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The Vanguard

Advance on South Alabama Football Season

Ryann Guy, Reporter

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The South Alabama football team will open its fifth season in fall of 2017, facing several highly-ranked teams, many of whom they have never played.

Currently, the football team is weight training until the week before finals. They will pick back up practicing once summer camp begins.

The Jaguars finished last season with a 6-7 overall record. For their conference, they were 2-6.

Key player of the 2016 season, Gerald Everett, will not be returning this season. The 6-4 230-pound tight-end intends to be drafted in the NFL, which would make him the first ever NFL draft in South Alabama history.

Dallas Davis will return after completing his sophomore season as the team’s starting quarterback. Junior safety Jeremy Reaves returns for his final season. Currently, he is tied for first with six forced fumbles and 14 broken up passes for South Alabama’s all-time records.

In February, the football program used three of its 11 scholarships to distribute and welcomed three local high school seniors; Kendrick Haynes of Murphy, linebacker Cephus Johnson of Davidson and offensive guard Hadon Merchant of Fairhope. These players will begin practicing with the team this summer.

The Jaguars look to kick off the 2017 season in Oxford against Ole Miss on Sept. 2. Last year, Ole Miss was 2-6 in the SEC and managed an overall 5-7 record.

The following week, South Alabama will host parents’ weekend for the at-home opener against Big 12 team Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State ended its season with a 10-3 overall record. The Jaguars continue their season Sept. 16 at home against Alabama A&M.

Other teams South Alabama looks to contend are post-season bowl winning teams; Idaho, Louisiana Tech, and Troy.

During the “Battle for the Belt” at Ladd Peebles Stadium, Troy University took the belt from South Alabama after rallying past the Jags in the fourth quarter. This year, the rivals clash on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Troy for another chance to claim the belt. The game will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN2.

South goes on to face Louisiana-Monroe at home Oct. 21. Last year, USA lost to Louisiana-Monroe 35-42 in overtime.

The next game to be televised that month will be against Georgia State in The Dome Oct. 26 on ESPNU.

Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette are the final home games for the 2017 season.

The final two games for South Alabama will be away against Georgia Southern and New Mexico State.

In previous years, South Alabama has beaten teams like Appalachian State, Mississippi State, and San Diego State. They are capable of contesting against strong teams, but are known for relying on big pass plays averaging 13.6 yards per completion and a 56 percent fail rate. Spring practice is the time where the team worked on several different schemes with defensive coordinator Kane Wommack. In order to improve their completions, their strategy to succeed is by keeping plays simple.

For more information about South Alabama Football, check out usajaguars.com for news, schedules, and season tickets.

 

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The student news site of The University of South Alabama
Advance on South Alabama Football Season