The Jaguars Are Ready For Army Prep

September 25, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Brandon Ross diving for one of his two touchdowns in the Jaguars historic win over Hargrave Academy on September 5th, 2009. Photo courtesy of Doug Roberts.

The Jags are primed and ready for the second game in school history. After a three week layoff that seemed almost like an eternity, practices are over with and all that is left is execution on game day.

Obviously Coach Jones was worried about the long layoff between the emotional first game and the second game. But Coach Jones says the practices have been good. “The tone has been good out here,” he observed. “We have had some good practices the last two weeks. The guys have come out to work, practices have been real businesslike. The emotional level has picked up this week, which is what you want. You want to peak on Saturday – our kids understand that, they will be ready. I have not been part of anything like this, it has been tough. A lot of things in life can be negative but we were able to turn it into a positive, we’ve had a long time to get ready. We feel like we have worked against them every day for two-and-a-half weeks, that has got to help us.”

He also said that he is not concerned that the players were focused on only playing well in the program’s debut game. “The bottom line is that every game is a big game, and our kids understand that,” he said. “They want to have a great season, not just a great first game. We’ve been working a lot of hours so that any time that we go on the field we will be ready.”

The long layoff has given the team a chance to spend extra time practicing against scout teams that are running plays and formations that their next opponent, the Army Prep Black Knights, is expected to use against the Jags. But it has also given the staff a chance to thoroughly go over game film from the first game to identify things that need to be addressed.

Coach Jones said, “There are a lot of little things that we have been able to improve on the last few weeks. Our offense is always working on scoring in the red zone, it seems like we talk about that a lot because it’s hard to score down there. The Jaguars scored on three of five chances in the red zone against the Tigers. Defensively we did a lot of great things, although we gave up some short passes so we’ve been addressing that. This is a running team we’re playing against, though, so our challenge on defense this week is stopping the triple option.”

The Jags did a great job of stopping the run against Hargrave by only allowing 106 yards on 27 rushes out of the 344 yards they allowed for the game against the Tigers.

The Jags will have a walk through at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Friday and will finalize preparations for the game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4pm. Also an online audio feed will be available for free at www.usajaguars.com with pregaming starting at 3pm as well as postgame wrap up afterwards.

Also read the great article posted today about Tony Threatt entitled “The Heart Of The Matter.” It is a very good peace about the freshman defensive back for the Jaguars]

After Three Weeks, The Jags Are Ready To Play

September 24, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama students swinging their white towels during the schools first game against Hargrave Academy. Photo courtesy of Doug Roberts.

“This almost seems like our first game again because we’ve had two off weeks and there’s that kind of anticipation. We practiced four or five weeks for the first game, and now we’re practicing three weeks for the second ballgame,” USA head coach Joey Jones said at Media Day on Monday. “The anticipation is there, and I know our kids have really worked hard the last two weeks.”

It does not feel that way to the fans though. Everyone is itching to see the Jags on the field again for their follow up their 30-13 showing against Hargrave Academy. In the game the Jags had 429 yards of total offense which was lead by Brandon Ross with 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The entire team ran for 265 yards combined. Courtney Smith had five receptions for 104 yards and also scored the first points in program history on a 60 yard reception from Myles Gibbon with seconds to go in the first quarter.

At one point the Jags were up 20-0 before Hargrave began their attempt at a comeback.

The Black Knights of Army Prep come into Mobile with a 1-2 record. They opened the season with a 21-14 loss to Army’s junior varsity team then came back to win against Hudson Valley Community College (N.Y.) 46-44. They then lost last Friday 13-8 against Nassau Community College (N.Y.).

Army Prep runs the triple option on offense and a 3-5-3 formation on defense. As coach Jones has said in every talk since the Hargrave game, they are very disciplined. “Army Prep is a very disciplined program,” said Coach Jones. “Their offense is very hard to defend from a mental standpoint, you’ve got to be in the right places at the right times – we’ve been working on that for the last week or so. Defensively, they run a flex front, and it’s a little bit of a different front. Most people run a 4-3 or a 3-4, but they run a different front that we’re having to work on a little bit. They’ve got some good players, and we recruited some of the players on their team. I look for it to be a great ballgame this Saturday.”

Cornerback Jerron Mitchell said, “It’s all about being disciplined. Army’s coaching staff has done a great job with preparing their kids, making everything fundamentally sound. Coach Clark and his staff have done a great job with laying out the option figuring out ways to stop it.”

Offensive lineman Chris Brunson was confident in his teammates on the line. He said, “Army runs a different look. Their players are smaller but quicker, while Hargrave was bigger but more physical. But, we can still duplicate what we did against Hargrave.”

The parking lot will open at 8am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the gates will open at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the USA Ticket Office or visiting the Mitchell Center ticket office until Friday at 5pm. Tickets will be then be available beginning at 10am at Ladd-Peebles.

Shuttles will be running from Bell Air Mall in the south parking lot behind Target and J.C. Penney to the stadium beginning at noon. Continuous service will be provided until 90 minutes after the game for a $2.50 charge for round-trip service. Also there will be buses running from campus to Ladd-Peebles stadium at 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm, which will be free for students and $5 for round trip to all other individuals.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-09-22

September 22, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

The show started with Lee and Coach Jones joking about having enough time to get ready for Army Prep. Coach Jones likened it to getting ready for a bowl game, which Lee pointed out would not be too far in the future. Lee also mentioned a pep rally this evening at Bel Air Mall from 6-7pm plus a pep rally on campus, probably at the Mitchell Center on Friday.

Mentioning the need for game time experience, Coach Jones said that game experience is invaluable. The team can practice for weeks on end, but game experience is needed to reinforce what they have gone over on the practice field. They understand why they ran something 45 times the last week when they see and understand it on the field during a game.

Speaking about Army Prep, coach Jones said they are very disciplined, more so than Hargrave but probably not as athletic as Hargrave. As we have mentioned over the last two week, Army Prep runs the triple option (defending the triple option, Jags continue Prep).

Army Prep copies the varsity team down to a T. Everything from Offense, defense, and special teams are all the same between the two squads. Coach Jones mentioned that it will be a challenge and the Jags must match their discipline but that he felt really comfortable about his team.

Lee asked about the triple option and Coach Jones answered that the quarterback can give the ball to the full back up the middle or keep it around the end or pitch to the back off the end. Its just like the wishbone offense except they line up in the double split formation. This is where they have two split ends that line up about a yard outside the tackle.

Lee called Army Prep and was told by their athletic director that these kids can not and will not be recruited by South Alabama. They were very secretive about any information about the players. All of these players have been tagged for West Point Academy. Coach Jones said he has heard it both ways, that they can and they cannot recruit their players. But he decided to be on the safe side and not recruit any Army Prep players.

Coach Brian Turner came in for the second segment. Lee introduced him and congratulated him on his defensive lines work against Hargrave in the first game.

Lee then turned to recruiting since Coach Turner is the recruiting coordinator for the Jaguars. Coach Turner said that they can make 42 evaluations as per the NCAA. So they have six coaches traveling seven times during the year to make their number of 42 evaluations. The coaches are still evaluating players and their board has about 100 players that they are watching or have already offered scholarships to. Coach Jones said that they ahve to re-evaluate and re-rank players from time to time to make sure they do the best with their resources. They have been doing that over the last week. Coach Jones said that when you have two scholarships for defensive linemen or a receiver, you want to make sure you use those two scholarships wisely.

Lee asked about Coach Turners thoughts on kids verbally committing early and the possibility of an early signing period. He said No if its in December. He thinks it would hurt schools like South Alabama if it were to be in December. But if the early signing period was in May he would be for it. Lee asked what if it was in September? Coach Turner said he possibly would be for it.

Lee asked how many scholarships can USA give in February? Coach Jones said they have about 25 scholarships to give, but they also have some gray shirts commitments so they probably have about 20 to sign actually in February.

Beginning segment three, Lee mentioned again that Coach Jones will be at Bel Air Mall this evening from 6-7pm signing autographs and attending the pep rally scheduled there.

Lee and Joey talked about some college football happenings around the nation briefly and then asked if USA could play any Sun Belt schools earlier than their first full year in Division-I. Coach Jones said yes, they could but in 2012 they would still be a Division I-AA school and that Division I school can only schedule one per year. Most of the schools already have one scheduled but that they are also still working on the schedules that far out.

Lee then asked Coach Turner, how many defensive line players are in the rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they have nine players in the rotation. During Hargrave they had 10 but due to a knee injury one will be out for Army Prep. He also said that is a good part of being a young team is having the ability to rotate a large number of linemen into the game.

The fourth and final segment started with the injury report. Coach Jones said they are very healthy except for John Mark Patrick, who went down late in the Hargrave game with a knee injury. They think he should be back this season and hope to have it back for Georgia Military.

Lee asked about transfers from other schools. Coach Turner said that the player has to initiate the contact and then before the coaches and talk and try to recruit the player, they have to have a release from the school. Coach Jones said that if a player transfers between schools in the conference, they have to sit out a year but Coach Turner said that he would not want a player transferring to another school within the conference.

Lee also brought up how he liked how the Auburn players were coached to give the ball to the officials, even in the end zone. It makes for a more speedy game and it seemed more classy. Coach Jones agreed, he does not like kids to showboat or toss the ball around. USA also runs a more up-beat offense but they have taught the players to hand the ball to the official especially during the hurry-up drills.