The Southern football team, players and coaches, is spread to the wind.
The Jaguars wrapped up their week of practice Thursday morning, and coach Dawson Odums released the players until Sunday, allowing them the rare opportunity of a fall Saturday left to their own devices.
“I might want to go across town and watch the LSU game and experience that,” senior offensive lineman Christian Rodriguez said.
Members of the coaching staff, meanwhile, took off to check in on their respective recruiting areas.
“We’ve got guys on the road,” Odums said. "They’re all over the state right now recruiting, looking for that next Jaguar.”
Offensive coordinator Chennis Berry said he would be flying into the Atlanta area to visit some prospective football players. Linebackers coach Maurice Cheek tweeted that he was in Monroe.
“My main focus for this next couple days is, I’ll be going out and recruiting, looking at some guys in the 2018 class, get a feel for how they practice and how they play,” Berry said. “There’s no rest for the weary.”
Most of his coaches should be done with their recruiting trips after the high school games wrap up Friday night, Odums said.
“Saturday they’ll just put their feet up and enjoy football for the weekend,” Odums said. “We’ve got a team meeting on Sunday, we’ll make sure everybody’s back and then we’ll start this thing all over again.”
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Though a rivalry game is looming on the schedule next week at Jackson State, Odums said his team didn’t use the extra week to double down on its opponent preparation.
“It’s a whole lot to focus on something for two weeks, so you don’t want to throw too much at them early,” Odums said. “I think when we get back on Sunday, we’ll be locked and loaded to get ready to go face them.”
Odums said Southern used its idle week to tighten its focus on fundamentals, while also allowing players to let soft tissue injuries heal.
“I think we got pretty much everything we wanted to done,” Odums said. “We got a chance to get jumpstarted on Jackson State. I feel pretty good about where we are right now as a football team.”
Redshirt freshman running back Devon Benn did not practice this week, but Odums said there is a chance Southern could get Benn back in the early portion of next week.
If he can go, Odums said, he will go.
Benn left in the first quarter of the Fort Valley State game and sat out against Alabama A&M. In his absence, senior running back Herb Edwards has compiled back-to-back 100-yard efforts.
In five games, Benn has rushed for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and has caught eight passes for 87 yards and one score.
With Benn out last week, Southern used redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Chaney for a couple plays out of the backfield.
Chaney, who played running back at East Feliciana High, continued to get work in the backfield at practice this week.
“We had him at slot receiver, we’ve got slot receivers,” Odums said. “A running back goes down, find a way.
“He’s a playmaker now; he’s a different kind of guy back there running. He’s got that gear that a lot of the other running backs don’t have.”