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Opinion: Football begins spring training

The+Jags+running+the+ball+in+the+spring+game.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+of+USAJaguars.com
The Jags running the ball in the spring game.
Photo courtesy of USAJaguars.com

The Jags running the ball in the spring game. Photo courtesy of USAJaguars.com

The Jags running the ball in the spring game. Photo courtesy of USAJaguars.com

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The University of South Alabama football team opened up spring practice on March 8 for the first time under new head football coach Steve Campbell.

Many fans have high expectations for the Jags this season, hoping that Campbell will be able to bring the kind of success he produced at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Central Arkansas.

The main issue for Campbell to address will be the Jaguars offense, specifically the anemic running game.

During the 2017-18 season the Jaguar back-field was plagued by of field issues and injuries. They posted only 97.3 yards, the lowest YPG average in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 125 among Division 1 schools.

At the moment the Jaguars look to sophomore Tra Minter to lead the running game.

Following the suspension of senior Xavier Johnson last season, Minter took the majority of the carries, however his 3.2 yards per carry average and single touchdown leave questions about whether or not he is ready to bear the brunt of the rushing attack.

The Jaguars will struggle to find a starting quarterback. Last season, injuries kept juniors Dallas Davis and Cole Garvin alternating on an almost week-by-week basis and kept the Jags from finding any consistency.

Davis, who ranked No. 66 in the country in passing efficiency last season, is a steady choice.The substitution of Davis into the 2017-18 Troy game that ignited the offense and allowed the Jags to pull past Troy for the win.

Garvin, the other returning starter, struggled in his 2017-18 season. His 52.6 percent completion percentage and seven touchdowns combined with seven interceptions definitely hurt his case for the starting position.

However, Garvin’s performance in games such as the 2016 42-24 upset win against the then No. 19 ranked San Diego State University does show he can compete in big games.

Whoever wins the starting job at quarterback will have the benefit of a veteran receiving corps.

The Jags should return their top two receivers, Jamarius Way and Sam Harris for the season. The duo combined for over 1,000 receiving yards in 2017 and will look to carry that productivity into the Campbell era.

The foundation for what Campbell wants to do on offense will start with his offensive line. The offensive line plans to return multiple starters, most notably All-Conference left tackle Noah Fisher.

The Jags will continue with spring practice and end it on Apr. 14 with the annual Red vs. Blue spring game. USA is scheduled to open up its fall season on Sept. 1 at home vs. Louisiana Tech.

For more news on USA football and other Jaguar Athletic events, visit The Vanguard News on Facebook, or on Instagram @TheVanguardUSA, or go to USAJaguars. com.

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Opinion: Football begins spring training