The look Southern coach Dawson Odums saw on his quarterback’s face at practice Monday morning was one of determination, causing him to repeat a refrain from last week: Austin Howard is due.
“It’s scary,” Odums said, describing the look. “… He recognized that not only must he play better, he’s going to play better. Hopefully, this week, you see a whole different No. 7.”
Going into last week’s game against Jackson State, Odums was confident he’d see a fully-healthy Howard turn in a signature type of performance.
Howard was not bad against Jackson State, throwing for 175 yards and accounting for a pair of scores, but it was not a performance that met his own expectations.
“I think I played not up to par, not to where my team wants me to play,” Howard said after the game.
Part of the frustration for Howard was that the things he deemed lacking weren’t related to physical trouble from a knee injury he sustained in the season opener.
Howard was most disappointed afterward in the reads and checks he missed, a mental aspect of the game he takes great pride in.
But Odums saw him deliver the ball well for the majority of the night, the only real blemish being an interception deep in Jackson State territory.
Even then, Odums gave credit to Jackson State linebacker Andre Lloyd for sneaking into the passing lane and making a leaping catch, and he believes Howard went to the right spot.
“(Lloyd) made a great play,” Odums said. “(Howard) went to the right place, just maybe needs to put a little more loft on the ball. He was trying to fit it in between two defenders.
“I really think (Howard is) getting better, but we’re challenging him to be better.”
He may have a good chance to truly break out this weekend: Arkansas-Pine Bluff will come into Saturday’s game with the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s worst pass defense, giving up an average of 271.9 yards per game.
CATALON EARNS WEEKLY AWARD
Southern freshman Kendall Catalon was named the SWAC newcomer of the week.
Catalon, a starting wide receiver who serves as Southern’s holder on field goal attempts, scored on a 4-yard touchdown run when Southern called his number on a fake field goal.
“He’s a playmaker,” Odums said.
He joined Danny Johnson (Week 5) as Southern players to earn a SWAC weekly award this season.
IN THE RANKINGS
Grambling soundly beat Alcorn State 41-14 this Saturday, handing the Braves their first SWAC loss, and was rewarded with its first top-15 ranking of the season.
The Tigers checked in at No. 15 in the STATS FCS Top 25, up two spots from No. 17 the week before.
Grambling owns the SWAC’s lone undefeated conference record. Alcorn State, which had received four top-25 votes in the last several polls, was not represented this week.
The Blue and Gold Club is sponsoring a bus trip for the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game. The trip is $115, which covers travel, a game ticket and refreshments, and will stay at a hotel in Arkansas Saturday night, which will cost $85.
The Blue and Gold Club trip is scheduled to depart from the F.G. Clark Activity Center at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Contact Craig Pierre at 225-324-7234 for more info.
The SU Quarterback Club is also sponsoring a trip for $240, which covers travel, a game ticket, refreshments and a hotel room. Contact Reginald Jarvis at 225-939-5906 for more info.