Southern is getting its game face on.
The Jaguars simulated a game format in practice Thursday, its final workout before entering its first game-week routine.
Coach Dawson Odums had the team walk through its pregame routine in addition to continuing preparing for Louisiana Tech, its season-opening opponent Sept. 5 in Ruston.
Though the purpose of Thursday’s mock game routine was to get the players comfortable with game-day details, there’s only so much that can be done in practice.
“The biggest thing about Game 1 is you cannot practice how fast the game moves and how fast people move in the game,” Odums said. “You can’t simulate that in practice, which is why it’s important to go full speed during every rep.”
The Jaguars won’t practice Friday or Saturday before returning to the field Sunday.
Short injury report
Southern has remained about as healthy as a team can be after four weeks of preseason practice.
But one Jaguars, freshman linebacker Jordan Williams, will miss the opener because of surgery to repair a thumb he dislocated in a scrimmage Saturday. Williams actually popped the thumb back into place himself before receiving medical attention.
“That’s some Jack Tatum stuff,” Odums said, referring to the late Oakland Raiders defensive back nicknamed “The Assassin” because of his fierceness. “He didn’t miss a beat. He’s a tough guy.”
Odums said the Jaguars expect to have Williams back for the second game, at Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 10.
Linebacker Demetrius Carter has returned to practice this week after sitting out the scrimmage to rest a turf toe. Wide receiver Nico Talbert (back) and offensive lineman Allen Spry (knee) are also back. An MRI on Spry’s knee earlier this week came back negative.
Odums praises newcomers
Odums singled out several newcomers who have positioned themselves to be in the two-deep heading into the opener.
In addition to junior-college transfer Nick McDonald, who will start at strong safety, Odums mentioned freshman cornerback Demerio Houston.
He also praised sophomore linebacker Danshwan Jenkins, a junior-college transfer who played at De La Salle High School, and four freshmen — defensive linemen Chris Jones (Franklin) and Jaron Johnson (Port Arthur, Texas) and offensive linemen Jaylon Brinson (Tallahassee, Florida) and Collin Lagarde (St. Augustine).
CST will televise live the Jaguars home game against Prairie View at 4 p.m. Oct. 17, and the network will also show three Southern games on tape delay.
The tape-delay broadcasts feature the season opener at Louisiana Tech on Sept. 5 and home games against Alcorn State (Oct. 31) and Alabama A&M (Nov. 14). Each of those games will be shown at 7 p.m. the day after the game.
The Sept. 10 game at Mississippi Valley State will be shown live on ESPNU, the home opener against Jackson State (Sept. 19) will be shown on a tape delay on ESPNU and the Bayou Classic game against Grambling (Nov. 28) will be shown live on the NBC Sports Network.
Soccer match streamed
Southern’s soccer match at Grambling on Oct. 25 and the Southwestern Athletic Conference volleyball tournament title game from Southern on Nov. 22 are part of an eight-game schedule set for the live video web streaming on the SWAC Digital Network and its mobile app, which was announced Thursday.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.