Jags Fall To FIU After Valiant Rally In Second Half

November 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Bryant Lavender hauls in the pass from Ross Metheny at the goal line against FIU, but would be called down inside the one yard line.

South Alabama put up a valiant fight in the second half but just could not erase the first half deficit to fall at home against Florida International 28-20.

Coming into the game the FIU Golden Panthers were chosen to win the Sun Belt Championship in the preseason, but where 1-8 and were 0-5 in the Sun Belt. Head coach Joey Jones told everyone all week that FIU was a better team than what their record said. They definitely were a big team and played well in the first half.

The South Alabama defense held FIU to 31 yards in the second half, a mere 18 yards rushing and 13 yards passing to help the team fight it’s way back into the game.

The Jags scored first but FIU would score 28 consecutive points in the first half to go into halftime with a 28-7 lead. But the Jags would not allow them to score again for the remainder of the game.

“Obviously we dug too big a hole in the game and got behind 28-7 at the half,” coach Jones said. “We made a good comeback but we didn’t score down there in the red zone in the second half. That was the tale-tale sign of the game right there. We dug too big a hole early.”

“They’re very athletic on the defensive front and they just get after you,” Jones said of FIU. “They held Western Kentucky to 14 points and we knew they were good on defense.”

South Alabama’s first score came on their first possession. They drove 53 yards in nine plays after Pat Moore recovered a fumble. T.J. Glover scored on a 15 yard run around the left side, which was his first rushing touchdown since November of the 2010 season, to take a 7-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first quarter.

FIU would answer the Jaguar score with a 76 yard drive on eight plays and capped off by a 26 yard touchdown pass from Jake Medlock to Willis Wright. They would score again with a 27 yard pass before the first quarter ended to take a 14-7 lead.

In the second quarter FIU would score their third touchdown of the game on a 19 yard run by quarterback Medlock with 7:45 left in the second quarter to make the score 21-7 FIU.

Later Kendrick Rhodes would score with on a 2 yard rush to pull ahead 28-7 with 1:07 left in the second quarter.

The Jags would down the second half kickoff for a touchback to start on the 25 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Ross Metheny would find an open Corey Besteda over the middle and he would take it in for a 75 yard touchdown to cut the FIU lead down to two scores, 28-14. That touchdown reception was the longest pass play in school history.

The Jaguar defense would hold FIU to a three and out on their first possession of the second half. Glover would return the punt down to the FIU 19 yard line, but they would not be able to put the ball into the end zone. Michel Chapuseaux would connect on the 39 yard field goal attempt to further cut into the FIU lead, 28-17.

FIU would drive from their own 32 yard line down to the Jaguar 42 before the drive would stall out and force a punt. Glover would call for the fair catch at the Jaguar 9 yard line. On third and seven from their own 30 yard line, Demetre Baker would rush for four yards but would fumble the ball and it would be recovered by FIU at the Jaguar 33 yard line.

Again the Jaguar defense would force a three and out. The FIU punt would fly into the end zone for a touchback.

On first down from their own 20 yard line, Metheny would run for 13 yards out to the 33 yard line. After Terrance Timmons rushed for a five yard gain, Metheny would hit Wes Saxton for a 24 yard gain to the FIU 38 yard line. Metheny would come back and hit Corey Besteda for an 11 yard gain to the FIU 27 yard line. Then the Jags would be forced to call a time out.

After the time out, Metheny would complete another pass to Saxton for five more yards to the FIU 22 yard line. Metheny would run for two yards to set up a third and 3 at the FIU 20 yard line, when FIU would call a time out with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

After the time out, Metheny would complete a pass to Bryant Lavender for 13 yards to the FIU 7 yard line and the end of the fourth quarter. After the break, Trey Fetner would come in to run the wildcat for a three yard gain to the FIU 4 yard line. The Jags would be forced to call a time out as the play clock was running down.

After the time out, Metheny would complete a pass to Lavender again to inside the one yard line. Fetner would come in again to take a snap from under center, but Demetre Baker, who had lined up at tight end, moved early to draw a false start penalty. Instead of third and less than one, it becomes a third and goal from the five yard line. Metheny’s pass would fall incomplete intended for Lavender again. Chapuseaux’s kick would split the uprights to make the game a one score game at 28-20 with 13:05 left in the game.

Yet again the Jags defense would hold strong and force a three and out. After a 36 yard punt the Jags would start at their own 25 yard line.

After being sacked for five yard, Metheny would run for 20 yards out to the Jaguar 40 yard line. On first down at the FIU 47 yard line, Metheny would hit Saxton again for 25 yards down to the FIU 22 yard line. Terrance Timmons would then run three consecutive times for 2, 8 and 4 yards respectively to put the ball at the FIU 8 yard line. Houston would then run for two yards to set up a third down and four at the FIU 6 yard line. Metheny’s pass intended for Saxton in the end zone would be tipped and fly incomplete for a fourth down. Chapuseaux’s kick would bounce off of the left upright, no good with 5:17 left in the game.

The Jags would force yet another three and out to get the ball back with 4:15 left in the game. After driving from their 33 yard line down to the FIU 43 yard line, Metheny would throw three consecutive incomplete passes to face a fourth down and 10. Demetre Baker would take the pitch and gain seven yards to turn the ball over on downs with 3:00 left in the game.

Once more the Jags would force a three and out and get the punt at the Jaguar 31 yard line with 35 seconds left in the game.

Metheny would be flushed out of the pocket and goes down after gaining one yard. They would get up to the line and spike the ball. On third and nine, Metheny’s pass would fall incomplete then the fourth down pass would fly high and be intercepted at the Jaguar 32 yard line. FIU would kneel on the ball once to run the final seconds off the clock.

Overall the Jags led in all offensive categories. The Jags rushed for 188 yards to FIU’s 181, threw for 270 yards to FIU’s 153 for a total yardage of 458 for the Jags to 334 for the Golden Panthers. The Jags had 22 first downs in the game to FIU’s 20 and the Jags held a 30:07 to 29:53 time of possession advantage.

The Jags committed four penalties for 33 yards while FIU committed five penalties for 49 yards in the game.

Unfortunately leading all of those statistical categories does not mean much when you don’t convert that into points on the scoreboard.

Demetre Baker beat out Ross Menthey for the leading rusher for the Jaguars. Baker rushed 15 times for 74 yards while Metheny rushed eight times for 56 yards. Glover also ran four times for 30 yards and Timmons rushed eight times for 27 yards. Fetner and Houston also got carries in the game.

Metheny went 19-of-37 for 270 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. He also took two sacks in the game.

Wes Saxton was Metheny’s favorite target in the game with six receptions for 92 yards. But Corey Besteda had the most receiving yards with 96 on three catches including the 75 yard touchdown catch to open the second half. Lavender caught four passes for 26 yards, Jereme Jones caught three for 34 yards. Waldon, Glover and Baker also caught passes in the game.

FIU’s Kendrick Rhodes rushed 27 times in the game for 149 yards to lead all rushers. Quarterback Jake Medlock was 9-of-19 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Jake Johnson lead all defenders with 15 total tackles, seven of them being solo including one sack and a quarterback hurry. Alex Page, Enrique Williams and B.J. Scott all were next on the team with six total tackles. Enrique Willaims had one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries as well.

Montavious Williams and Will Thompson both recorded sacks in the game.

While some fans were disappointed that the Jags let a win get away from them, it is still amazing to think that in the Jags first season as an FBS transitional team we are disappointed that we should have won a game against a fellow FBS and Sun Belt team.

The Jags will travel to Denton, Texas to take on North Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 4pm according to the schedule on the UNT Football website.

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.

Jags Finish Final Practice Of The Week On Wednesday

October 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Offensive lineman running position drills in preseason camp.

The Jaguars practiced again on Wednesday, their last practice of the week before returning for regular game-week preparation.

The two hour practice was very similar to day before with work on fundamentals, game-planning for Arkansas State and getting younger players in for some reps. An off-week is a great time to get younger players reps on the practice field, especially when the team is as banged up as they are right now.

Four defensive linemen are out after the game against Troy. Romelle Jones is healing from an injury suffered early against NC State. Montavious Williams suffered an ankle injury against Troy. Anthony Taylor suffered a season ending broken leg against Mississippi State.

“We just tried to install parts of the gameplan and had some good fundamental work today,” head coach Joey Jones told the Press-Register. “We had a little scrimmage with the young guys again today so I think that this break is coming at a real good time. I think if we had to play this weekend we’d be in bad shape. We’ve got about four defensive linemen out. They’ll be back, but they would be in some pretty significant pain if they had to play this weekend so it came at a pretty good time.”

The Jags will have Thursday, Friday and Saturday off before returning for meetings and gameplan study. Then they will return to the practice fields on Monday afternoon to continue implementing their game plan for their trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas to face Arkansas State.

Jags Looking To Build Consistency In Off-Week

October 2, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

C.J. Bennett reads the defense while head coach Joey Jones looks on from the sidelines in Starkville Mississippi.

There has been a lot of debate by fans over the Jaguars two-quarterback system that they have used so far this season. The coaches are also debating that question.

Coach Jones was quoted saying, “We’re going to make that decision – actually we’re formulating that decision as we speak – and I think by Wednesday we’ll definitely have an answer. I think by the Wednesday practice we’ll make an announcement as to how we’re going to do it.”

C.J. Bennett is 59-of-95 for 543 yards, four interceptions and three touchdowns on the season. Virginia transfer Ross Metheny is 34-of-59 for 354 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown on the season himself.

But Bennett is ranked second among rushers with 28 carries for 134 yards with no touchdowns yet. Metheny has ran 25 times for 7 yards and no touchdowns either.

While Trey Fetner came in for two plays against Troy, he will not be thrown in the mix for the starting position. However, he could be used in certain situations. Trey ran in from three yards out for the Jags only touchdown against Troy on Saturday. His other play in the game, he ran on 4th and 1 to pick up the first down. “We’ll use him in the wildcat (offensive set),” Jones explained. “He’s a good runner. He offers that and it would be good to expand on that package too.”

The week off comes at a great time for the Jaguar defense. Safety B.J. Scott missed the second half of the game against Troy due to a “mild concussion”. He is expected to be available to play when the Jags travel to Arkansas State on October 13. Scott make six tackles in the game, five in the first quarter as well as an interception on the first play from scrimmage by Troy. He also had a pass breakup, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries.

Defensive lineman Romelle Jones returned to the lineup against Troy after missing Mississippi State and most of the NC State game due to injury. Montavious Williams is dealing with an ankle injury but should be fine by Arkansas State. “Romelle Jones played (against Troy) but not at 100 percent,” Jones explained. “Hopefully this will give him time to get his knee back 100 percent because he missed the Mississippi State game. Montavious Williams turned his ankle. He played about 10 plays and that was it. Hopefully another two weeks and he’ll be ready to go and hopefully we’ll be back to 100 percent on defense.”

But while they are trying to decide between quarterbacks and healing their bumps and bruises, they are also working hard to gain some consistency.

The offense is looking to find a way to put more points on the scoreboard and to consistently move the ball. While the defense is trying to prevent more big plays. The coaching staff is staying late at night to watch game film to devise game plans and schemes to help achieve these goals.

In the Monday press conference coach Jones said, “I didn’t sleep Saturday night. I’m hard on myself and I expect to win. You hurt for about a day or two, but then you get back to work and realize you have a chance to get better. You can take adversity any way you want, you can pout about it or you can learn from it and get better. If we take the approach of learning from it, then we have a chance to get better. We’re going to keep fighting.”

“We need it,” Jones said about their off date this weekend. “our guys are beat up. We’ve been through four-and-a-half weeks of camp and five weeks of games, you’re talking about nine weeks without a break. It’s coming at a good time.”

The team will practice through Wednesday then the players and coaches will have three days off before getting back to work on game-week preparations for Arkansas State.

Jags Ready To Embark On Toughest Season Yet

August 31, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

On the eve of South Alabama’s season opener against Texas-San Antonio it’s a good time to look at what this season means to the program. After three seasons, the first two undefeated, and a 23-4 record the Jaguars are about to embark on their most challenging quest yet.

Last season they stepped up and faced two FBS teams, the first in the programs history. This season, they will face their first full Division I schedule. The only non FBS school on the schedule is FCS Nicholls State. Additionally, with the Hawaii rule, the Jags will play 13 games in 14 weeks this season including a full eight game Sun Belt schedule.

This is what the Jaguars have been working towards for the last several years. When they take the field, they will be a transitional FBS member.

Coach Jones can finally guage where his team stands in the FBS pecking order. “I think the biggest challenge for us, especially early, will be the depth on our team,” he Jones. “We’ve been recruiting to Division I really just this year. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have any Division I football players, we do. But do we have the depth that everybody else has because they’ve been recruiting for a while and have 85 scholarships and D-1 players? I would think that will probably be the biggest issue, depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.”

What about this season’s schedule? “The most difficult thing is playing 13 games in 14 weeks for us and playing pretty much all Division I opponents,” Jones said. “Whereas in past years we’ve played seven, 10 and 10 (games per season), we had some off weeks and some time to get ready for games. You’re going to get your three or four days of practice and that’s going to be it, then you’re going to have to move on to your next game.”

Gone is offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and in is Robert Matthews brining the spread to South Alabama. Matthews, who learned the spread at Oklahoma State and Southern Miss, will bring a completely different attitude to the offensive side of the ball. The offense will run as quickly as possible with a no-huddle tempo that is designed to keep the defense off guard and guessing what is coming next. Plus it is designed to take advantage of the depth South Alabama has at the skill positions.

The offensive line is where the biggest unknown is located coming into this season. Gone are three starters from the previous two seasons. However back is senior Trey Clark and sophomore Melvin Meggs. In steps Drew Dearman, Chris May and Shaun Artz. Also a second string, Ucambre Williams and possibly Kentucky transfer James Elliott if he receives a hardship waiver from the NCAA. But this is the biggest offensive line the Jaguars have had in it’s short history.

Behind the line, there is plenty of talent on the roster. C.J. Bennett returns as the starter with Virginia transfer Ross Metheny as his backup and redshirt freshman Trey Fetner as the third quarterback. The South Alabama backfield is also stocked with talent. Back are Demetre Baker, Kendall Houston and Ellis Hill from last season along with Brandon Ross returning from a knee injury and redshirt freshman Terrance Timmons among others ready to contribute. At wide receiver back are Jereme Jones, Bryant Lavender, T.J. Glover, Corey Besteda and Tyrome Bivins with true freshman Cameron Broadnax who showed plenty of skill in preseason camp. With two tight ends graduating, Greg Hollinger moved over from wide receiver joining JuCo transfer Wes Saxton to fill their positions.

The defense is arguably the strength of the team. Led by Jake Johnson, the linebackers are the heart of the defense, with Clifton Crews, Enrique Williams, Maleki Harris, Bryson James, Ben Giles and Cordivido Grice to help him out.

The defensive front will need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than in past seasons. Returning ends Anthony Taylor, Romelle Jones, Alex Page and Will Thompson will be joined by JuCo transfer Pat Moore to help towards that goal. At nose and tackle positions they return Randon Carnathan and Andy Dalgleish, who lead the group last season, with help from Montavious Williams, Rodney Thomas and Shane Doty (who moved from offensive line).

In the secondary, Alabama transfer B.J. Scott has stepped up as a leader. The staff focused their recruiting efforts to find more help there too. Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson both come in and are expected to start. Alonzo Long will suit up next to Scott at free safety. Gabe Loper should get playing time as he is the returning secondary player with the most interceptions last season.

Michel Chapuseaux takes over the placekicking duties with Scott Garber also returning to handle punts.

“We want to be competitive. We want to win every game that we play,” head coach Joey Jones said. “That’s our goal. Now, is that going to be tough to do? Sure. I understand that it will be. The bottom line is I don’t want to cut our kids short in what we’re doing. We’re going to prepare and we’re going to go out there and prepare to win. But we also know there’s a difficult schedule ahead of us and we’ve got to step up each week. I think that our kids probably will play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder this year. Bottom line, every week that we play we’ve got to prove something. Anybody that we beat will be a big deal. We’re representing a lot of people, not just our football program but the university.”

The schedule will be tough. After UTSA and Nicholls State, the Jags travel to N.C. State again and Mississippi State before returning home for their first-ever Sun Belt Conference game against Troy. Troy, whom most expect will quickly develop into one of the leagues best rivalries, will mark the first part of the season. After their one and only off week, the Jags then visit the SBC defending champion Arkansas State. Then the downhill stretch of FAU (home), ULM (away), FIU (home), North Texas (away), MTSU (home), ULL (away) and their “bowl game” of the season at Hawaii.

If you only count wins and losses as the measuring stick for a season, it could be a difficult season. But if you expand your criteria for this team that will be completing it’s two year FBS transition at the conclusion of this season, you may be surprised.

South Alabama Is More Experienced Than Many Think

August 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Offensive line gets set while Coach Clark directs the defense during a practice early preseason camp.

You may already know the cliche “defense wins championships.” Over the last three college football seasons you can see that a stifling defense does win championships. While South Alabama is far from that level, they do have a very experienced defense.

The team was unclassified by the NCAA in their first two years of competition so the players who joined the team were allowed to participate in games during their redshirt season. This allows them to play in all five of their seasons of eligibility.

The defense is the more experienced side of the ball. Four seniors, six juniors and a sophomore on the first team defense. The senior starters are Anthony Taylor at Jack linebacker, Jake Johnson at Mike linebacker, B.J. Scott at safety and Andy Dalgleish at nose tackle.

Junior defensive starters include Montavious Williams at tackle, Alex Page at end, Clifton Crews at Sam linebacker, Enrique William at Will linebacker, Darrius Marrow at cornerback and Tyrell Pearson at cornerback. Alonzo Long is the only sophomore starting on the defense at strong safety. Long and Pearson are both JuCo transfers.

There are five sophomore starters on the offense with five of them entering into their third season of play. They are joined by one senior, two juniors and one redshirt freshman. Trey Clark at Center is the only Senior slated in as a starter with Tremain Smith listed as a possible starter at right tackle. Junior starters are Bryant Lavender with Greg Hollinger and Corey Waldon both listed as optional starters. Sophomore starters are Drew Dearman at left guard, Shaun Artz at right guard, C.J. Bennett at quarterback and Demetre Baker at running back with Wes Saxton at tight end, Ucambre Williams at left tackle, Melvin Meggs, Jereme Jones at receiver are all optional starters.

So when the Jags hit the field on *Thursday, they will be an experienced team ready for competition. While they are not eligible for the Sun Belt Conference championship hopefully the experience on the defense, and on offense for that matter, will translate into a very competitive season.

The size and experience is what worries UTSA defensive coordinator Neal Neathery. He mentioned that Baker and Kendall Houston took turns exploiting holes opened up by the offensive line in the Jaguars 30-27 win in the Alamodome. “Both of the (backs) they played were physical, strong, in between the tackles runners. I thought it was a game where we didn’t feel great about ourselves when it was over when it comes to who was the tougher team,” Neathery said.

“Just as a unit last year they were probably the toughest, most physical offensive line we played,” Neathery said. “They were really good, and their running backs had a lot to do with that.”

* Currently the Jaguars are set to kickoff on Thursday, August 30th against Texas-San Antonio but Tropical Storm Isaac could postpone the game.

Jags Return To Field After Scrimmage

August 14, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
CJ Bennett in the rain

Quarterback CJ Bennett prepares to take a snap in the light rain at the Jaguar Practice Facility.

The Jaguars returned to the practice field on Monday to begin their second full week of practice as they are only 16 days away from their 2012 season opening game against Texas-San Antonio. After their day off on Sunday, Coach Jones thought they opened the second week with another strong effort after a rest day.

The practice on Monday spanned about two hours in full pads. Most of the first hour focused on individual skills drills before progressing to skeleton passing drills then full 11-on-11 team drills in the second half of practice.

The skeleton drills focused on open field and red zone plays while the 11-on-11 drills focused on the base playset. In the first four plays of team drills sophomore C.J. Bennett completed passes to four different Jaguar receivers.

Bennett and Metheny both found open receivers and enjoyed good protection as the offensive line only allowed two sacks during team drills. Jereme Jones hauled in an impressive one-handed touchdown pass. Wide receivers Cameron Broadnax and T.J. Glover both added some very nice catches as well. Kendall Houston and Senior Brandon Ross stood out amongst the running backs in individual drills.

Defensively the secondary allowed some receivers to get open during the skeleton drills. Safety Charles Harris broke up two passes while his counterpart B.J. Scott continues to be a vocal leader on the field. During individual drills Montavious Williams and Lucas Melo almost flipped a sled.

Also, the Jags got a visit from former Jaguar receiver Courtney Smith during practice.

“I thought it was great, it was one of our better practices,” Jones said after practice. “The kids came out ready to go and were mentally sharp.  I told them that if we can practice like this, we’re going to be a pretty good football team. But we have to continue to do that. They can’t worry about what happened in the scrimmage, on the last play or last week, all they can do something about is what is ahead of them. The kids understand that, and if they take each day and get better we will have a shot.”

“This week is a tough week, the second week of camp. There is no school and no game coming up this weekend, so we have to make sure it is a good work week,” Jones explained. “We’re going to finish this week getting a ton of reps, next week we will start backing off and focusing on quality reps. We just need to throw a lot at them and see what they can do.”

After Saturday’s scrimmage the coaching staff reviewed the scrimmage video and Coach Jones said he was pleased with what he saw. “I was real pleased, I thought there were some good things offensively. We executed much better, the offensive line is really starting to come along and the quarterbacks understand the offense,” he said. “Defensively we are real banged up right now, a bunch of starters are out but will be back by the middle of the week. Once we get all those guys out there I feel really good about what we are doing defensively.”

The players and coaches will return to the practice field on Tuesday morning at 7:40am and will keep that schedule all this week leading up to an 8am scrimmage on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Jag Defense Plays Better In Second Scrimmage Of 2010

August 21, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon, running the first series with the first-team offense, scores the first touchdown of the scrimmage.

The second scrimmage of the preseason was a bit more even than the first one last week. Less touchdowns but also less turnovers. Which pleased Coach Jones when it was all said and done.

Several players were out due to injury on the defense. None severe, just nagging injuries which the coaching staff decided to sideline for the scrimmage. Randon Carnathan, Justin Dunn, Tim Harvey, Jake Johnson, Romelle Jones and Alex Page all sat out the scrimmage.

The Jags ran about 93 plays, close to their goal of 100. Overall the offense gained 251 yards with the first team defense only allowing 48 in their seven series on the field. The only two turnovers of the day were recovered by Jarred Williams and Montavious Williams, but both were committed by Ellis Hill, but one was a bad exchange from Brennan Sim. Anthony Taylor made back-to-back sacks for the first-team defense while Kendell Bagnerise added one right after Taylor to back the offense up 18 yards in one possession.

With so many playmakers out on defense, Jonathan Cameron and Bryson James led the defense each with four tackles. Zach Rone lead the second team defense with five tackles.

Myles Gibbon led the first team offense 80 yards in seven plays on their first possession to score the first touchdown. Brandon Ross made the big gain on the series with a 39 yard run, including knocking a defensive back flat on his tail, to set up the touchdown. After two runs by Santuan McGee, Gibbon ran to the left and made the corner of the end zone for the score.

C.J. Bennett led the first team offense the second time they were on the field. He would lead the offense down the field but could not get into the end zone and they settled for a 37 yard Michel Chapuseaux field goal.

The second first-team touchdown would be from a combination of Gibbon and Bennett under center. With the offense facing fourth down from the defense’s 43 yard line, Myles would hit Bryant Lavender for a 14 yard gain on the left sideline. Then Bennett would enter the game who would fine Ralph Turner open on the right side of the field for a 29 yard touchdown. The series covered 60 yards in six plays.

The second-team offense would have it’s best drive of the day on their first possession of the game with Bennett at quarterback. He would start the series off with a 14 yard completion to Lamontis Gardner. Then after a handoff for a short gain, he complete a pass to Gardner for eight more yards and a second first down of the series. But the series would come to an end after a fumbled handoff on third down was recovered by the offense and forced them to punt.

Bennett went 5 of 8 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown, Brennan Sim completed three for 27 yards and Gibbon completed one for 14 yards. Corey Besteda, Gardner and Lavender each caught two passes while Ralph Turner led the receivers with a touchdown and 29 yards on one reception.

Coach Jones had the following to say after the scrimmage: “We changed things up, but I thought we looked a little sharper. There were a few penalties out there, which we have to get corrected in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it was a good day. It was more like a game, we called all the special teams out there so they had to be alert on the sidelines. My overall feeling is that the offense and defense got better, and special teams were pretty consistent.”

He continued, “We will evaluate this film and go into next week with an idea of who our ones and twos will be. Of course, it’s not over because these kids compete for jobs every day, but we have to find a starting point when we begin next week.”

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Jags Continue Their March Towards An Undefeated Season With Win Over Fork Union

November 1, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags continued their march towards an undefeated inaugural season with a big victory over Fork Union on Saturday with a spectacular display of passing. Coach Jones said over the last two weeks that they wanted to be able to pass the ball more effectively and be a more balanced team and it showed.

After stopping the Blue Devils on their first possession, the Jags did not hesitate to put on a display. The first Jaguar play from scrimmage saw freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smith open for a 64 yard touchdown pass. Then the Jaguar defense stopped the Blue Devils on their ensuing possession forcing a second three and out punt. Again Gibbon threw to Smith who would take it 60 yards for a second touchdown and putting Courtney Smith in the record books as the first Jaguar to have over 100 yards receiving in only two plays.

The Jags defense would hold the Blue Devils to a third consecutive three and out punt. With the offense moving the ball again, covering 36 yards on two plays, the Jags would lose a fumble at the Blue Devil 19 yard line. But the Blue Devils would not have the ball long after being force to punt for the fourth consecutive possession of the first quarter.

The Jags would score their third touchdown of the opening quarter when Brandon Ross took it in from two yards out. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT attempt so the Jags lead would be 20 with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Ross’ run was set up by the previous play when Brennan Sim found Lamontis Gardner for a 40 yard gain.

Even with a 20 point lead in the first quarter, the Jaguar defense could smell blood. On the ensuing Blue Devil possession, Zach Brownell pounced on an interception and returned it 30 yards. This set up a field goal by Michel Chapuseaux of 24 yards to extend the Jags lead to 23.

But the defense wasn’t done yet. Just two plays later the Jags forced a fumble which Montavious Williams scooped up and returned for a 24 yard touchdown to round out the Jaguar scoring in the first quarter. The Jags would outgain the Blue Devils 217-8 on their way to the 30-0 first quarter score.

The Jaguar defense would forst another three and out on the next Blue Devil possession. After getting the ball on the Blue Devil 15, the Jags only took three plays to punch it into the endzone with Santuan McGee’s 2 yard touchdown running capping off the short drive for a 37-0 score.

The Blue Devils would finally get get a first down and move the ball on their eighth possession going 31 yards in seven plays before turning the ball over on downs at the jaguar 34 yard line. Sim would then lead the Jags on an 8 play 66 yard scoring drive which saw Brennan Sim throw his first career touchdown pass to Anthony Mostella for a 44-0 lead with 6:57 left until halftime.

The Blue Devils would then see their longest possession of the game get cut short just before halftime when the Jags Jerron Mitchell intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards with 1:07 left until halftime. The Jags would run two plays and go into halftime with a 44-0 lead.

The Jags would open the second half with another first in Jaguar history. Ralph Turner would open up the scoring in the second half with an 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put the Jags up 51-0 when Lawson McGlon tacked on the PAT.

However the Jaguars shutout would be disrupted on the ensuing Blue Devil drive. Fork Union would go 76 yards in 5 plays to score their only points of the game. They attempted a 2 point conversion which fell incomplete to leave the score 51-6 with 12:49 left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devil defense would finally find a way to stop the Jaguar defense on their next possession by holding them to three yards and forcing a punt. Fork Union, forced to start deep in their own territory, had a fumble on a bad snap that Clifton Crews fell on in the end zone for a touchdown with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter for a score of 57-6.

Again the Blue Devils were forced to punt on their next possession. Then the Blue Devil defense forced the Jags to a three and out and a punt. Fork Union then moved the ball 34 yards in nine plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 47 yard line.

On the Jags first offensive play, Nick Owens found an open Kelly Vail for a 53 yard touchdown pass to end the scoring at 64-6.

The Jags would end the game with 60 yards rushing and 321 yard passing and 13 first downs. while Fork Union finished the game with -22 yards rushing and 213 passing.

Santuan McGee and Ryan Scott were the only Jaguar running backs to have double digit yards with 39 and 25 respectively on five carries each. Myles Gibbon would go 2-for-4 in the game for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 9-for-9 for 130 yards and a touchdown and Nick Owens went 3-for-4 for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Courtney Smith was the first Jaguar receiver to go over 100 yards in a game with 131 on 3 receptions with two of them for touchdowns. Lamontis Gardner would catch 2 for 73 yards and Kelly Vail would have one reception for 53 yards. Six other Jaguars caught passes as well.

Erling Riis would return 4 punts for 50 yards, one going 44 yards to set up a Jaguar score. Ralph Turner would return one punt for 23 yards as well as his 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Scott Garber would only punt twice with a 40 yard average and both punts ended up inside the Blue Devil 20 yard line.

Ken Barefield led the defense in tackles with five. Romelle Jones and Bryson James were credited with forcing a fumble each.

Coach Jones spoke after the game about the Jaguars performance. He said, “We came out and executed very well. The protection got better, and that’s where it all starts in the passing game. We had some wide open guys down the field on the first two passes, and Myles did a good job hitting Courtney. We just executed well.”

Courtney Smith commented about the offensive production, “We practiced it all week and I knew the first play was going to be to me, so I expected the ball and Myles threw a good one. After the first one they told me they were going to throw it to me again, so I expected it again.”

Myles added the following after the game as well, “Coach stressed to us that he wanted to open up the passing game. On the first two plays, I knew they wanted to hit something deep. They played the perfect defense for it, and it worked out. It’s one of those things where you drop back and everything just slows down. Although it was wide open, those are the passes quarterbacks hate throwing because you don’t want to overthrow them.”

Ralph Turner had this to say when asked about his kickoff return, “It’s been a stressful last four games for me because I haven’t really been touching the ball,” he said. “Once I got the ball the hole was wide open and I just ran.”

Again the Jaguars received high praise from the opposing teams coach after the game. Fork Union head coach John Shuman had this to say, “We had seen in the paper that South Alabama was working on its passing game. As we got here and watched the pregame warm-up, we knew that they would try to take advantage of the long ball early, and they did. They came back out and did it again. Once you get down 14 points, you become one dimensional – we couldn’t run the ball. South Alabama did a great job on the defensive side, they called some great blitzes and used a good scheme against us. On offense, it was obviously men against boys here. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Coach Jones commented about the Jaguars overall performance and Fork Union’s team by saying, “I’m proud of the guys today. After the last two games, we’ve really stressed coming to work every day. We’re trying to teach these kids a life lesson, and if they’ll approach their work the right way then good things happen. We probably out-manned the team we played, and we know that, but we played well – we didn’t play sloppy. The other team came in here and had a 15-hour bus ride, which I’m sure was a tough thing to do, so my hat is off to them for that. They had some really good athletes and good coaching. I think it was just a matter that our kids played well.”

The Jaguars will host Milford Academy next Saturday, November 7 for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Depth Chart Changes And Secondary Commentary

September 3, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

There have been some shifts in the starting lineup that has been noted this week. Montavious Williams moved from defensive end to inside at defensive tackle and from second team to the first team. Alex Page has also moved from the second team to first team at defensive end replacing Anthony Taylor.

Benefiting from Friday’s situational scrimmage, Lawson McGlon has kicked his way to first-team place-kicker. Wilson was also named as one of the two kick returners with Santuan McGee.

While Santuan McGee was listed number one on the depth chart early in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said on the Joey Jones Radio Show on Tuesday that Brandon Ross was the starter at running back. As for tight ends, Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett have switched places on the depth chart but are listed as co-starters.

Some other notable changes have taken place as well. Due to some injuries in the secondary, the Jags had to make some changes just to get through fall camp. Ken Barefield started fall practice as a wide receiver but was moved to safety but was convinced to move by defensive backs coach Duwan Walker. Then just a few weeks after making the move, he was marked as a starter.

Zach Brownell, a freshman safety himself, missed most of fall camp recovering from an injury, but had this to say about Barefield, “He works hard watching film, and he’s been paying a lot of attention. I give him some tips here and there, and those might have helped him out, but he’s done a great job of learning the position on his own.” Brownell returned to practice this week and has quickly made his way back to playing on first-team defense.

Coach Walker looks on the positive side of Brownell’s time off due to injury, “It probably worked out well because he got his legs up under him, and now he’s good and healthy and ready to go,” Walker said. “We were in a position where we had to practice some other kids, so to get these other guys back on the field has definitely built in some depth for us. We feel pretty good about going into the season as far as depth is concerned.”

Tony Threatt, another freshman safety, also spent time away due to injury. He has since returned to practice and is expected to help contribute depth at safety along with Matt Saucier and Alex Phifer.

If you are a new reader to this site and happen to recognize Saucier’s name, it was because he was the first team quarterback in spring practice. He has since made the move to safety in fall camp. Coach Walker likes the idea of Saucier playing defense. “We like guys that handle the ball every down, and as a quarterback you’ve got the ball in your hand every down,” Walker said. “After being a quarterback, you have some kind of idea of what the offense is trying to do. He’s a smart kid, and it was easy for him to pick up.”

I’m sure you noticed that that all of the five safeties that will be seeing significant playing time are all freshmen. They will have help in the secondary from four cornerbacks who do have experience playing beyond high school. Junior Michael Wilson and Sophomore Anton Graphenreed are expected to start on Saturday and they will be joined by Sophomores Jerron Mitchell and Steven Pease. However, Coach Walker doesn’t look at Graphenreed and Wilson as starters with Mitchell and Pease playing backup, he sees them collectively as players. “We don’t look at ourselves as having starters at cornerback, we just think of it as having kids that we can roll in,” Walker said. “Steven Pease is going to be a great player for us, and along with Jerron Mitchell, we expect those guys to be able to roll in at the corner position.”

With the schools first-ever game fast approaching, there is little worry about the inexperience at safety. They may be freshmen in status, but many have offensive instincts which can translate to on-field experience.

As of Thursday morning, 15,818 tickets remain for Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium according to the usagameday.com website.