By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
The loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers last Saturday was not the start the South Alabama Jaguars wanted for the 2019 College Football season. This was despite a close 35-21 score than what the experts were to believe. The Jaguars encountered many positive goals in the game against Nebraska but not enough to secure an upset.
Even with the 0-1 start to the season, the Jaguars are going into this Saturday’s matchup versus the Jackson State Tigers (0-1) with highly positive attitudes and an effective strategy to beat the Tigers. There were many goals to work on for the Jaguars throughout the entire preparation week for Jackson State. One of the biggest goals for the Jaguars this week was to work on ball security.
The Jaguars gave up five turnovers to the Cornhuskers’ defense including two interceptions and two fumbles from Jaguars quarterback Cephus Johnson. In a press conference last Monday, Offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield mentioned the turnovers by saying, “eliminate the turnovers and it could’ve been a different ball game.”
Head coach Steve Campbell mentioned how turnovers by the Jaguars, including four from Johnson never hindered him as the game continued. Coach Campbell contributed the mental capability to keep playing after a turnover as a part of his toughness. Tight end Cameron Taylor added to the notion of how not only Johnson but the entire team has been mentally tougher with the maturation of the team.
The offense had a big task this week in preparation for Jackson State with their 3-3 front defense. On Tuesday’s practice, Johnson mentioned on the defense by saying, “Jackson State, they do have a unique style of defense. They are very athletic; they are very fast on defense, so we just have to pay attention. Make sure I pay attention to my keys and execute the plays.” He also mentioned the unique look of the Tigers’ safeties rolling out into a unique coverage.
For the defense this week, they still got to practice playing against an RPO (run-pass-option) style offense from Nebraska to Jackson State. There is one main difference in the Cornhuskers’ RPO style offense and Jackson State, that is the Tigers’ play three different quarterbacks. Defensive coordinator Greg Stewart mentioned the importance of setting the edge once again for the RPO offense.
Jaguars linebacker Nick Mobley was asked which attribute was important when facing dual-threat offenses like Jackson State, he said, “Consistency, don’t matter who we play our standards are the same.”