Tuesday and Wedensday practice coverage

August 10, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Jersey and Pads

South Alabama had their first two-a-day practice on Tuesday. In their morning practice, they had a very physical and vigorous workout that might have been a preview for the Fan Day scrimmage coming up on Saturday, August 13.

Practice began with special teams work with roughly the first 10 minutes were devoted to work with the punt team. After that, the offense worked on individual and group work which featured screen drills along with routes for tight ends, receivers and running backs.

The next session had the offense and defense working on the running game, both inside and outside, along with play-action passing. The offense then went to skeleton passing drills against the their defensive counterparts. While the skeleton drills were going on, the offensive line worked on pass protection against the defensive line.

The team then took a 10 minute break from the heat before resuming practice. After a stretching session, the offense took the field against the scout team working primarily on reverses.

The offense and defense then took the field against each other. The first 12 plays from scrimmage were snapped from the offense’s 20-yard line. Demetre Baker took the first ball for no gain. Then Myles Gibbon recovered a fumbled from a low snap which resulted in a loss of yards for the offense. Kendall Houston then rushed for 15 yards on the third play which was followed by a six-yard run by Devin Robinson. Baker kept the momentum with a 10-yard rush on fifth play.
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Jaguars Process Continues: Red White Game 2010

March 11, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones watches as Myles Gibbon leads the White team offense as they try to score in the second Red-White Game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The University of South Alabama Spring Football Game showcased alot of talent on both sides of the ball, but it also showed that there is improvement still yet to be had. The defense on both sides really stepped up when needed and the offenses showed flashes of brilliance, however neither side showed any all-around dominance.

On the first drive of the game, the white offense lead by Myles Gibbon, drove 70 yards in 13 plays to put the first points on the board. With the drive facing a fourth-and-one near midfield, it was actually gut-check time. Do they play it safe and punt or do they roll the dice?

Well, the white team rolled the dice and and it payed off. Gibbon completed a pass to Paul Bennett for 13 yards for the first down and to cross the midfield stripe. This play got the offense in gear. Myles carred the ball for six yards, then Santuan McGee rushed twice for 13 more yards. Then Brandon Ross followed with a 17 yard gain to the one yard line on a sweep to the left. Gibbon would cap off the drive with a one yard dive into the end zone to give the White team an early 7-0 lead.

On the second drive of the game, the Red team would drive 55 yards down to the White team’s 25 yard line before getting stopped on a fourth-and-five play.

The White team would take the ball and drive 69 yards in just six plays. The majority of the yards were picked up on a 52 yard strike from Myles Gibbon to Courtney Smith on a post route. However an incomplete pass into the end zone on fourth down from the one yard line would end their drive.

Brennan Sim would lead the Red teams drive from the one yard line and go 99 yards to even the game with less than three minutes until halftime. After trying to run for a few yards of breathing room in the shadow of their endzone, Sim would find Donte Rome for a 14 yard completion on third down to keep the drive alive. Sim would go back to Rome for a 16 yard completion.

On the next play, Brandon Norton would record a sack on Sim costing the Red team eight yards. But he came back with a fake option run which the defensive back bit on and found Kelly Vail on a post pattern which he turned into a 73 yard touchdown.

The second half was a defensive showing with only one score in the second half to show for it.

The drive began when Zach Brownell intercepted a pass and returned it eight yards to the 38 yard line. Gibbon then found Courtney Smith for a first down play to get the ball to midfield. McGee, two plays later, would find a seam and go for 12 yards and another White first down at the Red teams 34 yard line.

Then on third-and-ten, Paul Bennett caught another Gibbon pass in the right flat for 22 yards just as time expired in the third quarter. But the Red team defense would not give up. They would cause three consecutive plays for a loss, including back to back sacks by Clifton Crews and Josh Chestang. This placed the ball on the 36 yard line. With fourth-and-24, the coaches options were limited.

Gambling for a win and some game pressure experience, the White team ran on Jordan Means to attempt a 53 yard field goal. The snap and hold were good and when Means put foot to ball and sent it sailing, everyone watched holding their breath. As the ball barely cleared the cross bar, everyone was wondering if it made it. Then when the referees hands went up in the air, the onlookers gave their loudest cheer of the night as the White team celebrated as well.

The drive and kick covered 13:52 and left about 11:30 for the Red team to try to match them and the White defense did not let the Red team get a drive going of any substance and held on for the victory.

Myles Gibbon went 8-for-9 passing for 131 yards with four of them to Courtney Smith for 83 yards. Paul Bennett had two receptions for 35 yards while Lamontis Gardner also added two receptions. Santuan McGee lead the team rushing with 10 carries for 43 yards and Brandon Ross carried the ball five times for 33 more yards.

The White defense was lead by Romelle Jones with five tackles, 1.5 of them for a loss. Richard Courtney and Logan Bennett each added four tackles while Bryson James had three. In total, the White defense only allowed 207 yards.

Brennan Sim went 13-for-22 with 184 yards. Kelly Vail caught four passes for a game high of 94 yards. Ralph Turner also had four receptions for 39 yards. The Red team offense could only muster 13 yards on 14 attempts, but Eli Smith lead the way with six rushes for 18 yards.

Ken Barefield lead all players with nine tackles, two of them for a loss. Michael Wilson added seven. Clifton Crews and Enrique Williams added four each as well. The Red defense only allowed 12 more yards than the White defense for 219 yards.

Head Coach Joey Jones was on the field observing the play the entire evening. Coach Jones had this to say about the game, “I think the kids had some fun out there. It was a good-spirited night, they’ve been at each other the last couple of days and had a good time. It was a good way to end a long spring training.”

“That was great,” added Coach Jones when asked about the Jordan Means’ field goal attempt. “I was over there and they were ready to run a fourth-down play to try and at least gain some yardage. I reminded them the wind was behind them, though I wasn’t trying to be a head coach. Jordan has a good leg, I knew if he got it going straight he had it. It was a great kick.”

All in all, the players had a great time. There were good spirited ribbing and text messages going back and forth all week according to Romelle Jones. Myles Gibbon added that it was like playing with a completely new team since both teams only had one practice in order to prepare for the game.

At halftime, Mobile businessman David Gwin who is a strong supporter of South Alabama Athletics along with his wife Lynn were recognized for their $100,000 donation for a football sculpture. The sculpture, as stated by President Gordon Moulton, will stand about 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide in the front circle of the entranceway to the Jaguar Football Field House and will be made entirely out of stainless steel.

Coach Jones and his staff honored several players for their efforts in spring practice. Each position received a Most Improved award with the winners being: Quarterback Brennan Sim, Running Back Eli Smith, Wide Receivers Bryant Lavender, Tight End Robby Stoner, Offensive Lineman Levi Slaydon, Defensive Lineman Kendell Bagnerise, Inside Linebacker Brett Hancock, Outside Linebacker Josh Chestang and Defensive Back Michael Wilson.  Other special honors went to Corey Walden on Offense and Ken Barefield on Defense. Charlie Higgenbotham received the “I Like To Practice” award and Brennan Sim earned the High Academic Honors award.

The process to join Division-I football continues on Saturday, September 4 when Pikeville (Kentucky) travels to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to open the 2010 Football season.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Jags!

Jags Win Impressively Over Army Prep To Stay Undefeated

September 27, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coming off of a three week layoff was nothing that the Jaguars could not overcome on Saturday. Not even a rain storm could slow them down too much. The Jaguar offense rolled up 500 yards of total offense while only surrendering 225 to Army Prep in an impressive 56-0 victory.

Of the 500 yards for the offense, 309 came from the running game but built their early lead via the passing game. On the games first series and facing a 3rd down and five, freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon found Courtney Smith on a wide receiver screen for a 63 yard touchdown pass 1:06 into the game.

Army Prep’s first series ended with a punt that was blocked by the Jaguar defense, however the Jags turned the ball back over on a fumble. After the defense forced another punt, Erling Riis returned the punt to the Black Knight 37 yard-line. The Jaguars only needed six plays to get the ball into the endzone when Gibbon hit Corey Besteda on an 18 yard slant play for the touchdown with 6:16 left in the first quarter.

After another Black Knight punt, the Jaguars used 1:31 in four plays to cover 36 yards for their third touchdown of the first quarter. It was capped off by Brandon Ross’s second and final carry of the game for the two-yard touchdown.

A fourth consecutive Black Knight punt set up the Jaguars for a third consecutive scoring drive, a four play 58 yard drive taking only 1:54 off of the clock put the Jaguars up 28-0 with 13:00 left in the second quarter. Brennan Sim came in for relief of Gibbon on this series. Sim found Ralph Turner for a 40 yard gain to start the possession and it was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run by Anthony Mostella.

Army Prep took the ensuing kickoff on an 11 play 46 yard drive before fumbling at the Jaguar 10 yard line. The Black Knight defense tightened up and forced a Jaguar punt.

The Jaguar special teams pinned them back at their own six yard line when Jerron Mitchell scored on a 27 yard interception return with eight minutes left until halftime to extend the Jaguar lead to 35-0.

The second half saw the Jaguars continue their scoring when a fumble recovery would be converted to an 11 yard touchdown run by Ryan Scott with 12:50 left in the third quarter.

The Jaguar defense would force Army Prep to punt again on their next series leading to Scott scoring again on a five yard run for a 49-0 advantage.

Army Prep would then throw another interception on their first play from scrimmage which lead to the Jaguars final scoring drive. Eddy Cabrera would intercept the pass to set up the 5 play 61 yard drive was capped off by an 18 yard pass from Nick Owens to Nick Brunson with 3:10 left in the third quarter for the final score of 56-0.

Army Prep only threatened to score twice in the game, but came away empty handed both times. In the first quarter they completed a 66 yard pass but on the very next play Justin Dunn would force a fumble that Charlie Higgenbotham would recover at the South Alabama 10 yard line. The second threat had the Black Knights in the red zone but back to back sacks ended the possession.

Four quarterbacks saw action in the game for the Jaguars. Myles Gibbon finished 6 of 7 for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, Brennan Sim went 2 of 5 for 46 yards and Nick Owens went 2 of 2 for 23 yards and a touchdown. Gabe Graham did not attempt a pass. In all the Jaguar quarterbacks went 10 of 14 for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Courtney Smith led the receivers with two receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown. Nick Brunson was the only other Jag with multiple receptions with two for 23 yards and a touchdown. Corey Besteda was the other Jaguar receiver with a touchdown.

The Jaguar rushed 44 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns total while averaging seven yards per attempt. Eli Smith lead all with nine carries for 94 yards and a long of 31 yards. Ryan Scott had eight carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Pacillo had seven carries for 40 yards, Anthony Mostella had five carries for 40 yards and Santuan McGee also had five carries for 19 yards.

On defense, three Jags had five tackles: Justin Dunn, Logan Bennett and Brett Hancock. Seven Jaguars had three tackles. Clifton Crews and Randon Carnathan both had a each.

Coach Jones was pleased with his team. “It was obviously a great effort. I thought we’d play well, but I didn’t know we’d play that well,” he said. “We had a lot of time to prepare, and that really made the difference today. That’s why we played as well as we did.”

Coach Jones continued, “The biggest thing I talked to the team about today was the way we prepared,” Jones said. “It would’ve been easy for our kids to let up in practice, and easy for our coaches to let up in practice. The kids didn’t lose their focus, they knew that we had an opportunity to be extremely prepared and that’s what happened today. What I learned about them is that they’re listening to what we’re saying, and they’re buying in. Just to see the looks in their eyes in the locker room after the game, you can see that things are starting to turn. You start to see the evolution of a team. We’ve certainly got a long way to go, but I think they’re starting to turn into a team and we’re only going to get better from there.”

Army Prep head coach Tom Simi had good things to say about the Jaguars as well. “We played what is going to be a very good team in South Alabama today,” Simi said. “USA is a program that is just starting, but they have some good players on their team already and I’m sure they are going to rise quickly. Obviously, today was extremely challenging for our kids.”

Coach Jones and the Jaguars will have two weeks to prepare for Georgia Military Junior College for their game scheduled on Saturday, October 10 at 11:30am