Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 09-10-2013

September 12, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

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Head coach Joey Jones, Lee Shirvanian were joined by assistant coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They were quickly talking about how good the Jags win over Tulane was for the team. The Jags came out quick and finished the game. Coach Jones was very proud of the team and mentioned that most of the plays went our way and we were able to get the win.

Ross is the first Jaguar to be the Offensive Player of the Week. He was ready to play, prepared well and knew where to go with the ball.

Lee asked about the blocked punt the Jags had against Tulane. He asked if that was schemed. Coach Jones said it was. They saw on film how they protected on punts and saw a gap between their wing and their tackle. He also mentioned that their personal protector moved up to the line to change the protection but the center snapped the ball before they could change it and they were wide open to block the punt.

Injury report by Coach Jones noted that Randon Carnathan is going to miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles heel injury. Late in the season last year he tore his ACL and spent the offseason rehabbing and earning his spot back and then this happens to him in the second game of his final season.

Jerome McClain, who went out of the Tulane game with a concussion, was cleared to rejoin the team on the practice field on Wednesday. That is a bright spot for the defensive line since they lost Will Thompson in the preseason because of ankle surgery and now Carnathan.

Lee turned to Coach Turner, who coaches the defensive line, and asked how Carnathan’s injury affects them. Turner said that it’s tough losing a player, especially a senior with the experience and leadership they bring and Randon bring personally. They are deeper at that position and they rotate lots of players so they should be okay.

Romelle Jones was named the defensive lineman of the week by the coaches for his performance against Tulane with seven tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack with four quarterback pressures.
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Jags Get Back To Business Sunday Night Preparing For Western Kentucky

September 9, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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No rest for the Jaguars as they have one of the top teams in the Sun Belt coming to Mobile this Saturday in Western Kentucky. The Jags hit the practice field Sunday night in shorts and helmets to begin preparation for the Hilltoppers.

The Jags ended their seven game losing skid when they defeated Tulane in the Superdome. Coach Jones told his team that they have to approach every game just like they did last week. That means intense practices and methodical preparation.

The coaching staff saw some good things in the film from Saturday, but they found some bad as well. The second half began with three costly turnovers by the Jaguars. Two interceptions and a fumble that would eventually give the Green Wave the lead. Coach Jones wants them to close out the game earlier since the Jags were up by 21 points at one point.

The Jags suffered two injuries on Saturday. Jerome McClain suffered a concussion and will be required to pass medical tests before returning to practice or game play this week. Randon Carnathan suffered an Achilles’ heel injury. Coach Jones said that Carnathan’s injury does not look good right now and is feared to be lost for the season due to the injury. Carnathan missed the remainder of the season last year with an ACL injury.

Carnathan could join Melvin Meggs and Will Thompson who will both miss the season with injuries. Meggs tore his ACL in summer workouts while Will Thompson had ankle surgery prior to the first game of the season.

The Jags will host Western Kentucky Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium for a 6:30pm kickoff.

Jags Lose Heartbreaker On Kick As Time Expires

August 30, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

The South Alabama Jaguars fell to Southern Utah on a 28-yard field goal by Colton Cook as time expired 22-21 Thursday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This is the Jaguars second loss in a season opener game in the last two seasons. Similarly, Texas-San Antonio defeated the Jags on a field goal with 16-seconds remaining in the game a year ago.

The Jags started the game with two first downs in their first three plays before a pass interference penalty on Wes Saxton turned what would have been a 20-yard completion into a 3rd and 25 that the Jags could not convert. Garber’s 41-yard punt would put the Thunderbirds at their own 23 yard line to begin.

Southern Utah start quickly with a 12 play 61 yard drive to get the first points of the game on a 33 yard field goal by Colton Cook.

On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would pick up the ball after a bounce and return it down the left side for 43 yards to the Jaguar 48 yard line. JuCo transfer Cris Dinham woudl open the drive with a four yard rush before Ross Metheny would find Jereme Jones for an 11 yard completion for a first down and extending his consecutive game with a reception streak. After an incomplete pass to Saxton, Metheny would find Juco tranfer Shavarz Smith for 13 yards to the Thunderbird 20 yard line. Dinham would rush for another five yards before Jay Jones would get stopped for no gain. On Third and five at the SU 15 yard line, Metheny would get sacked by Zak Browning for a nine yard loss. Aleem Sunanon’s 41 yard field goal attempt would sail wide right.

On the first play of the Southern Utah drive Montell Garner would be flagged for pass interference with the ball being placed at the spot of the foul the Thunderbirds would have it first and 10 at their won 38 yard line. Aaron Cantu would find Alphin open and he would scamper for 54 yards to the Jaguar 8 yard line. After a Thunderbird time out, RaySean Martin would run on back-to-back plays for 7 yards and one yard to score the touchdown to put the Thunderbirds ahead 10-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

The Jags would get one first down on their next drive before being forced to punt. The Thunderbird returner would call for a fair catch at their own 11 yard line.

The Jags would hold SU to a three-and-out giving the Jags great field position at the SU 43 after a 30 yard punt by Brock Miller.

Brandon Bridge would take over at quarterback for the second quarter. The drive would open with an 11 yard rush by Jay Jones followed by a 12 yard run by Bridge to move the ball down to the SU 20 yard line. After two incomplete passes to Saxton and Rush Hendrix, the Jags would call a time out. Bridge would run for 1 yard on 3rd and 10 then Coach Jones would opt for a 37 yard field goal attempt by Sunanon which was blocked. Very frustratingly Chris May would be flagged for an personal foul tacking on another 15 yards to give the Thunderbirds great field position at their 44 yard line.

Cantu would complete a 12 yard pass to the Jaguar 38 yard line to convert on 3rd and 4. But on the next play Cantu would be sacked and he would fumble the ball and inadvertently kicked down the field that Southern Utah would eventually recover after a 27 yard loss to face 2nd and 37 from their own 35 yard line. THeir situation would be complicated further after a false start backed them up five more yards for 2nd and 42 at their own 30 yard line. After a loss of two and a gain of one on back-to-back rushes, the Thunderbirds would be forced to punt on 4th and 43 from their own 29 yard line.

South Alabama would begin their drive at their won 28 yard line after the 43 yard punt is downed by T.J. Glover. Bridge would complete a pass to Dinham for four yards before handing it off to him again for one yard. On 3rd and 5, Bridge would find Danny Woodson Jr for 10 yards out to the USA 43. Bridge would run for four yards on first down before connecting with Smith for 13 yards to the SU 40 yard line. Bridge would take the snap and take off for a 40 yard touchdown to put the Jags on the board but still trailing the Thunderbirds 10-7 with 4:37 left in the first half.

The second half would begin the same as the first half for the Thunderbirds. After the Jags stopped SU on third down to force a 4th and 2, a fake punt would net 26 yards and a first down at the Jaguar 28 for the Thunderbirds. The Jags would hold again but Cook would connect on a 37 yard field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 at the 11:15 mark in the 3rd quarter.

The Jags would respond on their ensuing possession with Jay Jones opening with a 9 yard rush out to the USA 36 yard line. Two plays later, Jones would run up the middle for 57 yards to the SU 4 yard line before being caught. Kendall Houston would run for three yards and no gain on back-to-back carries. SU would call a time out before Randon Carnathan would get a carry into the end zone. After the time out facing 3rd and goal at the 1, Rush Hendrix would be called for a false start to back them up to the 6 yard line. Metheny would find Jereme Jones on a slant for a six yard touchdown. The point after would put the Jags up 14-13 with 7:38 left in the quarter.

A roughing the passer on the touchdown play would put the kickoff at the 50, but Hendrix would be flagged for an off-sides on the kickoff. The rekick from the USA 45 would be fair caught at the Thunderbird 11 to give them worse field position.

The Jaguar defense would force SU to go three-and-out in back-to-back possessions. The Jags would begin their drive at the USA 36 with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Dinham would run on three-consecutive plays for 4, 8 and -1 yards respectively. Metheny would find Woodson open for a 33 yard gain down to the SU 20 yard line before being forced out of bounds. Two plays later Metheny would find Woodson again for a 20 yard touchdown down the left sideline to put the Jaguars up 21-13 with 14:47 left in the game.

The game would be a bit of a stalemate until close to midway through the quarter. On 3rd and 9 at their own 23 yard line, Bridge’s pass intended for Hendrix would be intercepted at the USA 43 yard line.

SU would capitalize on the mistake. After a 7-yard sack on Cantu by Maleki Harris, Cantu would find Griff McNabb open for a 44 yard gain to the Jaguar 6 yard line. Three plays later Cantu would find an open receiver for the touchdown. Their two-point conversion attempt would fall incomplete to leave the Jaguars up 21-19.

The Jags would go three-and-out on the next possession giving the Thunderbirds the ball with 4:43 left in the game.

Martin would rush for 6 then 9 yards on back-to-back carries out to the 50 yard line. They would steadily match down the field with a big 16 yard pass completion to put them at the Jaguar 27 yard line. The Jags would take a time out with 42 seconds left with the ball at the Jag 22. Malik Brown would rush for 13 yards to the Jaguar 9 yard line. After a two yard loss the Thunderbirds would let the clock run down before taking a timeout with 2 seconds left in the game. Cook would connected on the 28 yard field goal to end the game. Southern Utah 22 – USA 21.

The Jags would end the game with 16 first down to SU’s 14. Offensively the Jags put up 335 yards of total offense with 187 coming on the ground and 148 through the air. The Jags were 5-of-14 on third down.

The Jags defense allowed 317 total yards of offense with 183 yards passing and 134 yards rushing. SU converted five of their 15 third downs.

Jay Jones would lead the rushing attack with 92 yards on 9 carries. Bridge would add 60 yards on 7 carries, Dinham had 22 yards on 7 carries, Houston 17 yards on five carries, Metheny had 11 yards on three carries adn Valentin had one yard on 3 carries.

Shavarez Smith and Jereme Jones both caught five passes for 52 and 26 yards respectively with Jones getting the only touchdown of the two. Woodson would catch three for 63 yards and a touchdown. Five other Jags would catch a pass in the game.

Ross Metheny would go 12-of-17 for 112 yards and two touchdowns and a sack. Bridge would finish 6-of-11 for 36 yards and an interception.

Southern Utah’s Raysean Martin would rush for 110 yards on 23 carries for a game high. Cantu went 13-of-24 for 183 yards and a touchdown with three sacks. McNabb and Norris would catch 4 passes each for 77 and 20 yards respectively to highlight the receiving corps for SU.

“I want to congratulate Southern Utah for winning the ballgame,” said head coach Joey Jones. “We didn’t have a ton of mistakes, but they made the plays in the fourth quarter when they had to and ended up beating us. My hat’s off to them.”

“It’s a big disappointment. Any time you lose it’s a disappointment,” Jones said. “There’s nothing I can say in there to make them or myself feel any better. We lost a very important ballgame tonight. We’re a better team, but we have to look at ourselves and evaluate what we’re doing. We’re going to have to win some close games to have a good year, and that was one we let slip by.”

“We’re a better football team than that,” Ross Metheny stated. “We’re going to put a better product on the field, and like I said, we’ll just go back and learn. There’s two things we can do with this, we can either use it, learn from it and go forward, or we can tuck our tails and not benefit from it. I promise you that number two is not an option.”

The Jags will next play on the road in New Orleans against Tulane on Saturday, September 7 at 2:30pm in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Jags Practice In Shells On Tuesday

November 7, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Enrique Williams combines with another Jaguar to tackle a FIU runner.

South Alabama deviated from their usual schedule on Tuesday morning by practicing in shells rather than full pads. Coach Joey Jones mentioned conserving energy in a long season as a reason for doing that. Though the intensity and work was the same as if the team had actually wore full pads.

“We just felt like we’re at least 13 or 14 weeks into practice, and this just gives them a little (break),” Jones said. “We didn’t practice any different, we just took the pads off. A lot of teams go to that late in the year to just give them a little mental break.”

One area of concentration was to make sure to get reps for backup players in every phase of the game. Jones noted that it was very important for those players who don’t get to see as many reps in practice as the starters to be ready in a moment’s notice.

“I thought we had pretty good focus,” he said of the practice. “We’ve got to make sure that our back-up guys, guys that are on our second string, are ready to go too. I think that sometimes you lose focus as a back-up but you’re one injury away from playing. We’ve got to get with those guys and make sure that they’re ready to go. Other than that, I think we had a good practice.”

Linebacker Jake Johnson did not practice on Tuesday as his right arm is in a sling. Though the injury is not serious and is expected to be back at practice on Wednesday. Johnson continues to be the leading tackler in the conference with 92 as he collected 15 total against FIU, 12 of them solo. He average 10.2 tackles per game.

Randon Carnathan’s season is over as Coach Jones said during his radio show that he had a torn ACL.

Linebacker Enrique Williams ranks 4th in the conference with 82 tackles and averagind 9 tackles per game. Alex Page is ranked #2 in the conference with five sacks. Pat Moore is tied for 4th in the same category with four in eight games.

Moore also ranks #7 in the conference in tackles for loss while Page ranks 8th in the same category.

Jones Pleased With Tuesday’s Practice

October 31, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The South Alabama Jaguars had a good day of practice on Tuesday. They also had an unexpected request after practice.

The practice went around two hours, then after practice was complete head coach Joey Jones asked for volunteers from the offense, defense and special teams to showcase their dance moves in front of the team. It was meant to lighten the mood, and it worked.

“We had a good day today,” Jones said. “They were focused this morning and they realize how good FIU is. They understand that they’ve got some great players. They were picked to win the conference at the beginning of the season. They came to work today. Compared to last Tuesday it was a lot better.”

Defensive lineman Randon Carnathan will at least miss this weekends game with a knee injury. The 6’1″, 295 pound junior injured it against Louisiana-Monroe and the extent of the injury is not currently known. At the very least he has a sprained knee but MRI results are expected back soon.

Carnathan has 17 tackles with 1.5 for loss along with five quarterback hurries as a leader of the defensive front for the Jaguars.

Coach Jones has been reminding everyone that records aren’t everything and FIU exemplifies that. While they are 1-8, 0-5 in the Sun Belt Conference, their record does not reflect their talent and play.

FIU was 8-5 last season and played in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in 2011. They came into this season as the favorite to win the conference championship. But they struggled after losing their quarterback early in the season to injury. Since he came back their games have been very close as they try to get some much needed wins to end the season.

South Alabama has played well in October themselves and Coach Jones attributes it to two things. The first is the maturity of the offense now that they have several games under their belt after changing to the spread offense. Secondly he attributes it to settling on a single quarterback in Ross Metheny who has shown great leadership and game management ability.

South Alabama and Florida International will kick off at 2:30pm on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The stadium parking lot will open at 8am for tailgating, the Jaguar Prowl is set for shortly after noon through the south parking lot and the stadium gates will open at 12:30pm.

Monday Press Conference

October 16, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterbacks Trey Fetner and transfer Ross Metheny participating in position drills.


South Alabama head coach Joey Jones held his weekly Monday press conference with quarterback Ross Metheny and defensive lineman Randon Carnathan. They reflected on the loss at Arkansas State and previewed this weekend’s homecoming game against Florida Atlantic.

Below are some highlights from the press conference.

Coach Jones began with his opening statement. “I was real pleased with the performance the other night. I thought we played hard as usual. Offensively we got a good bit better. We were more consistent, converted on third down, only had one turnover and punched the ball in the end zone. We did some really good things.”

“Defensively we played well except for the penalties, which is something we need to take care of. I was real pleased overall. We are making progress and moving forward, this is not a team that is getting down because we’ve lost a few games. They [the players] understand where we are and have taken that challenge every week, and I think that is why we are getting better. And the staff has done a good job of motivating on both sides of the ball and with special teams.”

“Special teams play the other night was really good again. [Michel] Chapuseaux was player of the week in the Sun Belt [Conference], he had three field goals and a good game, we had good kickoff return yardage and blocked a punt. We did a lot of good things on special teams as well.”

Jones then fielded a question about whether his team is frustrated as losses mount. “Let’s face it, we’ve won a lot of ball games around here the last three years, so I think earlier in the year were frustrated. When we had those tough games against N.C. State and Mississippi State it got to us a little bit. Now they realize where we really are, that we are team that is climbing.”

“This is a great lesson for them, life isn’t always going to be perfect. They are coming to work and really taking that attitude. I’m not saying that to make our team feel better, I’m saying that because I believe it. They have learned if we don’t work then we are not going to have a chance to win.”

“Last week before the game, I had people not involved with our program telling me before the game that this was going to be a tough one, acting like we were going to get our tails beat. But our kids didn’t believe that, they went out there and worked and played a good game. In the fourth quarter we put ourselves in a position to win, so I’m encouraged and I think they are too.”

Coach Jones then answered a question about what they can take away from Saturday’s game at Arkansas State. “Let’s face it, offensively we have been struggling and we played better that day so that certainly encourages our team. Not that the offense is there yet or we are not going to work anymore. But we moved the ball and did some good things offensively, and when have that it encourages the rest of the team that this thing can get rolling if we get going. We have played pretty well in the other two phases of the game, we just need to get going offensively.”

“I kept waiting for us to break out and have a good game, which we did the other night. Of course, we have to do that week to week, but we did some good things that we can hang our hat on.”

Jones fielded a question about whether the offense’s performance was due to using one quarterback instead of the two-quarterback system they used in the first five games of the season. “Any time you have one quarterback, he gets more reps in practice. It was just time. Ross [Metheny] came in and did a real good job with his leadership skills, I thought he handled things well by not forcing the ball. We had that one turnover, but a lot of times when things weren’t open downfield he dropped it off to a running back or he pulled it down and ran for a first down. Those kind of decisions sustain drives, which is what he brought to the table this week.”

Jones then spoke about Florida Atlantic, who visits this weekend. “FAU is a very physical football team, I’ve watched them on film where they have faced Alabama and Georgia and they banged with those teams. Defensively, their front seven are very physical guys. They have great athletes and a fifth-year senior quarterback, we understand going into this game that this is another good football team we are facing.”

“Both of our records are alike, but they have been fighting against some very tough teams as well. They are used to winning too, they won the Sun Belt a few years back, and so they understand how to do it.”

Next up was quarterback Ross Metheny. He first spoke about the Arkansas State game. “Offensively, it was probably our best game so far this year. We executed better in both the run and pass game, and I think our guys are encouraged by it. Obviously, we didn’t win which is the number-one goal, but we played better and more as a unit. It’s a good block to build off of moving forward.”

Metheny then fielded a question about his comfort level with the offense against Arkansas State. “It was big for us as a unit to go down on that first drive and get a touchdown. We hadn’t really done that since week one. It was a big confidence-builder for our guys to go down on the first drive and score. After [each team’s first possession] we figured out that it was going to be the type of game that was a shootout. We were prepared for that, and I think we executed better.”

He then spoke about Florida Atlantic. “They like to play a lot of man coverage. That’s just their identity. They’re real solid on all three phases of the defense. They have some really good athletes in the secondary, their linebackers run well and their defensive ends are explosive off the edge in the pass rush. We’ll game plan and will be ready. Our guys are excited for the challenge and looking forward to it.”

Finally defensive lineman Randon Carnathan spoke the Arkansas State game. “Defensively we played good, but not good enough honestly. We had a couple of costly penalties – a lot of mental things that we have to take care of. As a unit, I feel like we’re playing well. We just have to keep building, and work hard each week as the season progresses.”

He then spoke about the Florida Atlantic game coming up this weekend. “Defensively, we just have to keep playing hard. We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We play hard. There’s no quit on either side of the ball. We just have to put it all together and get a ‘W’. It’s as simple as that.”

The Jags homecoming game against Florida Atlantic is set to kick off at 2:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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 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.

Jags Improve In Second Scrimmage

August 20, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

Head Coach Joey Jones speaks to his team after the conclusion of the Jaguars first practice of preseason camp.

C.J. Bennett and Brandon Ross lead the Jaguar offense in Saturday morning’s scrimmage for the South Alabama. Ross scored three touchdowns on four carries while Bennett threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns while going 9-of-10 in the scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Ross’ first rush of the scrimmage was a four yard gain before crossing the goal line from one yard out on his second carry in a red zone possession for the offense. On the second snap after the mid-scrimmage break, Ross took the ball down the sideline for a 55 yard touchdown. Later in the scrimmage he got one more carry for a two yard touchdown. He racked up 62 of the 141 yards of rushing offense on the day to lead all Jaguars.

Ross is returning from a near one-and-a-half year absence following a knee injury in the 2010 season. Ross was the Jaguars’ leading rusher in 2009 and 2010 at the time of his injury.

Bennett led the first team offense on a 97 yard, 11 play drive for its first possession of the scrimmage. He completed six passes for 80 yards of the drive. He opened with a seven yard pass to T.J. Glover, he later found Bryant Lavender for 13-yards on two occasions and also found Tyrome Bivins for 12 yards to get to midfield. Demetre Baker added a two yard run before Bennett hit Jake Howton for 23 yards. Bennett rounded out the drive with a 25 yard strike to Cameron Broadnax for a touchdown.

Bennett only led the offense one other time. That drive spanned 65 yards in seven plays and it was capped off by a 31 yard touchdown pass to Baker.

The first team defense only surrendered two field goals on the day. The final field goal allowed came on a red zone possession at the 15 yard line.

Ben Giles and Anthony Taylor both lead the team with seven tackles each. Taylor added two pass-breakups to his total as well. Jesse Kelley added six tackles. Giles and Kelley both were credited with 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Randon Carnathan and Enrique Williams recorded three tackles each while Davin Hawkins led the reserves with five tackles.

Offensively, Terrance Timmons rushed five times for 29 yards, Ellis Hill had four rushes for 18 yards and Baker added 17 yards on the ground. Broadnax, Glover and Lavender along with Nathan Sassaman all had two catches each as they combined with four different quarterbacks to tally 181 yards through the air.

Michel Chapuseaux made field goals from 37, 42 and 39 yards. Aleem Sunanon convered the final score of the scrimmage with a 32 yard field goal.

“Offensively and defensively, it was good,” Head coach Joey Jones said about the scrimmage. “Overall I’m sure we’re going to see some things on film that we need to correct. But we’re not quite where we need to be on special teams, and our sideline organization needs to get better. It wasn’t terrible, but there are some things that we have got to shore up. That’s why we do this. I think we will come out next week and do it again, and hopefully we will be perfect at it when we come out on Thursday.”

“We are evaluating our players and will see where we are on the depth chart, and make those decisions this weekend,” Jones continued. “Monday we’ll starting putting the game plan in for Texas-San Antonio, we’ll have a few extra days to getting ready for them.”

“I was monitoring a couple of spots, but we still had to do things against our offense,” said defensive coordinator Bill Clark. “We got our first guys a lot of good work, I thought we tackled well and got to the ball. Our goal was to go 100 percent on our assignments today, we’ll have to see the film, but I think we looked pretty sound. It’s basically what we wanted to see. We’ve still got work to do, but it was a good finish to camp.”

“I thought the defense came out and stopped the run pretty well and I thought they got after it,” coach Jones said about the defense.

Senior Safety B.J. Scott felt that Saturday’s scrimmage was better than the first one of the preseason. “We just had that in the back of our heads and we came out here and just got after it,” he said. “I think we all as a whole feel a little bit more comfortable and focused. It’s all mental at this point. We’re pretty much done beating up on each other.”

“Fundamentally we have improved a lot since camp started,” offensive coordinator Robert Matthews said. “We were able to execute a lot of base plays early today, in the second part of the scrimmage we tried to do some different things that we have been working on. Our guys know what to do, now it is just doing it at the speed and the tempo we expect. I think we are getting closer but are not there yet.”

The Jags returned to the practice field on Sunday so the student-athletes can take Monday off for the first day of fall semester classes.

 

Recap Of South Alabama’s First Scrimmage

March 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Jones

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

South Alabama held it’s first scrimmage on Saturday in front of some 200-plus visitors. The visitors were high school Juniors who are on the Jaguars recruiting radar for the upcoming class. This was their opporutinity to see campus, tour the facilities and also see the Jaguars in action.

In the scrimmage, Demetre Baker scores two of the four touchdowns on the day while leading the runningbacks with nine carries for 42 yards. On the first scoring drive, C.J. Bennett was 3-of-4, all three completions went to Bryant Lavender for gains of 14, 6 and 25 yards respectively. Lavender’s last reception of the drive moved the Jags inside the 10 yard line and setting Baker up for his touchdown. Terrance Timmons also had a 14-yard rush on the drive.

The second scoring drive saw Bennett connect with Anthony Ingram for an 11-yard catch to begin the drive. On third down and needing one yard to move the chains, Bennett would find Kennedy Helms for a 30-yard completion which would set Baker up for his second touchdown.

C.J. Bennett would end the day going 11-of-17 for 114 yards while adding two runs for nine yards. Trey Fetner would end the day 4-of-7 for 60 yards while working with both the first and second team guys. He would lead the second-team on a 11-play 55-yard drive. He completed two passes to Saxton to move within the ball inside the 30-yard line. Baker would run four consecutive times to get the ball down to the two yard line. A false start penalty would back them up, but Fetner would find Jereme Jones just inside the endzone on the right side for the touchdown. Fetner commented after the scrimmage saying, “Actually, that wasn’t part of my progression. I saw a hole real quick, and I tried to get it in there. It was a mistake, but a good one, so we’ll take it. I did a decent job today, but the line and receivers did a great job. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, though.”

Other scores on the day was a 45-yard field goal by Michel Chapuseaux and a one-yard touchdown run near the end of the scrimmage by Julien Valentin. His touchdown would cap off an 11-play 40-yard drive by the third team offensive unit.

The Jaguar defense gave up 306 yards on 109 plays, which was an average of less than three yards per play. Ben Giles ended the scrimmage with nine total tackles and a pass break-up which was nearly an interception. Charles Harris and Desomnd LaVelle both added six tackles of their own and Randon Carnathan had five tackles. Will Thompson posted five-and-a-half tackles for loss and three sacks while Pat Moore totalled four-and-a-half tackles for loss and four sacks. Ceasare Johnson added five tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. Eddy Cabrera had the only takeaway by recovering a fumble late in the scrimmage.

Bryant Lavender lead the wide receivers with five receptions for 57 yards. While Ingram catching two passes for 39 yards and Wes Saxton also catching two for 25 yards.

“I’m excited about the new offense,” said Demetre Baker after the scrimmage. “I think I’ve still got a lot of things to work on, definitely some reads now that we are not running a lot of power-I. I never will be pleased, though, because I think that every day I can come out here and get a little bit better, run a little harder, make better cuts and read my blocks better.”

Coach Jones commented after the scrimmage by saying, “I thought Demetre had a good day running the ball. He ran real powerful today, he didn’t have any extremely long runs, but he had a lot of five- and 10-yard runs, fighting for tough yards.”

“I believe we are much further along than I thought we would be at this point with the operation of the offense, because the kids have bought in and the staff has done a tremendous job coaching it,” continued Jones. “When they go out on the field they understand what it going on, but it is going so fast they make a mistake or two. But I’m real pleased, because it puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you snap the ball extremely fast.”

Speaking about the depth on both sides of the ball, coach Jones had this following quote. “With the ones on both sides of the ball it was a back-and-forth slugfest. What I see when I look at the offense and defense is a lot more depth on defense. When you put the twos out there there is not a lot of change, but when you put the twos out on offense there is. One of the things we have to work on is our depth offensively.”

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark commented about the defense after the scrimmage was over. “We saw a lot of good things, and we saw some things we have to get better at,” he said. “sometimes that tempo really shows you some things. A lot of guys did a lot of good things, although you won’t know that exactly until you see the film, but we had some guys on the twos who really looked good. That depth chart may be changing next week.”

New offensive coordinator Robert Matthews commented on what he saw from the offense during the scrimmage. “I saw some good things, though I thought we made too many pre-snap penalty mistakes,” he said. “We had some false starts that are unacceptable. We are getting a lot of guys reps, we had seven quarterbacks take snaps today, which makes it hard sometimes with continuance but at the same time its good for our evaluations.”

The most resounding statement by Coach Jones was, “Today was a very big day regarding our depth chart where those guys could prove themselves. After this Thursday, the bulk of spring training will be over.”

South Alabama only has three more practices prior to spring break with the first being at 4pm on Sunday. The Jags are scheduled to work out in just shorts. Following that, they will return to the field on Tuesday in shells then in full pads on Thursday for their next scrimmage.

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