Jags Ranked Ahead Of Auburn In Latest USA Today Article

October 29, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

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

USA Today’s Paul Myerberg just published the article titled “NCAA football re-rank: Our list from 1-124” on the USA Today website with some interesting rankings. It was basically a given that the University of Alabama would top the list with other schools lining up behind them. Their top five in order is: Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Georgia.

But if you look towards the bottom of the list, you would probably expect see teams who are making their transition to FBS. But there are a few surprises down there.

South Alabama is ranked 110th in the list of all 124 FBS teams. They are ahead of Auburn University (111th) and in order from there Florida International, Colorado State, Akron, Tulane, Colorado, Memphis, Florida Atlantic, UAB, New Mexico State, Hawaii, Idaho, Southern Mississippi and UMass at 124. The Jags first opponent this season, Texas-San Antonio, is ranked 106.

Other Sun Belt schools are ranked: Louisiana-Monroe (43), Western Kentucky (52), Arkansas State (65), Middle Tennessee State (75), Louisiana-Lafayette (76), Troy (89), North Texas (95).

The Jags remaining games are against #112 FIU this weekend in Mobile, at #95 North Texas, vs #75 MTSU in Mobile, at #76 Louisiana-Lafayette before ending the season on the road against #121 Hawaii.

You can see the whole rundown on the USA Today website here.

Jaguar’s Defense Improves In Second Game Of Season

September 11, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Bill Clark works with the linebacker corps during pregame warmups prior to the Jags 9-3 win over Nicholls State.

The Jaguar defense played a very stingy game against Nicholls State on Saturday. They produced six sacks and 14 tackles for loss against the Colonels for a total loss of 60 yards. That was more like what head coach Joey Jones and defensive coordinator Bill Clark wanted to see out of the Jaguar defense.

The Jags had problems getting pressure on the quarterback and catching ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. They only had 15 sacks and 59 tackles for loss all last season. That is only an average of 1.5 sacks per game and 5.9 tackles for loss per game.

They got a slow start against UTSA when they failed to record a sack and only managed five tackles for loss.

While the Jags didn’t have any film to review for the Colonels, they did have a plan that consisted of getting in the backfield, causing problems and making plays. And that’s what they did.

In addition to the stats mentioned above, they forced two interceptions and a fumble recovery while only allowing 118 yards of total offense. Coach Clark summed it up well after the game. “We got after the quarterback. We said that was our goal coming in. We schemed the whole week trying to get four guys coming at all times and the d-line really gave us a great push. It starts with pressure. That sure helps you out a lot.”

“We got some turnovers today, some takeaways, and we had a lot of three-and-outs,” Clark continued. “We had a tough penalty near the end and we can’t have any penalties, especially gifts like that. But sometimes when you’re playing hard and you’re running your tail off, you get some of those. We’ve just got to be smart, and for the most part I think we have. But our emotion, our energy, the way we tackled, being physical, that’s everything we preached this week. It kind of got back to being who we are. Sometimes, you have to step up. The offense is going to step up one week and we’ll step up another, but this week it was our turn and that’s what a team game is all about. It was our turn to do it and it will make us better for it.”

Jake Johnson got started early by sacking the Colonel quarterback on their third play from scrimmage. He would end the game with eight tackles , 2.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry. Also Pat Moore added five tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a pass break-up in his first start for South Alabama. Two of his sacks came in the second half in the red zone. Anthony Taylor had two tackles for loss and a sack. Terrel Brigham and Bryson James came away with interceptions in the game.

Looking ahead to the next couple games which include away games to NC State and Mississippi State before returning to host their first-ever Sun Belt game against in-state foe Troy University then following a week off they travel to defending Sun Belt champs Arkansas State, Coach Clark had the following to say. “I think this stretch is huge. We’ve got to go in with some confidence. You’re playing people who have got some great skilled athletes and they’re well coached. That’s the elite of the elite, so we have to play. The one we’re going to this week, at the end of the year (last season) they were scoring 50 points a game. I don’t know what they’re doing right now, but we’ve got our work cut out for us. This week we’ll just focus on N.C. State and then we’ll go from there.”

Gameday: South Alabama Versus UTSA

September 1, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

It’s finally here. That day we have been waiting for since the final whistle sounded back on November 19, 2011.

This season the South Alabama Jaguars begin their second and final season of their transition into FBS football. A season where they will be tested week-in and week-out. They will play 13 games in 14 weeks, eight games will be against Sun Belt Conference foes. They will also face their first team from the Southeastern Conference.

But it all begins here. The Jags welcome Texas-San Antonio who they defeated in double-overtime last season 30-27 in the Alamodome. The Jags finished the season 6-4 while the Roadrunners finished 4-6, dropping all four games on the road.

At 8:00am the gates to Ladd-Peebles Stadium will open for tailgating. Between 10:30 and 10:45 the Jaguars will arrive at the stadium and will have their traditional “Jaguar Prowl”. Gates open to the stadium at 11:00am and kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm.

If you are not able to make it to the stadium, ESPN3 will be streaming the game live online. Check with your Cable/Internet provider if you have access.

Go Jags! Defeat those Roadrunners!

Jordan Means

Jordan Means – Photo from usajaguars.com

Also a table will be set up at Gate 4 for donations to help former Jaguar Jordan Means with his cancer treatment. Jordan, who graduated last year, had to sit out the 2009 season but participated in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Go by and help Jordan Kick Cancer.

Coker Expect Tough Game, Looks For First Road Win For UTSA

August 31, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Texas-San Antonio head coach Larry Coker expects another tough game when they meet the South Alabama Jaguars in Mobile on Saturday. Last season in the Alamodome, the Roadrunners had a chance to win the game late, but Gabe Loper and Clifton Crews blocked the field goal attempt.

Then Demetre Baker sealed the win with a 25 yard run in the Jaguars second overtime period after UTSA made a field goal on their possession of the second overtime period.

Coker spoke on the WNSP morning show and said that he hopes to have a similar game as last season, but with a different outcome.

“The game was very competitive last year,” Coker was quoted saying. “I think South Alabama may have taken us a little bit lightly because we were a start-up program. I don’t think they’ll do that this year. I think it’s interesting for everybody concerned because, one, we’re going to have a good program and I believe South Alabama has a great start. They have good football players in the South and in Alabama, and we have good football players in Texas.”

Coach Coker has stressed to his team that their next step is to win on the road. The roadrunners finished 4-6 last season, dropping all four of their road games and finished split their two overtime games with a win over Georgia State in overtime.

“I’m sure it factors into it some because most of these kids have never traveled,” Coker said. “Most of the traveling they’ve done has been in a yellow school bus. We’re going to travel first class and all those type things and have a great trip, but we have to handle this properly and make it a business trip. We have not won a road game. That’s one thing we have not done. We’ve got to somehow be road warriors and knock somebody off and somehow start that trend of winning on the road.”

Coach Coker is aware of the Jaguar offensive attack that his team will be facing. He knows his defense will have to stay on it’s toes and on the move to match up with the Jags. “I believe that we’re better,” Coker said. “I know South Alabama will be better. I think they’ll be a very fast-paced offense, a very wide-open offense, and the thing we’ve got to do is match up and get our personnel lined up and not get behind in the flow of the game. They’re going to be moving pretty fast, and they’ll be working hard on the tempo of the game. They are going to try to get the defense off balance and we’ve got to stay on balance and with the rhythm of their offense.”

Hopefully the Roadrunner’s will have to wait a little longer for that first elusive road win. After all, the Jags are 19-1 at home and will be looking to avenge last season’s loss to Cal Poly in the season finale.

Go Jags!

What You Need To Know About UTSA

August 30, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Roadrunner’s head coach, Larry Coker, was hired by UTSA in March of 2009 to start their program. He was voted National Coach of the Year two times and won the 2001 National Championship as the first-year coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Coker has coached 26 first-team All-Americans, 96 first-team All-Conference selections and 63 academic All-Conference honorees.

Texas-San Antonio’s junior quarterback returns to lead the team after taking almost every offensive snap last season. That was his first time playing since his senior year of high school. He completed 172-of-307 passes (56%) for 2,148 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also added 285 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Kam Jones, a sophomore, converted from quarterback to play all 10 games, eight starts, for the roadrunners. He accounted for a team-leading 88.1 all-purpose yards per game while leading the team with 39 receptions for 578 yards (14.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He added 22 rushes for 127 yards (5.8 yards per rush) and a touchdown. Jones also averaged 24.4 yards per kickoff return in his seven returns.

Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Freeman was the roadrunners deep threat last season. He was second on the team with 30 catches for 419 yards (14.0 average). He lead the receivers with four touchdowns. Against UC Davis, he caught five passes for 108 yards including a 59-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Actually, he averaged 42 yards per touchdown reception.

The roadrunner defense was very good at converting turnovers into points. They forced 21 turnovers in all, 11 fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions. They converted those turnovers into 15 scores with 12 of them being touchdowns.

Linebacker Steven Kurfehs finished third on the team in tackles with 61 (32 solo, 29 assists) although he missed the final three games due to injury. He moved from safety to linebacker in the 2010 “practice” season. Senior linebacker Brandon Reeves started all 10 games and led the team wtih 69 tackles (27 solo, 42 assists).

Sophomore safety Nic Johnston played ‘Dawg’ in the roadrunners 4-2-5 defensive scheme. He recovered three fumbles while forcing two and intercepted two passes in the teams 10 games. He also finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles (30 solo, 29 assists) with nine of them being for losses.

Sophomore safety Triston Wade forced three fumbles, recovered two and also picked off two. He also had 39 tackles (23 solo, 16 assists) last season.

The roadrunners blocked five kicks last season, three field goals, one punt and an extra point. However, it was a blocked field goal of their own that allowed the Jaguars to defeat UTSA in the Alomodome last season.

Texas-San Antonio had an average attendance of 35,521 last season in their first season. They set a record for a start-up program with 56,743 atendees to their first ever game.

As UTSA makes the move to the FBS ranks, they will be the youngest team in the nation with only six seniors (five scholarship) on their 97 man roster. Additionally only 16 juniors are on the team. The remainder being made up of 42 sophomores and 33 freshmen. Head coach Larry Coker and his staff have filled a vast majority of their team with Texas natives. 87 players are from the state, which makes up 89.7% of the roster.

Fox Sports Southwest will be airing a 30-minute show titled “UTSA Football Insider”. Additionally, they are scheduled to have three games streamed online including the season opener at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The coaching staff has made some changes on the defense by going with speed in their starting defensive ends. COdy rogers played mostly in the ‘Hawk’ and safety positions last season will make the move to add speed at that position.

UTSA will have several freshmen in major starting or backup roles. True freshman Zach Hester will start at right guard. Freshmen will back up the Center, left and right tackle.

The roadrunners use a running back by committee approach and are loaded with veterans in the backfield. They caused problems running the option against the Jags last season as did Cal Poly in the season finale.

Jags Squeeze In Practice Beween Rain Bands On Tuesday

August 29, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
CJ Bennett in the rain

Quarterback CJ Bennett prepares to take a snap in the light rain at the Jaguar Practice Facility in the opening week of preseason camp.

As the news that the South Alabama season opening game against Texas-San Antonio had been postponed until Saturday at 1pm, the football team took the opportunity to squeeze in a practice between the rain squalls.

“When we got up this morning and realized we were going to play on Saturday (instead of Thursday), I said if we don’t practice outside today, we probably won’t be able to practice outside another day this week,” head coach Joey Jones commented. “We wanted to get a good day in outside, and it was the best thing that we could do.”

The practices lasted about two hours on the field turf practice field and head coach Joey Jones said that the players responded well to the change in practice schedule. They were originally scheduled to practice around 3pm in Jag Gym. “Our game plan is solid and we feel good about it,” Jones said. “We have a couple more days to polish things. I think it was critical that we were able to get outside though. We don’t know what’s going to happen over the next two days. So we don’t have to go three days in a row without practicing outside. Hopefully we can find an hour or two in the next couple of days to get out again.”

ESPN3 will still broadcast the game on Saturday via their online streaming video service. Check your local internet provider to see if you have access.

USA vs UTSA Moved To Saturday

August 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Official word has come that the South Alabama vs Texas-San Antonio game has been moved to Saturday, September 1 with kickoff scheduled for 1pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

South Alabama Is More Experienced Than Many Think

August 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mid-Day Weather Update

August 27, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

As of 12:30pm, the South Alabama vs UTSA game is STILL scheduled to be played at 6:30pm on Thursday, August 30th at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The long range forecase on www.weather.com currently has Thursday night with a low of 78 degrees with diminishing rain at around 40% with winds from the Southeast at 10mph.

The University continues to monitor Isaac for any changes in pattern and will continue to send updates.

Fan Day Success While Eyes Watch The Tropics

August 27, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The coaches and players set up in the Mitchell Center for the annual South Alabama Fan Day. The players were set up at tables that lined the edge of the Mitchell Center floor with the USA Bookstore, Ticket Office and USA National Alumni Association in the center. The bookstore had a limited setup with tumblers, Nike game jersey’s, hats, seat cushions, autograph footballs and a new design t-shirt.

The lines were long as fans lined up to get autographs of the Jaguar’s student-athletes. But the impending storm in the tropics has everyone wondering if the Thursday night game is going to go on as scheduled or if it will need to be rescheduled.

The weekend forecasts kept inching the projected path further west with each update going from Panama City to Mobile itself then to the Biloxi area and now it is projected for New Orleans. However, there is a cone where they predict it to make landfall within. As of the 6am CDT update, Mobile is not currently within that cone, but Mobile does not need to be in the cone to drastically affected. The strongest winds and storm surge are on the eastern side of the eye of a hurricane.

Currently classes are going to meet as normal on Monday and a decision will be made by noon as to further class schedules this week. Any decision on the South Alabama versus Texas-San Antonio game will probably be made by 5pm on Monday. The current options look to be rescheduling the game for a Saturday evening or Sunday evening game. This depends on when UTSA would be able to fly into Mobile for the game.

As soon as any official decision is made, Thunderjags will post it online on the website, twitter and facebook.

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