Jags End Week With A Limited Contact Situational Scrimmage

August 29, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguars lining up for a field goal attempt in Friday’s practice.

South Alabama’s final preseason scrimmage saw limited contact and the final hour focused primarily on situational drills. After a very physical four weeks, the Jaguar staff decided to cut the workout short, only going four an hour and a half, and not as physical because oh how physical they have been all summer.

Another reason is that the Jags have a number of players that are questionable going into Monday. “We’ve got a lot of kids banged up,” said Jones “We’ve got some hamstrings we don’t know about and will find out Monday. Nobody is just out as far as the starters or second-teamers, but we’ve got guys that will be questionable this week and we’ll find out about them Monday.”

The Jaguars scrimmage covered almost every special teams situation from kickoff coverage, kick returns, onside kicks, punt coverage, punt returns and punting out of their own end zone. The offense then practiced on driving for game-winning scores with the time running out.

They started the timing drill in their own half of the field. The drill started on the 50 yard-line with the first team offense led by Myles Gibbon with 18 seconds to get into field goal range. After two quick crossing pattern competions to Courtney Smith to get into field goal range. They then sent in, in order, Michel Chapuseaux, Jordan Means and Lawson McGlon to attempt field goals from about 45 yards out. Both Chapuseaux and Means missed their attempts wide while McGlon made his.

The next drill started on the 40 yard-line with 3rd and long with 18 seconds to go. Brennan Sim completed a 16 yard pass to get into field goal range. Lawson McGlon came in for the field goal attempt from 41 yards, which he made.

The offense then moved to red zone drills. Facing 3rd and goal from the 10 yard-line, Gibbon threw an incomplete pass that was almost intercepted at the goal line. But on 4th down he found Corey Waldon over the middle for a touch down. McGlon added the PAT.

Next was a goal line situation on 4th down on the 2 yard-line. Gibbon handed it to Brandon Ross on a draw play, which he scored on. Nick Owens then led a situational drive starting on the 10 yard-line. After two plays, they got down to around the 2 yard-line before Ryan Scott was stopped in the backfield to end that scenerio.

Then to end the scrimmage the defense saw one play of prevent defense so the DB’s could knock down the ball. They had the offense practice one play of being backed up at their own goal line, using the quarterback to follow the linemen to give gain a couple yards. Then for the final practice play they practiced one snap of probably the coaches and fans favorite plays, the victory kneel. After the victory kneel, the players rushed the field and huddled around Coach Jones for his ending remarks.

While most of the practice was focused on game situation drills, which have not been covered frequently since camp began, they also used the practice to begin preparation for their opponent in the programs first-ever game against Hargrave Military Academy. “It was a pure situational scrimmage, but it was one that I think you need to cover mentally before the week of a game,” head coach Joey Jones said. “Things like punting out of the end zone, taking a knee at the end of a game, prevent defense – all those odd situations you don’t work on as much, we saw those this week and will work on them again next week so that if they come up in a game we’re ready for those situations. We did a little bit of work against the scout team today. We tried to sneak a little of that in here the last couple of days, but Monday will be devoted to that.”

“We tried to put them to as close to a game situation as we could on the sideline and with how we warmed up,” Coach Jones continued. “I kind of had to get on them early, but we really focused after that. Once that happened, they really paid attention – I kept checking the sideline to make sure their eyes were on the field. We want to look good warming up, and we want to be organized on the sideline. We’ll continue working on that next week so we’ll be as prepared as we can be when we get out there for a real game.”

Coach Jones said he was very pleased with how his players have performed during preseason camp. “It’s been a great preseason camp,” he commented, “but we’re just ready to go out to Ladd Stadium and have a great time. I think that we are a good bit ahead of where I thought we would be originally. The staff has done such a good job installing the offense, defense and special teams in a way that the players could learn.”

“I’m real pleased with how the coaches have put a good amount of the game plan in, but not too much,” Jones continued. “I’m also happy with how the kids have responded to that – they’ve learned, and they’ve paid attention. They really have been a focused group. Plus, looking back a year and a half ago, the athletes on the field are much better than what I thought they would be at this point.”

This weekend will mark the first time the Jaguars have not been on the field for two consecutive days since before preseason practice started on August 4th. But the Jaguars will be back on the field on Monday for game week preparation for Hargrave. “I’m ready for game week to get here, and I think the kids are too,” Jones commented. “As coaches we like practices, but we’re a little different from the players. We are ready to prepare for an opponent, obviously beginning Monday we will be getting ready every day and every minute for Hargrave Academy.”

T-Minus 7 days until kickoff of the University of South Alabama’s inaugural season of football. GO JAGS!!

Tuesday’s Practice Added Scout Team Work In Prep For Hargrave

August 26, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Tuesday’s practice started off with the Jags working on positions drills with the defense on the grass field and the offense working on the turf field. Then both squads came together and worked on punts and punt returns before splitting once again for more positional drills. They ended the first half of practice with a period working on power running plays and another period of 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills.

The second half of practice was dedicated to working against the scout team in preparation for Hargrave, their opponent for the first game of the season. The Jags split into scout teams with the first team defense working on the grass field and the first team offense working on the turf. However, the coaches are working somewhat blind. “We’ve kind of used ourselves as competition until two weeks before and now we start trying to look at Hargrave,” defensive coordinator Bill Clark said. “Now it really starts getting into the fine-tuning of what we know. All we can base it on is what we’ve seen in the past and that’s where we’re headed right now.”

“For us it’s just about the fact that we have so many young guys and now we’re trying to show them what it takes to get prepared,” coach Clark continued. “We’re trying to say this is almost like game week to us because we’re only two weeks out and you don’t know what play it could be. It could be a running play, it could be a pass play, that could be the play that breaks, so we’re trying to get them to learn how to practice at full speed and the things that it takes to go against a scout team.”

The same uncertainty goes for the offense as well. “We’ve gotten some really good work done against Hargrave in the last two days, as far as the looks and what we expect, but they could change very easily,” said offensive coordinator Greg Gregory. “They changed quite a bit from game to game a year ago, and you just don’t know what their personnel is like. They’re going to see who they have come in this year, and last year they may have been a four-man front and the year before that they may have been a three-man front, they’re going to decide what defense they’re going to play based on what personnel they have, so you really don’t know. They’ve got some really good football players. We were looking at the roster of guys they’ve signed, and their four down defensive linemen are all big-time players – they will all be playing at the BCS level a year from now.”

“We’re to the stage now where about half of our practice is still against our own defense to get the real speed that we want, and then the other half of practice is spent working on Hargrave,” coach Gregory continued. “We’re showing them basically what [Hargrave’s] looks are against certain formations, trying to expose our guys to that a little bit, and really just trying to use this week to introduce quite a bit of what to expect from Hargrave.”

The Jags will continue working on preparation for Hargrave throughout this week and next week. Wednesday’s practice will be in pads and if they have a good practice, then Thursday will be helmets before holding their final scrimmage before their match-up with Hargrave on September 5th. Friday’s scrimmage is scheduled for 4pm at the on-campus practice fields.