Southern has played football in messy conditions the past two weeks, and coach Dawson Odums said he hopes there aren’t any lingering effects.
Two weeks ago in Houston, the Jaguars endured torrential rains related to the remnants of Hurricane Patricia and a sloppy field during a 40-21 victory at Texas Southern.
Then Saturday, daylong heavy rains produced what Odums on Monday called “one of the worst field conditions I’ve ever played on in a football game.”
Southern couldn’t throw the ball and lost four fumbles in a 48-7 loss to Alcorn State.
“They got off to a fast start,” Odums said during the Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches weekly teleconference. “We got some momentum and it was 21-7. But after that, we just couldn’t get anything going and we turned the ball over, and they capitalized like good teams do.”
Odums hopes the bad-weather trend ends when the Jaguars visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.
“We’re hoping to get better weather and get back to our winning ways,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure we don’t have guys under the weather.”
Odums said the players had “some sniffles and a few colds, but nothing major.”
“We’ve got to be smart as coaches to get us to the game as healthy as possible,” Odums continued. “We’re pumping Vitamin C into them.”
The forecast for Saturday in Pine Bluff calls for partly sunny conditions and a 10 percent chance for rain.
SWAC honors Alcorn quarterback
One player who was unaffected by the weather conditions Saturday was Alcorn backup quarterback Lenorris Footman. He entered the game when John Gibbs Jr. suffered a lower leg injury while rushing the football on the Braves’ second play.
Footman went on to rush for four touchdowns and pass for two touchdowns, which earned him the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week award Monday.
Alcorn coach Jay Hopson said Gibbs is “day to day.” The Braves host Prairie View on Saturday.
Hopson seems well-equipped at quarterback even if Gibbs, the SWAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year last season and this year’s Preseason Offensive Player of the year, isn’t available.
“I kind of joked when John got Player of the Year last year because every day he has to fight for his life just to keep his job,” Hopson said.
Fobbs quiet on father’s hiring
Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs had little to say when asked about state nepotism charges against him and his father, Lee.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics charges, which relate to the employment of Lee Fobbs as the Tigers running backs coach, were levied Oct. 15 and released Thursday.
State law bans members of the immediate family of an agency head from being employed in their agency.
“That’s something I really can’t discuss at this time,” Broderick Fobbs said. “It’s a legal issue. Everything was done the way it should be.”
Simmons returns to Alcorn
The Alcorn-Prairie View game is the marquee match-up this week as Hopson’s East division-leading Braves (4-1) meet the 5-1 Panthers, coached by Willie Simmons, who was Hopson’s offensive coordinator the past three seasons. The Panthers hired Simmons after he was instrumental in Alcorn’s SWAC title last season.
“Willie was the first coach I hired when I got here,” Hopson said. “I just think the world of him. When they hired him, I knew he’d be great football coach.”
“I’m sure a lot of Alcorn fans and a lot of Prairie View fans have circled this game on the calendar,” Simmons said.
Fast start not enough
Arkansas-Pine Bluff is 0-6 in the SWAC going into its game against the Southern, but the Golden Lions had one of their best starts of the season Saturday when they led Prairie View 14-0 early in a 54-29 defeat.
“We started off like we wanted to,” UAPB coach Monte Coleman said. “We didn’t play very well in the second quarter, and we didn’t play very well in the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, we did put some points on the board. We made some plays. We just didn’t make enough in the second and third quarters, and that was the tale of the tape.”
Alabama A&M is in a similar spot to Southern as it also plays a team winless in league play: Mississippi Valley State.
“As far as we’re concerned, Mississippi Valley is the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Bulldogs coach James Spady said. “They’re struggling to find a win, but so are we.”
A&M is 2-3 in the league after a 35-20 to Alabama State.
— Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.