Southern coach Dawson Odums said his team learned something about itself in its first Southwestern Athletic Conference loss of the season.
“Now they understand that they’re not invincible,” Odums said Monday during the SWAC coaches weekly teleconference.
The Jaguars defense gave up more than 500 yards, the offense lost four fumbles, the special teams suffered several breakdowns in the 47-42 homecoming loss to Prairie View on Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
“The loss hurt,” Odums said. “When you have a program that has established itself, you don’t take kindly to losing. They know what they have to do. They know what time of year it is. We’ll play better Saturday.”
The Jaguars, 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the SWAC, play Texas Southern (3-3, 2-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Houston.
Good, but not the best
Former Glen Oaks running back Johnta’ Hebert’s 284-yard, four-touchdown effort against Southern wasn’t enough to earn him the Southwestern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week award.
“I’ve got to see who won Offensive Player of the Week,” Panthers coach Willie Simmons said, “because Johnta’ Hebert didn’t get it.”
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the player who was deemed more worthy of the award than Hebert plays for their next opponent.
Texas Southern quarterback Averion Hurts threw six touchdown passes and ran for one touchdown in a 49-21 victory against Mississippi Valley State.
The junior from Houston completed 19 of 24 passes for 311 yards and rushed for 68 yards on 14 attempts.
Jenkins said Hebert was “the catalyst” for the Panthers victory, which put them in the thick of the SWAC West division race at 4-1, one game behind first-place Grambling.
“It was a great win for this program,” Simmons said.
Though Hebert wasn’t named player of the week, two of his teammates were recognized for their efforts against the Jaguars.
Senior cornerback Ernest Brewer was named Special Teams Player of the Week, and freshman defensive back Will Skinner was named Newcomer of the Week.
Brewer blocked two extra points and recovered two fumbles on special teams. Skinner made 15 tackles, nine more than his previous high, and forced a fumble.
Alabama State senior linebacker Daerius Washington was named Defensive Player of the Week. He made a game-high 12 tackles, nine solo, in a 31-24 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Thursday. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
Grambling’s 35-34 overtime victory at Alcorn State and Southern’s loss left the Tigers as the only team unbeaten in SWAC play at 5-0.
Coach Broderick Fobbs said the atmosphere in Lorman, Mississippi, for what could have been a preview of the SWAC Championship Game, reminded him of the Tigers’ home game against Alcorn in 1994.
Fobbs was a sophomore making his first collegiate start when Steve McNair threw six touchdown passes, but the Tigers held on to win 62-56.
“That game is still planted vividly in my mind,” Fobbs said.
Unity with Gales’ family
Alabama State coach Brian Jenkins explained why he and his school have been so active in helping injured Southern wide receiver Devon Gales, who is rehabbing from spinal surgery.
When the Jaguars played at Alabama State two weeks ago in their first game since Gales’ injury, Jenkins presented Odums with a Hornets jersey featuring Gales’ No. 33, and numerous announcements were made about donating to a fund to help Gales and his family.
Jenkins said he witnessed a similar injury early in his coaching career when a player lost feeling in his extremities, but the player has since regained nearly full function.
“One day, that young man might cross paths with my son. And because of the lead that I’ve taken to help him, he will take that lead with my son or with another young man,” Jenkins said. “This young man and his family need help, and I think now is the time to show our unity and our commitment to our young people. I think we as coaches have to take responsibility for our young men regardless of what university they have chosen to attend.
“We’re responsible for helping them and guiding them and teaching them. If we don’t show unity, how we can we ask our young people to show unity?”
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.