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.

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.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-20

October 20, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Chuck Dunn, the outside linebackers coach, joined Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian at Wing’s Sports Grill for the show on Tuesday. Once again Coach Jones ordered the ‘unofficial’ Joey Jones Special, which is the black and white chicken platter with steamed broccoli.

Lee asked Coach Jones about an email that a listener sent that they didn’t get to cover last week. They asked if the records from this year, like the win-loss, rushing yards etc. would be included in the future since we are not playing Division-I schools. Coach Jones said they would, they may have an asterisk by them but yes they will be kept for the future.

Lee also had a question about red shirting. They were wondering if he was going to be red shirting anyone this year, is anyone being red shirted right now? Coach Jones answered that they are doing some red shirting, they have some players that are being red shirted this year and they will look at it next year as well. He also mentioned that they have to, they have to plan ahead and spread their graduation classes out. They have to look four and five years down the road to plan that out so they don’t have 40+ players graduating in one year.

It was mentioned about Brandon Ross, how he has two more years of eligibility after this season. Lee asked wouldn’t they like to have a player like him around when they reach Division-I play. Coach Jones said yes they definitely would and that they have talked to him about that and have worked it out.

Talking about Louisburg, Coach Jones said they may have under estimated them a bit at first. The game film they got was from pretty far away so they couldn’t tell their size and were caught a little off guard by their speed.

Lee asked Coach Jones which of the quarterbacks played better on Saturday. He said he thought they all played better. Myles played better, completed more passes and managed the game well. Brennan Sim came in and threw a couple really good passes. He said he was proud of them.

Back to Brandon Ross, Lee asked how did Memphis ever let him go. Coach Jones said he didn’t know but he was sure glad they did. Coach Jones said he was a great running back and has a lot of potential. But said if he learns how to run every play like its his last, then he could continue his career in the NFL.

Lee asked Coach Dunn what kind of rotation he had for the outside linebackers and if he was satisfied with it. He said that he was satisfied and that hey had three guys in the rotation, Josh Chestang, Clifton Crews and Logan Bennett. He said they are a great good and probably the most coachable group of players he has ever had.

Lee asked how Coach Dunn and Coach Crain, who coaches the inside linebackers, coordinate to coach the linebackers. He said they are good friends and do a good job communicating.

Lee asked if it was easier to be an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker in the Jaguars defensive scheme. Coach Dunn answered that both are tough. Coach Clark asks the linebackers to be the quarterbacks of the whole defense basically.

Coach Jones said that they are more than just two positions of linebackers, inside and outside. Everything has gotten much more specialized now. The inside linebackers are covering the A gaps and the B gaps as well as chasing the ball outside. The outside linebackers are really covering two halves of the field, they have to contain the quarterback and running backs inside and not get outside of their defense. They can rush the passer from the edge and drop back into coverage. He said he thought the outside linebackers really had to learn more as far as different skill sets than inside linebackers.

Lee asked if their decision to run the ball more came from the weather being so windy. Coach Jones confirmed that and said that they had planned to throw the ball more but the wind was blowing 25 MPH. He watched snaps before the game and saw the ball get blown two feet to the side before the ball reached punter. Thus if the quarterback throws the ball down the field then its probably going to get blown six feet which can cause interceptions to happen.

Coach Jones talked further about the Jaguar passing game by stressing that the Jags definitely have to become a better passing team. He said that that is their goal this week is to improve their passing game and he wants to really put the ball in the air in the next two games.

Lee was a little surprised by Coach Jones commentary and asked why when they are running the football so well. What difference does it make? Coach Jones answered by saying that he wants them to be a complete team, a better team by the end of the year. In staff meetings and player meetings they said they want to work on their weaknesses and their weakness on offense is their passing game. Coach Jones said he thinks that the Jags are an average passing team and a great running team right now. He did qualify his answer by saying that they are not going to sacrifice a win just to throw the ball more. If they are struggling throwing the ball, then they will run the ball if that is what works.

The next question asked was about the consideration about the wind in the game against Louisburg. Lee asked how much consideration went into it before the coin toss. He then mentioned remembering hearing about Coach Saban in a recent windy game that he based everything so that he had the wind at his back in the fourth quarter. Coach Jones said they certainly consider that in game situations. One thing they have to look at is the time of day. Coach Jones said that they wanted the wind in the first quarter because they thought it would be the strongest and that it would die down in the evening. But if you know that the game will be gusty the whole time, then you would want the wind at your back in the fourth quarter.

Coach Jones was then asked why the offense took so long to get going against Louisburg. He answered that it was probably a couple things, the first he mentioned was that maybe it was his fault that he did not prepare them well enough and he took full blame for that. The second thing was that the defensive front showed a look that was not on film and so the first couple series the line was confused about where to go and who to block. Then it was a matter of one guy making a mistake while everyone else did their job and that one guy came through to make a play.

Coach Jones then mentioned how it goes on offense versus defense. On offense everyone has to do their job and if one guy messes up it can throw everything off. While on defense you want all 11 players going to the ball but it only takes one guy to make a play thats the difference.

The injury report was slim yet again. John Mark Patrick still has the knee problem but the good news is that he came onto the field in Monday’s practice to do some drills and light workouts. Coach Jones said that hopefully, by next week, he might be able to play. That depends on if they can get him ready in time. Its still touch and go really. They had a couple people injured yesterday that were just one or two day issues and that they should be back this week.

Lee asked Coach Dunn if the Jags practices were tougher than the games. Coach Dunn replied that they get after it and Coach Jones does a good job of setting up practices where they get good competition against each other.

They have talked before about putting together an offensive game plan for a game, so Lee asked Coach Dunn about how they go about putting together a defensive game plan. It all starts with Coach Clark obviously, but Lee asked what part Coach Dunn plays in that process. He answered that his part is that he takes the opponent and breaks them down play by play, personnel, down and distance, formation, strong, weak and other factors. He compiles all of that into what they call a hit chart. He breaks it down into formations, both right and left, and if its a run or pass and where they threw it or where they ran it. He then gets a percentage and gives the numbers to Coach Clark so he can plan according to that.

Coach Jones said he likes to know what is going on in the defense but he doesn’t get into the middle of it all the time. He mentioned that he is a 3-4 guy. Lee asked him why to which he answered that from an offensive standpoint blocking an odd front (3 is odd, 4 is even) there are several ‘bubbles’ that can change in a 3-4 scheme. But against an even front like a 4-3 or even a 4-4, there are more predetermined ‘bubbles’. Coach Jones said that based on his standpoint from the offense, there is a better running game against a 4-3 than a 3-4 because of the predetermined ‘bubbles’. Based on their game plan and play list, when they play against a 4-3 defense their run play list was more than they had against a 3-4 defense. So that tells Coach Jones that if you can hold up with 3 guys on the defensive front and hold the running game then you have a better chance to stop and offense.

Coach Dunn said that they (the linebacker coaches) like the 3-4 because its a chance to put more speed on the field. The offense tries to match the personnel, but with the 3-4 they can keep the same guys on the field no matter what the offensive formation.

Lee then mentioned how they have talked about the wildcat formation and how its just a throwback to the old days and the single wing and box formations. He asked how long it will be before the defenses catch up to what the offenses are doing.

Coach Jones said that he does not think that the offenses have explored the offense enough in college. He mentioned the offenses they used in High School when he was coaching that utilized the shotgun and was very multi-dimensional with it all the way back in 2000 and 2001. But he said that it involved the quarterback running the ball a lot. The Jags does not use that wildcat formation because they don’t have to put someone back there that can run because they feel that the quarterbacks are athletic enough as it is.

The quiz question was name the player who had the most sacks in the game versus Louisburg JC. The Vanguard’s own Hannah Skewes answered and won with Josh Chestang. Check out her work online.

Lee and Coach Jones also mentioned that the Jags will be sporting a slightly different look on October 31. Instead of wearing their red jerseys with white pants they are going all red. Red jersey’s and red pants to take on Fork Union Military. Come on out to Ladd-Peebles Stadium and bring your kids. If they wear their costume or the jersey of their favorite team (which should be the Jags) they will get in free. Plus they will have some extra special kids activities since its Halloween.

Go Jags!

Jags Roll Up Another Impressive Victory To Stay Undefeated

October 18, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags posted another big win on Saturday with their 41-7 victory over Louisburg JC. Brandon Ross scored a season best three touchdowns in the win with 138 yards on 13 carries.

The Jags started out slow on this windy, chilly day. The Jags and the Hurricanes traded possessions and both sides were less than stellar punting the ball. But finally the Jags got their offense in gear after holding Louisburg to a three-and-out situation. Brandon Ross found a hole and broke free for a 60-yard run before the Hurricanes stopped him five yards short of the goal line. Anthony Mostella scored up the middle on the very next play to give the Jags a 7-0 lead.

Ross’ big run would be the only premiere play of the first quarter as both teams would combine for less than 100 yards of offense and seven punts.

The second quarter was a much different story. The Jags would rack 173 yards to 46 yards for the Hurricanes in the second quarter alone. With 7:50 left until halftime, the Jags would march 50 yard in five plays which was capped off by a 10 yard touchdown run by Brandon Ross for a 14-0 advantage.

Ross would get his second touchdown run of the game with 4:26 left in the half with a two yard run to top off a four play 60 yard drive in 1:21 to put the Jags up 21-0.

The Jags would drive once more before halftime to add to their lead. Lead by Myles Gibbon, the Jags went 77 yards in seven plays taking 1:49 off the clock. Gibbon would find Kevin Helms wide open in the left corner of the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown reception. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT leaving the Jags up 27-0 with 53 seconds until halftime.

A good kickoff return to start the second half would set up the Jags at the Louisburg 34 yard line and it would only take the Jags 43 seconds to find the endzone. Brandon Ross would get his third touchdown of the day to top off the three play 34 yard scoring drive with a 20 yard romp for the score. Chapuseaux would make the PAT to put the Jags up 34-0.

The Jags would kickoff after the touchdown and the Louisburg return man would bobble the ball and retreat back trying to find a hole to advance but would be tackled at the one yard line. This would lead to the Hurricane’s longest sustained drive of the game. Going 11 plays for 33 yards in 6:52 before punting away to the Jaguars.

The Jags would start at their own 20 yard line and drive 80 yards in nine plays. Santuan McGee would finish up the scoring for the Jags with a one yard run for the touchdown, putting the Jags up 41-0 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

The Hurricanes would avoid the shutout though. Driving 60 yards in seven plays in 3:03. The big spark was a 30 yard pass play to the Jaguar one yard line to set up the touchdown. It was the one and only time the Hurricanes made it into the red zone all day. The touchdown capped the scoring for the game with the final score being 41-7.

The next two Jaguar drives would end with fumbles before the final possession ran out the clock to end the game.

The Jags had 474 total yards for the game, 310 rushing and 164 passing with 22 first downs. Louisburg had 222 total yards, 52 rushing and 170 passing with 12 first downs.

A total of 10 Jaguars carried the ball for the 310 yards. Brandon Ross led the way with 13 carries and 138 yards, Ralph Turner had 2 carries for 49 yards, Santuan McGee 6 carries for 41 yards were the highlights.

Myles Gibbon was 6-of-9 for 89 yards and a touchdown, Brennan Sim was 6-for-7 for 70 yards and Nick Owens completed his only attempt for five yards.

Nine Jaguars combined for the 13 receptions. Courtney Smith had 2 for 25 yards, Drew Ezell had 2 for 23 yards, Kevin Helms had 2 for 15 yards and the only touchdown reception of the game, and Corey Besteda also had 2 for 13 yards to round out the multiple catch receivers.

Josh Chestang, Anton Graphenreed and Justin Dunn all had five tackles for the Jags.

Brandon Ross spoke after the game about his performance. “I always practice keeping my feet moving. I’m still trying to get better at it,” he said. “I do not want to get tackled by one person. If I’m going to get tackled, I’d rather get tackled by a group of defenders.”

Coach Jones mentioned Ross’ running in the post game press conference. “We challenged him to run like that every play. He’s starting to understand that he’s got a 230-pound body that’s hard to tackle,” coach Jones said. “When you lower your shoulders and a free safety is coming up to tackle a guy like that, that’s a tough thing to tackle. When he learns to run like that all the time, he’s got a chance to be a great one. He’s got a chance to be a very special running back and probably play beyond college.”

Gibbon also commented on Ross’ running ability as well as the entire running back stable. “Brandon is a great running back; everyone has seen that,” Gibbon said. “Even when he gets tired and we take him out, we have another three running backs that can get in the game and get the ball rolling. Having good running backs makes our lives a lot easier.”

Coach Jones further commented about the Jags play. “I thought we came out and played fairly well. The biggest thing we’re challenging our kids with is no matter who we’re playing, we’ve got to play with character,” Jones said. “We’ve got to practice with character, we’ve got to work hard to study our opponents film, and we’ve got to not change anything about the way we prepare for a game. That was our challenge this week. I thought the kids did that, they were prepared.”

Louisburg head coach John Sala gave a glowing commentary about the Jags in the post game press conference. “We came into this game with the mind-set to win it. We had a great chance and thought we could do a really good job,” he said. “Give a lot of credit to South Alabama. When they are that sound fundamentally and you have those types of players, that is a hard combination to beat. We go against better players all the time, but none that are that well-coached. That combination is just hard to beat at any level.”

The Jags will have next Saturday off before hosting Fork Union Military Academy on Saturday October 31 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium with kickoff set for 4pm.

Jaguars First Fall Scrimmage Was Full Of Big Plays From Both Sides Of The Ball

August 15, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach Jones looking over the field at the Jags first fall scrimmage.

Big plays was the name of the game at the University of South Alabama‘s first fall scrimmage. Both offense and defense put on a good show for the crowd who came out for the scrimmage.

The offense collectively had 393 yards and score six touchdowns on the day. The defense posted 15 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as well.

Myles Gibbon lead the first team offense and completed 8-of-11 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Brennan Sim went 5-of-7 for 78 yards. The Jags totalled 217 yards through the air for the game. Courtney Smith lead the Jags with three catches for 68 yard and two touchdowns. Corey Besteda also caught three passes. Corey Waldon had two receptions for 61 yards.

Santuan McGee had 74 yards on eight carries to lead the Jaguars rushing attack. Anthony Mostella had 11 carries for 55 yards. Ellis Hill had 10 carries for 34 yards and Eli Smith had 19 yards. Each of the listed rushers reached the endzone.

The defense was led by Justin Dunn who had 10 tackles. Clifton Crews had seven tackles with four of them for a loss and a team high three sacks. Alex Phifer also had seven tackles. Charlie Higgenbotham, Bryson James and Enrique Williams all had six tackles. Josh Chestang, Andy Dalgleish and Anton Graphenreed all had two sacks each. In the second half, Marquise Diamond came away with the only turnover on an interception near the goal line. The defense allowed less than three yards per carry.

The defense was strong at first, only allowing one first down in the offense’s first four possesions of the scrimmage. However, the offense adjusted and had four big running plays. Eli Smith started it with a 12 yard run, followed by Gibbon’s scramble for 11 yards, then Smith ran for seven yards and finally McGee broke free on the left sideline for a 30 yard touchdown.

Gibbon took a short break while Sim guided the offense for two series. When Gibbon came back onto the field he immediately made a big play. The safeties bit on a play-action fake and Gibbon took advantage with a strike to Courtney Smith for a 55 yard touchdown pass.

The next two series would see the offense start to threaten but the defense would respond with a big play. The first series the offense had three plays of 12 yards or more to get down to the 15 yard line. But the defense would sack Gibbon which lead to a missed field goal by Jordan Means. The next series saw the offense get down to the 24 yard line before stopping Hill for a four yard loss and another missed field goal.

Gibbon returned to lead the offense after the half-time break. The offense started at midfield with McGee opening with a six yard run. Then Ralph Turner was stopped for a two yard loss on a completed pass. Then Gibbon scampered for 10 yards for the first down. Three consecutive run plays gave the offense another first down at the 24 yard line. However Gibbon was sacked on first down for a six yard loss putting the pressure on the offense with a second-and-16 on the 30 yard line. But Gibbon stepped up and found Corey Waldon for a 29 yard gain and a first-and-goal inside the one yard line. Eli Smith was stopped behind the line for a loss of five yards but would score on the following play.

Nick Owens had his best drive of the day two series later. He completed both of this two pass attempts and ran twice for 14 yards. Again, Eli Smith broke a six yard touchdown run, this time up the middle.

Brennan Sim lead a drive late in the day day. He hit Waldon for 32 yards to set up for a 13 yard scoring run by Ellis Hill. Then on the final drive of the day, Eli Smith had runs of nine and four yards to set up Nick Owens for a two-yard touchdown pass to Courtney Smith, his third of the day.

Key third down stops by the defense lead to four missed field goals on the day. They stopped Mostella short of a first down in the red zone on a pass reception. They forced two three-and-outs and ended another drive by stopping Eli Smith short of a first down on a fourth-and-three on the 13 yard line.

“I thought it was a good day, it was a typical first scrimmage. The guys were a little nervous out there with the crowd,” said Coach Jones. “But that’s the reason you do this, to get them exposed to game situations. We have two more weekends to do this.”

Coach Jones continued, “The effort was there, though we did get a little tired towards the end. The emotional level might not have been as high as it has been this month, but the bottom line is that a lot of the things we need to look at will be on film. The biggest thing the guys need to take from today is to learn from their experiences out there.”

“It went well today, we did a little better than I think we should have because it’s harder for the offense going against a defense that has seen our plays for a couple of weeks now,” said first team quarterback Myles Gibbon. “We had some ups and downs, but overall I thought we did pretty well.”

“You can always get into a rhythm, but all it takes is one bad play to get you out of it,” Gibbon explained. “Once we start moving, we want to stay consistent and keep pounding the ball – we don’t want our heads to get too big. If we get good protection up front a big play is going to happen. Our front five blocked well every time we made a big play today,” he continued. “Any time a quarterback can drop back and not feel pressured by the rush, he’s going to be able to throw the ball up and complete some long passes.”

“We ran the football a little better offensively, and had a couple of big throws as well,” Jones commented. “I was proud of the way that the quarterbacks controlled things on the field, and our running backs are really coming along. I think we can stick any of our running backs on the field and they will make plays.”

But Coach Jones reiterated, “Still, we had too many plays on first down where we lost eight or 10 yards – now you’re stuck with second-and-long, which the offense didn’t realize until they were put in a game situation. When it happens in practice and you lose eight yards it’s no big deal because you’re not driving to score a touchdown. In a scrimmage situation, they realize what a problem it is to overcome second-and-18.”

“Defensively I think our team speed is very good,” said Coach Jones. “We need to find a couple more guys who can play in the secondary and come through for us. The defense is playing real hard, their coaches have them playing at a fast pace. We’ve got to do a better job of preventing big plays – anytime you can keep the offense from breaking a big play you give yourself a chance to win the ball game.”

With a crowd of about 1,000 people turning out for this first scrimmage, it was quite refreshing to see the support from the area. The support really impressed some of the players as well. Myles Gibbon said, “It was interesting, this was bigger than anything I’ve seen back home. It’s nice to have that support and have a lot of people come out. They don’t know what to expect yet, so it’s nice that they were out here rooting for us.” He also said they were tired and a bit beat up from the last two weeks of camp. He also mentioned the pain in his legs when running the ball, but his strength of character, his leadership and the crowd helped him to keep going.

“What I told the kids is that we’ve been on the field for two weeks. We have two more weeks, and then we have a game week, so we’re really just halfway through camp,” said Coach Jones. “We’re not a finished product yet. If we get a little better every day, we’ll be fine in a couple of weeks.”

With classes starting on Monday, August 17th, the Jaguars will begin practicing at 3:30pm.

Jaguars Wrap Up Week One And Begin The Critical Week Two Of Practice

August 11, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Saturday August 8, 2009

Saturday morning the Jaguars hit the field for their fifth consecutive day of fall practice. But this day the Jaguars took the field in full pads for the first time this fall.

They started the practice with about an hour of drills then the offensive and defensive units played against each other in a full-contact ‘mini’ scrimmage.

Myles Gibbon took the majority of snaps with the first-team offense, however Coach Jones was quick to say that its still too early to name a starting quarterback. “We’ve got three guys working,” he said. “Kyle Stewart would be involved, but he’s injured right now. With the other three it’s close. Some guys do things better than others, but I’m really holding back until we see them for a couple of weeks because you don’t want to make a comment based on one or two practices.”

Gibbon was quoted after practice saying, “We all have different abilities that we excel in, so we’re all just battling for that spot. Every time we make a good throw it boosts us up, or every time we make a good read it boosts us up. Coach is right, it’s really close right now.”

The Jaguars offensive line opened some holes to help create a couple long runs and also helped Sophomore running back Brandon Ross score a 12-yard touchdown (an the only touchdown) at the end of practice.

Coach Jones thought the defensive unit was pretty good at times but also mentioned they gave up too many big runs. He continued, “If we can stop that, stop the 25 or 30-yard run, and make that a seven-yard run, then I’d feel a lot better about what we’re doing. But we can’t give up 25 and 30-yard runs.”

The practice ended with a bit of competition for the kickers. Each of the four place kickers lined up for 42-yard field goals to determine how many gassers the team would have to run. The offensive and defensive units formed a tunnel down the hash marks to cheer them on, and also to give them some pressure. combined they went 2-for-4 but Coach Jones gave them a double or nothing opportunity, which the team accepted. However the final attempt was just a little wide right, thus the team had four gassers to end practice.

Coach Jones commented about the end of practice competition by saying, “We want to continue to do that with our kickers. We want to constantly put pressure on them, because that’s what it is – they have to run out on the field after standing on the sideline for 30 minutes to kick a game-winning field goal. We’re trying to get them used to that situation. If you apply a lot of pressure on the kids in practice then the games are easy.”

The real challenge is coming in the second week of practice according to Coach Jones. “The first game is going to depend on how we do this second week. I’ve been coaching for about 18 years now, and that second week is vitally important for us to get better. It’s like I told the players, we’re in a tunnel right now and there’s not a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve just got to keep working and working and working until we find some light, and hopefully that’s going to be here in about two or three weeks.”

Sunday was the teams first day off of fall camp but they returned to the field on Monday at 7am.

Monday August 10, 2009

The Jaguars are entering the second and most critical week of practice according to Coach Jones. This week ushers in the first two-a-day practices and their first fall scrimmage. “We’ve challenged the team,” Coach Jones said. “This second week has to be the best week of practice we’re going to have. “What we do this week is going to determine our identity. This is not a fun week – there’s no game coming up, they’re tired, we have two-a-days; all reasons for them to quit and give up – so if we can do it this week we will be able to do it throughout the year. If we can fight through that this week I know that we will get better as a football team during the rest of the season.”

The staff has several goals this week according to Coach Jones. They need to develop a depth chart, make progress with the playbook and focus on a segment of special teams that did not receive a lot of work in the first five practices. Coach Jones wants to hone the Jaguar kicking game. He said, “We’ve worked on parts of it so far, but we need to start putting that together so we have our base packages in by the end of the week. We also need to find out who our special teams players are going to be, and that goes back to the depth chart. We want to find guys who are backups, but good athletes who want to play – I’d rather have those guys on special teams in the game if they can earn the spot.” Coach Jones continued, “In an ideal world you want every special teams guy to be a backup player, but we are going to put our best players out there on special teams because we want to win. This just opens a door for backups to get on the field.”

Improvement was the running theme after practice from several players. Redshirt freshman linebacker Josh Chestang commented that the depth chart can change every day, so they have to continue to improve every day and not give up. Also redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trey Clark said, “Despite the heat and the two-a-days, we need to get better every day.”

Monday’s practice went from 7am until about 9am but starting on Tuesday, they will begin two-a-days with the first starting at 7am and the second starting at 3:30pm with each expecting to last about two hours.

After five straight days of practice last week, Sunday was a good day of rest for the team. Defensive coordinator Bill Clark said, “It was nice. We went to church and had a nice lunch before coming back for some meetings,” It gave us a chance to get our legs back underneath us, so it was good to have the day off. We needed it, especially after three days of hitting and getting after it.”

After five grueling days of practice, Coach Jones knew that the team needed a break. “Any time you go through a long week of practice, your body and your mind get worn down,” said Coach Jones. He also followed that up with a good compliment about Monday mornings practice by saying, “But, they responded great this morning.” Furthermore, he gave the team some high praise to begin this critical and challenging week by saying, “This is one of the best groups I have ever been around as far as coming out prepared mentally and physically for practice. I haven’t been around a group like this in a long time.”

The practice started with about 15 minutes of kickoff coverage adn return drills. Then this was followed by about 25 minutes of position drills. Next the offense and defense broke off into two units to square off in the next drill. Offensive line and running backs against the defensive front seven and safeties while the quarterbacks and receivers worked against defensive backs.

Around mid way through practice, the offense ran 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills against linebackers and db’s for about 15 minutes. The final 50 minutes of practice was situational work. About 20 minutes was devoted to running plays against scout teams.

The offense had three downs to get the first. On its first three attempts, they were successful. It was started with an eight yard run by Brandon Ross on the first snap. Nick Owens hit Corey Besteda on third down to get a first down. Then Gibbon hit Ralph Turner with a pass for another first down. But then the defense responded with three stops in a row, which included with two possessions ending with fumble recoveries. The second fumble was forced by Matt Saucier and recovered by Alex Page.

The day ended with about 10 minutes of third down situational drills.

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.