Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-10-16

October 17, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 
Coach Jones

Head coach Joey Jones working with the field goal unit during South Alabama’s Scrimmage on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Head Coach Joey Jones and host Lee Shirvanian was joined by defensive backs coach Duwan Walker at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for the Joey Jones Radio Show this week.

To start off the show Lee asked “What was your feeling like when you left the field in Jonesboro?” “I felt good deep down, but hurting just because we lost and because you never want to lose,” Jones answered. But he felt they made lots of progress on offense with making first downs, moved the ball and converting on third down. All the things they have been talking about over the last few weeks.

He commended the defense on playing well as well as special teams with a blocked punt, good kickoff returns and good kickoff coverage.

Coach Jones said that when he saw that they were down by six points in the fourth quarter he thought they could pull out the win, but ended up losing by seven points. He was very proud that they took a good football team down to the wire. Deep down he feels really good about how they did, but as a competitor he never wants to lose.

Bo Bishop from Baumhower’s Restaurant asked about taking something positive away from a loss. Coach Jones said that if you look at Arkansas State, they won the Sun Belt Conference Championship last year, they have a quarterback who was the player of the year last year as well as returning several seniors. The South Alabama players walked out onto the field and were ready to play, they didn’t let that phase them and that makes Coach Jones really proud of them.

Lee pointed out the the Jags ran over 80 plays in the game while Arkansas State was limited to around 60. He further mentioned that the Jags led in just about every stat except the points on the scoreboard. Coach Jones pointed out that the big thing was that the offense went out and controlled the ball, something they haven’t really done until this game.

Lee said that Ross Metheny did a great job for the Jags. Coach Jones said that he has great leadership skills and the players really listen to him. He goes out there with lots of confidence. Another thing he did was he did a great job of extending the play. If the throw downfield wasn’t there then he checked down and found an open running back or ran with it and go positive yardage. He didn’t force it downfield which helped them get first downs.

Lee pointed out the penalties. Coach Jones acknowledged them and said that they jumped offsides a number of times while trying to blitz or get to the line. Lee mentioned how Rick Cleveland mentioned during the game that the quarterback was using an odd cadence to draw them offsides. But Jones said that that was not a reason and that the defensive linemen need to watch the ball instead of listening to the quarterbacks cadence.

But Coach Jones said that if they cut down penalties they will have a chance to win.

When asked how Coach Walker thought the secondary played, he answered by saying he thought they played well. They could have done better, but their number one thing is to prevent big plays and they did a good job at limiting them.

Orthopedic Group Injury Report: Ucambre Williams will probably be out with a knee injury which didn’t look good. Shaun Artz hurt his back, waiting to hear more about that. Everyone else fared well.

Lee mentioned that both of them are offensive linemen and that they may not have good depth at there. Coach Jones said they have decent depth but you worry about having others step up and be ready as well.

Jones said that Chris May moved into Williams’ position and played most of the game since Ucambre was hurt on the second play of the game. Drew Dearman could come back into the lineup to fill in for Shaun Artz. When Lee asked about backups, Coach Jones said that they actually pulled a couple players from the scout team to get ready and play some with the other guys.

Coach Jones was pretty quick to answer Lee’s question about the status of Demetre Baker for this weeks game. Jones said he thought he would be alright, but that “the ball is in his court” and that was all he wanted to say on that subject.

Lee further mentioned that it was due to a violation of team rules. Lee further pressed if he might suit up again for the Jags and Coach Jones went back to his previous statement saying “it’s up to him”. He did acknowledge that Baker was not on the depth chart as of now for the Florida Atlantic game.

Lee then turned the focus to Coach Walker and the secondary. What did they do to rectify the problems they had in the secondary from last season. They hit the Junior College’s well looking for players. Tyrell Pearson is short, but is a mature, good player. Same with Darrius Morrow, he plays very well and came from the junior college ranks.

Walker also mentioned B.J. Scott as someone that has sparked the secondary. He said that it was unfortunate he wasn’t able to go through spring workouts, but he is now hitting his prime during the season.

What are the ingredients for good defensive back. Walker said that is always changing. This week the Jags will be playing receivers who are 6’4″ or so and size will play a part. But they are looking for players who are electric, can make plays and play smart. Speed and size are something they have to go after.

Lee mentioned that South Alabama is playing teams with receivers that are 6’3″ or 6’4″ and asked how do the shorter defensive backs compensate for that? Coach Jones said that they have to have great technique. Ideally you want guys who are tall and fast, normally smaller guys can be faster. But they try to get guys who are 5’10 up to 6′ tall with speed who can cover. Defensive backs can make it up by coming up between the receivers hands and knocking the ball away if they play with good technique and play smart. Just because they are small does not mean that they will have the deep ball thrown over them.

Lee asked Coach Walker how they grade defensive backs. Coach Walker said that mental errors and technique are big keys in grading the defensive backs.

Lee asked that if the coaches can tell immediately if a defensive back missed an assignment or if they have to wait to see video to determine who it was. Coach Walker immediately said that they know who it is and who has coverage responsibility to whom and where.

Lee mentioned that high school coaches always mention that homecoming is such a big distraction at that level. He then asked Coach Jones if homecoming is a distraction on the college level. Coach Jones indicated that it’s not a big distraction on the college level. In high school they have so many events going on in the whole school. College is not as intense as high school.

Lee then turns the focus to Florida Atlantic and mentioned their record is the same as the Jags at 1-5. But he cautioned that they have played some good teams in Alabama and Georgia. Lee then asked if Coach Jones thought this may be a very winnable game for South Alabama. Coach Jones was quick to say that they cannot overlook anyone, but that they feel good about their chances. They just have to go out and work hard to make the plays to win the game.

A caller asked that if the Jags might give the next game ball after Florida Atlantic to coach Kurt Crain’s family. Coach Jones said they have not thought about, but they just put up a plaque in the football fieldhouse dedicated to his memory and they have a “KC” sticker on the helmets as well.

Lee asked what kind of problems FAU may present to the Jaguar secondary. Coach Walker said that they are very athletic and, from the film, they look alot like South Alabama’s receivers. Coach Walker also mentioned that they ran the ball and threw the ball well against Georgia.

Lee asked if this was another team that runs a spread offense. Coach Jones said yes, but that they are not quite like they have seen in the last two games with Troy and Arkansas State.

Coach Jones likened the stature of the FAU quarterback to NC State’s Mike Glennon, he is about 6’6″ tall and are similar type quarterback who can deliver the ball well. He knows he has tall receivers so he can hang the ball high and let his receivers go up to get it.

Lee mentioned the Jags ranking in the BCS. He said that the Jags are 111 in the list while FAU is 110, but that both are above teams like UNLV, Colorado, Colorado State and Akron among others. Coach Jones said that the football in the Sun Belt Conference is really good and that the Jags are getting better, but that they are not there yet.

Coach Jones answered a question posed by Lee asking about why couldn’t it be South Alabama traveling to play Alabama next season instead of Georgia State. Coach Jones said he doesn’t know, he’s not the one who makes that decision at Alabama. He did indicated that they have talked to them about it, but that was all.

After a break, Lee told coach Jones that when Coach Jones started at South Alabama, one of his assistants said that he would have no problem going head-to-head recruiting against Alabama and Auburn. Lee then asked if they have gone head-to-head against them for any recruits. Coach Jones said that they have but that they cannot mention any names of recruits.

Email question asked what it would take for the school to call this season a success and how are they defining success for the program today? Coach Jones said that he normally sets goals for wins in a season, but this year is different in that they do not have as many players as most of the teams they are facing this season. But they are approaching it on a week-to-week basis to see if they are improving. They don’t really know how to measure this season, but at the end of the season they will know where they stand in the conference.

Lee then turned to coach Walker for his input on the question. He said that it’s progress. They have to work hard every week to get better and earn respect from their opponents.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-10-09

October 10, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones and host Lee Shirvanian are joined by Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s, Lloyd Meyers from South Alabama Marketing and linebackers coach Brendt Bedsole.

Coach Jones began the show by saying they have had two of the best practices of the year. It was good that they had Thursday, Friday, Saturday and really Sunday off. He said it was like a really good spring practice because it was very spirited and even had a couple fights they had to break up.

Lee asked if that was normal to have a very physical day. Coach Jones answered by saying they have to have a good physical day each week and theirs is usually Tuesday. They then back off in shells on Thursday so they are not beat up for the game.

Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s Restaurant announced that next tuesday they will have a breast cancer awareness day at Baumhowers. They will be giving a portion of their proceeds to breast cancer awareness. Their featured item was pot roast, they also said that kids eat free all day on Wednesday, trivia on Thursday then games all weekend.

Lee goes back to Coach Jones to ask about Ross Metheny and the advantage he will give the team going into the game as the starting quarterback without any rotation. Coach Jones said that the advantage is that Metheny will get more reps in practice which should make him better in the games. Jones said that Metheny has had a good week so far and really cares about it by watching lots of film and trying to understand everything he needs to do.

Then Lee asked about his leadership ability. Coach Jones said that Metheny shows good leadership and players are responding in the huddle. He corrects players without jumping on them and the players seem to be listening to him.

Lee commented how there are rotations at so many positions but that quarterback is not a position is rotated because of the importance at that position. He then asked how C.J. Bennett is taking it since he was the starter all last season and back into the season previous to that. Coach Jones indicated that C.J. is taking it well and working hard. Jones also said that players are working hard every week competing for their position and C.J. knows he can get back into it like any other position and he needs to be ready to go in at any point.

The Orthopedic Group Injury Report: Coach Jones said taht all of the defensive linemen were out there today. However Randon Carnathan had a gold non-contact jersey on but is in the 90% healthy range. Montavious Williams ankle still hurts from the high ankle sprain he suffered at Mississippi State a little but he will play on Saturday. Actually every one will play. Also mentioned that B.J. Scott is good to go.

Lee asked about South Alabama procedure about concussions. Coach Jones said that concussions are very detailed process. They put the players through a battery of tests. No only do they test them while relaxed, they also test them after exhertion. If they get a headache after exercise they will not allow them to play. They are very careful about that injury because the health of the players is more important than football.

Arkansas State is in the top two or three in the conference. Their quarterback was player of the year in the conference. They have lots of Juniors and Seniorts.

New coach Brendt Bedsole has experience in radio and with the team. He has transitioned from the role of Director of Operations to an on-field coach now. He hopes his players say that he is a teacher.

Lee asked if he saw the report of Auburn coach Gene Chizik apologizing to the fans for them leaving the game early. Lee then asked if he had ever seen that before. Jones said that sometimes when you are in a situation like that and get frustrated, you say things you shouldn’t have said. But Jones said that he has learned that sometimes you hold your tongue and you may reconsider what you were or did say. As a coach you don’t want to let anyone down.

Gus Malzahn, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn, is now the head coach at Arkansas State. Coach Jones said that the biggest thing they do is that they do a great job of self-scouting. They do something for a couple weeks then the next week they change a certain scheme so just when you think you have them down, they change stuff.

Also coach Jones said that they do a great job of spreading the ball. By that he means that they are good at using the whole field. Bedsole then said that they use every yard of the field, width and length, with their offense. Its the same offense in many ways as the offense they used to win the NC again Oregon, beating Alabama after coming from being down 27-0 at halftime. They do run lots of base plays, but with lots of “window dressing” on them.

Coach Jones said that, when you run an offense like that, you have to have a quarterback that can do it. You can’t have a quarterback who can’t run or one that makes the wrong decision on running or passing. Their quarterback Ryan Aplin does a great job, he is big, great arm and can run. He could be an NFL quarterback.

Lee then asked coach Bedsole what the keys were for this week. The key is to be very disciplined. He said 1: Lining up 2: being disciplined, which he said was reading your keys whatever they are and 3: believe what you see.

Lee said that when he asked an Ole Miss assistant that was previously an assistant under Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State, what South Alabama is walking into in Jonesboro he was caught off-guard with the answer. The assistant did not mention players he mentioned the travel to get there is the worst.

Coach Jones said that travel is something that they keep in mind each week for the players. They don’t want any lost time. But Jones continued by saying that you can’t help it when you have to fly into memphis then a have a 90 minute bus drive to Jonesboro. Jones indicated that it will basically be 6 hours of travel for them. They will leave Mobile, fly to Memphis, bus to Jonesboro, go to the stadium for a walk-through it will be around 6 hours.

Talking about their defense, Lee asked if it presented anything different from what they have already seen this season. Coach Jones said that they don’t present anything totally different. Their defensive coordinator comes from Georgia State and likes to blitz and bring pressure off the edge. Their defensive linemen are very athletic and good about getting off blocks.

Lee asked about T.J. Glover and big plays. T.J. played running back his first year, and he is back to running back. Hopefully he can make some big plays from running back.

Coach Jones thinks that, offensively, the changes they have made will make them more competitive. They are close, they just have to get over that hump. He mentioned that at the beginning of this season they were starting two freshmen and five sophomores on offense, so they are very young.

Lee asked about the offensive line and how that they have moved Tremain smith to left guard. Lee asked if that was showing more cohesiveness. Coach Jones said it was and that they are a better offensive line this year than last year. He said that it may not look like it on the outside looking in, but they are better and they are continuing to get better.

Lloyd Meyers, the assistant marking director came on to make some announcements. He said that this is about 35,000 seats in Jonesboro and Jag fans going to the game should wear white.

He also announced that homecoming will be next week against FAU. Fun Fest carnival will be Thursday night and it will be free and open to the public. Friday is a big day with moulton tower mural dedication, wall of honor unveiling, homecoming parade and pep rally. Game time is not known yet due to possible tv interest like any game but coach Jones thinks it’s 2:30. It should be announced this week though.

A caller asked if Coach Jones has a different game plan for 3:00 left in the game. he answered by saying that they have two different game plans, four-minute offense where, if they are ahead, they slow it down and use the clock. If they are behind, they have what they call a two-minute offense where they speed it up and try to get out of bounds and stuff.

Lee asked if college football should they have the two-minute warning like in NFL? Coach Jones said he doesn’t know it wouldn’t matter that much really. There are positives and negatives for and against it.

Another caller asked Coach JOnes concerning the spread offense and mentioned Coach Saban talking about it recently. Coach Jones said that a team has to have a good quarterback who can distribute the ball and be able to run the ball. We [South Alabama] are not to that maturity point to be able to pressure the defenses as other teams who have been running the offense longer. When they can do that you still have to be able to run the ball but when you can pressure the other team it can wear the defense down.

Coach Jones spoke very highly of Jake Johnson, the answer to the trivia question for the day. He leads the Sun Belt in tackles per game. They said he weighs 240lbs and runs a 4.53 – 40 and are very fortunate to have him on the team. Been putting  him on the edge and rushing the quarterback with him in the last few games.

They then talked about coordinators and coaches on the sidelines versus in the press booth. The offensive coordinator Robert Matthews is in the booth calling plays. But so is coach Bedsole. Defensive coordinators tend to be on the sidelines because they are reactors. They have to quickly react to what the offense is doing on the field. While the offense is actors, they dictate what goes on on the field for the most part. The defensive coaches and coordinators tend to be on the sidelines so they coach the players and relay observations quickly to the players.

Another caller asked for an update on transfer James Elliot. Coach Jones said that he was cleared by the NCAA to play about a week ago and is doing well and getting more reps now. The caller also asked if Coach Jones was involved any in the play calling. Coach Jones said that he does have input in play calling. However he tries to let coach Matthews call the game but coach Jones does controls if they are going to go for it on fourth down of if there are any deep throws they may want to do.

Lee asked if Jaret Palmer is in the rotation at tight end since he noticed him playing quite a bit against Troy. Coach Jones said he is doing a great job and has worked himself into getting some playing time. Palmer previously played as a receiver.

Lee asked if Coach Jones was hands on with the defense as he is with the offense. Jones answered by saying no, he is more of an offensive guy. Jones continued by saying that most head coaches tend to lean to one side or the other.

Lee asked if Arkansas State has any break-out players that are dangerous that the Jags will have to keep tabs on. Coach Jones indicated that  Josh Jarboe is quick and has the ability to score anytime he has the ball. Their quarterback Aplin is the same way and he has the ball on every play on offense.

Coach Jones said that he called for a radio interview in Arkansas leading up to the game this week and they asked him about their schedule being in the Sun Belt for the first time and playing Hawaii. Coach Jones said that he answered that every week is something new with this team. This will be the Jags first sun belt road game so they will be learning.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-09-18

September 19, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones looking on as the Jaguars warm up for their game at North Carolina State.

Lee Shirvanian and Jaguar head football coach Joey Jones is joined by defensive line coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

Lee opened the show by saying that the number 1 question people asked him was who is going to be the quarterback. Lee then talked about how quarterback is the one position in all sports that brings the most scruitiny and speculation.

Back when he was at Alabama, coach Jones said that they ran the wishbone a lot and so they rotated between two or three quarterbacks because they were kind of like running backs themselves. Now, you pretty much go with one quarterback the whole game. What the Jags are trying to do is to get one of the quarterbacks to seperate themselves from the rest so they can have a definite starting quarterback as they head into Conference play. He mentioned that the Jags plan to rotate again this week but that they have to make a decision after that for Troy. As for who played the best between the two this week, Coach Jones said they both played pretty well and that he could not make a call about who was better.

Jones continued by saying that both quarterbacks completed around 66% of their passes, which is very good, but third down was their issue overall as an offense. Coach Jones said that NC State’s defense had something to do with that, they did a great job rushing the quarterback. He continued saying that their defensive front was much better than last year. Coach Jones ended by saying that the Jags did well except for third down.

Lee pointed out an interesting stat that the Jags are last place in the Sun Belt offensively on third down, but the defense is in first place in the conference on third down. Coach Jones said that is something they have to correct.

Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s Restaurant, where the Joey Jones Show takes place, asked what he was going to do about the cowbells while in Starkville. Coach Jones said that they are practicing with speakers blaring the sound of cowbells so they will be used to it when they play Mississippi State on Saturday. Coach Jones said that they just have to be able to communicate.

Coach Jones then introduced Coach Turner, he is the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Turner was part of the original staff and came to South Alabama from Troy.

Lee’s first question to coach Turner was to ask if he thought the Jaguar defensive line did well against a skilled, veteran NC State line. Coach Turner said that he thought they did play well overall. There were times that they didn’t play well and that caused problems and allowed a few touchdowns. But overall they played well.

Lee then asked coach Jones how he felt about the game and how it went. Coach Jones answered by saying that the offense was terrible and that third just killed them. But, if you look at the offense on first down, they played really well and more like what they wanted to do. They wanted to get five or six yards on first down but then their defensive front got to the Jaguar quarterback at times and caused problems. Additionally they were not able to run the ball effectively either.

Jones then spoke about the defense by saying they started off pretty well but gave up some big plays like the post route and wheel routes that went for touchdowns. But from that point forward, the defense did well and in the second half the defense played extremely well. Also, the offense started moving the ball in the second half and scored some points. He further mentioned they could have kicked some field goals but went for it on fourth down and that they missed a field goal before halftime and they had a bad snap on another attempt, so they could have had 13 points on the board like last year. But he said that they were not trying to just put points on the board but they were trying to come back and win the game.

Lee asked about what do they do after coming out from halftime down 28-0 against a team that, on paper, is a better team. Lee further asked if you stay with the game plan or do you throw everything you have at them. Coach Jones said that he thinks the best thing for you to do is to become fundamentally sound at everything you do and to go out and execute each play. They have to go out there and do what they have planned to do and not anything extra; just go execute your game plan.

But coach Jones was most pleased that his team never gave up and continued to fight the entire game. He said that they could have easily gave up after that rough first half, but they didn’t and that will pay off in the future. They just have to keep fighting.

Lee turned the conversation toward recruiting. Lee stated that they cannot mention any names of recruits, but asked if he can confirm anything about verbal committment numbers. Coach Turner said that they do have 15 verbal committments right now and are working hard to keep those recruits on-board with the program.

When asked about positions that they need for next season, coach Turner mentioned defensive linemen are a major issue and defensive backs. Additionally they need some wide receivers and running backs.

Lee asked a question that he has asked a few times before, would they like to see an early signing period like basketball has and suggested possibly August. Coach Turner would like to have it before August, because the “big schools” like Alabama and Auburn will be evaluating kids during camp and he would like for schools like South Alabama to have a shot to get those kids in camp.

Coach Jones reiterated his point that he thought it would be great for everybody. He said it would make it clearer for schools who are trying to fill needs on their team. Plus those schools don’t have to worry about getting a verbal committment then keeping that player committed for six months. Coach Jones also understands the negative of it where a kid could visit an Alabama and fall in love with it and sign early then the other schools do not have a shot at him. But he still thinks it would be more positive overall.

They then had the injury report sponsored by The Orthopaedic Group. Overall they did well. Romelle Jones had a knee injury but will be back this season, just not sure when right now. Also Corey Besteda who rolled his ankle and will be fine and should be ready by Wednesday.

Lee asked Coach Turner about Romelle and what he means to the team. His answer was that Romelle is a tremendous player and brings so much to the table. He does not know if he would be back for this weekend’s game, but hopes he could be back by the Troy game.

This led to Lee asking about the defensive line rotation. Coach Turner said that they average about four or five plays before they rotate some fresh players into the game. He tries to keep the linemen fresh, especially against the larger offensive linemen.

Lee asked for an explaination about “playing a perfect game” that many coaches refer to as a way to beat a team that they are an underdog to. Coach Jones said you cannot play a perfect game, but you need to play a mistake free game where you don’t make any turnovers and don’t give up any big plays. That’s about as close to perfect as you can get.

Coach Jones then lays out how he thinks teams like Louisiana-Monroe defeats an Arkansas. He said you have to keep the game close somehow until the third quarter and then you apply pressure onto that team. ULM kept it close, then Arkansas lost their quarterback and got some momentum going their way and suddenly they are tied. Last season the Jags did that before a late touchdown by State put them up 35-13. This season they couldn’t score early to keep it close. Plus they scored their first three touchdowns in quick succession.

Lee then asked Coach Turner if he was on the Troy staff when they started and what he saw then versus what he sees now. Turner said the first big game they played was Nebraska and were a 50+ point underdogs going into Lincoln. Then at halftime the score was 21-14 in Nebraska’s favor. But he said that once those players realized that they could play with Nebraska, it “snowballed.” They ended up defeating Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and Missouri in the next few years. The players believed that they could play with any of those teams. But they also played games where they were blown out, like a 50-0 defeat at Nebraska.

Coach Turner said that about 75% of it was recruiting. They had more players who wanted to play there after they began playing those type of teams. He said that the other 25% was mental.

Travis Toth, the associate athletic director of marketing, came on talking about the Mississippi State game for fans who are traveling. He said that MSU is proclaiming it as a “White-Out” but the team will be wearing their traditional home Maroon uniforms. So the school is encouraging Jags fans to wear BLUE to the game to stand out. Then the following week the Jags will be wearing Red for Troy. Lots of big things will be going on for the Troy game, including recognizing the 2012 Sun Belt Champion Lady Jaguar Softball team.

Lee mentioned that ESPN writer Ivan Maisel wrote about the Sun Belt this week in his article. Maisel wrote that Sun Belt teams are 2-1 in overtime games this season against SEC opponents and 2-5 overall. Previously, the Sun Belt was 0-35 total against the SEC with an average score of 40-11. ULM and Western Kentucky both have wins while Troy was very close against Mississippi State last week.

Coach Jones mentioned that ULM only won 3 or 4 games last season he thought. He said tht he thought these teams are putting a lot of money into recruiting and facilities and that that committment is paying dividends.

Lee then asked about Coach Turner about some things that the defensive line will have to do specifically in order to stop Russell, Perkins and the rest of the Bulldog offense. Turner said that their offense begins with their offensive line. Their line is big, athletic and do a good job at pass protection and also in run blocking. He continued by saying that their running back is very good and their quarterback has a good arm as well.

Turner also said that the Bulldog quarterback is more athletic than NC State’s Mike Glennon, but he does not have as strong of an arm as Glennon. He poses a different problem than Glennon.

Coach Jones said that the Jags HAVE to play better offensively. He said that they will be going up against a huge defenive line at Mississippi State.

Coach Jones spoke about how they have been working for the last few years to build a team and that now they are almost having to do it again as they are transitioning into FBS play. They need to recruit more good players to help build out depth.

Coach Jones went on to say that from here on out the Jags will be playing the best of the best at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. They have NC State and Mississippi State coming in here in the next few years along with the Sun Belt schools like Troy, ULM and FIU that will be here. They need the fans in the area to continue to support the school.

AD Erdmann Interviewed On WNSP

March 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

University of South Alabama Athletic Director Dr. Joel Erdmann was on the Morning Sports Drive on WNSP with Lee Shirvanian and Mark Heim on Friday. Joel and Lee were both in Hot Springs, Arkansas for the Sun Belt Conference tournament that gets underway on Saturday.

Lee immediately spoke about the football schedule that was released the day before, on Thursday. Lee asked if Joel requested Troy as the Jaguars first Sun Belt game. Joel said that he did not and it’s not really up to the school to request such things. He did say that the schools do know who they will be playing and where they will be playing for the next four to six years. However the dates are not set and the schools can can “suggest” open dates to the conference, who actually sets the conference schedules.

Back to the schedule itself, Dr. Erdmann said that the schedule is very well paced with rotating home-away games. It’s good for the team and good for the fans. It has a greath rhythm to it.

Lee followed up asking if they were all going to be Saturday games, as they are currently scheduled, or if there were any possibilities of Jaguar games being picked up by the Sun Belt Network for television. Dr. Erdmann said that they are all scheduled for Saturday’s and that the times are still TBA. It is doubtful that the Jags will get a SBC televised game since South Alabama will not be eligible for the championship or post-season play.

Lee then transitioned over to the new Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson and said that he was scheduled to have a press conference tomorrow in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Since Benson’s announcement as the new Sun Belt commissioner, there have been wide discussion for the conference to move to 12 football schools. Dr. Erdmann said it would be good if the conference can find good matches in schools for the conference within the region and that they want it to be discussed.

Back to the Jags schedule, Joel said that three of the four home Sun Belt games will be against teams who played in a bowl game over the last two seasons.

Lee asked about scheduling Nebraska, asking if it was for money or if it was because of their name. Erdmann stated that it was more because of the game; it helps with recruiting. But it is also depends if the date works for both schools and other factors.

Rounding out the interview, Lee asked if South Alabama is looking to schedule more teams to home-and-away series or 2-for-1’s. Erdmann said that they are looking to schedule more series and try to get some big name schools to visit Mobile like they have scheduled with Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and N.C. State.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-11-15

November 17, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian are joined by Jinni Frisbey, Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine.

The outgoing seniors will be missed, they came into this program and knew they would not be playing for bowl games or conference championships but still came in and worked hard. They showed the young players how to practice and how to prepare.

Orthopedic Group injury report: Jereme Jones has been recovering well and could be ready to play on Saturday. B.J. Scott injured his knee against Georgia State and will not play due to a partially torn ligament in his knee. Bryson James has a lower back injury from the weight room and the will miss the game due to precautionary reasons. Demetre Baker dislocated his shoulder against MVSU and has rehabbed very well and will be able to play some this weekend.

Lee asked if this has been a better than average year for injuries which she agreed with. The players have played through some injuries but overall the injury list has been shorter than others and they hope it will continue this way.

Fuego Restaurant’s Who’s Hot segment: Coach Jones was a little off guard by Lee’s question for a most valuable player on offense and defense for the Jags. He said that would be hard to say but he would have to go with the tight ends because their play is so critical for the offense. Defensively he mentioned team leader in tackles Jake Johnson and Romelle Jones as two players. He also mentioned Charles Harris but said that they have many possible MVP’s on both sides of the ball.

Caller asked about an update on Brandon Ross again and since Coach Jones said that the triple option is the best offense, why isn’t South Alabama running that offense. Jinni started with an update on Brandon and his ACL tear. He also had to have another surgery on his MCL which is unusual. He has been out practicing and is looking good but will not play this year.

As for the triple offense question, Coach Jones answered. He said it was the best designed offense because you don’t have to block two people and have double teams on some the other players. Coach Jones said they want to get to some of elements of that offense. Some teams have changed it up some to run it from the shotgun. Jones also said he has run the shotgun variation of it some at the high school level. But right now they have a throwing quarterback who can still run some but were scared to get him hurt this year and will look at adding some elements of it to the offense next year.

Another caller asked if Kendall Houston is a senior, which he is not. He is a redshirt freshman this year and will still has three years of eligibility left.

Jinni spoke on the radio show later that USA has 11 certified trainers which is the most in the conference. Plus they have five athletic training facilities where most schools only have one or two. Also Jinni spoke about what happens on gameday. When a player comes off the field and needs to see a trainer, she lets the position coach know and keeps them well informed about what is going on. If they are getting evaluated, taped or need to go to the locker room, she is finding the position coaches and letting them know the status of that player.

 

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-11-01

November 2, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

One of Kendall Houston's three rushing attempts versus Henderson State.

Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian joined by strength and conditioning coach Justin Schwind for this week’s Joey Jones Radio show at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard.

Lee started by mentioning that the Jags got off to a good first half, but that it looked like they just wanted to get the game over with as quickly as possible in the second half since it’s a short week. Coach Jones said that they got players out of the game to rest and give other players some time to play.

They immediately went into the Fuego hot players of the game. Lee and Coach Jones mentioned linebacker Desmond LaVelle is a great player, hard worker. The coaches love his attitude and nose for the football. He was actually named linebacker of the week by the coaching staff. Then Coach Jones mentioned offensive lineman Melvin Meggs, a redshirt freshman that really played well, probably his best game of the year. Very effective on Bakers 7 yard run for a touchdown in the game. Getting really good with the technique for an offensive lineman. They further mentioned Demetre Baker with first 100 yard game of the year even after not practicing much during the week due to a bum knee and another defensive player was Gabe Loper who is becoming a good force in the secondary with good man-to-man skills and his zone technique is getting better.

Next they went into the Orthopedic Group injury update. Coach Jones mentioned Jereme Jones hurt his shoulder in that 65 yard run against Henderson State and will not be playing against MVSU on Thursday. Jereme was the only player he mentioned.

The PAT was a fake that was preplanned that didn’t work. The blocked was wrong and caused him to get stopped, but if they had picked up the correct guy to block, then he would have walked into the end zone Coach Jones said.

Lee asked about being up 16-0 and deciding to go for the two point conversion instead of kicking the PAT to make it 17-0 and not have to “chase points.” Coach Jones said that it was to be a surprise when they may not be expecting it plus doing that tells the other teams that you are willing to fake it any time which helps with the rush. He also mentioned that they probably should have done it earlier in the year and that Coach Perry is on him all the time about faking it to keep teams honest.

Lee mentioned Keels first start, CJJ said it was mainly because of injuries. Kendall has been nursing a knee injury for a while now, but he indicated that today was the first time he looked close to 100% in the last two weeks. Also it was mentioned earlier that Baker had been nursing a knee injury as well. At one point they weren’t sure either Baker or Houston would even play in the game.

Lee mentioned that you could never have too many running backs since the Jags have a good stable of backs. Coach Jones agreed and said that Brandon Ross could possibly play in the final game of the season, but they are not going to do that but rather wait for him to come back next season instead. Jones said he’s probably 90-95% right now but they don’t want to risk it.

Caller asked Coach Jones thinks that the team is ahead of schedule? The caller remarked that, looking at other teams in the conference, he thinks the Jags could be in the “upper echelon” of the conference right now. Coach Jones said he does not know where they would be and said that they are not at their full scholarship level yet, but they will be after this recruiting class. They want to be competitive in the Sun Belt but knows it will be tough with teams like Troy and FIU with teams like Western Kentucky and Arkansas State getting better. But the biggest difference and the toughest thing will be facing good FBS teams week after week.

The next caller to the show asked about the problems Trey Clark had snapping the ball to the quarterback in the shotgun. Coach Jones said that Trey was complaining about his hands being dry from the cold air and wind. So they put a glove on him and his snaps improved. Plus with the wind and his style of snapping can cause problems because it’s not like a spiral so it can be affected by gusty winds at times.

Lee asked about the strategy at the coin toss and if the wind was the major factor in choice after winning the toss. Coach Jones said it was, they wanted the wind at their back in the first quarter and more importantly in the fourth quarter. Around 4:00 the wind is pretty strong but by 7:00 it has died down. So after looking at weather forecasts they wanted it at their back when it is at it’s strongest.

When asked by Lee about concern about not being able to run the ball consistently inside the five yard line Coach Jones said he was very concerned. It has kind of snuck up on them, it was something they were very good at early in the year but now it has been clamped down on. The coaches have looked at it and changed some things. He also said that they should have picked up on that a week or more ago. They have some changes they are making that they think will get them back in gear again.

Lee and Coach Jones introduced Coach Schwind by saying that he has been with Coach Jones for about five years. He is very good at his job, is a great person and is a great motivator for the players.

Coach Schwind answered the question about how he motivates the players to work out and get stronger is by showing them the purpose of why they do it. How it translates into better performance in the game on the field. When asked who was the hardest worker in the weight room, Justin immediately said Paul Bennett.

Lee said that the jags are a very physical team and asked Justin if they meet his expectations for a physical team. Coach Schwind’s answer was yes, they are a very physical team and coaches from other teams tell them that the Jags are the most physical team they have played.

Talking about the Kent State game, Lee mentioned how the Jags were being pushed around by their defense and how physical they were with us. Coach Jones agreed and said that their defense was the most physical team they have played so far. He gave them credit for their play.

Lee also asked about the difference between workouts during the season and during the off season. Coach Schwind said that the off season is about getting bigger and stronger. In-season, the idea is recovery. Your emphasis is recovery and to maintain what they have.

A follow-up question by Lee was asking if there was such a thing as too much weight training. Justin answered with a “yes and no”. If you are doing the same thing every day then that is not good. You are going to hit a wall and over train an area while under training other areas. You have to plan the regimen to meet the needs of the kids and how they recover so you do not cause injury.

Later Lee asked about changes to their workouts as they go into an FBS schedule next season. Coach Schwind said that he has already talked to Coach Jones about this and that they have mainly discussed emphasizing discipline. Justin’s job in the off season is to focus on this in every thing they do. Strive for perfection and hope that continues into the season and onto the field.

Another follow-up question from Lee was about the possibility of strength and conditioning helping to prevent injury. Coach Schwind said that there is no doubt about it, it helps to avoid injury. If you are in a perfect anatomical position of the body to do something, your susceptibility to injury is greatly reduced. They train for a complete balance of the body, if you do not have a sound weight training regimen then you are opening yourself up to possible injury.

Coach Jones also chimed in to help explain. He said that if you only did benchpress without any Lat pulls to strengthen your back, you will have shoulder injury. He said Herchel Walker always talked about pushups, but he had shoulder injuries, possibly because he wasn’t balanced that way.

Turning towards Mississippi Valley State, Coach Jones said that they are very athletic. Defensively they very dynamic, they have a very big number of different blitz’s that they can run. They have lots of different coverages and different types of fronts they can use. Which is a lot to go through in a short week.

Offensively, they have quarterback who can throw and who can run some. They try to get him to the edge a good bit so they have to keep him contained and to watch down field for the big pass.

Talking about last Saturday’s game some more, Coach Jones liked the blue uniforms and said that they would wear them again. But he wanted to get some input from the fans about them. He said the players and President Moulton both liked them.

Free tickets to the game for high school kids with $5 companion tickets for the parents. These are end zone tickets.

A caller asked about designing plays. When the Jags play a team do they try to use plays that they see and like and put it into their offensive system. Coach Jones said not really, they don’t want to be what he called a “Monday football” team. Where they play a game and add plays that they see on Monday morning. First off, different teams have different personnel which factors into a play being fit for one team and not another.

Coach Jones used an example of a team using a speed sweep against the Jags. He said that, with T.J. Glover out, they are not a speed sweep team because they lack that speed to get out to the edge quick enough to make it work.

The previous question lead to Lee’s next question to Justin about developing speed in the weight room. Justin said that it can be done by technique. They can work on how to run and how to run fluidly. He said that fundamentally there are two ways to run faster; by improving frequency and by increasing stride. Improving frequency is about getting their legs and feet to get up and down faster to take more steps. Stride length is how many yards they cover in each step. Lots of times, when players get to college, they find out no one has emphasized to them these things.

The next caller asked about recruiting Junior College players to help the team as they begin their transition to FBS with a much tougher schedule next season. Coach Jones said they are probably looking at four to five JuCo players to add to the team. Mainly in the secondary the offensive line. They also want to find a rush type defensive end to rush off the edge and get after the quarterback.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-20

September 21, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 
Coach Jones Observing warm-ups.

Head Coach Joey Jones oversees the Jaguars pre-game warm-ups at N.C. State.

Coach Joey Jones and Lee Shirvanian were joined by defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They immediately started reflecting on the NC State game with an overview of how the team played. Coach Jones said that he thought the team played an very, very good game. He pointed to some basic tenets that coaches look to in order to get their team into a position to win the game. Things such as stopping the run, be able to run the ball yourself and possess the ball more than your opponent, all of which the Jags did in the game. However another area that you need to do well in is turnovers. While the Jags did recover a few turnovers, they also turned the ball over a few times themselves.

But he pointed out Kendall Houston’s performance on the ground as he rushed 18 times for 117 yards against the NC State defense. His was a large majority of the teams 139 yards rushing (minus sack yardage). Defensively the Jags were worried about stopping the NC State run because they were so big, however they were able to stop their running game. They knew their quarterback was good and he had a great night going 17-of-20 for 297 yards, but the two deep post routes were what really hurt the team.

Overall, Coach Jones said that the Jags were very physically tough and played extremely well. They got after them on every play and were not intimidated nor did they back down. He said that lots of great things happened, but that it was one of those games that you have three or four plays in the game you have to make but the Jags didn’t make them. Coach Jones said he has been on both sides of the field in these types of games and they just didn’t get those plays to go their way.

Lee said he had picked out three plays that were key. First was the on-sides kick fumble. Second was the open receiver around the 30 yard line but the ball wasn’t thrown well to him which would have easily been a touchdown. The third play was when Jake Johnson forced the fumbled at the 5 yard line when the Wolfpack was driving which Graphenreed recovered but fumbled back to them. Lee said you could also point to the play deep in the Wolfpack territory when Bennett lobbed a pass to an open Kevin Helms but was picked off at the 5 yard line.

Coach Jones pointed out another one where the Jags scored but the play was called back on a procedure penalty which he also pointed out was not there on film. Coach Jones was quick to follow that up by saying things like that happen and that the bottom line is you have to make plays. He ended that by saying that the core of the game, he thought the team played very well and put themselves in a position to win the game.

They had themselves in a position to win the game if they made some or all of those key plays against a team that beat Florida State the previous year. And this was only the 20th game in the schools history. Coach Jones said he does not like losing but he still considers the game a success for the program. None of them enjoy losing so he talked to the team that they can continue to look back at this game and play the what-if game or they can turn around and concentrate on making themselves better this week. They can correct those things that they did wrong and get ready to play the next game and then they can say that they beat someone.

He’s proud of where the team is but they have to do better.

The first caller said that South Alabama’s “ones” seemed to matched up well with the NC State “ones”, but he asked Coach Jones how different the Jags “two’s” were from the NC State “two’s”. Coach Jones said that there were probably some difference there, but he said he didn’t notice it much. He continued by saying that the Jags are fairly deep at some positions like defensive line, linebackers, receivers and running backs. But they lost Ken Barefield which hurt their secondary depth some. But Coach Jones did not think that personnel was as much of a factor in the game as missed opportunities were in the game.

Lee then turned to Coach Brian Turner and asked him how he felt the Jaguar defensive line did against NC State. He started off saying that it’s never as good as it seems and it’s never as bad as it seems either. He thought that they played well up front and did not get pushed off of the ball as much as they feared they would earlier in the week due to their size. The defensive line did a great job holding their gaps and doing their job.

Lee asked if the Jags had a good pass rush on Glennon even though he completed 17-of-20 passes. Coach Turner said that their gameplan was to blitz them alot but play coverage, however when you do that you tend to only rush three or four guys and when the opponent has five or six guys protecting the quarterback, your rushers are getting double-teamed often. They didn’t get alot of pressure on Glennon, but they did get to him. Romelle Jones came away with two of the Jags four sacks on Glennon. He also said that they should have gotten to him more often.

Lee then introduced the Fuego “Who’s hot” segment. Offensively, Coach Jones said that Kendall Houston was the hot guy for them this week but he also pointed out the offensive line for their work blocking against NC State. Defensively he pointed out Romelle Jones for having probably his best game of his career, he is quick and is also learning the game very well. Also Coach Jones pointed out B.J. Scott and Charles Harris for playing a very good game defensively at the safety positions.

Lee then introduced the Orthopedic Group’s Injury Update. Coach Jones said that the Jags came out of this with some bruises. Ken Barefield got hurt and missed the end of the game but will be able to play against Kent State this weekend. Rush Kendricks has an injured ankle and will not be able to play this weekend. He said that it looks like everyone else will be back, he mentioned Jake Johnson has a small injury with his quad but will be okay.

Lee asked how Johnson played in the game. Coach Jones said he played very well, like the whole defense did. He said for the “who’s Hot” segment it’s hard not to just list out all of the defensive players because of how well they played.

Lee asked Coach Turner about one of the concerns going into the game about intimidation as they went in to play against an ACC team. He asked if he caught any of the intimidation factor early on from the team. Coach Turner said that he did not see any intimidation in their eyes before the game, they were focused and ready to play the game.

They next caller to the show expressed how proud of the program the fans are for how hard they played and how composed they were. Lee asked a few email questions to both coaches. The first asked if NC State showed anything that was unexpected and if they thought the Jag players were in better shape than them. Coach Jones said that they did not show anything that was unexpected and he also said that he thought both teams were conditioned pretty well. Coach Jones didn’t notice anyone out of shape on either team. Coach Turner agreed to both statements by Coach Jones. Nothing surprising and he didn’t notice anyone out of shape either.

Lee then asked about Coach Crain and how he is doing. Coach Jones said that he is doing better, he’s been in the hospital since Friday. They finally found out that he had a staph infection and have him on antibiotics to help that. He has actually been dealing with that for the last month or so Coach Jones said.

The next email quested asked how coach Jones thought about how well Jag Nation traveled to NC State for the game. He said it was incredible. He said that after the Jags would get a big play he would sneak a look up at the Jaguar section going crazy. He said it was probably between 700 and 800 people strong in that section. After the game, the players went over to the Jag section and held up their helmets and thanked the fans for coming to the game to support them.

The next email question asked Coach Jones what the thought about the officiating and if there were any bad calls in the game by the ACC officials. Coach Jones said that there are rules where Coaches will get fined for speaking badly of officiating. Lee then chimed in saying that sometimes a no answer speaks more loudly than an actual answer which Coach Jones agreed with. He also told Lee that things happen and you have to deal with it and move on.

Lee followed up by asking if Coach Jones called the officials over anytime during the game. Coach Jones laughed and said “calling them over” is a good way to put it. Coach Jones then said that he will send in game film and call someone at the conference office to help educate the referees because, as Coach Jones said, everyone makes mistakes (except coaches with a laugh). So they send that film in so help the refs educate themselves and continue to get better.

The next email question asked if there were mismatches or communication problems in the secondary allowing for some big pass plays by NC State. On one big pass play for a touchdown, corner back Damond Smith fell down and the other one was some miscommunication in the secondary. He praised how well the secondary played the whole game, especially against #6 T.J. Graham who was really quick.

Lee followed that up by asking if there was an effort to keep the punts and kickoffs away from Graham. To which Coach Jones said yes, because NC State actually leads the nation in kickoff returns. So they tried to kick some sky kicks. The first kickoff return they got out to around the 42 yard line which was their only long kickoff return of the game.

Lee then asked who was covering T. J. Graham. Coach Turner answered that it depended on where he lined up as to who was covering him. They didn’t assign a specific person to cover him.

Another email question asked about conference realignment and if South Alabama could benefit from it. Coach Jones said that as a fan he doesn’t like it so much but for the school it could be good. While they like the Sun Belt, it could be an opportunity for something good to happen. He said it’s going to happen sometime in the future, you can see it and there will be some big shake-ups on the horizon in the next couple years.

Loyd Meyers joined the show to talk about the homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin on October 15th. On Thursday night October 13th there will be a pep rally at the Bell Tower followed by a volleyball game vs Troy. Friday night there will be a homecoming parade and luck worked out for a moonlight madness where the Jags basketball team can begin practicing for their upcoming season. The soccer team will be playing at The Cage as well.

Lee brought up that they have not talked about C.J. Bennett’s play against NC State yet during the show. Coach Jones said that if you look at the whole game, he played a very good game and made some unbelievable throws. It was great to see that out of a redshirt freshman to go into that type of environment and play that well. He is doing a great job understanding secondary coverages and going to the right place with the ball. He also mentioned that he got the team out of third down many times. Coach Jones did mention that he did have a high throw across the middle that was intercepted. He also mentioned about the throw the Kevin Helms where he floated it behind the safety but he didn’t see the backside corner. Coach Jones also mentioned that they did not show him that coverage in practice so there were some things they could have done to prepare him for that situation a little better.

Lee then turned to ask Coach Turner about their defensive line rotation during a game. Coach Turner said that they rotate defensive linemen every three plays no matter what. They want two fresh guys every play pretty much, so they are rotating their interior linemen, their inside linebackers and outside linebackers.

Lee asked about the play of Romelle Jones and if he has been playing better lately. Coach Turner said that the last two games he has been really playing well. He has been the defensive lineman of the week the last two weeks for his play against Lamar and against NC State. Lee asked to clarify if it is the same rotation all the time. Coach Turner answered that it is the same rotation all the time, they are not rotating based on match-ups but every three plays they are getting fresh guys on the field.

Lee then asked about recruiting and stated that he knows that they cannot comment about specific recruits, but asked if they are getting top notch athletes now. Coach Turner said they are definitely getting very good talent. He also said that they currently have 11 verbal commitments on their recruiting board right now. He also said that they are recruiting against schools from the Big East, Conference USA and the Sun Belt. They may be losing some, but they are also winning some battles against those schools. He praised the coaches for their hard work recruiting and staying on the best players for the South Alabama program.

Lee asked that, aside from the verbals, what positions are being recruited this year. Coach Jones said that he says this every year, but it’s true, they are recruiting offensive linemen. They are probably going to lose four seniors on the offensive line so they have quite a bit to fill. Two tight ends with Paul Bennett and Kevin Helms being seniors will need replacing. Offensively they are pretty good, they will always look out to pick up a player here or there for a backup role if they are a really good player.

Coach Jones said defensively they need a defensive end, that they kind of refer to as their outside linebacker who is very athletic to rush the quarterback. Also they need to continue to shore up the secondary. They have some good players back there, but they don’t have depth.

Lee asked about C.J. Bennett being a redshirt freshman and if that would be detrimental to trying to bring in other quarterbacks to the program the next four years. Coach Jones said that they do not want a player who does not think they cannot come in and beat out C.J.

Lee then asked about popular spots for South Alabama to recruit. Coach Turner said that when the program started, they were not recruiting the entire state of Georgia. They are now. He indicated that obviously Alabama is their home state, but they are also recruiting Florida all the way down to Miami, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Coach Turner also mentioned that Myles Gibbon is from Canada so they are willing to go anywhere to get good players to find players that fit into the program and fills their needs.

Lee then transitioned to previewing the Kent State game. Lee said that this is a little different than the schools other 2-for-1 series. We travel to Kent State, then they travel here before we visit them again. Coach Jones said that they are a very good defensive team but they have struggled on offense but they have played Alabama so it’s hard to tell how good they really are because how strong the Alabama defense is this season.

Lee flashed back to the NC State game again by asking about Scott Garber and the special teams play. Coach Jones said that the special teams play was very good. He thought the kicking game was much improved against NC State. He said Jordan went 2-of-3 hitting a 46 yard attempt and missing a 44 yarder. He also thought that Scott’s punted was very good too. They changed and went to a rugby punt style.

Following up on that, Lee asked who and why they decided to go with the rugby style punt. Coach Jones said it’s hard to return a rugby style punt because it’s a low punt but it takes time for the punter to move out and kick it that it gives the coverage team time to get down and cover the returner. So you can get 40 and 50 yard punts pretty easy without a return because of that.

Lee asked about Garber being run into during one of his punts, he said that he thought that it was an automatic 15 yard penalty and a first down. Coach Jones said that it’s a judgement call, that they have bumping the kicker and hitting the kicker with two different penalties and that it’s a judgement call. He indicated that Coach Perry read the rules once they returned back to Mobile and that is how it is written, it’s a judgement call.

Lee said that they talked last week about trick plays. Wake Forest burned NC State with a couple of them and he asked if the Jags ran any. Coach Jones said that they tried a reverse but the defense caught it for a loss. The play-action pass on 3rd and one to Kevin Helms he thought was a good call at the time. Then there was a play at the five yard line where the tight end was wide open at the corner of the end zone but Bennett didn’t see him and went down for a sack. They weren’t trick plays he said, but they were different plays to call at those times and they didn’t execute them very well.

Coach Turner previewed what the defense sees in Kent State coming up this weekend. He said that they started the season throwing the ball much more, but now they have settled in running with a 260 lb running back. He said that it was going to be a good match-up between the two teams.They have a very good defensive lineman who game Alabama some problems blocking and Alabama has some very good offensive linemen. They round out the program saying that the team definitely has a different attitude going up to Kent State and that it should be a very good and competitive game.

Additionally it was announced during the WNSP morning show and reiterated again during the radio show that South Alabama picked up another verbal commitment from Georgia. Lamar Counties Fredrick Walker is a six foot two inch, 320 pound nose tackle. He wasn’t interested in any big programs so he turned down Central Florida and South Florida. He chose South Alabama over Georgia Southern to make the 12th verbal for the Jags 2012 recruiting class.

South Alabama and Kent State kick off on Saturday October 24th at 2:30pm. The game will not be televised, however Kent State will be broadcasting the game online at KentStateSports.com for free for the first time.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-06

September 7, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Jones and Lee Shirvanian was accompanied by defensive coordinator Bill Clark for the Joey Jones Radio show from Baumhower’s restaurant on Airport Boulevard.

Lee asked about perspective about the UWA game. He asked if he thought that the Jags played a good game. Coach Jones started off by saying “I don’t know,” he then continued by saying that he thought the players played hard, that they got after it physically, they were there emotionally and were ready to play. But he said that they did make some mistakes and did not play what he considers ‘South Alabama Football’. He mentioned the four turnovers in the first half and the play on special teams.

He also mentioned the field position because the offense didn’t play well and the mental mistakes and the special teams play had them, on average, starting at their own 19 yard line. He did not know where the defense averaged their starting position but he thought it would be near midfield.

He then said that if your field position is that bad you are not going to play well. But, bottom line, those things are fixable and they have to turn them around quickly. If they want to be a good football team, they have to fix them quickly.

Lee then mentioned to Coach Clark that they have less to work on than Auburn’s defense. Coach Clark was quick to deflect that by telling Lee that, to them, it’s all about the next game. As they were looking back on the game, they liked the effort but they also have things they want to work on and get better at. Coach Clark also mentioned that it he likes that they have film of their opponent for the next game. For UWA all they had was what film they had from the previous year.

Lee then went about talking how Steve Spurrier benched Steven Garcia then he came off the bench to lead the team to a come-back win. He then transitioned that into talking about Kendall Houston and Demetre Baker being suspended for the first half of the game against UWA and asked if they have been in the game, would it have been different?

Coach Jones said yes it would have been different, however you don’t know for sure that it was. Jones also said that when you walk out onto the field without two guys like them and Corey Besteda, who is another big play guy at receiver, it leaves a bit of a void that the team has to overcome.

The Jags did score on their opening drive of the game, but Coach Jones said they threw the ball alot in that drive. But then the turnovers took over. He rounded out the answer by saying in the future they want those guys out on the field and that they do not want that to happen again.

Lee introduced the ‘Who’s hot’ feature sponsored by Fuego Mexican Restaurant. On offense, Jones recognized Kendall Houston for his job coming in and playing a good game and breaking lots of tackles. Defensively he recognized Enrique Williams for his performance. Williams had 11 tackles after coming back from a shoulder injury in preseason camp.

Lee and Coach Clark began talking about the defense and the secondary. Lee asked about how B.J. Scott, Damond Smith and Charles Harris in the secondary changes the defense. Coach Clark agreed with Lee’s comment that they are good cover guys so they can leave them in coverage and get a good pass rush on the quarterback.

Jones agreed with what Lee Shirvanian said about what a good job the defense did to prevent Worsham from making any big plays. While he did lead their team with five receptions for 44 yards, his longest was 13 yards.

Lee mentioned that in previous airings of this show, Coach Jones had said that special teams had improved. So he asked Coach Jones if he had a better game at that phase of the game. Coach Jones said no, but he did say that there were some positive things and negative things. But they know what they need to work on and they will get to work to correct them.

The first email question that Lee asked was if there have been any difficulty keeping the players and staff focused with NC State and Kent State games approaching. Coach Jones said he has not thought about those games and cautioned that his players better not be thinking about those games either. He cautioned that Lamar has had this game circled since last year and want to come to Mobile and win. So his players better not be caught looking ahead because Lamar could jump up and bite them.

Coach Clark answered from the prospective of the staff that it has not been hard to stay focused on Lamar and not look ahead to the two games ahead.

The next question emailed to Lee asked if that was indeed the wishbone formation that he saw near the goal line against UWA. Jones confirmed that it was the wishbone and went on to say that they use it when they get near the end zone.

Lee stepped back after a short talk about the wishbone and the single wing offense to talk about high school football. When he moved to South Alabama in the 80’s, he said that the offenses were ‘the quarterback hands off to the running back’ type of offenses. Now you see shotgun formations, trips left and trips right. The offenses have really opened up.

Coach Clark then chimed in talking about how the high school offenses have evolved. The rise of the throwing quarterback then the advent of the running quarterback. Then you put those together. Coach Clark also mentioned that Coach Jones was one of the first to use the spread and throw the ball around alot in the high school ranks in Alabama.

The next sponsored segment was the Orthopedic Group injury update. Coach Jones said that the team came out of the game looking great on the injury front. Looking back to what they were like during the summer, they are looking really good. He said it was about two pages of injuries, down to one page, down to half a page and now it’s only about three players with injuries. He announced that Greg Hollinger will be back for the Lamar game, which is a tall receiver that has shown some good play in practice.

Coach Jones said he came in last year and tore his quad muscle then this year he hurt his shoulder at the beginning of the summer. Greg is about 6’3″ and weighs about 215-lbs. Jones said that last year he was a terror against the first team defense, which Coach Clark agreed with. They are now ready to get him on the field.

Lee asked about Melvin Meggs, who he saw leave the game. Coach Jones said he had cramps and that was all with him. He also mentioned B.J. Scott having cramps late in the game as well. Other than those, he said that they don’t have any injuries.

Lee asked about Enrique Williams and his injury last year going into this year. Coach Clark said that it wasn’t a worry that he was missing practice time. He continued by saying that he has been in the system for a while so they were comfortable with his play, but he was still out there with Coach Crain and the linebackers so he would know what was going on without physically participating.

Lee asked coach Clark as to who is their field guy who makes sure they are lined up correctly and takes control on the field. Coach Clark said that they depend on the Mike Linebacker who is either Jake Johnson or Bryson James and they also depend on their safeties Scott and Charles Harris.

Lee circled back to Hollinger and asked how much playing time he would see. Coach Jones said that they rotate in receivers quite a bit and feel they are interchangeable. They are two deep so he would expect Hollinger to see action for about half the game because they feel he is that good of a receiver.

Lee made light that Lamar will be the first team that we will have faced twice. He also said that the defense played very well, shutting out Lamar at home. Coach Jones agreed, he said that it was the start of a three game series with road games against Lamar and UC-Davis before returning to Mobile to face Georgia State. They really considered it the first road game too, the Dothan game wasn’t the full road game experience to them.

The WNSP staple caller Scooter called in and asked a few questions and made a couple comments. One of his questions was to Coach Jones about his preference of field, was it grass or artificial. Coach Jones said he was a traditionalist and preferred grass, but that field turf has come a very long way and makes such financial sense now for many places. Scooter followed it up with a question about burns and scuffs on the artificial turf. Jones said that they do still get burns and scuffs, but it’s not like what it used to be on the old turf.

Lee asked about the field turf and drainage since it rained heavily on Thursday. Coach Jones said that it drains very well, within 30 minutes or so it was drained and in great condition. It’s one of the major advantages of the artificial fields.

Another caller asked that, if South Alabama defeats NC State, would he name every player on the team as captain for the rest of the season like Coach Belichick. Coach Jones said that was a great idea and he might do that if they win, but he quickly turned the conversation back to Lamar.

Lee turned the conversation from TV, that one caller was calling about, to uniforms as being a big issue after the first week of play. Coach Jones let out a very audible “Oh god” when uniforms were mentioned. Lee asked if USA would ever go to something like the Georgia uniforms. Jones was quick to say “no.” However, he did mention that his wife liked the Georgia uniforms. But Coach Jones said that the Georgia uniforms were nowhere near as bad as the uniforms that Maryland wore for their game.

Coach Jones said that he has liked some of the Nike ProCombat uniforms that they have designed in the last few years, but that the Maryland uniforms were horrible. Coach Clark agreed and said that they took away from the game itself. They like to do things that the kids like, but Maryland’s were just too over the top.

Lee mentioned Tim Brando and what he said on his show about the uniforms. Brando said part of the allure of college football is the tradition of college colors so he was against it. Coach Clark said that they (South Alabama) likes to mix it up, but as long as you stay within your colors.

Another caller asked for Coach Clark to comment on Ken Barefield’s play on Saturday. Clark acknowledged that it was a very good comment. He said that Ken is a very good player and since his move to linebacker from safety, it gives them a fifth defensive back in the game in a way. They felt that they have found him a better place to play because of his agressiveness during the game. He can be their Sam or nickle linebacker. He is very mobile, as fans saw during the game when he leapt over the offensive player attempting to block him. Plus he added an interception in the red zone.

Lee asked both Coach Jones and Coach Clark as to what Lamar brings when they come to Mobile on Saturday. Coach Clark said that they had two of their starting receivers out and their starting tight end out on offense, but from last year to this year they added three transfers to their offensive line. The guard they added was the #2 guard in America two years ago and signed with USC but didn’t get in there. The right tackle came from Arkansas, is a big guy at about 6’7″ or 6’7″ and 300+ pounds who transferred to them. Their quarterback threw for over 400 yards before playing us last year. But they brought in a transfer at quarterback that signed with West Virginia and was the #5 running quarterback in the state of Texas, while also returning their quarterback from last year. He also said that they just have good players across the entire team.

Lee asked if the Jags would see much of a change in their defense from last year. Coach Jones said that they have changed personel some, but the biggest change has been the interior of their defense. They have changed from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3 defense. Last year they had lost two linemen to injury. They will have some big guys inside and he said that probably their two best players are the two guys on the inside.

Lee said that Kendall had a break-out game against Lamar by rushing for over 160 yards against them. He asked if the Jags could do that again. Coach Jones said he hopes so, but that the offense has to be balanced and they have to be mindful of the plays that they call.

Lee said he was a little hesitant to ask, but he asked both coaches what they thought of the Kent State game. Coach Jones said that the Kent State defense scared him a little because they were getting through Alabama’s offensive line at will early in the game. They did a good job of stopping the run early. But he wasn’t really watching them all that closely, they were watching the game as a game and preparing for Lamar. They will get to Kent State when it’s time.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-08-23

August 24, 2011 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 1 Comment 
Baker and Jones

Coach Jones looks on as Demetre Baker looks to the sideline before blocking for a field goal attempt.

The Joey Jones Radio Show started season three with host Lee Shirvanian and guest Joel Erdmann today.

They started the show off by talking about the depth chart now that they are finished with preseason camp and are into game prep mode. The first thing that Lee asked coach Jones about were there any surprises that emerged that he wasn’t thinking about. Coach Jones said that they don’t have many changes.

He mentioned on the offensive line that Levi Slaydon did not return so they had to fill that position. Jermaine Smith and Brian Krauskopf have stepped up and are neck-and-neck for that starting job. Other than that change, the offensive line is the same as last season. At tight end it is pretty much the same with Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett there. A little bit of a change will be the backfield with the addition of Georgia transfer Demetre Baker with Kendall Houston. He indicated that they would be co-starters in the backfield.

When coach Jones moved onto receivers, he mentioned that they have more names out there than they did last year. Last year Courtney Smith was the big name and the other receivers were ‘the others’.

Lee then started talking about the defense and mentioned that there were many familiar names on that side of the ball. He first mentioned Cori Barnett at the Sam position with Ken Barefield as his backup. Barefield played defensive back last season for the Jags.

When asked about how Cori emerged as being a starter, Coach Jones said that he had a great spring and awarded him with a scholarship for how well he did in the off-season. He mentioned that he is a bit undersized but still plays very well, he’s smart and knows all the answers to questions over on defense. Ken will still play alot.

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Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2010-11-09

November 9, 2010 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones greeting fans during Jaguar Prowl before South Alabama took the field against Henderson State.

Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones were joined by strength and conditioning coach Justin Schwind at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard. Lee opened up by asking Coach Jones about his confidence in Lawson McGlon in the kicking game. Coach Jones said that he is very confident in McGlon, but he doesn’t have the leg strength. His range is about 42 yards but we do have guys who are capable of making a 50+ yard field goal. However McGlon is the most accurate of the kickers.

Then Lee transitioned and asked about the fumble in the endzone by Henderson State, coach Jones said that we recovered the ball but it was a missed call on the field. The video they shot showed that USA recovered the fumble. The reason it wasn’t a safety was because the Henderson State player never had control of the ball, if he had and then fumbled and recovered it in the end-zone, it would have been a safety.

Coach does not think the players took him serious about how good Henderson state was. He thinks it may have been a case where he has been saying that all season and this time they didn’t quite take him serious.

Coach Schwind joined the program and Coach Jones introduced him and told some of his background about how he has payed his dues and worked hard to get where he is now. He would drive across the nation to go to something that might make him a better strength and conditioning coach even when he was barely making ends meet. He worked with him at Birmingham Southern and brought him down here to continue working together.

Coach Jones stressed how, as a head coach, he must have someone that he can trust and someone who knows what they are doing because the coaches can only work with the kids for a certain period of time during the year, but the strength coach works with them all year round.

Coach Schwind said that during the season they lift two days a week, but in the off-season they work out five days a week. He believes as athletes, they have to keep working and moving but he does not run them into the ground. Working out five days a week does not mean they are lifting weights every day, they could be doing other workouts that do not involve lifting.

Lee asked, using the quarterbacks as an example, if he does certain things with different position players so as to keep them from being “musclebound” or something. Coach Schwind answered by saying that with the quarterbacks they do not do any overhead lifts and with bench presses they put a board on their chest to prevent them from doing the full range of motion so as not to impinge on their range of motion in the shoulder. Beyond that, they work on shoulder flexibility and shoulder strength with exercises throughout the season and off-season. Coach Schwind also mentioned that he does not devise a workout for every individual player, but he has workouts for every position.

When asked who lifted the most, Coach Schwind said that Paul Bennett was definitely the one to work out the hardest and best overall athlete. He benches around 490, squats around 650 and runs a 4.65 in the 40.

Coach Jones said that Brandon Ross is doing well after surgery. He is such a good kid, he has been texting with Coach Jones about what they should do. He can’t wait to get back and coach Jones said he cannot wait to have him back as well. But they are very fortunate to have two running backs in Ross and Houston that they can turn to in order to pound the ball.

Lee then asked if there could be a situation next year when they may put Houston and Ross in at the same time during a game. Coach Jones said yes, they could put the quarterback in the shotgun with both of them on either side of the quarterback. Then he said, no doubt about it you want to put your best players on the field. Lee said it was not usual to see teams to put both of their best running backs on the field at the same time and indicated that it would be interesting.

Lee asked Coach Jones if they were going to try to get more pressure on Arkansas-Monticello which they did not do a very good job of against Henderson State. Coach Jones answered that they are a different team from Arkansas-Monticello in that they are more balanced and are actually more of a running team than a passing team. They can also run the option, so they have to have plans to cover the option as well. Coach Jones thinks they match up better than they did against Henderson State because they have smart linebackers who make sure to get into good positions.

Lee asked about the deal with players transferring into the program and not having to sit out. Coach Jones said that any player who transfers up to next summer, they will be able to play immediately, but if they transfer after next fall, they will have to sit out a year. This is due to the program beginning the transition into Division I.

Coach Jones went over some stats from the team such as the rushing yards per game and 3rd down conversion percentage for the opponents (26%). But overall, Coach Jones says he is not really a big numbers person, but some numbers do give you an insight into your team.

Lee brought up some current news about head injuries and concussions and asked about what they can do to prevent such injuries from occurring. Coach Schwind said that there has been lots of research about this and that quite a bit of it has pointed to working out those muscles. So they work on them quite extensively such that when they take one of those big hits, they are less likely to have a concussion or serious injury.

Next week is the last episode of the Coach Joey Jones show on the radio. They will have a recap of the Arkansas-Monticello game and hopefully a recap of another undefeated season.

Just as a reminder, they will kick-off at 6pm for the game and the Jaguar Prowl will be at 3:45pm.

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