USA Kick-Off Celebration At Eastern Shore Wintzell’s On Thursday

August 17, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Wintzell’s Oyster House on the Eastern Shore will be hosting the USA Football Kick-off Celebration on Thursday, August 23 beginning at 6:30pm.

Fans can celebrate the kick-off of the Jaguars football season with Coach Joey Jones, The USA Cheerleaders and SouthPaw on Thursday. The gathering will be in the courtyard/fountain area just outside of the Wintzell’s in the Eastern Shore Center. The address is 30500 State Highway 181, Spanish Fort, Alabama.

Fans will have an opportunity to get photographs and autographs.

Go Jags!

Are Some South Alabama Fans Calling For A Coaching Change?

May 30, 2010 · Filed Under Athletic Department, Baseball · Comment 

In this mornings Sound Off in the Mobile Press-Register, a reader wrote in criticizing the Jaguar baseball coaching staff. This is rightly so, the team has not performed well since 2006 and the ERA lately has been over 6. So, what is the Athletics Department to do?

With Coach Kitrell’s past success and general likability in the community, it would be a hard sell to fire him. It doesn’t seem like Coach K wants to retire either. However, they might be able to convince him that this would be the best for the program. Either way, what do you do?

Probably the most likely to happen is a shake-up in the staff. Pitching is definitely an area where the bullseye would probably fall. Another area where things could change would be the position of recruiting coordinator.
Recruiting is definitely a tough area for College Baseball. When good high school players graduate, their first inclination is to try to make it in the Minor Leagues. This is the shorter route to possibly making it to the Major Leagues. If they go to college, they may get drafted early in their collegiant career and go play in the Minors. But again, because it’s the shortest route, you don’t go from College to the Majors.

South Alabama and the other programs must have top notch recruiters in order to convince these kids to come to their program. Currently, pitching is at a premium. Which is why you see major league pitchers receiving high paying deals while clubs are scouring minor league teams for the next pitching prospect.

So what is the answer for the South Alabama baseball program? I think it’s too early after the major letdown at the end of the season to determine that. This may be the first major decision the new Athletic Director Joel Erdmann will have to face at South Alabama.

Would Luis Gonzalez like to become a college baseball coach? It could be a big boom in recruiting and his alma mater might be searching.

After Dropping Two Consecutive Games USA Is Eliminated From SBC Tournament

May 29, 2010 · Filed Under Baseball · 1 Comment 

After an inspiring start on Wednesday, the Jags fell in the second round of the Sun Belt Tournament to top seeded Florida Atlantic. Thought they didn’t go down without a fight.

Trailing 10-4 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, USA could only manage to score two runs after they loaded the bases with with no outs. In the bottom of the ninth, still trailing 10-6, the Jags scored a run before Jags loaded the bases again with no outs. After a fielders choice scored another run, a single through the right side loaded the bases again. A sacrifice fly ball to right would score another run, but was stranded after that when the game ended 10-9.

On Friday, the Jags found themselves facing Florida International, whom they defeated the first day to put them in the losers bracket. FIU scored eight runs in the first four innings but South Alabama would rally for six runs in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 8-7.

The top of the seventh would see the Jags tie the game at eight, but was answered by the Owls in the bottom half of the inning with two runs. The top of the eighth inning had the Jags score their final run of the game.

Trailing by a run in the top of the ninth, they got a one out single to right field, however the runner could not be advanced past first base. So for the second consecutive game the Jags fell 10-9 but were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament.

The Jags end the season with an overall record of 32-27 after stranding 12 runners on base against for the game.

Jag Video: Strength And Conditioning

March 6, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

This video was posted yesterday and it goes inside the South Alabama locker room and show the Jags commitment in getting stronger, faster and better players. If this doesn’t get you excited for this Fall, there’s not much that will.

The Jaguars Defense Set The Tone Against Georgia Military

October 11, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguars defense smothered Georgia Military at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday. One name, Zach Brownell, became pretty familiar to the 15,178 fans in the stands as he had three interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown.

The Jaguar defense held the bulldogs in check for the most part. They only gave up 10 first downs and 234 yards of total offense. Including a mere 88 yards rushing and holding them to only 1 of 15 in third down conversions. However the Jags bid for a second straight shutout was thwarted in the final minute of the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Evan Kay.

South Alabama’s offense started off slow against Georgia Military. The first three possessions ended with a punt, a fumble and a punt. But the Jaguars would put the first points on the board with a seven yard touchdown run by Brandon Ross early in the second quarter to cap off a ten play 67-yard drive.

The Jags next possession would end with an interception on an ill advised pass by Myles Gibbon. However the Jaguar defense would give the ball right back to the offense with an interception three plays later. The offense moved 37 yards in six plays but were forced to punt themselves which they downed on the nine yard line.

With the Bulldogs deep in their own territory, the defense turned up the pressure again forcing another interception. Brownell would return it for a touchdown with 1:35 left before halftime to put the Jags up 14-0.

The second half continued the with the Jaguar defense playing strong. They forced the Bulldogs to go three and out and punt on their first possession of the second half. They Jags offense would go three and out as well but would pin them inside their own 15 yard line on the punt. The South Alabama defense would come up big once more when they forced a fumble at the Bulldog 10 yard line which Clifton Crews would pick up and return for another defensive score for the Jags. This put them up 21-0 with 9:05 left in the third quarter.

After the kickoff the Bulldogs started to move the ball, going 29 yards in eight plays before the third and final Brownell interception with 5:12 left in the third quarter at the South Alabama 20 yard line. The Jags would be forced to punt again a few plays later.

The Bulldogs would mount their only other scoring threat of the game at their own 38 yard line. The Bulldogs connected on a long pass to move them into Jaguar territory. But the defense held strong and forced the Bulldogs to settle for a field goal with 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter for a score of 21-3.

Both teams would go three and out on the two ensuing possessions. Then the Jaguar offense found another spark and covered 54 yards in four plays for another Brandon Ross touchdown. On the extra point, the bulldogs would be flagged for a personal foul and would leave the first team kicker, Michel Chapuseaux injured and have to be helped off the field. The trainers took him to the sidelines and was examining his right knee. Shortly they took off his pads, gave him crutches and sent him to the locker room to get out of his uniform. He rejoined the team on his crutches as they gathered for the alma mater after the game.

Both teams would, again, see three and out possessions. The next Bulldog possession would cover 25 yards in six plays but went for it on fourth down and came up short. The Jags would take the ball from their own 40 yard line and drive 38 yards in eight plays eating 3:45 off the clock before Lawson McGlon nailed a 39 yard field goal to cap the game off at 31-3.

Brandon Ross lead the way for the running backs with 15 attempts for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Santuan McGee had 8 carries for 60 yards, Anthony Mostella had 9 for 34 yards, Myles Gibbon had 6 carries for 20 yards and Eli Smith carried the ball twice for 8 yards.

Gibbon went 6 for 13 for 44 yards and an interception for the game. His longest pass went for 32 yards. Nick Owens completed his only pass attempt for eight yards.

Courtney Smith was the only receiver with more than one reception at two for five yards. Kevin Helms, Paul Bennett, Corey Besteda, Erling Riis and Brandon Ross each had one reception each.

Scott Garber punted 7 times in the game and averaged 45.3 yards per punt and downed two inside the Bulldog 20 yard line.

Justin Dunn lead all Jaguars in tackles with 11 followed by Zach Brownell with six. Also Brownell had the three interceptions.

The Jags had 13 first downs with 199 yard rushing and 52 yards passing for a total of 251 yards (their lowest numbers of the season). The game was marred with lots of penalties. The Jags had 10 for 158 yards while Georgia Military had 14 for 136 yards.

After the game Coach Jones spoke about the defense. “Those guys want to get a shutout if they can, but they love scoring touchdowns as well – it’s always fun for them to do that. Those are game changers,” he said. “Obviously, we were great defensively and played a solid game against a very good football program. Zach has a nose for the football, he’s just a very smart football player. The one he ran back for a touchdown right before the half was certainly a big play in the game.”

Coach Jones also spoke about the Bulldog defense. “We knew that their defense was very good. They fly to the football and hit you,” he said. “They gave us some problems and we knew that would happen.”

Myles Gibbon also spoke about Georgia Military after the game. “We knew coming into this game that they were one of the best teams we’ll play all year,” he said. “You have to give credit to them, they’re a good team and a good defense. They were coming with pressure, but we studied their different blitzes and how to block them all week – our offensive line did a fantastic job today.”

Georgia Military head coach Bert Williams spoke about the game against South Alabama. “You have to take your hats off to South Alabama. They played well, played consistently and played hard,” he said. “We got what we expected out there. We just didn’t expect to be as generous with the ball as we were – we gave them touchdowns two and three on turnovers. Those two plays put us in a bad way.”

Justin Dunn had this to say about the game. “We were ready for everything they threw at us. That just goes back to coaching and team play,” he said. “We played our butts off today. What we did was nice, but we’re never satisfied as a defense. We have another opponent next week that we need to prepare for.”

The Jags will host Louisburg Junior College next Saturday with kickoff set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This will mark the first time this season that the Jags will play games in back-to-back weekends.

Go Jags!

Lagniappe Questions

September 23, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

Lagniappe sportswriter Johnny Davis contacted us here at Thunderjags.com as well as several others with a couple questions about South Alabama’s first game. Since today the new issue is available on news stands, here is my complete answers to Mr. Davis’ questions.

Go out and grab yourself a copy of the new issue of the Laginappe, not just because there will be a couple quotes from my answers but because it is a great publication in its own right and its free.

1) What are your thoughts on the first game?
I thought the coaching staff and players did great in the first game. They performed better than most people expected, considering it was the programs first game. While about half of the team are still walk-ons, they had the benefit of practicing in the spring with the coaches and working out with the strength and conditioning coach. The first recruiting class seems to be pretty spot on in terms of what the coaching staff was looking for and the transfers they brought in gave them experience and maturity at key positions.

As for the game, they excuted their gameplan very well. They planned to run the ball more in the first game in order to take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon which worked. There were a few times when Gibbon looked a bit nervous and it showed. But that is to be expected when he goes from Canadian football with a small number of spectators to over 26,000 for the Jags first game. Overall he played very well.

The offensive and defensive lines were outstanding considering they were outsized by Hargrave. Dunn and Higgenbotham are key for the Jags at linebacker with their experience and ability. However, the secondary seemed to be a bit shakey at times particularly in the second half. It will be interesting to see how they improve over the course of the season.

2) What do you see in the future for USA football?
The future of South Alabama football is a bright one. We are in a hotbed of talent here in Mobile. If you look at the quality of players that have come out of here in the last several years you can see what kind of advantage South Alabama has in the recruiting game. Then throw in the first class facilities they have on campus for the team and that just helps both preparing for games and recruiting players.

The measuring stick has been set pretty high by South Florida over the last several years since they started their program. Could South Alabama match or beat those levels? I don’t know. But I think Coach Jones has put together a great staff in a great area and their potential is through the roof.

3) How do you think USA football will affect the city of Mobile?
South Alabama football will be a huge plus for the city of Mobile. They already have Navy, Mississippi State and North Carolina State all scheduled to play at least one game in Mobile (with Navy coming here twice). MSU and NC State both have fans that will travel pretty well and will spend money whenever they travel to see their team play.

But beyond how well fans travel and how much they spend, its going to positively impact Mobile. People will look at Mobile in a different way. I think it will much easier to convince people and companies to invest in the area because they (the people of Mobile) can support a Division-I football team as well as the many other things we already do here on the gulf coast. One indication of that is while tailgating at the first game, I talked to a woman with two children who came all the way over to Mobile from Pensacola to “support their team.” This was for a team who had yet to play a single game. How exciting is that?

Thanks Johnny Davis and the Lagniappe for contacting us and mentioning our site in your article.

Coach Jones’ Radio Show on the Air

October 9, 2008 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

It may not be ‘Hey Coach’ but it does have a familiar location. Coach Joey Jones started his weekly radio show on August 27th with Lee Shiravain and 105.5FM WNSP. The show takes place live at Bob Baumhauer’s Wings Restaurant on Airport Boulevard.

For those Alabama fans out there, that should seem familiar to you. I have listened to several episodes on the radio with Coaches DuBose, Stallints, Franchione, Shula and now with Coach Saban (Not all of them at Wing’s thought). Unfortunately it aires at Noon each week so it doesn’t sound like its going to foster a whole lot of fandom until the Jags actually hit the field in 2009. But Jaguar fans can be a tenacious bunch so I will have to attend an airing to take it in for myself to see.

But besides Coach Jones, it will have members of the Jaguar coaching staff and other assorted guests and numerous giveaways throughout the season. If you cannot make the show live, you can listen to the broadcast on 105.5 and call in with questions or comments.

Go Jags

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