South Alabama’s 2010 Signing Class

February 3, 2010 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 

Coach Jones, as always, gave lots of credit to his assistant coaches on the excellent job they have done, both last year and in recruiting since the season ended. He said that recruiting is the lifeblood of a program. Either your program will improve or your program will flounder depending on how well your coaches can recruit players to your school.

Coach Jones continued by saying that last year they had to recruit players by selling them a dream. They had plans for a field house and a practice field, but nothing had been built yet. Now they have a state-of-the-art football field house that is among the nicest in the nation. They have a very nice artificial practice surface. They have an undefeated inaugural season and thousands of season ticket holders filling the stands. They have something concrete to show the players now.

The fans were obviously a big part of the recruiting process. When players attended games for their visit and saw the South Alabama fans come out like they did for each game it really helps the recruiting process by showing the players that the fans truly support the team.

The players they recruited had to meet two criteria. They had to be as good or better than their previous signing class and they had to be good academically. Their previous signing class was quite good and if these guys are better, watch out Sun Belt. The Jags are coming.

Here are the signees for the 2010 class at the University of South Alabama with notes based on the highlight video shown at the National Signing Day Announcement held this evening at the Mitchell Center.

Davin Hawkins a defensive back listed as 6’2″ weighing 215-lbs from Etowah High. Hawkins video showed his speed breaking on the ball and as a kick returner.

Melvin Meggs offensive lineman listed at 6’2″ weighing 320-lbs from Petal High School in Mississippi. Meggs is a big, wide guy who can dominate his opponent.

Rush Hendricks who played full back and inside linebacker listed as 6’2″ weighing 225-lbs from Jay High school in Florida. His highlight video showed him at inside linebacker. It showed that his time at full back helped him develop vision to get to the ball and make the stop.

T.J. Glover listed as an athlete at 5’9″ weighing 170-lbs from Plant High in Tampa, Florida. Glover had good speed, good vision and he made very good cuts.

Trey Sims a defensive back listed at 6’2″ weighing 185-lbs from North Gwinnett High in Buford, Georgia. Sims seemed to have great instincts for the ball.

Drew Dearman an offensive lineman listed at 6’3″ weighing 280-lbs from Vestavia Hills High School. Dearman had very good blocking ability and comes from a school that produces alot of good talent.

Shawn Artz is an offensive lineman listed at 6’6″ weighing 265-lbs from Buford High School in Georgia as well. Artz is very tall but could probably use some more weight (that’s coach Schwind’s job).

Vondre Jackson a defensive back listed at 5’11” weighing 190-lbs from Troup County High in West Point, Georgia. He looks to be another hard hitter with a good nose for the ball. He should make a good compliment to Jerron Mitchell at corner.

David Crumitie a defensive back listed at 5’10” and weighing 170-lbs from Jefferson County High in Monticello, Florida. His video showcased his speed and agility.

Johnny Lockett a running back listed at 5’9″ and weighing 185-lbs from Sweet Water High. He is big and had decent speed. He comes from a perinial powerhouse at Sweet Water in 1A.

Rodney Thomas a defensive lineman listed at 6’1″ weighing 300-lbs from Auburn High School. Thomas is big and can move lineman. Defintely a run stopper.

Ucambre Williams an offensive lineman listed at 6’3″ weighing 250-lbs from Central-Phenix City. Ucambre is one of those dominating offensive linemen. He is going to be in control.

Terrell Brigham a defensive back listed at 6′ and weighing 185-lbs from Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Georgia. In his highlight video he played both quarterback and safety. It accentuated his speed over his throwing ability. I would expect him to play safety for the Jags.

Shane Doty an offensive lineman listed at 6’4″ weighing 255-lbs from Fork Union [Va.] Military Academy. Doty is another one of those big players. He has experience playing since he was at Fork Union and he also faced the Jags.

Colby Harper is a wide receiver listed at 6’1″ weighing 180-lbs from Wylie High in Texas. He ran good routes and is a good possession receiver. He is probably not as fast as some receivers, but his catching ability and work to make people miss makes him a good recruit.

Chris May an offensive lineman listed at 6’3″ weighing 275-lbs from Deshler High School. He is a solid blocker for the offenive line.

Cassius Bradley a defensive back listed at 5’10” and weighing 190-lbs from Blinn Junior College in Caldwell, Texas. He had very good speed off the edge in blitzing plays.

Antwan Williams a defensive back listed at 5’10” and weighing 175-lbs from Hoover High School. He had good ball sense and comes from school known for good players.

C.J. Bennett a quarterback listed at 6′ weighing 200-lbs from Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida. His video showcased his strong arm. His accuracy seemed good, however most of his receivers were well open most of the time.

Jonathan Cameron is a defensive back listed at 6’1″ and weighing 190-lbs from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. A good cover corner with two years of experience which will help the young secondary of the Jags.

Calvin Jenkins is a quarterback listed at 5’11” and weighing 175-lbs from Auburn High School. His video showcased his scrambling ability which highlighted his speed.

Audoniss Madison an offensive lineman listed at 6’5″ and weighing 290-lbs Karr High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Another tall, large offensive lineman that was a solid blocker.

Jags Media Day

November 5, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

At media day on Monday Coach Jones was joined by quarterback Brennan Sim and defensive lineman Romelle Jones. Following are some of the highlights from the press conference.

When asked about Milford Academy coach Jones said that they have some similarities to the last few teams the Jags have faced. One difference is their defensive front. They will put eight guys in the box, which really crowds the line. So they have to play man coverage outside. The Jags have already seen that with Georgia Military.

On offense they are more similar to everyone the Jags have played with multiple formations, but not nearly as many as Fork Union, who utilizes 42 different formations.

Coach Jones’ answer to the question about what the team will do in practice this coming week, he had the following to say. “We’re going to go against each other again offensively and defensively. That’s making us better as a football team. I’ve learned over the course of this season that getting ready for the speed of the game by the way we practice with our ones against ones has really helped us. We’re going to focus on that.”

One question reflected back on last weeks thrashing of Fork Union asking what the team could take away from that win. “We’re trying to really evaluate ourselves,” Coach Jones said. “I talked to the coaches and told them we ought to evaluate as if we lost the game. Normally when you lose a game you’re mad, you’re upset about something, and you overanalyze things. Let’s do that now, even though we won, because there are a lot of things our guys can do to get better fundamentally, and we need to just focus on those things. I’m taking the focus off of who we’re playing and putting the focus on what we’re doing to be a good football team. The bottom line is it’s reality for us right now, and we’re just focusing on getting better in practice, as well as how we approach practice and how prepared we are mentally to practice.”

Coach Jones answered a question about where the team needs to improve, which he has been saying for weeks now: “It’s still going back to the passing game. We threw the ball deep very well last week, had some big plays down the field. Where we struggle a little bit offensively is converting the third and four to eight types of plays, and we’ve got to get better at that. We have a problem with that in practice, our defense brings a lot of pressure, and so converting on third and medium would be a concern of mine offensively. Special teams we’ve been really pleased with, and the only thing I would say there is tackling, that sometimes gives the kids some problems, but as far as assignments go everything is good. Defensively, getting back to more turnovers. We had so many takeaways in the early games, and they’re playing well, but we didn’t have as many turnovers come our way in the last couple of games as we had in the previous three.”

With the season winding down, one of the questions was about how Coach Jones feels about areas that were a concern coming into the season. “The offensive line is still thin, but we’ve had a couple guys step up into the playing rotation,” Coach Jones answered. “The secondary was our other concern earlier in the year, and some guys have really stepped up and played well there. Jerron Mitchell has really stepped up and had a great year at cornerback, and having Jerron there has really helped us.”

Another question about the season winding down, was about having only 11 days left in the first football season. To which Coach Jones answered, “I’ll probably think more about that once it’s over, but reflecting back on it one thing is it’s gone fast. It seems like every day I come to work it’s a great experience. Our kids are reacting really well on the practice field and in games. One thing looking back on it is the team chemistry has come together in a great way. I’ve coached a lot of teams, sometimes you work on those things and talk about those things with the players, and some years the chemistry may be good. On a scale of one to 10 some years it may be an eight, some years it’s a seven, some years it’s a nine, and I think this year it’s a 10 as far as the team chemistry goes. That’s one thing I look back on and feel like we’ve accomplished, and the kids are certainly a big part of that. It’s been a very gratifying season from the standpoint of we didn’t look very good at all last spring. This fall we’re a totally different football team, it’s not even close, and that makes you feel good that you’ve made some progress and the kids are going in the right direction.”

Next up was Brennan Sim who was asked about Saturday’s game. He said that from his positions standpoint, he thought the coaches was happier with their performance. They have progressed over the course of the season and they want to keep getting better. They are not where they want to be going into next season and they have a long way to go to get there.

He was also asked about knowing what to work on each week. “There are still things that we can improve on,” Sim said. “The teams we’re playing have really talented players, it’s just tough to put a team together in one year. Most of them have players who are one year removed from high school, and we’re a four-year program, so we’re going to have more chemistry. But these are really solid teams that we’re playing, so you can still get good feedback.”

The final Jag player to speak was Romelle Jones. He was asked about the defense’s performance against the Fork Union offense. He said that the defensive line is still young and are trying to improve every game. He also said that Coach Clark has been on them saying they need to get more sacks as a group. But that their goal is to shut out their opponent each game.

When asked about the defense’s performance this season he answered, “Our coaches preach perfection each practice, and to never let down in the game. We don’t underestimate any of our opponents, and we have respect for everyone on our schedule. We prepare for every game the same way, no matter who we’re playing.”

One of the final questions was about what the defense is working to improve on every day. Jones answered that they are working this week to prevent big plays. He said it seems that every game they have given up a big play in every game this season and that tehir goal is to limit them.

Don’t forget all of the homecoming activities Friday at South Alabama. 4:30-5:30pm they will be hosting an open house as the new football field house followed by an hour long alumni lawn party outside of Alumni Hall which is then followed by USA’s Homecoming parade starting at 6:30pm.

The Jags will take the field against Milford Academy at 4pm on Saturday to try to stay undefeated at 6-0 for their first season of football.

Go Jags!!

Jags Continue Their March Towards An Undefeated Season With Win Over Fork Union

November 1, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags continued their march towards an undefeated inaugural season with a big victory over Fork Union on Saturday with a spectacular display of passing. Coach Jones said over the last two weeks that they wanted to be able to pass the ball more effectively and be a more balanced team and it showed.

After stopping the Blue Devils on their first possession, the Jags did not hesitate to put on a display. The first Jaguar play from scrimmage saw freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smith open for a 64 yard touchdown pass. Then the Jaguar defense stopped the Blue Devils on their ensuing possession forcing a second three and out punt. Again Gibbon threw to Smith who would take it 60 yards for a second touchdown and putting Courtney Smith in the record books as the first Jaguar to have over 100 yards receiving in only two plays.

The Jags defense would hold the Blue Devils to a third consecutive three and out punt. With the offense moving the ball again, covering 36 yards on two plays, the Jags would lose a fumble at the Blue Devil 19 yard line. But the Blue Devils would not have the ball long after being force to punt for the fourth consecutive possession of the first quarter.

The Jags would score their third touchdown of the opening quarter when Brandon Ross took it in from two yards out. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT attempt so the Jags lead would be 20 with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Ross’ run was set up by the previous play when Brennan Sim found Lamontis Gardner for a 40 yard gain.

Even with a 20 point lead in the first quarter, the Jaguar defense could smell blood. On the ensuing Blue Devil possession, Zach Brownell pounced on an interception and returned it 30 yards. This set up a field goal by Michel Chapuseaux of 24 yards to extend the Jags lead to 23.

But the defense wasn’t done yet. Just two plays later the Jags forced a fumble which Montavious Williams scooped up and returned for a 24 yard touchdown to round out the Jaguar scoring in the first quarter. The Jags would outgain the Blue Devils 217-8 on their way to the 30-0 first quarter score.

The Jaguar defense would forst another three and out on the next Blue Devil possession. After getting the ball on the Blue Devil 15, the Jags only took three plays to punch it into the endzone with Santuan McGee’s 2 yard touchdown running capping off the short drive for a 37-0 score.

The Blue Devils would finally get get a first down and move the ball on their eighth possession going 31 yards in seven plays before turning the ball over on downs at the jaguar 34 yard line. Sim would then lead the Jags on an 8 play 66 yard scoring drive which saw Brennan Sim throw his first career touchdown pass to Anthony Mostella for a 44-0 lead with 6:57 left until halftime.

The Blue Devils would then see their longest possession of the game get cut short just before halftime when the Jags Jerron Mitchell intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards with 1:07 left until halftime. The Jags would run two plays and go into halftime with a 44-0 lead.

The Jags would open the second half with another first in Jaguar history. Ralph Turner would open up the scoring in the second half with an 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put the Jags up 51-0 when Lawson McGlon tacked on the PAT.

However the Jaguars shutout would be disrupted on the ensuing Blue Devil drive. Fork Union would go 76 yards in 5 plays to score their only points of the game. They attempted a 2 point conversion which fell incomplete to leave the score 51-6 with 12:49 left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devil defense would finally find a way to stop the Jaguar defense on their next possession by holding them to three yards and forcing a punt. Fork Union, forced to start deep in their own territory, had a fumble on a bad snap that Clifton Crews fell on in the end zone for a touchdown with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter for a score of 57-6.

Again the Blue Devils were forced to punt on their next possession. Then the Blue Devil defense forced the Jags to a three and out and a punt. Fork Union then moved the ball 34 yards in nine plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 47 yard line.

On the Jags first offensive play, Nick Owens found an open Kelly Vail for a 53 yard touchdown pass to end the scoring at 64-6.

The Jags would end the game with 60 yards rushing and 321 yard passing and 13 first downs. while Fork Union finished the game with -22 yards rushing and 213 passing.

Santuan McGee and Ryan Scott were the only Jaguar running backs to have double digit yards with 39 and 25 respectively on five carries each. Myles Gibbon would go 2-for-4 in the game for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 9-for-9 for 130 yards and a touchdown and Nick Owens went 3-for-4 for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Courtney Smith was the first Jaguar receiver to go over 100 yards in a game with 131 on 3 receptions with two of them for touchdowns. Lamontis Gardner would catch 2 for 73 yards and Kelly Vail would have one reception for 53 yards. Six other Jaguars caught passes as well.

Erling Riis would return 4 punts for 50 yards, one going 44 yards to set up a Jaguar score. Ralph Turner would return one punt for 23 yards as well as his 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Scott Garber would only punt twice with a 40 yard average and both punts ended up inside the Blue Devil 20 yard line.

Ken Barefield led the defense in tackles with five. Romelle Jones and Bryson James were credited with forcing a fumble each.

Coach Jones spoke after the game about the Jaguars performance. He said, “We came out and executed very well. The protection got better, and that’s where it all starts in the passing game. We had some wide open guys down the field on the first two passes, and Myles did a good job hitting Courtney. We just executed well.”

Courtney Smith commented about the offensive production, “We practiced it all week and I knew the first play was going to be to me, so I expected the ball and Myles threw a good one. After the first one they told me they were going to throw it to me again, so I expected it again.”

Myles added the following after the game as well, “Coach stressed to us that he wanted to open up the passing game. On the first two plays, I knew they wanted to hit something deep. They played the perfect defense for it, and it worked out. It’s one of those things where you drop back and everything just slows down. Although it was wide open, those are the passes quarterbacks hate throwing because you don’t want to overthrow them.”

Ralph Turner had this to say when asked about his kickoff return, “It’s been a stressful last four games for me because I haven’t really been touching the ball,” he said. “Once I got the ball the hole was wide open and I just ran.”

Again the Jaguars received high praise from the opposing teams coach after the game. Fork Union head coach John Shuman had this to say, “We had seen in the paper that South Alabama was working on its passing game. As we got here and watched the pregame warm-up, we knew that they would try to take advantage of the long ball early, and they did. They came back out and did it again. Once you get down 14 points, you become one dimensional – we couldn’t run the ball. South Alabama did a great job on the defensive side, they called some great blitzes and used a good scheme against us. On offense, it was obviously men against boys here. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Coach Jones commented about the Jaguars overall performance and Fork Union’s team by saying, “I’m proud of the guys today. After the last two games, we’ve really stressed coming to work every day. We’re trying to teach these kids a life lesson, and if they’ll approach their work the right way then good things happen. We probably out-manned the team we played, and we know that, but we played well – we didn’t play sloppy. The other team came in here and had a 15-hour bus ride, which I’m sure was a tough thing to do, so my hat is off to them for that. They had some really good athletes and good coaching. I think it was just a matter that our kids played well.”

The Jaguars will host Milford Academy next Saturday, November 7 for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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.

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

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.

Depth Chart Changes And Secondary Commentary

September 3, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

There have been some shifts in the starting lineup that has been noted this week. Montavious Williams moved from defensive end to inside at defensive tackle and from second team to the first team. Alex Page has also moved from the second team to first team at defensive end replacing Anthony Taylor.

Benefiting from Friday’s situational scrimmage, Lawson McGlon has kicked his way to first-team place-kicker. Wilson was also named as one of the two kick returners with Santuan McGee.

While Santuan McGee was listed number one on the depth chart early in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said on the Joey Jones Radio Show on Tuesday that Brandon Ross was the starter at running back. As for tight ends, Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett have switched places on the depth chart but are listed as co-starters.

Some other notable changes have taken place as well. Due to some injuries in the secondary, the Jags had to make some changes just to get through fall camp. Ken Barefield started fall practice as a wide receiver but was moved to safety but was convinced to move by defensive backs coach Duwan Walker. Then just a few weeks after making the move, he was marked as a starter.

Zach Brownell, a freshman safety himself, missed most of fall camp recovering from an injury, but had this to say about Barefield, “He works hard watching film, and he’s been paying a lot of attention. I give him some tips here and there, and those might have helped him out, but he’s done a great job of learning the position on his own.” Brownell returned to practice this week and has quickly made his way back to playing on first-team defense.

Coach Walker looks on the positive side of Brownell’s time off due to injury, “It probably worked out well because he got his legs up under him, and now he’s good and healthy and ready to go,” Walker said. “We were in a position where we had to practice some other kids, so to get these other guys back on the field has definitely built in some depth for us. We feel pretty good about going into the season as far as depth is concerned.”

Tony Threatt, another freshman safety, also spent time away due to injury. He has since returned to practice and is expected to help contribute depth at safety along with Matt Saucier and Alex Phifer.

If you are a new reader to this site and happen to recognize Saucier’s name, it was because he was the first team quarterback in spring practice. He has since made the move to safety in fall camp. Coach Walker likes the idea of Saucier playing defense. “We like guys that handle the ball every down, and as a quarterback you’ve got the ball in your hand every down,” Walker said. “After being a quarterback, you have some kind of idea of what the offense is trying to do. He’s a smart kid, and it was easy for him to pick up.”

I’m sure you noticed that that all of the five safeties that will be seeing significant playing time are all freshmen. They will have help in the secondary from four cornerbacks who do have experience playing beyond high school. Junior Michael Wilson and Sophomore Anton Graphenreed are expected to start on Saturday and they will be joined by Sophomores Jerron Mitchell and Steven Pease. However, Coach Walker doesn’t look at Graphenreed and Wilson as starters with Mitchell and Pease playing backup, he sees them collectively as players. “We don’t look at ourselves as having starters at cornerback, we just think of it as having kids that we can roll in,” Walker said. “Steven Pease is going to be a great player for us, and along with Jerron Mitchell, we expect those guys to be able to roll in at the corner position.”

With the schools first-ever game fast approaching, there is little worry about the inexperience at safety. They may be freshmen in status, but many have offensive instincts which can translate to on-field experience.

As of Thursday morning, 15,818 tickets remain for Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium according to the usagameday.com website.

Jaguars Practice Despite Bad Weather

August 17, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterback Myles Gibbon looking for his receiver at Saturday’s scrimmage. He has been listed at the top of the teams first released depth chart on Monday. Photo by Doug Roberts

The Jaguars hit the practice field despite the effects of Claudette on Monday. Heavy rains only delayed the Jaguars practice by about ten minutes as they took the field after a day off for their first post scrimmage practice. They hit the field for just over two hours at around 3:30pm, which is their new practice time now that classes have started on campus.

Their practice schedule was similar to the previous two weeks of camp. Special teams, position drills, skeleton drills and so forth. In the final hour they had their 11-on-11 drills and workouts against the scout teams. In the situation play, the coaching staff had them work on two-minute drills and red zone plays.

While the routine stayed pretty much the same, today did mark another first that will have many peoples attention in the coming days. Coach Jones finally released the team’s first depth chart based on the previous two weeks performance and the scrimmage on Saturday. There is a list of 27 starters on offense and defense due to different formations with six of them true freshmen that did not take part in the spring practice. A total of 22 players from the signing class are on the depth chart and should see action in the coming fall schedule.

Not surprisingly, the offense is the more experienced unit taking the field. Three of the four projected starting receivers have used at least one year of eligibility playing at other schools while four JuCo transfers are listed as potential starters on the offensive line. Both players at the tight end position have experience at the collegient level as well as Brandon Ross, who is also a potential starter in the backfield. While quarterback Myles Gibbon and receiver Corey Waldon are the only true freshmen listed as first in their respective positions.

The defense is a different story all together, with six of the nine linemen and five of nine secondary players are all true freshmen. The players with experience are Andy Dalgleish who took part in spring practice and John Mark Patrick who played at Troy last fall. While cornerbacks Anton Graphenreed (Lenoir-Rhyne University) and Jerron Mitchell (Birmingham-Southern), both sophmore transfers will likely be starters. Also Justin Dunn (Birmingham-Southern) and Charlie Higgenbotham (University of Alabama) are set to be starters at the inside linebacker slots.

Coach Jones spoke about the evaluation process after Mondays practice. He had this to say, “We were just looking for guys who wanted to compete. Saturday’s scrimmage provided game situations, so we were able to see how they reacted. We discounted the first few plays since a lot of the kids were nervous when we first got out there, but once they got into it we could see how they play in front of a crowd. Some guys practice well but play even better in game situations. Other guys practice better than they play in games. That’s something we’re trying to evaluate as well. It’s still a long process, there’s two weeks before we have a game week. There are guys who are listed second and third who could end up as ones, and there are listed starters who could end up third at their position. They know that, so until we get to game week we won’t make a final depth chart.”

He also spoke about the practice itself and unlike previous practices, he did not have the best things to say about his team. “I don’t think we had a great practice, I thought it was average. I told the guys they can control two things – their effort and their intensity. Balls were wet and we were dropping passes, but that’s to be understood since this was really the first time we practiced in weather like this. That doesn’t worry me. But, the mindset that we came out with today is what bothered me. We have to come out with a different attitude this week or we will just be average. We are going to play like we practice, and I think they understand that.”

Coach Jones went on to speak about the change in routine and how it affected the players. He said, “I think the change in routine affected a lot of the guys today, but as a coach I tell them there are no excuses for that. I expect them to come on the field and be ready. Sure we were in class today and it was raining, and we can’t control that. We can control how we come out and practice, so hopefully we will learn from this. We’re still in camp even though school has started. Some of the practices may be a little longer, but we are trying to get as much work done as we can.”

The Jaguars will return to the practice field on Tuesday at 3:30pm.

For the full South Alabama depth chart, click here.

Spring Scrimmage A Resounding Success For South Alabama

April 11, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

 

players, managers, trainers and staff have been involved. To come to a game like this, where I was expecting 1,500 people to be out there, to see 8,000 fans is a great testament to the city of Mobile and how they are going to support this program. I think that this town is ready for football, and they are excited about Sept. 5 coming soon.”

 

The first team offense dominated their second team opponents in the defense on Friday. Richard Ross and Matt Saucier both scored twice as the first team offense scored points on all five of its possessions. Similarly, the first team defense dominated its opponents in the second team offense by only allowing six total yards and no first downs.

The first team offense did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard. They drove 70 yards on four plays in 1:47 with Ross bouncing off two tackles to finish a 25 yard run for a touchdown. Turner sparked the possession with a 36 yard gain on a reverse to open the series.

With just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Ross scored again on a one yard pludge into the endzone to cap off an eight play, 59 yard drive. On third down, Saucier found Lim Windham for a 14 yard strike to keep the series going. Later, Saucier set up the Ross score with a 12 yard scamper.

On the first units’ next drive Saucier accounted for most of the yards running the ball. He had a 14 yard run early in the series. Then one play after Saucier ran for 33 yards down the sideline, he hit Kevin Helms for an eight yard touchdown pass. The 2:13 drive spanned 60 yards on five plays.

The first team offense also put together a long drive that ended with a field goal. The drive lasted for more than eight minutes with Saucier keeping the drive alive with two big plays on third down. First was a scramble for a first down and the second was a key thrid down completion to Paul Bennett for another first down. Lawson McGlon capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.

Saucier would score the final points of the game with a one-yard quarterback sneak with 4:08 left in the ending quarter. In all on the final drive, Saucier ran four times. The drive covered 47 yards on eight plays including a 27 yard pass to Anthony Mostella.

The only first down the second team offense saw was on a pass interference call on its first play from scrimmage. Then two plays later they came the closest they would all game to gaining a first down when they faced a third-and-one at their own 44 yard line. Dunn hit Marquis Chapel and dropped him for a two yard loss forcing them to punt.

In total, USA gained 278 yards of offense on 43 plays with an average of 6.5 yards per snap. However, the first team offense accounted for 272 of those yards. Saucier was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 10 rushes including a touchdown. He was also 7-13 for 78 yards and a touchdown through the air.

Santuan McGee gained 41 yards on three attempts and Ross had 29 yards on three rushes while scoring twice. Ralph Turner gained 52 all-purpose yards, running for 35 and catching two passes for 17 yards. Turner was the only Jaguar player to have more than one reception.

Justin Dunn and Eric Dalgleish each had four stops, both accounted for two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, in leading the first team defense. With Dunn and Dalgleish leading them, the first team defense forced five three-and-outs with the last one seeing Richard Courtney score on a fumble return of 21 yards, which was forced by Dalgleish.

Following the scrimmage, Coach Jones announced the winners of the program’s first ever spring awards as voted on by the coaches. Trey Clark (offensive line), Andy Dalgleish (defensive line), Justin Dunn (linebacker), Tim Harvey (defensive backs), Kevin Helms (tight ends), Santuan McGee (running backs) and Courtney Smith (wide receiver) were presented with the Outstanding Performance Award at their position with Michel Chapuseaux, Eric Dangleish, Jordan Means, Anthony Mostella and Ralph Turner sharing the honor on special teams.

Paul Bennett (tight end), Josh Chestang (linebacker), Chris Cooke (linebacker), Lamontis Gardner (wide receiver), Anton Graphenreed (defensive back), Cory Pittman (offensive line), Richard Ross (running back), Matt Saucier (quarterback), Anthony Taylor (defensive line) and Lim Windham (wide receiver) were named the most improved players at their position.

The Jaguar Leadership Award was given to Bennett on offense and Harvey on defense. Dunn, Brian Krauskopf, Jerron Mitchell and Erling Riis earned the Jaguar Strength Award. Bennett and Clark were also given Outstanding Academic Awards.