Jarrad Hayes made his college debut in the latter stages of Southern’s 62-15 loss at Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Statistically, the former Central High School standout was the best of the three Jaguars quarterbacks, though he remains third on the depth chart.
Hayes, who redshirted as a freshman last season, completed 6-of-8 passes for 81 yards.
“I watch him prepare, and he’s always ready for his opportunity,” coach Dawson Odums said of Hayes at Odums’ weekly news conference Tuesday. “He comes to work every day. He’s an intelligent young man. He prepares. He studies. He just waits on his opportunity.
“It seemed like he had full control of the game when he was in there. He was calm. He delivered some nice passes. He threw the ball away. He moved the offense. That’s because he managed the game. He took what the defense gave him. He didn’t try to be heroic, and that’s what we want all of our quarterbacks to do.”
Starter Austin Howard completed 12-of-20 for 95 yards and threw two interceptions. Deonte Shorts was 1-for-8 for 11 yards,
“Austin didn’t play very well, Shorts didn’t play very well,” Odums said. “But at the end of the day, they were probably playing against better competition than Hayes was facing.”
Practice back on campus
The Jaguars have begun practicing at Jaguar Park, their rebuilt practice facility adjacent to Mumford Stadium.
They had been practicing since the start of preseason camp at the Louisiana Leadership Institute while construction of the new facility was completed.
Odums estimated that Southern saves about 40 minutes per practice by not having to transport players and equipment to and from Leadership, which is about 3 miles from campus.
“It’s just a logistical nightmare catching a bus and getting over there and coming back,” he said. “If you forget practice scripts or anything that you need, you’ve got to drive all the way back and get it.
“It’s allowing us more time, and it’s allowing our players more time to get taped. We’re not rush, rush, rush, and I think that’s going to pay dividends going down the road being back home practicing.”
Penalties thwart offense
Southern gained three first downs on its first possession Saturday before a false start penalty helped short-circuit the drive. That started a trend as the Jaguars were penalized five times in the first quarter and nine times in the game.
“We were doing some good things on the first drive, then you get a penalty,” Odums said. “That’s a thing that’s glaring on the stat sheet. That’s not characteristic of our football program.”
Seven of the nine penalties came against the offense: five false starts, one delay of game and one for illegal touching. The defense was offside once, and the special teams were penalized for holding on the opening kickoff return.
Odums said the penalties were a big part of the offense’s sluggishness.
“We weren’t very efficient on third down (4-of-15),” Odums said. “I think those penalties made it like that because we had some third-and-longs, and you don’t want to be in third-and-longs and think you’re going to be efficient.
“I think we’ve got to have those sticks in our favor and be able to be in third-and-mediums and third-and-shorts so that you can keep the chains moving. And then we had some drops on third downs, and that doesn’t help either.”
On average, the Jaguars needed to gain 10 yards to convert their third downs.
Mosley expected to start
Guard Anthony Mosley didn’t start against Tech because he was late for practice Thursday. Allen Spry started in Mosley’s place, though Mosley did play.
Odums said Mosley will be back in the starting lineup if nothing else warrants disciplinary action.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.