Jags Win Big At The 2nd Annual Wiregrass Classic

September 26, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama Football coach Joey Jones oversees his team warming up at Rip Hewes Stadium for the Wiregrass Classic.

It was evident, even before kickoff at the Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, that South Alabama outmatched Edward Waters. Not to belittle the Tigers, but these two teams could not have been any more different. Edward Waters is a private, traditionally black NAIA college with an enrollment of 839 students. While South Alabama is a public school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students.

But Edward Waters has a rich and interesting history. It was founded and initially named “Brown Theological Institute” in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed black slaves. Then the school experienced financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883 it reopened as “East Florida Conference High School” then later it was renamed “East Florida Scientific and Divinity School”.

Within ten years, the educational program was extended and it’s name was changed to Edward Waters College. In 1901 it was destroyed by a fire. Then in 1904 they acquired the site that it currently resides and began to rebuild.

It was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 and by 1960 the college had restored its four-year cirriculum. Then in 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the school as a four-year institution.

Of the 839 enrolled, over 90% of them rely on financial aid and the school has been growing. It was highlighted in among “The Best of Florida Schools in 2004” for the “Biggest Growth for Private Colleges.”

In 2001, the school returned to football after a 34 year absence. In 2004 they joined the newly formed South East Atlantic Conference (SEAC) with two other schools, Webber International University and Concordia College. After Concordia was unable to gain membership into the NAIA, the conference dissolved at the conclusion of the 2008 season. EWC won the conference title in 2004, then shared by EWC and Concordia in 2007 and finally a three way share between all of the schools in 2008.

Edward Waters is currently in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with Dillard University, Fisk University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.

So the differences between South Alabama and EWC are striking.

As for the game, there was no question who was going to win from the outset of the game at Rip Hewes Stadium. Within the first two minutes the Jags had forced a three and out, returned the punt to the EWC 35 yard line and ran two plays to score a touchdown. A 16 yard rush followed by a 19 yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Courtney Smith. The point after attempt was mishandled by Taylor Noon who picked it up and scrambed to the corner of the end zone for two points to put the Jags up 8-0 with 13:03 left in the first quarter.

The Jags second offensive series was stopped and was forced to punt. But on Edward Waters’ first offensive play, the pass was intercepted by the defense setting up another short field. Brandon Ross would go in from four yards for the second touchdown, capping off a four play 41 yard drive in 1:12. The PAT by Jordan Means put the Jags up 15-0 with 7:53 left in the first quarter.

The next EWC possession ended in a three and out. The punt was returned to the EWC 35 yard line to set up the Jags with a short field once again. This time it took the Jags six plays to cover 35 yards. The drive was capped off by a three yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Lemontis Gardner and the PAT by Jordan Means. This put the Jags up 22-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

On the Tigers ensuing possession, the second play from scrimmage was picked off by senior Justin Dunn and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was successful by Jordan Means to put the Jags up 29-0 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers were picked off again on their ensuing possession. The Jags would cover 62 yards in six plays and using 1:52 off of the clock to score another touchdown. The drive was capped off by Brennan Sim’s third touchdown pass of the game, this one covering 10 yards to Bryant Lavender. Jordan Means added the point after to put the Jags up 36-0 with 14:11 to play in the second quarter.

A three and out by the Tigers was followed by a three and out by the Jags as well. Then after EWC moved the ball some, their drive ended with their fourth interception. With Ray Cotton taking over the quarterbacking duties, the Jags went 58 yards in six plays using 3:31 off of the clock to score for the last time in the first half. The drive was capped off by a 20 yard touchdown run by Cotton with the point after by Lawson McGlon to put South Alabama up 43-0 at halftime.

Coach Jones and his coaches took the pedal off somewhat, in the second half. The Jags did score three more touchdown, a 15 yard run by Ryan Scott, and a pair by Michael Nevels of 12 and 11 yards respectively. All three point after attempts were successfully made by Lawson McGlon.

The Jags ended the game with 30 first downs, 391 yards rushing and 112 yard passing for a total of 503 yards total offense. The Tigers had 5 first downs, 97 yards rushing, 47 yards passing for a total of 144 yards of offense.

South Alabama rushed eight different running backs. Kendall Houston had four carries with 48 yards, Santuan McGee had three touches for 46 yards, Ellis Hill eight carries for 46 yards, T.J. Glover had four carries for 41 yards, Ryan Scott had seven carries for 44 yards, Michael Nevels had six carries for 35 yards, Johnny Lockett had six carries for 33 yards and Brandon Ross had only three carries for 16 yards. The leading rusher for the team was Ray Cotton with seven carries and gaining 78 yards.

Three quarterbacks made it into the game. Brennan Sim started in place of Myles Gibbon and went 6 of 11 for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Ray Cotton went 1 for 3 for 16 yards while Gabe Graham went 1 of 2 for 11 yards.

Eight different Jaguar receivers caught passes but none of them caught more than one. Jereme Jones lead the receivers with 21 yards.

The Edward Waters quarterbacks combined to go 2 of 15 with four interceptions against the South Alabama defense.

The kickoff woes continued against the Tigers. Jordan Means kicked four times with two of them going out of bounds. Michel Chapuseaux also kicked four but only one of his went out of bounds. Lawson McGlon kicked twice with none of them going out of bounds.

Umcambre Williams lead the defense with five tackles. Jake Johnson recorded the lone solo sack.

The defensive player of the game came from Edward Waters while the offensive player of the game was Brennan Sim.

Coach Jones spoke after the game saying, “I think they performed very well. The bottom line is we had better players than they did. They really had a class bunch. I thought it was a well-played game.”

He continued, “We got a lot of guys in the game. Our coaches had a plan of who they were going to play if we got up so we could get some good out of this game, and I think we did. Our ones went out there and played well. The two lines stayed in there a good amount of time. They haven’t had a lot of reps, so it was good to get them in the game. We have to have some depth for the end of the year, and we keep trying to develop that. That was the great thing about today, we were able to reward those guys who have been working their tails off all summer long. They deserve it. There’s not many chances when you can do that, and we were glad to be able to get them in.”

The Jags return home to face Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, October 2 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Jags Begin Season 2 With A 56-0 Win Over Pikeville

September 5, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach Turner working with the offensive line after an early drive.

The Jaguars picked up where the left off last season, that is dominating their opponents. The Jags put up 56 points against Pikeville with the defense pitching a shutout and also holding the Pikeville offense to a mere 88 yards of total offense in front of a crowd of 22,376.

The Jaguar offense started the game slow and was only able to put up 7 points with about 3:30 left in the opening quarter. The key play was when Gibbon found Bryant Lavender for 53 yards.

The Jags roared to life in the second quarter. Starting with a nine play, 63 yard drive was capped off by a three yard run by Brandon Ross to double the Jaguar lead, 14-0. True freshman C.J. Bennett lead the offense on the drive. Bennett completed his first attempt to Corey Waldon for a 20 yard gain inside the Pikeville five yard line.

Then on Pikeville’s ensuing possession, Bryson James would intercept the Pikeville pass and return it 22 yards for a Jaguar touchdown. The point after was no good leaving the Jags with a 20-0 lead.

Starter Myles Gibbon would return to the game for some more action later in the quarter. He stepped in an lead the offense on a 83 yard, nine play drive. Gibbon would get the drive started with a 27 yard run to get their initial first down of the possession. Then the could hit Waldon for a 35 yard gain on 3rd and 10 to keep the drive going. Gibbon would later find Courtney Smith from the six yard line with about a minute left until halftime. The point after would be good and the Jags would go into halftime with a 27-0 lead.

Starting the second half, the Jags would start slow again but once Michel Chapuseaux made a 22 yard field goal, they would again come to life and add three touchdowns in the final quarter. Ellis Hill found an opening up the middle and scampered 56 yards for a touchdown to put the jags up 43-0. A mere two minutes later, Jereme Jones would ruturn a punt 54 yards for another Jaguar touchdown.

Johnny Lockett would round out the scoring with a touchdown with about 5:30 left in the game. This would finish off a six play, 47 yard drive lead by transfer Ray Cotton.

The Jags averaged over six yard per rush while totaling 242 yards on the ground. Twelve players combined to reach this number, with Ellis Hill rushing for 55 yards on two carries and Gibbon, Cotton, Santuan McGee, Kendall Houston, T.J. Glover and Ryan Scott would all gain somewhere between 26 and 33 yards for the game.

Myles Gibbon went 7-of-8 for 112 yards while C.J. Bennett went 4-of-6 for 93 yards. The Jaguar offense gained 462 yards total and 220 yards through the air.

Defensively, Ken Barefield and Enrique Williams each posted six tackles, leading the team. Bryson James and Jarred Williams also had four tackles each. James and Williams shared the team lead with 1.5 sacks each. James would have the only interception.

The Jags looked pretty solid on offense and defense against Pikeville. The offensive line had to make some adjustments, but found their groove and gave the skill players more time to make plays happen. The defense was giving up plenty of yards early on slant passes, but the defense tightened up and hit the Pikeville quarterback on almost every play.

The most glaring problem for South Alabama in the first game was placekicking. Too many kicks were missed and no sense of consistency. Kicking can be the difference between a win and a loss and right now if the Jags were depending on an extra point or a field goal to win a game, I don’t know what Coach Jones would do. Would he go for it or would he kick it with the results from the first game? We’ll see how it goes in the next game.

The Jags will have a week off before hosting Nicholls State at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on September 18 at 4pm. This game will be a white-out at Ladd. So wear your white Jaguar apparel and help cheer on the Jags.

Jag Defense Plays Better In Second Scrimmage Of 2010

August 21, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon, running the first series with the first-team offense, scores the first touchdown of the scrimmage.

The second scrimmage of the preseason was a bit more even than the first one last week. Less touchdowns but also less turnovers. Which pleased Coach Jones when it was all said and done.

Several players were out due to injury on the defense. None severe, just nagging injuries which the coaching staff decided to sideline for the scrimmage. Randon Carnathan, Justin Dunn, Tim Harvey, Jake Johnson, Romelle Jones and Alex Page all sat out the scrimmage.

The Jags ran about 93 plays, close to their goal of 100. Overall the offense gained 251 yards with the first team defense only allowing 48 in their seven series on the field. The only two turnovers of the day were recovered by Jarred Williams and Montavious Williams, but both were committed by Ellis Hill, but one was a bad exchange from Brennan Sim. Anthony Taylor made back-to-back sacks for the first-team defense while Kendell Bagnerise added one right after Taylor to back the offense up 18 yards in one possession.

With so many playmakers out on defense, Jonathan Cameron and Bryson James led the defense each with four tackles. Zach Rone lead the second team defense with five tackles.

Myles Gibbon led the first team offense 80 yards in seven plays on their first possession to score the first touchdown. Brandon Ross made the big gain on the series with a 39 yard run, including knocking a defensive back flat on his tail, to set up the touchdown. After two runs by Santuan McGee, Gibbon ran to the left and made the corner of the end zone for the score.

C.J. Bennett led the first team offense the second time they were on the field. He would lead the offense down the field but could not get into the end zone and they settled for a 37 yard Michel Chapuseaux field goal.

The second first-team touchdown would be from a combination of Gibbon and Bennett under center. With the offense facing fourth down from the defense’s 43 yard line, Myles would hit Bryant Lavender for a 14 yard gain on the left sideline. Then Bennett would enter the game who would fine Ralph Turner open on the right side of the field for a 29 yard touchdown. The series covered 60 yards in six plays.

The second-team offense would have it’s best drive of the day on their first possession of the game with Bennett at quarterback. He would start the series off with a 14 yard completion to Lamontis Gardner. Then after a handoff for a short gain, he complete a pass to Gardner for eight more yards and a second first down of the series. But the series would come to an end after a fumbled handoff on third down was recovered by the offense and forced them to punt.

Bennett went 5 of 8 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown, Brennan Sim completed three for 27 yards and Gibbon completed one for 14 yards. Corey Besteda, Gardner and Lavender each caught two passes while Ralph Turner led the receivers with a touchdown and 29 yards on one reception.

Coach Jones had the following to say after the scrimmage: “We changed things up, but I thought we looked a little sharper. There were a few penalties out there, which we have to get corrected in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it was a good day. It was more like a game, we called all the special teams out there so they had to be alert on the sidelines. My overall feeling is that the offense and defense got better, and special teams were pretty consistent.”

He continued, “We will evaluate this film and go into next week with an idea of who our ones and twos will be. Of course, it’s not over because these kids compete for jobs every day, but we have to find a starting point when we begin next week.”

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Jaguars Hit The Practice Field In Shells

August 9, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Sunday

Sunday saw the Jags hit the field with shells while adding more contact. The hits were easy to hear and were definitely hard but full tackling was not allowed. They were only allowed to hit and hold up short of bringing someone to the ground.

Sunday’s practice began with more special teams practice. On Friday, they began with punt coverage but on Sunday they began with kickoff coverage. After beginning with special teams, the Jags then broke off into positional drills. Quarterbacks worked with receivers on timing and routes while running backs worked on handoffs and blocking. Linebackers, defensive linemen and defensive backs all working on basics as well.

After positions, the Jags then went into an inside drill session, which actually had the Jags hitting for the first time in summer camp. The offensive and defensive units swapped players in and out numerous times to more reps in for the new players. As Coach Jones said after practice, “The only way you can find out about guys is by giving them reps. I think we have some good young players who can build some depth for us at each position. Today, I felt like we got more people in practice, and we need to continue to do that.”

After the inside drill, the offensive and defensive linemen seperated to work on individual position technique. The secondary, linebackers, receivers and running backs worked against each other in pass coverage drills.

Monday

Similar to before, they had an 11-on-11 live-action session for ten plays. Freshman running back T.J. Glover rushed twice and broke one off the left end for 25 yards. In the two carries, he totaled about 30 yards but impressed the coaches and onlookers in the process. The Jaguars running backs coach Tommy Perry said, “He’s fast and you notice it. We’re trying to make things work so we can get him the ball in space, because he is electric. He’s a freshman, so he has to learn what to do, but as a coach you get excited when you see that extra gear, because he definitely has that.”

I would definitely look for Glover to be used in motions, misdirections and screen plays in the coming year with his speed.

The defense stepped up on six plays by stopping the offense for no gain on three rushes. They also forced two incomplete passes and and interception by redshirt freshman Eddy Cabrera.

After the 11-on-11 session, the offense worked on picking up the blitz with the defense. The first play of the drill saw Myles Gibbon hit Bryant Lavender, a freshmen, on a go route for 30 yards. Brennan Sim went 3-for-3 in the passing drill averaging close to seven yards per pass. He completed passes to Jereme Jones and Courtney Smith.

Monday was another practice in shells for the Jaguars. Practice began with a period of special teams practice, again focusing on kickoff returns and ended the practice with kickoff coverage.

The practice was similar to what the Jags will continue to do throughout preseason camp, but only with shells and limited hitting. They had multiple periods of third down situational drills and multiple 11-on-11 drills.

The first third down situational drill had the offensive line and running backs practice running plays against the defensive interior. On the other side of the field, quarterbacks and receivers worked against defensive backs  in coverage. During this set of drills, Anthony Taylor and Charlie Higgenbotham came away with sacks as well as forcing and recovering a fumble.

One of the 11-on-11 sessions was running plays in the red zone. The offense started witht he goal of making a first down starting at the 20. On the first play, Sim connected with Courtney Smith for a nine yard gain, short of the first down when Anton Graphenreed tackled Smith one yard shy of the first. The offense then had two big gains on the defense with Houston on a rush and a screen play to Johnny Lockett from C.J. Bennett. But the defense held on the next two plays.

The final 11-on-11 of the day continued the outstanding play by the defense. They only allowed two first down in ten plays with three consecutive sacks. Jake Johnson was in on two of them as well as Ben Giles and Ucambre Williams. The first play saw the offense make a first down with a pass from Sim to Courtney Smith on a slant. The offense’s only other first down was on a quarterback draw by Raymond Cotton on their last play.

The offense was hot early in the third down 7-on-7 drills. They converted about half of their attempts with Bennett being responsible for four first downs with four completions to four different players. Brennan Sim helped to get three first down. Only two Jaguars, Taylor Noon and Bryant Lavender, caught two passes for first downs.

Coach Jones commented on the practice afterwards by saying, “It was a very good practice, though I thought we had a little lull in the middle to latter part for the first time. That’s normal, and what I was proud of is that they fought back at the end of practice. We’re in the middle of nine straight days of practice, and that ‘s tough. They just have to get a little better every day, and so far we have improved.”

The Jags continue their nine consecutive days of practice on Tuesday when they don full pads for the first time this preseason camp.