Southern coach Dawson Odums is hoping for a significant home-field advantage when the Jaguars host archrival Jackson State in their home opener Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Ticket sales indicate that the stadium will be full or close to it, and Odums is encouraging Southern fans who attend to be as primed as he expects his players to be.
Odums was told that a former Tigers coach once said the Jaguars fans are “loud and obnoxious,” which seemed to subdue the home crowd several years ago. When asked if he had any suggestions for this year’s crowd, Odums didn’t hesitate before replying, “Yeah, be loud and obnoxious.
“I think that’s a pat on the back when folks are complaining about how you may treat them when they come into your home facility,” he said. “That’s why it’s called the home-field advantage. It’s OK to boo them and it’s OK to cheer us. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“You’re supposed to be able to intimidate opposing teams for wanting to come in here and play. I think that creates home-field advantage. I’ve been in some places where we had home-field advantage and when they got off the bus they were already down 14 points. That’s the kind of atmosphere I think we’ve got to create at A.W. Mumford Stadium, and we have the kind of fans that can create that.”
No preparation for freshmen
Odums said most of the freshmen among the Jaguars probably have experienced a game in the rivalry, but that can’t prepare them for participating in it.
“I don’t think you can really tell a freshman about this game. I think it’s all about experience,” Odums said. “They already know what’s coming because a lot of them were here at the game a couple of years ago when we played them here and a lot of these players were recruited by them and were at the game when we played them last year.
“They’ve been in the atmosphere, but not as a player. I don’t know how you get prepared for it.”
Tigers from Louisiana
The Tigers have five players from Louisiana: junior DB Justin Jemison (Central), senior WR Jairus Moll (West. St. John), redshirt freshman OL Asam-Obi Asam (McKinley), freshman LB Xavier Harris (West Monroe) and freshman QB Anthony Moore (Washington).
The JSU coaching staff features a lot of familiar names.
Head coach Harold Jackson is a Tigers legend, 10-year standout player in the NFL and a former New Orleans Saints assistant coach (1997-99); defensive coordinator Alonzo Lee was a longtime successful coordinator with multiple schools in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; offensive coordinator Timmy Chang was a record-setting quarterback at Hawaii; running backs coach Ricky Porter was director of player development with the Saints for seven years; and secondary/special teams coach Antonio Knight was a standout player at Wossman in Monroe.
On the road again
The Jaguars’ next road game is barely a week away and there are two bus-trip options.
The Strong United Unification Organization is offering a trip to the Sept. 26 game at Georgia for $285 (single), $400 (couple), $550 (three people per hotel room) and $760 (four).
For information on this trip or any of the other four remaining trips, call (225) 355-6886, (225) 357-3833 or (225) 774-7617.
The Southern University Quarterback Club is also offering trips to all the road games.
For information, contact Jonathan Dearbone (firstname.lastname@example.org or Reginald Jarvis (email@example.com).
Southern linebacker Martin Henry noted the Jaguars big matchup against Jackson State starts while another big game — LSU-Auburn — will be happening across town.
“Baton Rouge will probably be the most exciting city in the country this weekend,” he said.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.