Aug. 4, 2011
Courtesy Southern Sports Information Office -
2011 Outlook - Rebuild. Revive. Restore
The 2011 season brings a renewed sense of optimism for a Southern Jaguars team that finished with a 2-9 record and a ninth place finish in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Despite recording the worst record in Southern football history, an in-depth review at the statistics tells a different story. The Jaguars were two 2-point losses and two yards on a redzone attempt away from posting a 6-5 record.
Nevertheless, 2011 will be critical season for
Head Coach Stump Mitchell’s bid to rebuild the football program, revive a rabid Jaguar Nation fanbase and restore the winning tradition of this storied program.
With seven offensive starters returning, Southern looks to eliminate the miscues and mistakes that plagued them last year. The Jaguars averaged 104.1 yards per game in penalties. In 2010, the Jaguars averaged 22.1 points and 308.9 (218.5 passing, 90.4 rushing) a game last season. Utilizing an I-formation style offense, Mitchell is joined by several new faces in his coaching staff including Chadwick Germany (quarterback) and Jorge Baez (wide receivers) . Both Paul Lounsberry (offensive line) and Jason Palermo (tight ends/special teams) return for the second season at Southern.
Dray Joseph enters the 2011 season listed as the starting quarterback as a true sophomore. Joseph passed for 1117 yards and 5 TDs playing in 10 games. Joseph’s performance in relief duty led the Jaguars to a 37-27 victory over Delware State in the 2010 MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Joseph earned Newcomer Player of the Week honors in week nine after a 394-yard effort against Alcorn State. The backup position will be up-for-grabs between returning junior Jeremiah McGinty and freshman J.P. Douglass from Roswell High School. McGinty also threw for over 1000 yards (1271) in 2010.
Junior Brandon Rice leads a collection of running backs who will also see action this season. The Ohio native will share the backfield with Tara High (Baton Rouge) product Dallas Fort. Redshirt junior Sylvester Nzekwe returns as the Jaguars leading rusher from a year ago, rushing for 248 yards and 5 TDs. Brian McCain, a 6-0, 250 pound sophomore, returns as the starting fullback with sophomore Lee Mitchell as backup.
Wide ReceiverS/Tight EndS
The Jaguars receiving corps, known for its collection of game-breaking talent, is led by LaQuinton “Smoke” Evans. Evans returns as the 2010 team leader in TD receptions. Evans hauled in 17 passes for 329 yards and 5 TDs. The Jaguars will look to redshirt junior Charles Hawkins to add some explosiveness to the offense and to the return game. Freshman Michael Berry and Virginia transfer Jared Green, son of NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green will challenge for time in the starting rotation. A trio of returning letterwinners solidifies the depth chart at the tight end position. Sophomores Rashaun Allen and Kesaen Peterson join starter Javon Jordan, who led all tight ends in yards (148).
Easily the most experienced unit on the Jaguars, the offensive line returns three starters led by 2010 All-SWAC 2nd teamer Chris Browne. Senior Lee Almanza assumes the center position vacated by All-SWAC performer Ramon Chinyoung. Sopohomore Taylon Jones and Aaron Hall continue their impressive transition to the college game from a year ago.
2010 was not brutal on the Jaguars but defensive coordinator O’neill Gilbert will look to rev up his defense to create constant pressure and get off the field after third down. The Jaguars ranked ninth and seventh respectively in scoring defense (33.8 ppg) and total defense (359.5 ypg) Tyrone Odom (defensive line) joins Gilbert, who
moves over to serve as linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator.
Senior Kedy Enabulele and redshirt sophomore Kadeem Lewis spearheads a defensive front that accounted for nine of the Jaguars’ 26 sacks. The return of senior Dexter James is key in replacing the 7 sacks lost with the departure of Jordan Miller after Miller’s senior season. Casey Narcisse joins James along the interior of the Jaguars defense with junior Brandon Turner and senior Jonathan English, an Arizona State transfer serving as reserves.
Sophomore Anthony Balancier returns as the Jaguars leading tackler (45) and the New Orleans native is surrounded by a talent group of linebackers. Redshirt senior Corey Ray is back at 100 percent after shoulder injury kept him in and out of the lineup all season. Eastern Arizona Community College transfer Corry Roy infuses a much needed combination of athleticism and experience that will add depth to the unit. Redshirt freshman Detrane Lindey will see extensive playing time as well due in large part to the Houston native’s playmaking ability.
Sophomore Virgil Williams looks to continue his growth as an impact player in the secondary. As a true freshman, Williams played in nine games registering 37 tackles, including 7 tackles-for-loss, three pass breakups and four pass deflections. Juniors’ Mychal Bell and Levi Jackson join Williams in the secondary as the starting strong and free safety respectively. Jackson, a Baton Rouge native and Dutchtown High product, finshed fourth on the team in tackles (41) and post 5 breakups and deflections apiece.