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.

Jaguars Defense Held Strong In Second Scrimmage Of The Spring

March 7, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach Jones and his staff oversee the second scrimmage of the spring at the Jaguar Practice Facility on the South Alabama Campus on Saturday.

The Jaguar defense had another impressive outing in Saturday’s scrimmage at the Jaguar Practice Facility on campus. The first and second teams both combined to only allow a single touchdown prior to red zone drills.

Ken Barefield lead the defense with 12 tackles and an interception with Justin Dunn and Tim Harvey adding six more tackles each. Romelle Jones added five tackles and a group of six others added four tackles each.

The defensive unit had 18 tackles for loss, six of those being sacks and three of them being credited to Tony Threatt.

Brennan Sim lead the first team offense and went 7-for-17 for 80 yards and lead them to their first points on the third drive my their team. Four of the first five plays were rushes by Eli Smith, who gained 31 yards. A Sim pass to Kelly Vail put them on the 16 yard line before Vail was caught for a loss of 12 yards on a reverse. Michel Chapuseaux capped off the drive with a 42 yard field goal.

The first team offense finally found the end-zone on its last drive after Sim completed three straight passes. The final of the three consecutive passes came on fourth-and-two when he found Kevin Helms for a 28 yard touchdown.

The third team offense was the only other team to put the ball into the end zone for the day. It was the third teams’ first drive and Gabe Graham was facing a third-and-six from their own 39 yard line. Graham would find Bryant Lavender near the left hashmark and he would break a tackle for the 61 yard touchdown.

During the red zone drill, the offense would score on all three possessions. Smith would score on a rush up the middle for five yards. Myles Gibbon would connect with Andrew Martin for an eight yard touchdown. Then Ellis Hill would pound it into the end zone on a fourth-and-one play.

Bryant Lavendar would lead the Jags with 74 yards receiving on two receptions. Jereme Jones had a team high of four catches for 39 yards. While Courtney Smith would add three catches for 20 yards and Ralph Turner would catch two for 37 yards.

Eli Smith would lead the ground game with 13 rushes for 39 yards, while Ryan Scott would add 36 and Santuan McGee would add 31.

As mentioned before, Brennan Sim would complete 7-of-17 passes for 80 yards while Myles Gibbon would go 6-of-9 for 89 yards and the only interception of the day. Gabe Graham completed 4-of-5 passes for 97 yards.

The totals was 266 yards passing, 169 yards rushing for a total oof 435 total yards.

Coach Jones commented on the performance by the defense after the scrimmage. “That’s pretty much what we’ve seen all spring,” he said. “The defense did a good job of stopping the run, they really played well early in the scrimmage. I’m proud of those guys.”

Coach Jones then continued to speak about the offenses performance. “Offensively I thought we got a little better as the scrimmage went on. I told the team afterwards that we’ve just gotten better. When you watch film, I’m not so much worried about the results or how many touchdowns there were. We’re looking at individual plays and the fundamentals, we’ll worry about the scoreboard in the fall. The bottom line is that I’m real proud of the team, we’ve had a great spring thus far. We have achieved our goals.”

The Jags will practice on Monday and Tuesday morning at the Jaguar Practice Facilities on campus. Then Spring Practice will conclude with an intrasquad game on Wednesday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 6pm. Which Coach Jones had this to say about it. “The players are really excited [about Wednesday’s game]. They have already went through a player draft and formed two teams. I look at it that those guys will go out and have fun, because the bottom line is that evaluations are pretty much done. The teams will be split, which usually leads to things being a little out of synch. I’m not going to worry about that.”.

This will definitely make for an interesting end to the spring session.

Jags Spring Practice Is Winding Down

March 5, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags started the week with a lively practice on Monday morning after playing hard and getting beat up in last Saturday’s scrimmage. But much to Coach Jones’ delight, they came out and worked hard.

The players know they have a limited amount of time to impress the coaches with the end of Spring practice closing in. With practices on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week before tomorrow’s scrimmage, time is quickly running out.

Monday’s play was highlighted by improved play from the offensive line, which is something Coach Jones wants to see on a regular basis. While Wednesday’s practice was highlighted by some situational drills pitting offense against defense on full 11-on-11 play.

One of the drills was red zone play with a couple of big plays from Kelly Vail with a 21-yard reverse for a touchdown and a 19 yard catch on 3rd-and-10 to set up another touchdown.

The other full team drill was running third down plays with varying distances for the first down.

On Thursday the team had a light workout in preparation for the scrimmage on Saturday.

Coach Jones spoke about Wednesday’s practice by saying, “It was a real good day today. The offense came out and got better, and the defense played real hard. The defense has been knocking the offense around a little bit, but offensively we came out and competed, which is good. We’re creating competition out here every day, and have really gotten better not only from last fall to now but from the beginning of the spring to this point. We haven’t wasted a day.”

The offense did well throwing the ball in last Saturday’s scrimmage. However they were pounded by the defense whenever they tried to run the ball. But this week they have responded well as Coach Jones observes, “They got knocked around a little bit, but when your back is up against the wall you tend to react one way or another. Thank God they reacted in a positive way. They came out and worked and took it to heart. It’s not that the offense has come out and dominated, but they have gotten better. That’s what you’re looking for.”

But Jones is also pleased with the defense’s ability to stop the run as well as the offense’s attack developing more balance. The team has improved from last season as Coach Jones also comments about, “If you look where we were at the end of last season and where we are now, we’re a much better football team. We have a long way to go, but the bottom line is that we have improved, and a lot of that is an offseason in the weight room, maturity and experience. When you have a bunch of freshmen, the learning curve is going to be steep.”

Saturday’s scrimmage should be about 120 plays covering a variety of game situations beginning at 11am. Coach Jones said, “We’re interested in reps. We want to get them out there and put them in situations that we know we need to cover.”

He further said, “This is going to be what I call the last day of spring. We’re going to get everyone on the field so that we will be able to go back and look at the film to evaluate how they did ‘under the lights,’ so to speak. It’s going to be an important day for some of these guys. Some players know their positions are on the line and that they will need to come through on Saturday.”

This scrimmage will be the 12th of their 15 for the spring. With only two more practices scheduled before Wednesday’s spring game, or what Thunderjags refers to as the JagDay game. The JagDay Game will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium beginning at 6pm with the parking lot opening at 3pm for tailgating.

Jaguars Hold First Scrimmage Of Spring Practice

February 28, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Saturday was the Jaguars first scrimmage of Spring practice and their focus was the passing game. Brennan Sim and Myles Gibbon each threw two touchdowns as the Jaguars offense racked up 286 yards through the air.

Sims was 11-of-21 with 172 yards with his two touchdowns while Gibbon went 6-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Gabe Graham completed all four of his passing attempts for 22 yards as well. The Jags had 11 different receivers catching passes on the day with Kelly Vail catching four passes for 111 yards. Courtney Smith caught three for 38 yards as well.

While the defense allowed more than eight yards per passing play, they only allowed 66 yards on 58 carries. Linebacker Justin Dunn and Defensive Lineman Darrius McMullin both lead the defense with seven tackles. Enrique Williams had five tackles including 1.5 for loss. Several others had four tackles. Defensive Back Jonathan Cameron had three tackles to go along with his three pass break-ups. Ken Barefield and Zach Brownell both forced fumbles.

Additionally, the defense was credited with 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage with 10 of them being quarterback sacks.

The first and second team defenses both held the offenses to three-and-outs on the possessions of the days. It was Gabe Graham, the third team quarterback, who would get the offense in gear when he completed a 10 yard pass to Courtney Smith to get the initial first down of the scrimmage.

The first team offense’s next series saw Sim find Kelly Vail inside the five yard line in stride but Brownell caught him from behind and forced a fumble that would roll out of the back of the end zone.

Two possessions later the offense would finally put the first points on the board. Ross would get a first down on his first carry, which would be followed up by Gibbon hitting Corey Besteda on the left sideline for a 49 yard touchdown.

The defense would answer with two consecutive three-and-outs with three sacks in those six plays. Then they ended the third possession when Eddie Cabrera hauled in an interception which he ran back 17 yards.

The first half of the scrimmage would see the offense getting five first downs but unable to score.

The second half of the scrimmage saw the defense open up with four three-and-outs before Brandon Ross would get two first downs for the offense. But no one was able to score.

It wasn’t until offensive possessions started at the defense’s 40 yard line was the final points of the day put on the board.

Sims found Kelly Vail for a 36 yard completion to move the offense inside the five yard line. Then three plays later Sim would find Ryne Baxter in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

Gibbon would helm the next drive which began with an 18 yard pass to Richard Ross but it would only lead to a 30 yard field goal by Jordan Means.

The final four drives of the day were first-and-goal from the nine yard line. The first ended with a 23 yard field goal by Michel Chapuseaux. The next saw Sim find Smith on a fourth down slant pattern for the eight yard score. The final possession had a nine yard touchdown pass to Robby Stoner from Myles Gibbon.

After the scrimmage, Coach Jones commented on how the Jags played. “Offensively, I think we are throwing the ball a little bit better. That has been an area that we have been looking to improve on. Our defense has just gotten tougher against the run, which is what you want to see. Last fall, it was a little bit porous at times against the offense, but they have done a great job of improving. Sure there are things that still need to be corrected, but I have been pleased with their efforts to stop the running game.”

“We’ve made some improvements in the last week-and-a-half, but we have got to have a great week this week,” Coach Jones continued. “The next four practices we have need to be great because when we get to Monday the week of the spring game we are basically going to be done at that point as far as trying to get better. I think the kids will respond to that challenge.”

The Jags will practice in pads on Monday with limited contact beginning at 7am then on Tuesday the team will resume tackling when they hit the field at 7:30am. The second of the three scrimmages this spring will be on Saturday, March 6. Practices this week and Saturday’s scrimmage will all be held at the Jaguar Practice Facility near the Jaguar Football Field house.

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.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-13

October 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Joey Jones joined with Lee Shirvanian and Dameyune Craig at Baumhower’s Wings Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for today’s show.

First question they are going to start with, now that the Jags are 3-0 and they have defeated what they think will be their best competition of the year. Where do you think this program is in terms of what level of competition could you compete with Division I-AA, Division II or division III. If you could redo the schedule where do you think they could go? Coach Jones talked to the team yesterday about some of their goals for the rest of the year and what they can do to get there. He then, kind of reluctantly, went on to talk scores. The #2 Junior College team beat Georgia Military 28-8 and the Jags beat them 31-3, but by the scores they could compete with that team. However, Coach Jones was quick to remind the listeners that it does not mean they could beat them but it indicates that they could compete with some of the best JC’s in the country.

Coach Jones then said they could probably get on the field with many of the Division I-AA schools, but not the Appalachian States or other traditional big schools in that division.

Lee then asked Coach Craig said he really didn’t know because they have alot of freshman. But that they have a really great group of kids that go out and work hard and learn, so its hard to compare. He thinks they could do well in Division II and maybe Division I-AA. He also thought they could probably do well in the SWAC conference.

Lee also mentioned that they tried to schedule Alabama State but it didn’t work out. But Coach Jones hopes to schedule them in the future thinking it would be a good game.

Lee mentioned that the team has a lot of Freshman but they also have a fair amount of Junior College linemen and asked if that was the difference for the team. Coach Jones said that they came in and gave the team a maturity factor that rubbed off on the younger guys. They are more calm with something bad happens in a game.

Lee followed up asking if the Jags would be looking to bring in some more Junior College players and transfers like Courtney Smith and others. Coach Jones said you should always look to better your team any way you can. Meaning that they have Brandon Ross that expressed an interest in coming to USA. The same with Charlie Higgenbotham. He said they have to spread their wealth, they took Brandon even though they had a pretty good line-up at running back because he was a difference maker.

Lee asked Coach Craig what positions they were looking to focus on this recruiting season. He answered that they are looking at defensive ends, cornerbacks and safeties. They feel pretty good about receivers and running backs but they can always use offensive lineman.

Looking back at Georgia Military, Coach Jones said that they knew that defensively they were a good team. Also they felt like there were some deficiencies on their offensive line that they could exploit and pressure the quarterback. They hurried and hit the quarterback a lot but didn’t get too him. The defense ran him around the field so much that at one point he had full body cramps and they also hit him every time he threw the football which was good for the Jags.

Lee asked about Michel Chapuseaux’s injury which Coach Jones said he was alright. It looked worse than it was and it scared him some. It was a hard hit but he’s okay. Offensive guard Jon Griffin turned an ankle but is expected to be fine for the game on Saturday. Then John Mark Patrick who continues to out due to his knee problem.

The offense only scored two touchdowns and didn’t have a chance to catch many passes because they didn’t throw much. They just want to do what they can to win, players are working hard to make a play when its their time and to just do their roll in the game plan.

Lee joked with Coach Craig about his days at Auburn and how the Georgia Military quarterback moved around to make plays. Coach Craig joked that his games ended better, he didn’t throw interceptions but rather threw more touchdowns. But he gave credit to Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, for doing an outstanding job with the guys on defense and that it has been a pleasure working with him and everyone on the staff.

He even included Coach Schwind the strength and conditioning coach on what a good job they have done and how well they work together. He continued saying that the summer workouts they did with the players getting them prepared for camp really made a huge difference.

A listener emailed in a question about the special teams punt coverage. He was saying that one punt went into the end zone where the coverage team had a chance to catch it close to the endzone but allowed it to hit and go in for a touch back. He wanted to ask if they are coached to catch it if they have a chance like that and the receiving team is not trying to catch it.

Coach Jones said that the kids are instructed to catch the ball in that instance. They have stressed that and have worked on it. He said as a coach he looks back on that and asks himself if they did that enough in practice and did they put their kids in that situation enough for them to make it happen in the game. He then said he takes full blame for that because they should work on that enough so that it becomes second nature to them.

Certain positions they are looking at Junior College players to recruit. But right now they are looking to find the best players at the positions that they are looking to fill in. If they could find some Junior College defensive backs, coach Craig said that would be great. It would help them to get more experience in the backfield. Lee then made the observation that Zach Brownell and company are doing a good job in the defensive backfield. Coach Craig said its more about creating depth. They are comfortable at certain positions about their depth but when if one player gets hurt and it completely changes your game plan, that is a pretty tough situation.

The Jags finally have back to back game weekends. It feels good to finally have this and the kids are ready for it too. But Coach Jones said they feel they have used the previous off weeks very wisely and it has paid off on the field.

After Coach Jones said previously that Georgia Military was going to be their biggest test of the year for the Jags. Where do they go now? Coach Jones said they are trying to teach these kids to work every day. This is something that will help them on the field and in life. He also told them if they come out onto the practice field and work for two hours every day and get a little bit better every day then they are going to be better the next game and better at the end of the season. Coach Jones says he does not like to talk about going undefeated but that is their goal for the season. But how do they get there? They don’t get there by talking about it every day. They work towards achieving that by going out and working hard to get a little bit better every day.

Lee said that previously that it was mentioned that they felt like some of their receivers could possibly play in the NFL. So Lee asked if that was possible and who they might be. Coach Craig said that Courtney Smith has the intangibles. He has size and speed but some things he needs to work on to get there and he is willing to work to get there. They also have some young guys that are being redshirted right now. Kelly Vail from LeFlore was also mentioned.

When asked by Lee about who has the best hands, Coach Craig answered it would either be Lim Windham or Corey Besteda.

Coach Craig again praised the other coaches on the staff and said that the biggest thing he learned was that they can get Freshmen ready to play. Before he thought that they just were not ready to play coming into the team but what Coach Jones and the rest of the staff have done has changed that. They got these player in summer so they could work out and it has payed off big time because they are ready to play.

Coach Jones said that Louisburg may not be as talented as GMJC but they are still talented. They have players committed to Temple and other schools like that. They mentioned that they like to roll out the red carpet to teams when they arrive to play the Jags. They like to show them around the field house and to show off their facilities. Coach Jones said he has not been to many schools but he is pretty confident that they probably have among the best if not the best facilities in the Sun Belt and probably are good enough to make some of the lower end SEC schools a bit envious.

No Letdown In Practice After The Programs First Victory

September 10, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon scrambling for a touchdown in Saturday’s historic 30-13 win in South Alabama first-ever football game against Hargrave Military Academy. – Photo by Doug Roberts.

Coach Jones was concerned on Tuesday that the team might have a lack of focus and intensity in practice. But on Tuesday he could tell they had leftover energy from Saturday’s big win over Hargrave Academy.

Wednesday’s practice began with about 15 minutes of special teams work, then it was following special teams was about 30 minutes of position drills. Next the offense had a 10 minute session of recognizing and picking up blitz’s from the defense then a 15 minute session of skeleton passing drills.

Then the Jags went into some situational work. They spent about 15 minutes in red zone situations with drives beginning at either the 20 or 25 yard lines. The first possession was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Eli Smith on fourth-and-goal. The very next offensive possession saw Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smtih for a 25 yard touchdown in the left corner of the end zone.

The defense forced a field goal attempt, which was missed. Then Gibbon found Kelly Vail on a crossing pattern which scored another touchdown when Vail found the pylon on the left side of the end zone. This touchdown was followed up by a defensive stop with another missed field goal attempt. Brennan Sim also threw for a touchdown.

Practice ended with 20 minute scrimmage with the Jags utilizing the second and third string players to develop experience and depth for the squad. Zach Rone sacked Brennan Sim twice to force a three-and-out on the first drive. Sim would lead the offense into the red zone on the next possession. Eli Smith started the drive with a nine-yard run to get a first down. Then Sim would complete passes of 21 and seven yards to Donte Rome to get two more first downs on the drive. A two yard run by Jeremy Pacillo would put the offense at the 18 yard line, but an Eddy Cabrera interception after an incomplete pass would end the drive at the five yard line.

The defense would force another three-and-out after a tackle for loss, a sack and a broken-up pass on third-and-16.

Gabe Graham would hit Josh Dees for a 12 yard first down pass to get to the Offense’s 49 yard line. A three yard pass to Rome would move the offense across midfield, but he was sacked on fourth down to end the day.

Coach Jones spoke after practice about the teams intensity, “Practice has been really good, we’ve come out here twice and got after it. We’ve tried to keep the intensity level up, and they have done well responding to that. I’ve been real surprised, to be honest, because when you’re three weeks away from a game right after a big win you expect a letdown – they haven’t done that. In the back of their minds, I think they would like to have a game this Saturday, but they’re not letting that show in practice.”

Even though the season has officially started, Coach Jones and his staff are going through a practice schedule that is similar to what they did during preseason camp. “We feel that the format is a good for learning in practice,” Coach Jones said. “We change things up with the situations that we cover, but we feel that it is a format we want to use most of the time.”

“We’re trying to get our young kids to watch film, to teach them and let them learn,” Jones said about second and third stringers scrimmage at the end of practice. “We’re going to let them go again tomorrow. We feel that we have a good hour and 45 minutes to practice with the older guys, and since the younger guys are working hard as well this gives them 20 minutes to get out there for live action.”

The Jaguars will practice again Thursday afternoon with a tentative scrimmage set for Friday, but will have the weekend off. The next game will be Saturday, September 26 against Army Prep with kickoff at 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.