Jags Lose Tough Conference Opener To Troy

September 30, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · 2 Comments 

Game Captains for South Alabama Romelle Jones, B.J. Scott, Greg Hollinger and Alex Page meet the Troy captains at mid-field for the coin toss in the two teams first meeting and the Jaguars first Sun Belt Conference game.

The South Alabama Jaguars lost their Sun Belt conference opener to Troy 31-10 in a penalty-filled, wet mess. Coming into this game, the Jags knew where they had been and knew where they wanted to be, but after this game they know where they are, at least for the time being.

The Jaguars had four turnovers in the game and could only muster 59 yards passing in the game. Troy’s Corey Robinson threw for 223 yards and ran for a touchdown in the win. But the game had 25 penalties, 15 on the Jaguars for 142 yards.

South Alabama forced five Troy turnovers, a number of them in very key situations where Troy was driving for scores. But the Jaguar offense only managed 51 yards of total offense and two first downs in the second half after they were able to gain 201 yards in the first half.

“Troy played a great game. They were probably a little better than us, and we made a few mistakes. You’re not going to play it close when you do that,” Jaguar head coach Joey Jones explained. “We had some first-half chances and I really thought after halftime that if we came out and scored it would be a different ballgame, but we didn’t do that. We’re a young program. We’re trying to get this thing going and sometimes this is part of it. We kind of know where we are now. Troy is a dominant team in the league, they’ve been there, done that.”

“Their defense made adjustments in the second half, and really shut us down,” Jones said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty good in the first half, but we didn’t in the second half and that was due to them making adjustments and playing well.”

“Offensively, they’re real explosive. They can move the ball at the drop of a hat,” Jones said. “I thought we played pretty good defensively at times, but they are very good offensively.”

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said after the game, “We made the same basic game-plan calls in the second half that we made in the first. We probably ran them a little bit better. After you play a team for a half, you sort of scout them as you go as coach Dye used to say. You get better playing the things that they are doing. I think that was part of it. I thought we had a good plan against (South Alabama). They did some things a little different in some of the things they had done, but nothing majorly different. We sort of got in tune with them in the second half and played pretty hard and played better. Made some tackles and got a couple of tackles for loss, interceptions and turnovers.”

The game started well with B.J. Scott intercepting Corey Robinson on the Trojan’s first play from scrimmage, but the Jags were unable to convert the early turnover into points as they went three-and-out and forced to punt at the Troy 47 yard line.

After a rush for 11 yards and a first down, the Troy offense would be forced to punt, but T.J. Glover would fumble the punt at his own 29 yard line and it would be recovered by the Trojans.

The first and ten play would go for 24 yards to the Jaguar five yard line, but the Jaguar defense punt the clamps on again and forced Troy to settle for a 21 yard field goal.

Again the Jags would go three and out and the Scott Garber punt would be downed at the Troy 43 yard line. Corey Robinson would complete back-to-back passes for 16 and 38 yards to set up at the Jaguar one yard line. They would punch it in on the next play to take a 10-0 lead on the Jags with 8:05 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would return the kickoff from the one yard line 21 yards but a holding penalty would put the Jags at their own 12 yard line. Demetre Baker would rush for 7 and 9 yards and a Jaguar first down. But Ross Metheny would run on the quarterback keeper and fumble the ball away to Troy at the Jaguar 30 yard line.

Troy would get flagged for a hold on their first down play and get backed up to the 38 yard line with a first and 18. A screen pass to Shawn Southward would be go for a loss of five as Jake Johnson and Romelle Jones combined for the stop. On second and 23, Southward would take the handoff 31 yards before Darrius Morrow would force a fumble that Terrel Brigham would recover at the Jaguar 6 yard line.

The Jags would finally get a good drive put together starting at the Jaguar 6 yard line. Baker would rush for 2 yards then lose a yard on the second run. Then C.J. Bennett, who rotated in for Ross Metheny, would scramble for 10 yards and a first down at the 17 yard line. Baker would rush again for 3 more yards then the Jags would take a time out with 3:29 left in the first quarter.

On 2nd and 7, Glover would come in as a running back and rush for nine yards and a first down. Bennett’s pass attempt to Wes Saxton would fall incomplete, then Glover would rush for 6 more yards to set up a 3rd and 4 at the Jaguar 35 yard line. Demetre Baker would come in for Glover and run for 10 yards and another Jaguar first down. After an incomplete pass to Cameron Broadnax, Bennett would opt to keep the ball and find a seam for a 50 yard run down to the Troy five yard line. Another run around the right side for Bennett would net two yards.

Trey Fetner would come into the game and run left for the three yard touchdown to get the Jags on the board 10-7 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.

Troy would answer the Jags touchdown with one of their own. An 8 play, 70 yard drive spanning 4 minutes on the clock would put the Trojans up 17-7 with 11:46 left in the second quarter.

On the kickoff, Glover would get a 22 yard return out to the Jaguar 24 yard line, but a personal fould on Terrel Brigham would place the ball at their own 12 yard line. The Jags would go three and out and after a four yard return, would be set up near midfield at the Troy 48 yard line.

After a holding penalty on Troy, they faced a 2nd and 13 at the Jaguar 39 and Gabe Loper would intercept the Robinson pass at the 28 yard line and return it 19 yards out to the Jaguar 47 yare line. with 8:17 left in the half.

Baker would open the series with a 15 yard rush down to the Troy 48 yard line. Bennett would then run the ball for another 9 yards. On back to back rushes by Baker, he would rush for 4 and 1 yards, but on the second rush Troy’s Zach Miller would be flagged for a personal foul to place the ball at the Troy 12 yard line with a first down. After a Kendall Houston rush for three yards, Bennett would throw an incomplete pass intended for Lavender. Then on third and 7 at the Troy 9 yard line, Bennett’s pass intended for Jereme Jones in the end zone would be picked off and returned 10 yards.

The Jags defense would force a three and out and get the ball at their own 49 yard line with 4:18 left in the game. Metheny would return to the game and hand off to Demetre Baker on the first two plays for 6 and 3 yards. Then the Metheny pass intended for Greg Hollinger would fall incompleted forcing Garber to punt again.

Starting on their own 20 yard line, Robinson’s pass to Chip Reeves would go for 19 yards then the Jaguar sidelines would be penalized 5 yards for a delay of game as well as Tyrell Pearson being flagged for a personal foul for another 15 yards, putting the ball at the Jaguar 41 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Robinson would find Reeves again for another 39 yards to the Jaguar 2 yard line. Robinson would run the ball in on the next play to put the Trojans up 24-7 with 2:13 left in the half.

The Jags would put together another good drive on the ensuing possession. A short kickoff would be fielded by Randon Carnathan and returned 12 yards to the 35 yard line. Baker would rush for one yard on the first down play. Then Metheny would find Corey Besteda for a 19 yard gain to the Troy 45 yard line. Then Metheny would run for five yard and get out of bounds to stop the clock. Baker would run for another three yards followed by Metheny gaining a yard then the Jags would call a time out with 38 seconds left in the half to set up their 4th and 1 play.

After coming out with Fetner at quarterback and Metheny at receiver, Troy would burn a timeout to adjust. Then the Jags would come out with Metheny back at quarterback to which Larry Blakeney would be forced to burn another time out to adjust to. Then, with Troy out of time outs Fetner would return to the game and run for the needed yard and a first down at the Troy 35.

Metheny would throw a pass to Baker in the flat, but he would cut it back inside for no gain and forced the coaching staff to call a time out to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. Metheny would hit Jereme Jones for 11 yards and a first down at the Troy 24 yard line. The field goal unit would run on the first and the 41 yard attempt would be blocked but recovered by Demetre Baker at the Troy 31 yard line with 4 seconds left in the half. The Jags would be penalized for delay of game. With one second left in the half, the Jags would get one last shot and Chapuseaux would connect on the 53 yard field goal for a halftime score of 24-10 in favor of Troy.

The Jags would go three and out on their first series of the second half. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line befroe facing a 3rd and 6 at the 7 yard line, Alex Page would sack Robinson for a 13 yard loss and forcing Troy to attempt a field goal. The attempt would be blocked and recovered by Gabe Loper.

The next Jaguar possession, they would go three and out. Garber’s punt would be fair caught at the 26, but an illegal block would back them up to the 16 yard line. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line facing first and goal, Justin Albert would get caught for a loss then Jesse Kelley would force a fumble that would be recovered by Enrique Williams at the Jaguar 16 yard line and avoiding a Trojan score.

Yet again, the Jaguar offense would go three and out and forced to punt. Back to back competions for Troy would go for 17 and 19 yards down to the Jaguar 27 yard line to end the third quarter. Two plays later, Robinson would be picked off in the end zone by Charles Watson for a touchback.

Baker would rush for a yard, Bennett’s first pass would fall incomplete intended for Hollinger, then on third and 9, Bennett would hit Jereme Jones for 19 yards to the Jaguar 40 yard line. Bennett would keep the ball for an 8 yard gain then Baker is caught for a two yard loss to set up third down and 4. Tremain Smith would be flagged for a false start then the 3rd and 9 pass would fall incomplete forcing the Jags to punt again.

On the punt, Troy would be flagged for holding to put the ball back at the Troy 14 yard line. Deon Anthony’s pass would be thrown up in the sky and completed to Chris Williams for a 44 yard gain. Again the Jaguar bench would be flagged for a 5 yard delay of game penalty as well. Troy would get a touchdown a few plays later for the final score of the game to make it 31-10.

The Jags would get the ball two more times. Metheny would be intercepted on his first pass attempt on a deep throw at the Troy 17. On their second, The Jags managed one first down before being forced to punt with 34 seconds left in the game.

“It’s our first Sun Belt Conference game, and I have to keep things in perspective as do our kids,” Coach Jones observed. “We’re all competitors and want to win. For us to play and beat a team like Troy in our first conference game would be a miracle. But as a coach, I look at it and think there were things we could have done to have been in the ballgame. We’re going to get there, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re going to get there. We’re just going through a growing time right now.”

Sometimes those growing pains hurt the worst when you had a chance in the game. But some penalties were so bizarre, that it was unbelievable.

For instance in the waning moments of the first half the Jags elect to kick a field goal with 14 seconds remaining on first down. The Chapuseaux kick was blocked and recovered by the Jags so the Troy field goal unit went to the sidelines to celebrate what they thought was a block and turnover. The South Alabama coaches found the nearest officials and told them that the ball should still be possessed by the Jags since an attempt was made and the ball was blocked and therefore never went past the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, the Jaguar kicking unit stayed on the field and the Troy coaches, special teams unit and offense were all grouped together near the sidelines conferring with the officials. Once the referee made the call, the Jaguar special teams unit was standing at the line of scrimmage waiting to snap the ball as the official stood over the ball. Once the whistle was blown, the Jags snapped the ball but it was immediately whistled dead. The penalty? Delay of game on the offense.

After marking off a five yard penalty, Michel Chapuseaux drilled a 53 yard field goal, the longest in his career and set a new Jaguar record for longest field goal.

That was such as the game went. Numerous obvious fouls occurred in front of officials that were perputrated by Troy that were never called. Junior defensive back Zach Miller, after a long incompletion by the Jags, was walking back to the line of scrimmage and as Corey Besteda jogged past him, shoved him in the back. It wasn’t a “genty nudge” or anything like that. It was a full on shove that was meant to try to make him lose balance. But it was not called, nor did the referee in the area caution him about the incident.

I think that sequence to end the first half really let the air out of the team in many ways. But they did not give up. They fought very hard in the second half and turned away a couple of scores, the offense could not get going with the hole they faced.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-09-25

September 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian was joined by former offensive line coach and current tight ends coach John Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard on Tuesday.

Lloyd Meyers first mentioned that the students are very excited. In the first two hours of student parking pass availability, all 250 were gone. There will be lots to do for kids and the first 10,000 through the gates into the stadium will get red rally towels.

Additionally, the Jags will be wearing their traditional home red uniforms. They are encouraging fans to wear Red to support the team.

Also a point of concern that Lee asked about was concessions. The University spoke with the concessions group and they will have extra water and drinks on hand for the larger crowd. There will be trucks standing by with extra drinks just in case.

Lee said he tried to find Coach Jones on the bus after the game, but could not find him. He reiterated that he does not want to congratulate him after a loss, but to him how competitive the team was and how well they played despite losing. Coach Jones said it was very gratifying to walk across the field and have the Mississippi State coaches compliment them on their heart and their effort in the game despite being out-manned in the game. But Coach Jones said he was hurting just as he would be after any other game and like his players.

Lee asked some questions about the two Jaguar quarterbacks, Ross Metheny and C.J. Bennett. Lee said that Bennett had the better game statistically, but asked that, after watching the video, who did well, who did better and who would start on Saturday against Troy. Coach Jones said, in a joking tone, that he would not answer Lee’s question about who is going to start and if they were going to rotate quarterbacks still. Jones did say that that probably both quarterbacks did certain things better than the other, but they are both getting their “bad things” out and improving. Bennett made some great throws, but they both threw some bad interceptions. Metheny towards the end of the first half that was returned to set up a field goal at the end of the half. Bennett threw an interception inside the 10 yard line, but it was a good throw where the guy just went over Jereme Jones and took it away from him.

After the first break, Lee mentioned how the Jags would love to set to attendance record for a Sun Belt game this week. Coach Jones agreed, but he just wants it to be “an electric atmosphere.” He mentioned that the Jags are playing real football now, they are starting their Sun Belt Conference schedule. Coach Jones then mentioned that when someone thinks about the Sun Belt they think about the success Troy has had over the years. They have won the Sun Belt Championship five out of the last six years. The Troy players know how to play against big time football programs, they have played at Tennessee, Mississippi State and many other places over the last several years. Really, they have set the standard for a school like South Alabama who has just started. He finished saying that it would be great to have 33,000 to 35,000 in Mobile for a game.

Coach Jones and Lee then introduced the guest assistant coach for the show, Coach John Turner. Coach Turner, like his brother Brian Turner, has been with the program since the beginning. He began coaching the offensive line, but this season he has made the move to tight ends.

Lee first asked Coach Turner a question about the two big tight ends, Greg Hollinger and Wes Saxton, if there were any plans to get them both on the field. Coach Turner answered by saying they do have some packages where both of them may be on the field at the same time.

Coach Turner then was asked a question by Lee about the offensive line and how he thought they did against the larger Mississippi State team. Turner said that Coach Robert Matthews does a great job tih the linemen, and that he thought they did very well against the Bulldogs. They weren’t intimidated and should be proud of what they did in Starkville.

Lee then asked Coach Jones a question about the Jags rushing game against the Bulldogs. He mentioned how they did not rush that well in the first half but did better in the second half and asked if it were adjustments or what caused them to do better in the second half. Coach Jones answered by saying that some of it was adjustments, but their gameplan was to try to get them tired early by throwing perimeter screens and passes to the edge by making them rush. They wanted to try to tire them out before they started running at them because of their size and speed.

Coach Jones then mentioned how the offensive line did a good job in protection because the Bulldogs were so big. It was hard for the linemen to knock them off the ball, but they only gave up one sack in the game which is a testament to how well the line played against an SEC defense.

Lee then asked about where Mississippi State fits into the order of the SEC. Coach Jones said that they would be in the second level of the SEC, they are not on the same level as Alabama or LSU, but that they could beat LSU.

Coach Turner then jumped in and started talking about a conversation after the game he had with his friend who happens to be the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. He said he was told that their team is made to compete with LSU and Alabama. They recruit size and structure their defense to be able to handle the running game of those two schools. He mentioned that, if you are a spread team, you have a chance just like Troy did the week before the Jags played the Bulldogs.

The Orthopaedic Group Injury report started by mentioning how the defense started so well and forced a three and out on the Bulldogs first drive, but then they lost Anthony Taylor with a broken leg and will miss the remainder of his senior season. Coach Jones mentioned that he was very sad for him because he was a good football player but he was becoming a great football player, but now his college career is over.

Others that Coach Jones was asked about was Ceasare Johnson. Coach Jones said he would not be able to play this year due to a blood clot issue. Doctors will not allow him to play. Quadarius Ford is still healing up from knee surgery, it’s still bothering him some but he is still working out and hope to be back soon. Anthony Harris had a shoulder injury and had surgery to correct it and will be redshirted this season. Even though he was a transfer, he was what coach Jones referred to as a 3-for-2 so he had three years of eligibility left to play two years of football. Lee mentioned Montavious Williams was limping but Coach Jones assured him that he was okay and would be ready to go this weekend.

Later in the show Lee mentioned that he did not see Corey Besteda in the game against Mississippi State. Coach Jones said that he did not play because of an ankle injury but that he is good and will be ready to play on Saturday.

Lee then mentioned that Montavious considered Troy but decided to play for the Jags. Then asked about recruiting and if the Jags recruited against other Sun Belt teams and if games like this weekend are big factors in recruiting. Coach Jones said that they recruit against Troy, Southern Miss, Memphis and sometimes Central Florida. He also mentioned that playing well always helps recruiting, especially a game like this that is going to be televised. So you certainly want to play well under those conditions.

Lee talked about having Troy head coach Larry Blakeney on the WNSP morning show and how they ran around 100 plays on offense against against Lousiana-Lafayette. Lee then mentioned the Jaguar offense as being a “quick” tempo offense. But that the Jags are not that quick on offense. Troy tends to aim to get between 90 and 100 plays in a game, so when the ball is ready they are usually snapping the ball.

Coach Jones indicated that the Jaguar defense should be ready for that type of tempo because, in the summer, they practiced against the offense as they were really going up tempo. The defense has adapted and worked on communication and signals so they can get ready for the next play.

Lee then asked Coach Turner if there offense was like ours at least when the line up. Coach Turner said that some of their formations and pass concepts are similar to what the Jags use. They will not be a mirror of each other, but there will be plenty of similarities between the two offenses.

It was mentioned that South recruited the record breaking Troy running back very hard, but he ended up going to Troy instead.

Coach Jones was asked to break down the Jaguar defense versus the Troy offense. Jones said that Troy can throw the ball and run the ball well. So if you condense to stop one or the other then they have a chance to hurt you with the opposite. So the defense has to play smart and do well against a balanced team.

Coach Jones was then asked to break down the Troy defense. He mentioned that Troy has been known for a while to play tough defense and they are well coached. He did mention that they don’t seem to be blitzing as much as they have in the past, but seem to have backed off some this season and seem to be playing better because of that.

Lee asked Coach Turner about the players that Troy recruits because they have the most players in the NFL of any of the Sun Belt teams. Coach Turner said that the players that they had had that goes to the NFL are players that the coaching staff have done a great job in their evaluations. They players they get they do a great job evaluating them and then, when they get them on campus, they do a great job developing them. Coach Turner said that they are doing the same thing at South Alabama. They really work hard to evaluate players and then work really hard to develop those players that come to South Alabama. Coach Jones further mentioned that having championship rings on their fingers really helps in recruiting good talent as well.

Coach Jones pointed to the Dallas Cowboy defensive end DeMarcus Ware from Troy. He said that in high school he was 6’4″ and weighted 190-pounds. No one would have thought of him as a defensive end, but Troy thought he would be a great defensive end after putting on more weight, and sure enough he is now in the NFL and a six-time pro-bowler.

Lee flipped back to asking about the Jaguar offense and it’s tempo. He asked if the Jags were going to do something similar to Troy and try to get around 90 or more snaps in the game. Coach Jones said that they are definitely going to go with more of their offense, but would not try to go for that many plays. He said that the Jags goal is between 70 and 80 plays in a game. Lee mentioned that snapping the ball that much usually means you are possessing the ball more than your opponent, which is typically a good thing.

Coach Jones said that something he and Coach Turner spoke about on the way to the radio show was that they do not want to do in the game is to have lots of three-and-outs. He said that three-and-outs puts your defense in a bind and fatgues them. They need to sustain some drives and put the ball in the end zone.

Lee asked about what the defensive line does without Anthony Taylor. Jones said that the rest of the players just have to play. They were rotating in and out anyway, but the other guys have to step up. No one else steps into the rotation, but they have some players that can play on the inside and on the outside. They will cross train them more.

Coach Jones indicated that Pat Moore will get more playing time. Lee said that he is a junior college transfer that has not been talked about much. But he is very well noted for his pass rushing ability. Coach Jones thinks he is going to be a tremendous player and that he grew up a lot against Mississippi State with some big hits. Even gave him the big hit of the game, even on offensive linemen who were trying to block him.

A caller mentioned that people talk about quickly trying to get the defense off the field for fatigue factors. But doesn’t the offense get fatigued as well? Coach Jones said that they do, but when you have the ball on offense, you are keeping it away from the other team and not giving them a chance to score while giving yourself a chance to score.

Lee asked for Coach Jones to mention things to note for the game this weekend. Jones answered by saying that Troy has 14 senior starters returning so they are a senior dominated team and that he thought those starters were spread evenly between both sides of the ball. The offense is explosive with fast guys at receiver. They have a quarterback that can throw the ball well. The defense plays well and with a good level of confidence. Jones mentioned he was hoping they would have an average special teams, but that they are good with a single guy who punts and kicks.

Their offense puts lots of points on the board and puts pressure on you to also score lots of points, which the Jags have had trouble doing since the first game of the season.

Lee mentioned that some out-of-town people have asked him if they would be able to view South Alabama’s facilities because they have heard so much about them. Coach Jones was very hesitant, but said that they would have someone there that would be able to show people around. Lee further mentioned it as a recruiting tool, which Coach Jones agreed with. Jones further said that, without that facility, they would be further behind as a new program than what they are now. It really makes a difference in everything they do.