Ross And Dearman Earn Honors In Spring

March 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 
Dearman and Matthews

Offensive lineman Drew Dearman, his father and Offensive Coordinator Robert Matthews after the annual Red & Blue Spring football game.

If you were at the Red & Blue Spring Game and went onto the field for autographs, you may have noticed a player wearing the honorary #5 jersey. The Jaguar players chose Brandon Ross to wear that number in honor of Anthony Mostella, who passed away in the summer of 2010.

Mostella’s number 5 jersey is given to a graduating senior that is chosen by his teammates to honor his memory.

Also Drew Dearman was chosen as the Most Improved Lineman for the spring. Dearman has solidified the left guard position as he has moved into the starting lineup heading into the fall.

Jags Prepare For The Red & Blue Game On Saturday

March 24, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

On Thursday the Jags had to move their practice indoors due to impending thunderstorms moving into the area. Their final practice before the Red & Blue Spring Game.

Their practice in Jaguar Gym lasted about 45 minutes in total. It began with special teams drills in helmets and shorts. They then broke into teams to go through scripts for the game on Saturday.

Head coach Joey Jones spoke after the short practice in Jaguar Gym. “I think the concerns we had going into the spring were the offensive line and the secondary,” he said. “I feel really good about our first offensive line. Now we have to continue to develop depth there. The secondary is another area where I feel like we have gotten better, and we’ve got a couple more guys coming in this summer who might be able to help us there too.”

“The three things we concentrated on this spring, and will continue to work on, were leadership, discipline and toughness,” Coach Jones continued. “We’ve been preaching all spring that you don’t always wins games, you lose games. Teams that make mistakes end up losing games. We became a more disciplined team this spring, and I think we have developed some leadership on this football team. You see it in the locker room, in the weight room and on the field, and we’re real proud of that. I think we’ve been a pretty tough team, and will continue to do that. Overall, as a team, there was so much more focus.”

Coach Jones previewed the Saturday’s game by saying, “It’s going to be a short game, the clock will be running. It will probably be about half a game with the amount of plays we run.”

Coach Jones also said that fans will only see about 25% of the offense because they will be holding out the rest for the fall.

On the Friday morning edition of the Morning Sportsdrive, Coach Jones spoke with Lee Shirvanian and Mark Heim about his team. Coach Jones said that C.J. Bennett has, so far, nailed down the starting position at quarterback with Trey Fetner moving up to the #2 spot. The first-team offense is farther along in their progression than he anticipated, but the gap between the first- and second-team offense is quite noticable. But he had compliments about lots of Jaguars from the spring.

The parking lot will open at 10am and gates will open at 1pm and both will be free and open to the public. Beginning at 11am the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will hold its annual Gumbo & Chili Showdown in the East parking lot with admission for the event being $10.

Seating will be available on the West stands as well as both end zones with limited concessions being sold in the West concourse only. Also in the West concourse the USA Ticket Office will be availabnle for anyone interested in purchasing season tickets and selecting their seats for the 2012 season. The USA Bookstore will be set up selling JagWear and Springdale Travel will have information available for travel packages through the “Runnin’ With the Jags”.

Following the game the fans will have a 30-minute session to go onto the field and get autographs from the Jaguar athletes and coaching staff.

As for the game, it will have 10-minute quarters with the first half having a regular game clock then in the second half will have a running clock with the quarters expanding to 12-minutes each.

Jags Return From Spring Break

March 21, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Akeem Appleton Catch

Akeem Appleton looks the ball in for a catch during a spring scrimmage.

After a week off for spring break, the Jaguars returned for their final week of practice leading up to Saturdays annual Red-Blue spring football game.

After a week off, the Jaguars came with plenty of effort, but were lacking in execution.

They began practice with special teams working on punting. Next the offense and defense worked against each other by position. They then broke off into work with position coaches for about 40 minutes. Later they would come back together for another offense versus defense segment as they worked on inside plays. They also worked on skeleton passing drills and play-action passing drills.

In the final session, the team again worked on game-like situations by simulating two-minute drills. The defense kept the first and second team offense off of the scoreboard.

The first-team offense moved the ball into the red zone after C.J. Bennett threw completions to Jereme Jones and Bryant Lavender for a first down at the 19 yard line. Bennett would stop the clock by spiking the ball on first down but would not be able to score after three consecutive incompletions ended their drive.

Trey Fetner led the second-team offense by scrambling twice to pick up a first down and stopping the clock on the second by finding the sideline to step out of bounds. However the defense was not to be out done. Back to back sacks and a broken-up pass by Terrell Brigham would end the possession.

After practice coach Jones commented on what he saw. “Offensively, we came out and had a few missed assignments, we jumped offsides a couple of times. We were not quite as in sync as we were. It wasn’t a lack of effort or want to, it was just making some mental mistakes. Defensively, I thought we came out and had a pretty good practice today.”

“We are going to do a few fundamental things the first part of practice, then at the end we’re going to split them into their teams,” Jones continued. “Coaches have started talking smack to each other, and the players have here and there also. It will be a fun time, the culmination of spring practice, so we’ll give them the last 30 minutes to do that and get ready for the game on Saturday.”

They will practice once more on Thursday beginning at 6:30am at the Jaguar practice facility. The Red & Blue game at 2pm on Saturday, March 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be free and open to the public with the Gumbo-Chili cook off during the morning.

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.

Post Scrimmage Videos

March 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 


Head Coach Joey Jones talks about the scrimmage.


Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark post scrimmage remarks.


Offensive Coordinator Robert Matthews post scrimmage remarks.

Jags Hit Halfway Point In Spring Practice

March 2, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Bryant Lavender Touchdown

Wide receiver Bryant Lavender hauls in a pass that he will take in for a touchdown in the Jags "mini-Scrimmage" on Saturday, February 25, 2012.

On Thursday, South Alabama hit the practice field for their seventh practice of spring practice. The Jaguars used the first half of practice to work on individual skill drills. But the highlight of the practice was the continued offense-vs-defense workouts as the new offensive coordinator Robert Matthews continues to install his new offense.

During a period that lasted around 20-minutes, the offense faced third-and-medium distance situations against the defense. The first and second team offensive units each faced the defense in a red-zone situation. The second team would score a touchdown as Trey Fetner would find a crossing Greg Hollinger at the back of the end zone.

Later, C.J. Bennett would run the first-team offense on a two-minute drill. The situation was set as they were trailing by two points with just over a minute to go with only one time out remaining. Bennett found Jereme Jones for a completion followed by a long run by Demetre Baker. This set up Michel Chapuseaux to convert a long field goal attempt.

As the Jags are about halfway through spring practice, Coach Matthews would estimate that he is about halfway through installing the offense as well. “Right now I would say we are probably halfway done,” said Coach Matthews. “We are really focusing on the fundamentals, which was an emphasis that coach Jones wanted to address in the spring. What we’ve been working on is the tempo, the base protections and base runs, and trying to make sure that we get guys into the right spot. The nice thing about going early like we do is that we’ll have a lot of time after we finish from the end of March until August 1 for guys to work on their own, and really study and understand what we are trying to get out of them so that when fall camp gets here they’ll be a lot further ahead.”

When asked about how the change in offensive scheme is going, Coach Matthews answered, “I think the kids are fully in, they are really trying to do what we are asking them to do, and they have been displaying a great attitude. That’s a reflection of what has gone on here before. They have embraced the change, and are working to get better every day, so I am happy with the progress. We have a long way to go, we are not a finished product by any means and we make mistakes every day, but you just work to try and correct those and push forward.”

Coach Matthews said that the first half of the practice schedule was to focus on fundamentals, from this point forward to the annual Spring Game they will focus on game-like situations. “We did a little bit of it today,” Matthews said. “As you get further along teaching the base offense, it’s going through situational practices. Today we got some red zone situations in and got to work on the two-minute drill. Understandinging how to play the game is just as important as knowing what to do in certain plays. I think as we move further along we can get some more situational work in, short yardage and goal line, red zone, two-minute and four-minute situations. You feel like you’re getting batter at your fundamentals, now you want to make sure that you can handle these situations that come up in games. The teams that are prepared the best are the ones that usually end up executing, and we want to make sure that we are giving our kids a chance.”

When asked about if anyone is having an easier time than others at picking up the new offense, Coach Matthews answered ““I don’t know if anyone is having an easier time picking it up or not, but there are certainly guys who have started to stand out this spring. Bryant Lavender is having a really nice spring, I don’t know if coach has mentioned him or not, but from a wide receiver standpoint I think he has done a great job. He’s just a guy that has embraced a leadership role, he’s working hard and learning to play several different wide receiver positions. I hope the rest of the guys follow his lead.”

The Jags will return to the practice field for a scheduled scrimmage at 2:45pm on Saturday which is open to the public.

Jaguars Participate In First Scrimmage Of Spring

February 29, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

 

Corey Besteda Touchdown

Corey Besteda looking the ball in during a scrimmage during Spring Practice.

On Saturday, South Alabama began with the day practicing fundamentals and rotating between coaches that worked with each group with those fundamentals. Later the offensive and defensive units would work against each other during two 10-minute segments.

Early in the practice they worked on puntings, later they worked on punt coverage and to end the practice they worked on field goals.

However the interesting part was in the second half of the practice when the offensive and defensive units came together for what Coach Jones called a “mini-scrimmage”.

The starting offensive line played well overall, but had their ups and downs. Trey Clark continued to do well at center, however he had problems with snaps. As the Jaguars participate in the Sun Belt, they now must also use the Official Sun Belt football, which differs from what the Jaguars have been using. In previous seasons, the Jags used a ball from Nike however the Offical SBC football is quite slick in comparison. This lead to quite a number of bad snaps.

Tremain Smith did fairly well at left tackle, however he did allow a few guys to get through much easier than expected. Drew Dearman played solid at left guard and I don’t remember actually seeing him get beat on the line. Meggs the right guard and Artz the right tackle had some problems on occasion. I think Artz got beat a few times which allowed defenders to get to the quarterback pretty quickly.

Bryant Lavender seems to be the go-to receiver for C.J. Bennett. They hooked up for a big touchdown pass of around 60 yards or so, as well as a
few other completions during the scrimmage.

Corey Besteda made a few catches as well and took one in for a touchdown. The ball was snapped from around the 20 and he ran an out route around the 5 yard line, he caught it turned towards the end zone and broke the first tackle and dove into the end zone while another defensive back made a hit on him.

Anthony Ingram caught a few passes on the right side of the formation and showed some acceleration and quickness.

Greg Hollinger’s move to tight end will probably be a good one. He is big enough to make some blocks but has the speed and hands to be able to really exploit mismatches against linebackers or smaller safeties.

An noted above, C.J. Bennett made some good passes with Lavender. But he started the scrimmage slow but improved as the day went on. His playing time with the receivers definitely shows in his timing with them between the whistles.

Myles Gibbon was the quarterback who started well. After Bennett’s first series went no where, Gibbon helped to move the ball down the field. While what I saw of Fetner’s series were a bit uninspiring it was made up by Brandon Bridges scrambling. He has long legs that can cover lots of ground in a short time, but his throwing motion seemed to be weak.

Line the offensive, the defense had times when it did well but also times when it didn’t play well. They would have the offense in 3rd and longs and would give up a play to allow a first down. Romelle Jones, who came on midway through the year and played in beast mode, continued to play well. Charles Watson was covering Lavender and allowed a number of catches but did step up from time to time with a good play.

The coaches had headsets on and were practicing some of what they will need to do on gameday. Coach Matthews went up in the scissor lift just before the scrimmage began to call plays while a contingent of coaches and assistants on the sideline signaled in the play. On offense, tempo was key as we have been hearing through all of the previous practices. Lots of shouts encouraging them to go up to the line and get ready for the next play. The tempo of the offense combined with the quarterback’s hard count drew the defense into the neutral zone a few times. But it also accounted for several penalties on the offense. A receiver moved too
early once and a running back next to Bennett in the shotgun moved early as well. But the line movement seemed to be isolated to the right side of the line.

Overall the “mini-scrimmage” was good. Coach Jones was pleased with the effort, except once when he was quite furious with a player for being a bit lazy on a play. He understands that these players heads are spinning still as many are transitioning from a power offense to the spread and from Coach Gregory to Coach Matthews. But that has been the norm for this staff over the previous three seasons, they throw a lot at them, they make their head spin, then they work with them and help them understand what they are doing and where they need to be.

In the post-practice huddle, Coach Jones re-emphasized that their time on the practice field is limited and that they need to work hard. Leadership was a key, he said he saw more leadership this year but told the players if they see a guy doing something wrong, help them to understand and correct the problem.

One that stands out is B.J. Scott. While he will not work out this spring, he has been helping the coaching staff work with the secondary. During drills he has been coaching the guys along helping to reset the drill for the next player. During offense-vs-defense drills, he has been observing, making suggestions and commments, and further encouragements to his fellow players.

 

After two days off after the scrimmage, the Jags hit the practice field again on Tuesday for their sixth out of 15 practices this spring. With a multiple 3-4 system that has been in place for the program’s first three seasons, this spring the staff is working on developing depth that will be needed as they play a full FBS schedule.

Coach Clark explained, “For us right now, it’s identifying players. We’ve got a lot of guys back, but we’re looking to be two-deep. We’re looking for two guys at every position who could be considered starters. If you can get further than that, great. We’re also looking for a sense of urgency, a sense of competition. Obviously, spring is for fundamentals and all the coach speak that you hear about getting better at all the little things, that’s what we’re doing.”

The secondary has been something of a concern over the last two seasons. In 2011, half of the starting secondary were unavailable by the end of the season. However, this was addressed very heavily in the offseason. Darrius Morrow and Charles Watson came in as transfers while Terrell Brigham and Jonatham Cameron are back with the Jaguars. Qudarius Ford, Eddy Cabrera, Gabe Loper, Charles Harris and Alonzo Long are all back with the team too.

“We’re really excited about our secondary, the group has a lot of ability,” Coach Clark continued. “We’re asking them to do a lot of things. We probably were a little more basic last year because we had so many changes, losing guys from the spring to the summer for different reasons, so we scaled it back just a hair. We’re throwing the kitchen sink at them right now. Along with the tempo our offense brings, it’s tough on them, but they’ve responded really well.”

Coach Clark says that the depth chart can change every day, so the players need to bring their competition every day. If Coach Clark’s strategy works, then the Jags will have depth at those positions entering the fall.

South Alabama will have Wednesday off before returning to the practice field on Thursday morning. They will then have their first official scrimmage of the spring on Saturday at 2:45pm at the Jaguar Practice Complex on the South Alabama Campus.

Coach Jones Post Practice Video

February 25, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Jags Complete First Practice In Pads For Spring

February 23, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Coach Jones Observing warm-ups.

Head Coach Joey Jones oversees the Jaguars pre-game warm-ups at N.C. State.

Jags hit the practice field for their fourth practice of the spring and their first in pads. They practiced for about two hours.

They worked on lots of things during practice. The offense worked for about 10 minutes on screens, then another 10 minutes on routes, 10 minutes on down and distance plays, 10 minutes on third-down situations. Some where 11-on-11 some skeleton passing.

During a 45 minute period in the second half of the practice, the offensive and defensive lines worked in one-on-one pass rush drills and later offensive linemen against two defensive linemen. While that was going on, skeleton passing drills were being worked on.

Coach Jones was satisfied with the practice. “It was real lively, I thought the kids got after it a little more than the last practice,” he said. “We have a ways to go offensively, but I thought it was better. The guys have to remember that it is not going to happen overnight, they have to come out every day and work. If they learn to do that, then we are going to be a really good football team. The tempo of our offense is just great. The kids are doing pretty well picking it up even though they have a lot of things to think about. What we have to shore up is technical — who we are blocking and how we are blocking them. But they are getting lined up and understand what they are doing. They have done a good job studying their playbooks.”

Practicing in pads is extremely valuable to the coaches. “It was good because that’s the only way you can evaluate these guys, and one of our goals is to try and fill our one- and two-deep. The only way you can evaluate them is by putting pads on and blocking full speed. That’s valuable for us. They were ready to hit somebody. They’ve been lifting weights and running, so it makes for a more fun practice as well.”

“We’ve only got so many chances in the spring, you’ve really got about eight days that you can tackle,” Coach Jones continued. “Other than that, it’s just skelly and one-on-ones with no tackling. It’s kind of hard to get better on the offensive and defensive line. So we’ve got to take advantage of each chance we have to get better.”

While the Jags are a week into their spring practice, they are far from where Coach Jones wants them to be in learning the spread. But there is no panic, it’s expected by the coaching staff. “We’ve probably gotten better in some areas, but if I’m asked whether it’s anywhere close to being a cohesive unit I would say no. That’s to be expected. I want to look at the end of the spring to see where we are as compared to the first one [practice], because what you want each day is just a little bit of progress. It’s not enough to be great, but if we can do that by the end of the spring we will be decent.”

The next practice will be Saturday at 9am in full pads again. It will not be one of the three scrimmages scheduled by the Jags. “It won’t be a total scrimmage, it will be much like today except with tackling,” he said. “Any time you put them under the lights, so to speak, you can watch and see. They know the film is on them, it’s live and in color, so you can evaluate much better.”

Jags Make Up Missed Practice From Saturday

February 20, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama made up their lost practice Monday morning due to weather on Saturday. They hit the field even earlier than normal for the Jags. Their practice went from 5:30am – 7am as they wore shells for the first time.

They opened practice with work on the punt team. They then transitioned to working on the running game. After that, they worked on screens.

The offense and defense then came together to work on perimeter runs and passes. Following that, they went 7-on-7 passing drills.

Later the offense and defense came together once again to work on third-down scenerios, picking up blitzes before final drills to end practice.

After practice, Coach Jones spoke about practice. “This football team is hungry and they think they have a lot to prove. But on the flip side of that, we have a lot of work to do. Defensively right now, we are ahead of the offense and that’s fine. That’s what we want, a great defense. Offensively, we are still putting things in and trying to establish a running game, passing game and quick-tempo offense. Their heads are spinning, but I’m proud of where we are.”

Coach Jones continued speaking about the players progress. “It’s not going to happen overnight, we just have to keep working. And we have to keep in the back of our minds that our goal is to be great this fall. If we work every day and do what we’re supposed to do, then we’ll get there. We just have to keep that mindset.”

The Jags will have Tuesday and Wednesday off before hitting the practice field again on Thursday at 6:30am.

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