought up an interesting point likening college football to NFL football if a playoff was instituted. The draw of college football is how meaningful each and every game is during the course of a season. Many teams cannot afford a single loss or else you are out of the running. If a playoff system was added then the passion around each and every game could lessen and you would result with the NFL where as long as you make the playoffs you can slack off some during the season. In three or four years down the road USA will have to work hard not to lose a game in the Sun Belt Conference because that one loss could be the difference between winning the conference championship or not.

It took South Florida nine years to go from program inception to being ranking in the top 25 last year. Their plan was a 6 year plan to go from inception to playing in Division I football which is currently the fastest program to begin Division I football. USA is currently on pace to beat that with an ambitious plan to be in Division I football in four years. Obviously it would be great to be ahead of their schedule in being ranked in the top 25 as well.

The talk then drifted to recruiting and facilities. The foundation is being set now for the new fieldhouse for the football team and it will look stellar. Over a thousand beds have been added on campus through the building of the student apartments in The Grove. Coupled with the new Student Rec Center currently under construction, our facilities will be on par or better than any in the conference which will pay dividends in recruiting.

In addition to the field house being under construction, the practice fields are under construction. The grass field is almost finished and the artificial turf field is well under way, coach Jones said.

As for our stadium, they are working or have already worked out a 5-year contract with Ladd-Peebles Stadium to be the home of the USA Jaguars. While eventually alumni and supporters will want an on campus stadium, it will have to be funded privately through the community and the school.

Coach Jones is working to finalize the football uniform colors and design. He told everyone listening that he carried a preliminary design to Moultons office this week. The marching band is also working to finalize their uniform and both will look excellent when they take to the field for the first time in 2009.

They then turned to the economy and how it may affect college sports in the near future. It is quite obvious that the economy is not as strong as it has been recently but it has not taken a toll on college sports yet. But the possible affect is not known yet. President Moulton said that the program with staff and all scholarships will cost about $5 Million per year. Which in the scheme of things, is not bad. As we get further into the program and into Division I football, those costs will rise. But “not a single nickle” has come from the academic side. All of the money thus far has come from supporters and from student fees. This was done so that the program could operate normally and not in a deficit during its first few years.

Another guest to make an appearance on the show was Travis Toth, who is the new marketing director at USA. He has been working with on campus organizations to help promote athletics more. Just for Monday nights exhibition match the Mitchell Center drew just under 3,000 people with 706 students in attendance. Basketball will have some concerts on the steps of the Mitchell Center this season. Baseball will also have concerts before or after a number of their games.

Mr. Toth then turned to tickets sales. Next season there is going to be a guaranteed 6 game home schedule with a possible 7th game in the works by coach Jones. Season tickets for the football games is only $75 and will go on sale to the general public next week. He also informed us that less than 150 season tickets are still available for the lower level of the Mitchell Center this season. Plus for a 16 games at home and the low price of $50 per season ticket (for upper level seating) the value is phenomenal.

Finally Coach Jones said he may miss an episode of the show in December due to a recruiting trip to Texas. But he is working on something special for national signing day so stay tuned for this and more.

Go Jags!