Southern offensive lineman Anthony Mosley was named to the preseason All-Southwestern Athletic Conference team.
As a three-year starter entering his senior season, he was one of the marquee players on the defending SWAC champions.
But Mosley was forced to sit out this season because he was not academically certified by the university. So his final season will come in 2015, and in the meantime, he has been relegated to the anonymity of the scout team.
Instead of helping lead Southern in its quest for a second consecutive SWAC championship, Mosley mimics his counterparts on upcoming opponents. He has demonstrated the same level of talent, dedication and leadership he has always shown.
“Mosley is a whole different type of person,” running back Lenard Tillery said Tuesday. “Adversity isn’t even adversity for him. When things come into his life and try to combat him, he doesn’t stress, he doesn’t get angry. He just sits down, sees what it is, sees what he can do.
“In this situation, he couldn’t do anything. Him being the person he is, he just sucked it up and said, ‘You know what? I’m still going to get better for the team. I’m still going to work hard for the team.’ And when you see him out there, the scout team is taking pride in everything they do, which is making us take pride in everything we do. And it all just comes together on Saturday.”
The Jaguars have won four consecutive games to remain in the thick of the SWAC West Division race. They’re one game behind first-place Grambling going into their game against Texas Southern on Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
“I really just look at it as far as I don’t want to be left out,” Mosley said. “Some people who sit out a year feel discouraged, and me being a leader, I can’t do that. I have to show some kind of passion, some kind of motivation toward the team.”
Mosley said his goal every day is to get the scout team, which he has nicknamed “Scout Team Nation,” “crunk and turn those boys up and whip up on the (starters).”
It’s an unusually talented scout team, featuring other key players in Mosley’s predicament such as linebackers Daniel Brown and Detrane Lindsey, defensive back Renaldo Thomas and wide receiver Nico Talbert as well as some true freshman who are biding their time.
“You could really put you a team together with our scouts,” coach Dawson Odums said.
The coach added that Mosley’s attitude reflects a motto the team took from a talk former Jaguars great and recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Aeneas Williams gave to the team at homecoming last month: “Just be the best at your role, regardless of what that role is.”
“I know there’s no offensive lineman in the SWAC better than me,” Mosley said. “So if I keep working on my technique with them day in and day out, then the game is going to be easier to them. I enjoy watching them whip up on other guys on Saturdays.”
This is the first time in his life that Mosley, who is from Cairo, Georgia, has been on a scout team.
“If you’ve been a (starter) all your life,” Molsey said, “you kind of look down on them. But now that I’m with them and in their shoes and see their point of view, now it’s more respect to those guys, most definitely.”
Nose tackle Gabe Echols said he’s not surprised at the way Mosley adapted to his new role.
“That’s the reason he was preseason all conference — because every snap, every practice he’s going 100 percent,” Echols said. “It’s just second nature to a guy like that.
“The spark he brings passes through from left tackle all the way to right tackle, from the quarterbacks to the receivers. The running backs are running harder, the receivers are running their routes even harder.”
Defensive end Donald Phillips said the scout team has more intensity this season.
“It makes practice a lot of fun,” he said. “Being in a game-like environment is going to really raise your level of play. It’s going to raise the communication as well.”
If Odums is satisfied with the way the scout team challenges the starters in a particular practice, he’ll excuse them from post-practice sprints.
“There’s definitely an incentive for them,” Tillery said. “And they come out and work hard and that causes us to play hard.”
Mosley not only prepares the defense for the upcoming opponent, he also prepares the younger offensive linemen such as freshmen Justin Moore, Eddie Nickles and Alex McKee — his “young bucks” — for bigger roles in spring practice and beyond that.
In Mosley’s absence, the line has allowed just five sacks and led the way for an improved running game.
“I’m just happy that they’re doing their things without me,” he said, “showing that they don’t need me to humble me up so I’ll come back bigger, better, stronger.
“Sitting out the year can be depressing as far as being a three-year starter, and you’re supposed to be all SWAC, and now you’ve got to sit out. It can do something to you. It can really hurt you and bring you down, but I am just going to keep it going, keep motivating and keep them pumped. Next year is going to be our year, but for now, we’ve got to get these guys better.”
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