For the first time all preseason, the sidelines at Southern weren’t packed with injured potential starters during practice Tuesday.
Tuesday’s session saw a significant drop in the number of Jaguars rehabbing with training staff, with linebacker Javon Allen as the biggest name sitting out.
“Like I told some of the guys last night, ‘You’re going to hurt in this game,’ ” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “You have to decide the difference between injury and hurt. A lot of guys are trying to go ... but we have to get the most we can out of our guys right now.”
Southern has routinely sent up to a dozen players to the training tent each practice, but only five players were primarily missing Tuesday.
Junior tight end Bradley Coleman called Monday’s practice “Christmas” when players like wide receiver Willie Quinn (jaw), offensive lineman Zach Brown (shoulder) and wide receiver Randall Menard (ankle) all returned.
“All those guys are key parts to our offense,” Coleman said. “It feels good to have those guys back, and now we can see what we’re going to look like come Aug. 30.”
That’s when the Jaguars visit Louisiana-Lafayette in their season opener.
Return of Quinn
Junior wide receiver Willie Quinn isn’t taking a cautious approach to his return from a jaw injury that kept him out of the first two weeks of camp.
Quinn injured his jaw playing pickup basketball before the start of camp. Odums tried to downplay the loss of Quinn during his absence, but there’s been a noticeable spark in the offense since his return.
“What do you expect?” Odums said. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football here. ... At the end of the day, he’s probably one of our better football players.”
Quinn said he’s excited to return to the field and is anxious to get back to work with his team.
Quinn is Southern’s top returning receiver and was a fixture in last season’s offense, recording 753 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 receptions.
If the number of snaps taken during Tuesday’s practice is any indication of the potential depth chart at quarterback this season, Francis Kanneh would be sixth in line under center.
Originally thought to be part of a two-man race for the starting spot, Kanneh failed to take a single snap during team drills while Deonte Shorts, Austin Howard and Jarrad Hayes rotated in. Even wide receiver Justin Morgan and running back Tyre Bracken took snaps in the wildcat formation before Kanneh’s name was called.
Odums said he didn’t notice if Kanneh threw since he’s working primarily with the defense, but added that Kanneh should have participated unless he was injured.
“I know I’m supposed to meet with him today, so I’ll find out more about what’s going on with that mental stage in his mind,” Odums said.
Shorts has taken most of the first-team snaps during camp and downplayed Kanneh’s absence as coaches trying to make sure everyone gets reps at quarterback.