Lagniappe Questions

September 23, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

Lagniappe sportswriter Johnny Davis contacted us here at Thunderjags.com as well as several others with a couple questions about South Alabama’s first game. Since today the new issue is available on news stands, here is my complete answers to Mr. Davis’ questions.

Go out and grab yourself a copy of the new issue of the Laginappe, not just because there will be a couple quotes from my answers but because it is a great publication in its own right and its free.

1) What are your thoughts on the first game?
I thought the coaching staff and players did great in the first game. They performed better than most people expected, considering it was the programs first game. While about half of the team are still walk-ons, they had the benefit of practicing in the spring with the coaches and working out with the strength and conditioning coach. The first recruiting class seems to be pretty spot on in terms of what the coaching staff was looking for and the transfers they brought in gave them experience and maturity at key positions.

As for the game, they excuted their gameplan very well. They planned to run the ball more in the first game in order to take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon which worked. There were a few times when Gibbon looked a bit nervous and it showed. But that is to be expected when he goes from Canadian football with a small number of spectators to over 26,000 for the Jags first game. Overall he played very well.

The offensive and defensive lines were outstanding considering they were outsized by Hargrave. Dunn and Higgenbotham are key for the Jags at linebacker with their experience and ability. However, the secondary seemed to be a bit shakey at times particularly in the second half. It will be interesting to see how they improve over the course of the season.

2) What do you see in the future for USA football?
The future of South Alabama football is a bright one. We are in a hotbed of talent here in Mobile. If you look at the quality of players that have come out of here in the last several years you can see what kind of advantage South Alabama has in the recruiting game. Then throw in the first class facilities they have on campus for the team and that just helps both preparing for games and recruiting players.

The measuring stick has been set pretty high by South Florida over the last several years since they started their program. Could South Alabama match or beat those levels? I don’t know. But I think Coach Jones has put together a great staff in a great area and their potential is through the roof.

3) How do you think USA football will affect the city of Mobile?
South Alabama football will be a huge plus for the city of Mobile. They already have Navy, Mississippi State and North Carolina State all scheduled to play at least one game in Mobile (with Navy coming here twice). MSU and NC State both have fans that will travel pretty well and will spend money whenever they travel to see their team play.

But beyond how well fans travel and how much they spend, its going to positively impact Mobile. People will look at Mobile in a different way. I think it will much easier to convince people and companies to invest in the area because they (the people of Mobile) can support a Division-I football team as well as the many other things we already do here on the gulf coast. One indication of that is while tailgating at the first game, I talked to a woman with two children who came all the way over to Mobile from Pensacola to “support their team.” This was for a team who had yet to play a single game. How exciting is that?

Thanks Johnny Davis and the Lagniappe for contacting us and mentioning our site in your article.