Quarterback Kyle Stewart Has Left The Team

August 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Thunderjags and learned that freshman quarterback Kyle Stewart has left the team for personal and family reasons. He is planning to enroll at Florida State in January and probably will not play football. We hate to see him go, he had tremendous potential and a pretty strong arm, but we all can understand that family has to come first.

Roundup of Wednesdays and Thursdays Jaguars Football Practice

August 7, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Redshirt junior quarterback Brennan Sim preparing to thow a pass under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Greg Gregory. Photo by Doug Roberts.

Wednesday, August 5th

The second day of practice was another early to rise event for the players and staff. Another two-hour-plus practice beginning at 7am for another day in helmets and shorts.

The second day of practice was very similar to the first day. The Jags began with about 15 minutes of special teams work with a focus on punt returns being the difference between the two days. This was followed by about 20 minutes of position drills. Then the offensive and defensive units combined into groups for the nex portion of the practice.

All 11 players on defense worked on trapping runners near the sidelines while the quarterbacks threw passes to running backs. After that the offensive line was brought in to run through formations and plays.

Towards the midpoint of practice the defensive and offensive units came together for about 15 minutes of practice against each other. It was first broken down to 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills with the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers against the linebackers and secondary. Meanwhile, the offensive and defensive lines faced off in one-on-one drills to protect the passer. Then there was about a five minute segment where the offense and defense squared off in 11-on-11 action.

For roughly the last 45 minutes of practice, each unit worked on one half of the field with the offense continuing to go through formations, motions and plays and the defense also focusing on formations but also personnel substitions depending on down and distance.

With only two days of practice, Coach Jones said that almost the entire game plan, about 85-90%, has been installed with the Jags still two days away from practicing in full pads. Which goes back to what he had said several times on the Coach Joey Jones Show, that he believed in throwing the whole thing at them, then coming back with a more narrow focus and building it back up to the whole.

Coach Jones commented about how the offense tends mature more slowly than the defense. “Offensively, you’re always going to be behind the defense early on,” observed Jones. “That’s just because defense is easier to play mentally. What I’ve told the coaches that we have to do is make sure that we get as many players as we can involved now. To evaluate them, we need to get them reps – once we get to game week we will be getting the ones who are going to play ready. We have time now to make sure that we evaluate kids, so we want to make sure we do that and get them all on the field if we can.”

Coach Jones also commented that a days worth of practice was apparent on the second day of practice and manifested in what they were able to accomplish on their second day. “I thought we got better. The intensity level was higher and the concentration level was better today,” said Coach Jones. “I’m sure that was because of what everyone learned from yesterday’s practice. If we can continue to do that we will keep getting better. I saw some kids who made improvements too, so I’m pleased right now.”

Thursday, August 6th

Thursdays intensity picked up with another 7am practice but with shoulder pads for the first time this fall. However, full pads will not be used until Saturday morning. But, the third day saw a bit of a change in practice with different drills for the team.

Beginning the practice was special teams again for about 15 minutes with focus on pur and kickoff coverage.

For the first two days, the 11-on-11 practice lasted only about 15 minutes each day practicing running plays, on third day they practiced for about 30 minutes on run plays. The offense also worked on running plays against the defensive seven and safeties between 11-on-11 drills. Both sides were focusing on their game plans against a scout team for about 15 minutes each.

Also in addition to about 10 minutes of 7-on-7 skeleton passing drills, quarterbacks threw passes to wide receivers in one-on-one coverage against cornerbacks for another 10 minute session early in the practice.

Coach Jones commented on the intensity on Thursday saying that it might have been a bit more intense than he wanted it to be without using full pads. With lots of jawing between sides coach Jones commented, “That’s good. I would rather pull the reigns back than try to get them going.”

Coach Jones also mentioned that putting on shoulder pads to work out is not to increase contact in practice, but helps to prevent injuries. He followed that up with the statement, “It’s tough falling on the ground when you’re not wearing them. I wish we could use them most of the time.”

Running back Santuan McGee was quoted saying, “We’ve got to be more physical if we’re going to be able to pound the ball like coach Gregory wants us to. He’s told us that if we can run first it will open up the passing game for us.” McGee added, “There was a lot more flying around out there today,” he added. “The defense definitely got after us, so we just need to make sure we match their intensity come tomorrow and Saturday.

Coach Jones said that the staff will be concentrating on every position when watching the film of the increased 11-on-11 workouts. “My emphasis will be on the interior guys – the offensive and defensive linemen, and the linebackers – to see how they’re playing,” Coach Jones said. “Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle at practice. When you watch a ball fly through the air and a guy catches a touchdown pass that’s great, but I didn’t see the guard make that key block to keep his man from getting to the quarterback.”

Talking about the quarterback position, Coach Jones mentioned that Myles Gibbon and Nick Owens looked good throwing the ball. He added that redshirt Junior transfer Brennan Sim also threw the ball better in the third day of practice. However, Coach Jones said that a major concern of theirs right now is finding guys who can step up and and make plays in the secondary.

Jaguars Hit The Practice Field Early To Begin Their First Ever Fall Camp

August 4, 2009 · Filed Under Football, News · 1 Comment 

Coach Jones looking on during the Jaguars first practice of fall camp. Photo by Doug Roberts.

The Jaguars had two firsts today for the program. This marked their first preseason football camp for their first season. But it was also the first time the Jags used their new field turf practice field on campus near the new fieldhouse.

Everyone was so excited that more than 150 people, including graduate and student assistants, managers and training staff were on the field before the 6:30am schedule and were ready for the day. The Jags practices for over two hours and worked through team and individual drills dressed in helmets and shorts.

Practice began with about 15 minutes of special teams work. Players not involved with this were working with position coaches around the perimeter of the field. Next they had about 25 minutes of individual drills for all players. Then the majority of the remaining practice time was focused on team drills with the offensive and defensive units separated on either end of the field. About midway through this portion of the practice, there was about 15 mintues of skeleton passing drills which was 7-on-7 drills. Then there was about a 10 minute session of 11-on-11 practice which included running plays.

Probably one of the biggest questions coming into practice is who will be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. With Saucier, the most experienced quarterback in the Jaguars system, making the move to safety leaving that question without a definite answer right now. It wasn’t decided on the first day of practice, but coach Jones has said that the staff has a definite timeline in mind for deciding who will be where on the depth chart. Coach Jones reiterated, “By the end of week two we would like to have our ones and our twos picked. That doesn’t mean it will be over for the other players, but at some point we do have to make decisions.”

Coach Jones continued about the quarterback position, “Quarterbacks need a lot more reps than other players, it’s much more of a mental game at the position. Receivers and running backs need a lot less reps to get ready to play a game.”

Kyle Stewart, freshman from Tallahassee, FL, was quoted saying, “We’re all new to this, we don’t know the playbook very well but are learning. We’re equally talented, whoever picks it up the quickest and makes the biggest plays during camp is probably going to get the first shot.”

Myles Gibbon, freshman from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, also spoke about the quarterback position, “I think the coaches want to see someone who has some experience and can make the right reads. We have some great competition here between guys who have come from all over the place. It’s friendly and we’re having fun, but you want to make sure when you get in there you make the throw. I’m going to do my best and see what happens from there.”

Probably the player that somewhat has a leg up on the competition is Junior transfer Brennan Sim. His time spent at Oregon State has potentially given him two years of collegiant experience and maturity over his freshman counterparts. He has had two years to learn and understand the rigors of collegiant football.

Both Gibbon and Stewart spoke about the challenges they face in their transition from high school to college level football.

“It’s pretty big, so it was overwhelming when we were first given the book,” said Gibbon. “But, we’ve been working all through the summer in 7-on-7 drills so I’m used to the passing plays even though there’s a lot of concepts and many plays with receivers in different spots.”

“It’s a lot different than high school. The playbook is much bigger with a lot more formations and motions,” Stewart observed. “Plus, you have to read defenses a lot better than you need to in high school, and you need to learn many more signals. With all of this coming at you, you just have to keep working and studying the best you can.”

Coach Jones was quick to caution everyone about how much information one is able to get out of a single workout in helmets and shorts. “We’ll know more when we get into pads. You can tell a little bit about receivers and quarterbacks, and maybe defensive backs, but you can’t evaluate linemen and linebackers without pads on. Some of them may have looked great today but won’t when they start hitting, and others may not be as good in shorts as they are with their shoulder pads on.”

Coach Jones noted that, in addition to the heat and rain factors, two other factor were behind the early practice time. “I want some discipline in this program, and I think that waking up early and going to meetings before an early practice helps with that,” coach Jones said. “Plus, I had to do it when I was playing.”

Otherwise, Coach Jones was very upbeat and pleasant about their first practice. “The kids know it’s for real right now, so you could feel a heightened excitement on the field,” Coach Jones said. “They know that we have a game right around the corner, it’s always more exciting when you are looking forward to that.”

Gibbon said he was so excited that he couldn’t sleep Monday night. “We had to wake up a five, and I didn’t get to bed until 2:30 a.m. It’s great just to be out here, it’s been so long since I finished last season.”

The biggest difference for Coach Jones and his staff, when comparing the first day of spring practice to the first day of fall camp is personnel. He said “I saw a lot of better athletes out there. There are some quick guys out there who also have some size.”

Probably one of the most resonate and exciting statements was from recently announced transfer from Alabama, Charlie Higgenbotham. He said, “It was extremely exciting, I am thrilled to be here. I know a lot of these coaches know what they are talking about, and a lot of the players are great guys — everyone is working hard. Things are being run here the right way, which is really exciting.”

Having a player who has been under Nick Saban for two years say that Coach Jones and his staff are running things the right way is indeed something to be excited about.

The Jaguars will be on the practice field again on Wednesday at 7am to continue their preparation for the programs first ever game against Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy at 4pm on Saturday, September 5th at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.