Southern coach Dawson Odums is overhauling his coaching staff.
Odums, who doubles as defensive coordinator, fired three assistants Wednesday — defensive line coach Myron Jackson, linebackers coach Lorick Atkinson and cornerbacks coach Chris Scott.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chad Germany resigned to pursue other opportunities. Germany, who is also recruiting coordinator, will stay on staff until Jan. 14.
The defensive changes set the stage for Odums to hire a defensive coordinator and allow himself to focus on being head coach.
After winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference West division in each of Odums’ first two full seasons as head coach, the Jaguars slipped to third this season, finishing 6-3 in the SWAC and 6-5 overall, though statistically the defense showed improvement.
“He wants to name a defensive coordinator, and in order to do that he had to make some room,” Atkinson said Wednesday night. “I had a great run here. I love Southern. I’m proud of my players and I’m grateful for the opportunity to coach here.
“We had a good run — won two West Division titles, one SWAC title (in 2013) and went 2-1 in the Bayou Classic. I understand the business. I wish (Odums) and Southern nothing but the best. I understand things have to change. I’m grateful to Jaguar Nation.”
The Jaguars lowered their average total yards, rushing yards and passing yards allowed, and allowed less than one point per game more in 2015 compared to 2014.
This year’s team ranked fifth in the SWAC in scoring defense (33.5, up from 32.7), third in total defense (385.8, down from 423.5), fourth in run defense (160.7, down from 173.5) and sixth in pass defense (225.1, down from 250.0).
Atkinson, who coached with Odums at Gardner-Webb, was hired at Southern after Odums was promoted to full-time head coach after the 2012 season. Odums had been named interim head coach when Stump Mitchell was reassigned after a 0-2 start in 2012.
The only defensive coach who was retained was first-year safeties coach Steve Adams, who is also the special teams coordinator.
Germany, who shared the coordinator duties with offensive line coach Chennis Berry, developed quarterback Austin Howard, who was the SWAC Freshman of the Year in 2014 and was named second-team All-SWAC on Wednesday.
“Chad Germany has been instrumental in the success of the Southern University football program for four years,” Odums said in a statement late Wednesday night. “His development of the quarterbacks at Southern helped produced the program’s all-time leading passer (Dray Joseph) and perennial All-SWAC performers. We thank Chad for his service at Southern in helping rebuild the football program and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Germany responded to a request for comment with a text to the Advocate on Wednesday night.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given to work at Southern University,” Germany said. “It is a very special place with some great people. I thank coach Stump Mitchell for bringing me to SU and Coach Odums for the opportunity to advance my career. You cannot replace the experience.
“I wish coach Odums and the Jaguar Nation nothing but the best going forward.”
Germany concluded his text with “Go Jags!”
The moves came on the same day that the Jaguars dominated the All-SWAC team with 11 selections, including five on the first team. No other school had more than six selections or four first-team selections.
The Southern selections included four defensive players. Nose guard Gabe Echols and cornerback Danny Johnson were named to the first team and end Aaron Tiller and safety Dionte McDuffy to the second team.
Also joining the first team were running back Lenard Tillery, guard Anthony Mosley and return specialist Willie Quinn. The other second-team selections were Howard, offensive linemen Terrell Lee and Reginald Redding and tight end Montrell Jones.