Jags Brownell Has Run In With Police

April 23, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama has finished it’s second spring practice heading into this second season of football but it didn’t take long for their instance of a player having a run in with the police.

Starting Safety Zach Brownell was arrested Thursday morning on 24 charges. The 19-year old player damaged 22 vehicles in the Delta parking lot on campus. The charges break down into 22 counts of criminal mischief, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

According to campus police, Brownell was drinking when he pulled or broke off mirrors from the vehicles in the parking lot. They also said that “three or four” vehicles had broken windows. They described the damage done as “small-time vandalism to each car,” for the most part.

Brownell even damaged a vehicle of Chris Pugh, a teammate of his. Norm Gamache said university police were called to the Delta parking lot after 3am on a report of someone damaging vehicles where they arrested Brownell.

South Alabama Athletic Director Dr. Joel Erdmann said, “I think all of our programs and all of our coaches and the entire department is very centered on basic principles of tremendous citizenship and graduation and competing to the best of our ability. All of our student athletes and everybody in our department is very sensitive to that and so we do examine things like this very deeply and take it very seriously.”

Keith Ayers said that Brownell would not be suspended from classes. In an incident like this he is subject to a nonacademic conduct review. If the crime committed is bad enough, then the student could be subject to dismissal from the university.

Brownell is a native of Prattville, Alabama and started all seven games at Safety in the inaugural season for South Alabama. He led the team with five interceptions and was second on the team with 27 tackles. While in high school, Brownell played on three state championship teams and partcipated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

Brownell was placed in the Mobile Metro jail and released on Thursday afternoon on a $17,000 bail.

Brownell has been indefinitely suspended from the team pending an investigation.

Jaguars Process Continues: Red White Game 2010

March 11, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head Coach Joey Jones watches as Myles Gibbon leads the White team offense as they try to score in the second Red-White Game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The University of South Alabama Spring Football Game showcased alot of talent on both sides of the ball, but it also showed that there is improvement still yet to be had. The defense on both sides really stepped up when needed and the offenses showed flashes of brilliance, however neither side showed any all-around dominance.

On the first drive of the game, the white offense lead by Myles Gibbon, drove 70 yards in 13 plays to put the first points on the board. With the drive facing a fourth-and-one near midfield, it was actually gut-check time. Do they play it safe and punt or do they roll the dice?

Well, the white team rolled the dice and and it payed off. Gibbon completed a pass to Paul Bennett for 13 yards for the first down and to cross the midfield stripe. This play got the offense in gear. Myles carred the ball for six yards, then Santuan McGee rushed twice for 13 more yards. Then Brandon Ross followed with a 17 yard gain to the one yard line on a sweep to the left. Gibbon would cap off the drive with a one yard dive into the end zone to give the White team an early 7-0 lead.

On the second drive of the game, the Red team would drive 55 yards down to the White team’s 25 yard line before getting stopped on a fourth-and-five play.

The White team would take the ball and drive 69 yards in just six plays. The majority of the yards were picked up on a 52 yard strike from Myles Gibbon to Courtney Smith on a post route. However an incomplete pass into the end zone on fourth down from the one yard line would end their drive.

Brennan Sim would lead the Red teams drive from the one yard line and go 99 yards to even the game with less than three minutes until halftime. After trying to run for a few yards of breathing room in the shadow of their endzone, Sim would find Donte Rome for a 14 yard completion on third down to keep the drive alive. Sim would go back to Rome for a 16 yard completion.

On the next play, Brandon Norton would record a sack on Sim costing the Red team eight yards. But he came back with a fake option run which the defensive back bit on and found Kelly Vail on a post pattern which he turned into a 73 yard touchdown.

The second half was a defensive showing with only one score in the second half to show for it.

The drive began when Zach Brownell intercepted a pass and returned it eight yards to the 38 yard line. Gibbon then found Courtney Smith for a first down play to get the ball to midfield. McGee, two plays later, would find a seam and go for 12 yards and another White first down at the Red teams 34 yard line.

Then on third-and-ten, Paul Bennett caught another Gibbon pass in the right flat for 22 yards just as time expired in the third quarter. But the Red team defense would not give up. They would cause three consecutive plays for a loss, including back to back sacks by Clifton Crews and Josh Chestang. This placed the ball on the 36 yard line. With fourth-and-24, the coaches options were limited.

Gambling for a win and some game pressure experience, the White team ran on Jordan Means to attempt a 53 yard field goal. The snap and hold were good and when Means put foot to ball and sent it sailing, everyone watched holding their breath. As the ball barely cleared the cross bar, everyone was wondering if it made it. Then when the referees hands went up in the air, the onlookers gave their loudest cheer of the night as the White team celebrated as well.

The drive and kick covered 13:52 and left about 11:30 for the Red team to try to match them and the White defense did not let the Red team get a drive going of any substance and held on for the victory.

Myles Gibbon went 8-for-9 passing for 131 yards with four of them to Courtney Smith for 83 yards. Paul Bennett had two receptions for 35 yards while Lamontis Gardner also added two receptions. Santuan McGee lead the team rushing with 10 carries for 43 yards and Brandon Ross carried the ball five times for 33 more yards.

The White defense was lead by Romelle Jones with five tackles, 1.5 of them for a loss. Richard Courtney and Logan Bennett each added four tackles while Bryson James had three. In total, the White defense only allowed 207 yards.

Brennan Sim went 13-for-22 with 184 yards. Kelly Vail caught four passes for a game high of 94 yards. Ralph Turner also had four receptions for 39 yards. The Red team offense could only muster 13 yards on 14 attempts, but Eli Smith lead the way with six rushes for 18 yards.

Ken Barefield lead all players with nine tackles, two of them for a loss. Michael Wilson added seven. Clifton Crews and Enrique Williams added four each as well. The Red defense only allowed 12 more yards than the White defense for 219 yards.

Head Coach Joey Jones was on the field observing the play the entire evening. Coach Jones had this to say about the game, “I think the kids had some fun out there. It was a good-spirited night, they’ve been at each other the last couple of days and had a good time. It was a good way to end a long spring training.”

“That was great,” added Coach Jones when asked about the Jordan Means’ field goal attempt. “I was over there and they were ready to run a fourth-down play to try and at least gain some yardage. I reminded them the wind was behind them, though I wasn’t trying to be a head coach. Jordan has a good leg, I knew if he got it going straight he had it. It was a great kick.”

All in all, the players had a great time. There were good spirited ribbing and text messages going back and forth all week according to Romelle Jones. Myles Gibbon added that it was like playing with a completely new team since both teams only had one practice in order to prepare for the game.

At halftime, Mobile businessman David Gwin who is a strong supporter of South Alabama Athletics along with his wife Lynn were recognized for their $100,000 donation for a football sculpture. The sculpture, as stated by President Gordon Moulton, will stand about 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide in the front circle of the entranceway to the Jaguar Football Field House and will be made entirely out of stainless steel.

Coach Jones and his staff honored several players for their efforts in spring practice. Each position received a Most Improved award with the winners being: Quarterback Brennan Sim, Running Back Eli Smith, Wide Receivers Bryant Lavender, Tight End Robby Stoner, Offensive Lineman Levi Slaydon, Defensive Lineman Kendell Bagnerise, Inside Linebacker Brett Hancock, Outside Linebacker Josh Chestang and Defensive Back Michael Wilson.  Other special honors went to Corey Walden on Offense and Ken Barefield on Defense. Charlie Higgenbotham received the “I Like To Practice” award and Brennan Sim earned the High Academic Honors award.

The process to join Division-I football continues on Saturday, September 4 when Pikeville (Kentucky) travels to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to open the 2010 Football season.

Jaguars Hold First Scrimmage Of Spring Practice

February 28, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Saturday was the Jaguars first scrimmage of Spring practice and their focus was the passing game. Brennan Sim and Myles Gibbon each threw two touchdowns as the Jaguars offense racked up 286 yards through the air.

Sims was 11-of-21 with 172 yards with his two touchdowns while Gibbon went 6-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Gabe Graham completed all four of his passing attempts for 22 yards as well. The Jags had 11 different receivers catching passes on the day with Kelly Vail catching four passes for 111 yards. Courtney Smith caught three for 38 yards as well.

While the defense allowed more than eight yards per passing play, they only allowed 66 yards on 58 carries. Linebacker Justin Dunn and Defensive Lineman Darrius McMullin both lead the defense with seven tackles. Enrique Williams had five tackles including 1.5 for loss. Several others had four tackles. Defensive Back Jonathan Cameron had three tackles to go along with his three pass break-ups. Ken Barefield and Zach Brownell both forced fumbles.

Additionally, the defense was credited with 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage with 10 of them being quarterback sacks.

The first and second team defenses both held the offenses to three-and-outs on the possessions of the days. It was Gabe Graham, the third team quarterback, who would get the offense in gear when he completed a 10 yard pass to Courtney Smith to get the initial first down of the scrimmage.

The first team offense’s next series saw Sim find Kelly Vail inside the five yard line in stride but Brownell caught him from behind and forced a fumble that would roll out of the back of the end zone.

Two possessions later the offense would finally put the first points on the board. Ross would get a first down on his first carry, which would be followed up by Gibbon hitting Corey Besteda on the left sideline for a 49 yard touchdown.

The defense would answer with two consecutive three-and-outs with three sacks in those six plays. Then they ended the third possession when Eddie Cabrera hauled in an interception which he ran back 17 yards.

The first half of the scrimmage would see the offense getting five first downs but unable to score.

The second half of the scrimmage saw the defense open up with four three-and-outs before Brandon Ross would get two first downs for the offense. But no one was able to score.

It wasn’t until offensive possessions started at the defense’s 40 yard line was the final points of the day put on the board.

Sims found Kelly Vail for a 36 yard completion to move the offense inside the five yard line. Then three plays later Sim would find Ryne Baxter in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

Gibbon would helm the next drive which began with an 18 yard pass to Richard Ross but it would only lead to a 30 yard field goal by Jordan Means.

The final four drives of the day were first-and-goal from the nine yard line. The first ended with a 23 yard field goal by Michel Chapuseaux. The next saw Sim find Smith on a fourth down slant pattern for the eight yard score. The final possession had a nine yard touchdown pass to Robby Stoner from Myles Gibbon.

After the scrimmage, Coach Jones commented on how the Jags played. “Offensively, I think we are throwing the ball a little bit better. That has been an area that we have been looking to improve on. Our defense has just gotten tougher against the run, which is what you want to see. Last fall, it was a little bit porous at times against the offense, but they have done a great job of improving. Sure there are things that still need to be corrected, but I have been pleased with their efforts to stop the running game.”

“We’ve made some improvements in the last week-and-a-half, but we have got to have a great week this week,” Coach Jones continued. “The next four practices we have need to be great because when we get to Monday the week of the spring game we are basically going to be done at that point as far as trying to get better. I think the kids will respond to that challenge.”

The Jags will practice in pads on Monday with limited contact beginning at 7am then on Tuesday the team will resume tackling when they hit the field at 7:30am. The second of the three scrimmages this spring will be on Saturday, March 6. Practices this week and Saturday’s scrimmage will all be held at the Jaguar Practice Facility near the Jaguar Football Field house.

Jags Stay Undefeated With Another Impressive Victory

November 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama sporting their all-white uniform and the offense debuting a new wrinkle. We’ll call it the ‘Wild Jag’ instead of the Wild Cat formation.

Thursday night the Jags capped off their first season of football the way they wanted, with a win. But this win wasn’t like any other win, this was a very special victory. It marked the end of an undefeated season for the Jags. The Jags had several things to overcome in the game, but they worked hard and won 35-0 over a very good Huntingdon team in front of their second largest crowd of the season at 23,683.

Last week the Jags saw starting quarterback Myles Gibbon go down after a pass play and had to be helped off the field by the trainers. He was quickly looked at and sent to the locker room on crutches to dress out. This week it was discovered that his injury was not a serious as first thought. Instead of a broken ankle it was just a bad sprain. So Junior Brennan Sim got the start in his place.

But Myles was not the only injured player missing the game for the Jags. Actually a couple missed the game due to various injuries.

Huntingdon College arrived in Mobile ready to play and for the first half they gave the Jags all they had. They held the Jaguar offense in check on their first drive forcing a punt, but it would be the Hawks that would get the first big play to make a difference in the game.

The Hawks would get the ball on their own 23 yard line after a Jaguar punt and would eventually connect on a 78 yard pass on a broken play to get the ball down to the Jaguar 2 yard line. With the Jags defense facing allowing the first score in the first quarter for the season and also possibly trailing for the first time in a game, the defense stepped up. The first play from the two the Jags stopped the runner one yard short of the end zone. Then the following play the Jags would force a fumble and recover it near the two yard line.

Then the Jaguar offense found their gear and methodically marched down the field in 8 plays to cover 98 yards to score the first points of the game. Brandon Ross capped off the drive with a 5 yard run for the score with 5:28 left in the first quarter.

The ensuing Hawk possession saw a Jaguar interception but the ball was turned right back over to the Hawks two plays later. From there there were several punts. Then with 3:21 left until halftime the Jags attempted a field goal however Michel Chapaseaux’s kick missed wide right.

The second half was much different from the first for the Jags. After a good return of the second half kickoff, the Jags drove 54 yards in 7 plays to open the second half with a touchdown drive. Again, Brandon Ross capped it off with a 1 yard touchdown run.

Huntingdon’s next possession ended with an interception which the Jags could not capitalize on and was forced to punt themselves on a three and out. Forced to punt again on the next Huntingdon possession, the Jags then put their offense into high gear. Scoring on their next three consecutive possessions on drives of 62 yards in 10 plays, 85 yards in 8 plays and 37 yards in two plays. The first drive was capped off by a pass to Santuan McGee but the next two saw him carry it in from 1 and 12 yards out.

Brandon Ross gained 144 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns for this third 100-yard game of the season. Santuan McGee ran 11 times for 93 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Brennan Sim ran 8 times for 50 yards. Several other jags also carried the ball.

Brennan Sim was 13-for-20 for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Nick Owens only threw one pass which was incomplete.

Courtney Smith was the leading receiver with 4 catches for 73 yards. Corey Waldon caught 3 for 39. Five other Jags caught passes as well.

In total, the Jags had 22 first downs with 345 yards rushing and 150 yards passing for a total of 495 yards. The Jags also had 9 penalties for 85 yards in the game.

Huntingdon College had 11 first downs with 54 yards rushing and 182 yards passing for a total of 236 yards. The Hawks had 11 penalties for 72 yards. The Jags defense shut Huntingdon down in the second half by only allowing 83 yards during those 30 minutes of play.

Coach Jones praised his players after the game. “It feels great of course, and we had that as a goal, but we really concentrate on the little things,” he said. “That’s what gets you to 7-0 – those little things you do every day in practice that the coaches keep harping to the players, and that’s just nothing but a reward for your hard work each day. I never thought we’d be 7-0.”

The Huntingdon College coach also had good things to say about the Jaguars. “We haven’t played anyone like that has frustrated us that much defensively,” he said. “They were able to really shut down the things we were trying to do and make us go places we’re not accustomed to going as far as the game plan. A lot of credit goes to coach Jones and his staff. They are doing a fantastic job, and they obviously outcoached us tonight. It was obvious to me that they had their guys a lot more prepared for us than we were for them.”

Zach Brownell mentioned that the Hawk offense was a little surprising to the Jaguar defense. “They were a good offense.They came out and hit us in the mouth. Their receivers were physical and they showed us some stuff we didn’t see on film.”

Brennan Sim, who filled in for an injured Myles Gibbon, spoke after the game. “It means a lot to the team to finish the season 7-0, to face a little adversity for the first time, and to come out with a really strong second half. For me, it was exciting to be able to end the season on a high note.”

Coach Jones also spoke about the challenge the Jags faced in Huntingdon. “We kind of wanted a challenge. Of course I would’ve rather scored a few more points, but the bottom line is Huntingdon came out and played great. Those guys are scrappy, and I knew it. When I watched them on film I knew they would present a challenge. Hats off to them for coming out and playing well.
We needed a game, we needed to be able to come in at halftime and regroup, refocus and make some changes. We did that, the staff did a great job at halftime, and we came out and played a great second half.”

The Jaguars halftime adjustments were excellent. But their determination and hard work really payed off. The Jags are a very physical team, just like Coach Jones wants, and it showed in the second half. They just wore Huntingdon out down the stretch of the second half.

The Jags have alot of build on over the next several months to prepare for next season. The coaches will be recruiting hard over the next several weeks leading up to National Signing Day in early February.

The excitement has reached new heights this football season in Mobile. Even though Alabama is undefeated, it is very encouraging to see so many people wearing their South Alabama merchandise to various places.

Another exciting thing is that the students and fans can keep wearing their “Still Undefeated” shirts for the next nine months leading up to the 2010 season. This can only help recruiting. But if Alabama happens to slip up anytime during their last few games of the season, those shirts can take on new meaning.

What does next season have in store for the Jags? Only time will tell, but one thing we can clearly see right now is that the sky is the limit. To take the words from Casey Kasem, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Go Jags! Still Undefeated!

Jags Continue Their March Towards An Undefeated Season With Win Over Fork Union

November 1, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags continued their march towards an undefeated inaugural season with a big victory over Fork Union on Saturday with a spectacular display of passing. Coach Jones said over the last two weeks that they wanted to be able to pass the ball more effectively and be a more balanced team and it showed.

After stopping the Blue Devils on their first possession, the Jags did not hesitate to put on a display. The first Jaguar play from scrimmage saw freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon find Courtney Smith open for a 64 yard touchdown pass. Then the Jaguar defense stopped the Blue Devils on their ensuing possession forcing a second three and out punt. Again Gibbon threw to Smith who would take it 60 yards for a second touchdown and putting Courtney Smith in the record books as the first Jaguar to have over 100 yards receiving in only two plays.

The Jags defense would hold the Blue Devils to a third consecutive three and out punt. With the offense moving the ball again, covering 36 yards on two plays, the Jags would lose a fumble at the Blue Devil 19 yard line. But the Blue Devils would not have the ball long after being force to punt for the fourth consecutive possession of the first quarter.

The Jags would score their third touchdown of the opening quarter when Brandon Ross took it in from two yards out. Michel Chapuseaux would miss the PAT attempt so the Jags lead would be 20 with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter. Ross’ run was set up by the previous play when Brennan Sim found Lamontis Gardner for a 40 yard gain.

Even with a 20 point lead in the first quarter, the Jaguar defense could smell blood. On the ensuing Blue Devil possession, Zach Brownell pounced on an interception and returned it 30 yards. This set up a field goal by Michel Chapuseaux of 24 yards to extend the Jags lead to 23.

But the defense wasn’t done yet. Just two plays later the Jags forced a fumble which Montavious Williams scooped up and returned for a 24 yard touchdown to round out the Jaguar scoring in the first quarter. The Jags would outgain the Blue Devils 217-8 on their way to the 30-0 first quarter score.

The Jaguar defense would forst another three and out on the next Blue Devil possession. After getting the ball on the Blue Devil 15, the Jags only took three plays to punch it into the endzone with Santuan McGee’s 2 yard touchdown running capping off the short drive for a 37-0 score.

The Blue Devils would finally get get a first down and move the ball on their eighth possession going 31 yards in seven plays before turning the ball over on downs at the jaguar 34 yard line. Sim would then lead the Jags on an 8 play 66 yard scoring drive which saw Brennan Sim throw his first career touchdown pass to Anthony Mostella for a 44-0 lead with 6:57 left until halftime.

The Blue Devils would then see their longest possession of the game get cut short just before halftime when the Jags Jerron Mitchell intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards with 1:07 left until halftime. The Jags would run two plays and go into halftime with a 44-0 lead.

The Jags would open the second half with another first in Jaguar history. Ralph Turner would open up the scoring in the second half with an 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put the Jags up 51-0 when Lawson McGlon tacked on the PAT.

However the Jaguars shutout would be disrupted on the ensuing Blue Devil drive. Fork Union would go 76 yards in 5 plays to score their only points of the game. They attempted a 2 point conversion which fell incomplete to leave the score 51-6 with 12:49 left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devil defense would finally find a way to stop the Jaguar defense on their next possession by holding them to three yards and forcing a punt. Fork Union, forced to start deep in their own territory, had a fumble on a bad snap that Clifton Crews fell on in the end zone for a touchdown with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter for a score of 57-6.

Again the Blue Devils were forced to punt on their next possession. Then the Blue Devil defense forced the Jags to a three and out and a punt. Fork Union then moved the ball 34 yards in nine plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 47 yard line.

On the Jags first offensive play, Nick Owens found an open Kelly Vail for a 53 yard touchdown pass to end the scoring at 64-6.

The Jags would end the game with 60 yards rushing and 321 yard passing and 13 first downs. while Fork Union finished the game with -22 yards rushing and 213 passing.

Santuan McGee and Ryan Scott were the only Jaguar running backs to have double digit yards with 39 and 25 respectively on five carries each. Myles Gibbon would go 2-for-4 in the game for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 9-for-9 for 130 yards and a touchdown and Nick Owens went 3-for-4 for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Courtney Smith was the first Jaguar receiver to go over 100 yards in a game with 131 on 3 receptions with two of them for touchdowns. Lamontis Gardner would catch 2 for 73 yards and Kelly Vail would have one reception for 53 yards. Six other Jaguars caught passes as well.

Erling Riis would return 4 punts for 50 yards, one going 44 yards to set up a Jaguar score. Ralph Turner would return one punt for 23 yards as well as his 85 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Scott Garber would only punt twice with a 40 yard average and both punts ended up inside the Blue Devil 20 yard line.

Ken Barefield led the defense in tackles with five. Romelle Jones and Bryson James were credited with forcing a fumble each.

Coach Jones spoke after the game about the Jaguars performance. He said, “We came out and executed very well. The protection got better, and that’s where it all starts in the passing game. We had some wide open guys down the field on the first two passes, and Myles did a good job hitting Courtney. We just executed well.”

Courtney Smith commented about the offensive production, “We practiced it all week and I knew the first play was going to be to me, so I expected the ball and Myles threw a good one. After the first one they told me they were going to throw it to me again, so I expected it again.”

Myles added the following after the game as well, “Coach stressed to us that he wanted to open up the passing game. On the first two plays, I knew they wanted to hit something deep. They played the perfect defense for it, and it worked out. It’s one of those things where you drop back and everything just slows down. Although it was wide open, those are the passes quarterbacks hate throwing because you don’t want to overthrow them.”

Ralph Turner had this to say when asked about his kickoff return, “It’s been a stressful last four games for me because I haven’t really been touching the ball,” he said. “Once I got the ball the hole was wide open and I just ran.”

Again the Jaguars received high praise from the opposing teams coach after the game. Fork Union head coach John Shuman had this to say, “We had seen in the paper that South Alabama was working on its passing game. As we got here and watched the pregame warm-up, we knew that they would try to take advantage of the long ball early, and they did. They came back out and did it again. Once you get down 14 points, you become one dimensional – we couldn’t run the ball. South Alabama did a great job on the defensive side, they called some great blitzes and used a good scheme against us. On offense, it was obviously men against boys here. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Coach Jones commented about the Jaguars overall performance and Fork Union’s team by saying, “I’m proud of the guys today. After the last two games, we’ve really stressed coming to work every day. We’re trying to teach these kids a life lesson, and if they’ll approach their work the right way then good things happen. We probably out-manned the team we played, and we know that, but we played well – we didn’t play sloppy. The other team came in here and had a 15-hour bus ride, which I’m sure was a tough thing to do, so my hat is off to them for that. They had some really good athletes and good coaching. I think it was just a matter that our kids played well.”

The Jaguars will host Milford Academy next Saturday, November 7 for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Commentary: Jaguars Winning Ways Similar To National Championship Contender

October 24, 2009 · Filed Under Commentary, Football · Comment 

There is no doubt the Jaguars first season of football has already exceeded many peoples initial vision. They thought that if the Jags could win a couple games, it would be a pretty good season. But with the Jags 4-0 and dominating every opponent in all phases of the game, this was unexpected by many local observers.

South Alabama is starting to get noticed around the state too. UAB and Troy fans are already talking up their programs and talking down to the Jaguars. This started after the first game and again after the second game. Are they already worried about their place in the state’s college football pecking order? If not, then maybe they should.

Looking at the Jaguars and the current #1 team in the state, the University of Alabama, you can see some parallels between the two teams (overlooking the last two or three games by Alabama). The Jags and UA are both led by good defensive play based on stopping the run.

The Jags Justin Dunn would probably be the Jags closest player to parallel the impact of Dont’a Hightower. Hightower played (out for season with a knee injury) inside linebacker and made lots of tackles and stuffed the run. Charlie Higgenbotham would be the closest Alabama’s Rolando McClain. He does a good job helping to stop the run and is able to drop into coverage as well. Although Josh Chestang could also be tagged as a possible McClain parallel too.

In the secondary, Jerron Mitchell is probably the closest cornerback to the skill and ability to match Javier Arenas in coverage and tackling. Althought I haven’t seen him blitz the quarterback like Alabama does with Arenas. While Zach Brownell seems to have the same nose for the football as Alabama’s Mark Barron. They seem to put themselves into the right position to pick off an opponents pass.

Even the Jags and Alabama seem to have somewhat similar strengths and weaknesses on offense. Both teams run the ball very well with a good stable of running backs, but both are somewhat struggling in the passing game. The Jags don’t utilize the ‘pistol’ formation nor do they use the ‘wildcat’ formation either. Coach Jones and Coach Gregory feel that freshman quarterback Myles Gibbon is athletic enough that they do not need to use those formations. So they are too different to be compared to each other beyond the fact they are both starting quarterbacks.

Courtney Smith is big, fast and is a threat to score anytime he gets the ball, which is exactly what you would say about Julio Jones. Its hard to compare the rest of the receiver corps because of how few passes have been thrown and how many receivers have caught passes.

Again, both teams are very strong in the rushing game. Obviously Alabama’s Mark Ingram is quite a spectacular player, but so is Trent Richardson too. There are many traits that are shared by Ingram and Richardson for Alabama and Brandon Ross, Santuan McGee and Anthony Mostella.

I strongly urge you not to misconstrue these comparisons. It’s not meant to further praise Alabama or to proclaim the Jaguars just as good as Alabama. It’s merely meant to go towards showing what a good job coach Jones and his staff are doing here in Mobile. Alabama is currently ranked in the top two spots in all of the polls and rankings. Both teams are winning with fundamentals, strong defenses and a lots of rushing yards.

As mentioned in the Coach Joey Jones Radio Show, the Jags need to work on their passing game to be a more complete team. They are definitely dominating by running the game, but a football team wants and really needs to be able to move the ball by passing or running the ball.

Something else the Jags need to work on lately are their penalties. In the first two games the Jags did not commit many penalties. Against Hargrave they committed 4 for 30 yards and against Army prep they committed 5 for 40 yards. But against Georgia Military they committed 10 for 158 yards and against Louisburg they committed 6 for 52 yards. The Jags improved against Louisburg by reducing their number of penalties and yards but it is still more than the first two games. The Georgia Military game is obviously the low point of the Jags season thus far. If you subtract their penalty yards from their offensive production, they only gained 93 yards.

With this type of play out of such young players the Jaguars have quite a bright future ahead of them. With increasingly better opponents coming in the near future, the Jags will be in the position to play competitively and win.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2009-10-13

October 13, 2009 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Coach Joey Jones joined with Lee Shirvanian and Dameyune Craig at Baumhower’s Wings Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for today’s show.

First question they are going to start with, now that the Jags are 3-0 and they have defeated what they think will be their best competition of the year. Where do you think this program is in terms of what level of competition could you compete with Division I-AA, Division II or division III. If you could redo the schedule where do you think they could go? Coach Jones talked to the team yesterday about some of their goals for the rest of the year and what they can do to get there. He then, kind of reluctantly, went on to talk scores. The #2 Junior College team beat Georgia Military 28-8 and the Jags beat them 31-3, but by the scores they could compete with that team. However, Coach Jones was quick to remind the listeners that it does not mean they could beat them but it indicates that they could compete with some of the best JC’s in the country.

Coach Jones then said they could probably get on the field with many of the Division I-AA schools, but not the Appalachian States or other traditional big schools in that division.

Lee then asked Coach Craig said he really didn’t know because they have alot of freshman. But that they have a really great group of kids that go out and work hard and learn, so its hard to compare. He thinks they could do well in Division II and maybe Division I-AA. He also thought they could probably do well in the SWAC conference.

Lee also mentioned that they tried to schedule Alabama State but it didn’t work out. But Coach Jones hopes to schedule them in the future thinking it would be a good game.

Lee mentioned that the team has a lot of Freshman but they also have a fair amount of Junior College linemen and asked if that was the difference for the team. Coach Jones said that they came in and gave the team a maturity factor that rubbed off on the younger guys. They are more calm with something bad happens in a game.

Lee followed up asking if the Jags would be looking to bring in some more Junior College players and transfers like Courtney Smith and others. Coach Jones said you should always look to better your team any way you can. Meaning that they have Brandon Ross that expressed an interest in coming to USA. The same with Charlie Higgenbotham. He said they have to spread their wealth, they took Brandon even though they had a pretty good line-up at running back because he was a difference maker.

Lee asked Coach Craig what positions they were looking to focus on this recruiting season. He answered that they are looking at defensive ends, cornerbacks and safeties. They feel pretty good about receivers and running backs but they can always use offensive lineman.

Looking back at Georgia Military, Coach Jones said that they knew that defensively they were a good team. Also they felt like there were some deficiencies on their offensive line that they could exploit and pressure the quarterback. They hurried and hit the quarterback a lot but didn’t get too him. The defense ran him around the field so much that at one point he had full body cramps and they also hit him every time he threw the football which was good for the Jags.

Lee asked about Michel Chapuseaux’s injury which Coach Jones said he was alright. It looked worse than it was and it scared him some. It was a hard hit but he’s okay. Offensive guard Jon Griffin turned an ankle but is expected to be fine for the game on Saturday. Then John Mark Patrick who continues to out due to his knee problem.

The offense only scored two touchdowns and didn’t have a chance to catch many passes because they didn’t throw much. They just want to do what they can to win, players are working hard to make a play when its their time and to just do their roll in the game plan.

Lee joked with Coach Craig about his days at Auburn and how the Georgia Military quarterback moved around to make plays. Coach Craig joked that his games ended better, he didn’t throw interceptions but rather threw more touchdowns. But he gave credit to Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator, for doing an outstanding job with the guys on defense and that it has been a pleasure working with him and everyone on the staff.

He even included Coach Schwind the strength and conditioning coach on what a good job they have done and how well they work together. He continued saying that the summer workouts they did with the players getting them prepared for camp really made a huge difference.

A listener emailed in a question about the special teams punt coverage. He was saying that one punt went into the end zone where the coverage team had a chance to catch it close to the endzone but allowed it to hit and go in for a touch back. He wanted to ask if they are coached to catch it if they have a chance like that and the receiving team is not trying to catch it.

Coach Jones said that the kids are instructed to catch the ball in that instance. They have stressed that and have worked on it. He said as a coach he looks back on that and asks himself if they did that enough in practice and did they put their kids in that situation enough for them to make it happen in the game. He then said he takes full blame for that because they should work on that enough so that it becomes second nature to them.

Certain positions they are looking at Junior College players to recruit. But right now they are looking to find the best players at the positions that they are looking to fill in. If they could find some Junior College defensive backs, coach Craig said that would be great. It would help them to get more experience in the backfield. Lee then made the observation that Zach Brownell and company are doing a good job in the defensive backfield. Coach Craig said its more about creating depth. They are comfortable at certain positions about their depth but when if one player gets hurt and it completely changes your game plan, that is a pretty tough situation.

The Jags finally have back to back game weekends. It feels good to finally have this and the kids are ready for it too. But Coach Jones said they feel they have used the previous off weeks very wisely and it has paid off on the field.

After Coach Jones said previously that Georgia Military was going to be their biggest test of the year for the Jags. Where do they go now? Coach Jones said they are trying to teach these kids to work every day. This is something that will help them on the field and in life. He also told them if they come out onto the practice field and work for two hours every day and get a little bit better every day then they are going to be better the next game and better at the end of the season. Coach Jones says he does not like to talk about going undefeated but that is their goal for the season. But how do they get there? They don’t get there by talking about it every day. They work towards achieving that by going out and working hard to get a little bit better every day.

Lee said that previously that it was mentioned that they felt like some of their receivers could possibly play in the NFL. So Lee asked if that was possible and who they might be. Coach Craig said that Courtney Smith has the intangibles. He has size and speed but some things he needs to work on to get there and he is willing to work to get there. They also have some young guys that are being redshirted right now. Kelly Vail from LeFlore was also mentioned.

When asked by Lee about who has the best hands, Coach Craig answered it would either be Lim Windham or Corey Besteda.

Coach Craig again praised the other coaches on the staff and said that the biggest thing he learned was that they can get Freshmen ready to play. Before he thought that they just were not ready to play coming into the team but what Coach Jones and the rest of the staff have done has changed that. They got these player in summer so they could work out and it has payed off big time because they are ready to play.

Coach Jones said that Louisburg may not be as talented as GMJC but they are still talented. They have players committed to Temple and other schools like that. They mentioned that they like to roll out the red carpet to teams when they arrive to play the Jags. They like to show them around the field house and to show off their facilities. Coach Jones said he has not been to many schools but he is pretty confident that they probably have among the best if not the best facilities in the Sun Belt and probably are good enough to make some of the lower end SEC schools a bit envious.

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!

Depth Chart Changes And Secondary Commentary

September 3, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

There have been some shifts in the starting lineup that has been noted this week. Montavious Williams moved from defensive end to inside at defensive tackle and from second team to the first team. Alex Page has also moved from the second team to first team at defensive end replacing Anthony Taylor.

Benefiting from Friday’s situational scrimmage, Lawson McGlon has kicked his way to first-team place-kicker. Wilson was also named as one of the two kick returners with Santuan McGee.

While Santuan McGee was listed number one on the depth chart early in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said on the Joey Jones Radio Show on Tuesday that Brandon Ross was the starter at running back. As for tight ends, Kevin Helms and Paul Bennett have switched places on the depth chart but are listed as co-starters.

Some other notable changes have taken place as well. Due to some injuries in the secondary, the Jags had to make some changes just to get through fall camp. Ken Barefield started fall practice as a wide receiver but was moved to safety but was convinced to move by defensive backs coach Duwan Walker. Then just a few weeks after making the move, he was marked as a starter.

Zach Brownell, a freshman safety himself, missed most of fall camp recovering from an injury, but had this to say about Barefield, “He works hard watching film, and he’s been paying a lot of attention. I give him some tips here and there, and those might have helped him out, but he’s done a great job of learning the position on his own.” Brownell returned to practice this week and has quickly made his way back to playing on first-team defense.

Coach Walker looks on the positive side of Brownell’s time off due to injury, “It probably worked out well because he got his legs up under him, and now he’s good and healthy and ready to go,” Walker said. “We were in a position where we had to practice some other kids, so to get these other guys back on the field has definitely built in some depth for us. We feel pretty good about going into the season as far as depth is concerned.”

Tony Threatt, another freshman safety, also spent time away due to injury. He has since returned to practice and is expected to help contribute depth at safety along with Matt Saucier and Alex Phifer.

If you are a new reader to this site and happen to recognize Saucier’s name, it was because he was the first team quarterback in spring practice. He has since made the move to safety in fall camp. Coach Walker likes the idea of Saucier playing defense. “We like guys that handle the ball every down, and as a quarterback you’ve got the ball in your hand every down,” Walker said. “After being a quarterback, you have some kind of idea of what the offense is trying to do. He’s a smart kid, and it was easy for him to pick up.”

I’m sure you noticed that that all of the five safeties that will be seeing significant playing time are all freshmen. They will have help in the secondary from four cornerbacks who do have experience playing beyond high school. Junior Michael Wilson and Sophomore Anton Graphenreed are expected to start on Saturday and they will be joined by Sophomores Jerron Mitchell and Steven Pease. However, Coach Walker doesn’t look at Graphenreed and Wilson as starters with Mitchell and Pease playing backup, he sees them collectively as players. “We don’t look at ourselves as having starters at cornerback, we just think of it as having kids that we can roll in,” Walker said. “Steven Pease is going to be a great player for us, and along with Jerron Mitchell, we expect those guys to be able to roll in at the corner position.”

With the schools first-ever game fast approaching, there is little worry about the inexperience at safety. They may be freshmen in status, but many have offensive instincts which can translate to on-field experience.

As of Thursday morning, 15,818 tickets remain for Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium according to the usagameday.com website.