Even after Southern’s projected starting tailback, Brandon Rice, left last week’s preseason scrimmage with a sprained shoulder, several teammates - including Dallas Fort, Terrell Alex and Jerry Joseph - made noticeable runs.
As of now, however, none of them is considered first-string material. Not yet, anyway.
In a surprise move, Kaelen Mayfield will get the first shot to prove he can be a reliable starting tailback when the Jaguars open their season Sept. 3 in Nashville, Tenn., against Tennessee State.
Mayfield - often stuck behind three other running backs, sometimes more - has practiced with the first team Tuesday and Wednesday, and coach Stump Mitchell said he’ll take a long look at the rarely used senior during Saturday’s final preseason scrimmage.
“The opportunity that the other guys have gotten, and they’re constantly doing things the wrong way,” Mitchell said. “He’s waited patiently for an opportunity.”
Mitchell said that although Fort, Alex and several others have ripped off long runs during scrimmages, they haven’t always run “within the scheme of things.”
Instead of waiting for an inside running play to develop, the backs have often bounced outside. As a result, their offensive linemen are susceptible to holding penalties.
“These guys are blocking for our backs to go one way, and these (runners) are just going off on a different tangent,” Mitchell said. “We want to run inside zone. We want to be tough inside runners, if that’s what’s called for.”
Mayfield had six carries for 18 yards last season.
Freshman to first-team RG
The offensive line has made another change on the right side, promoting true freshman Donald Glover to the first team.
When did Mitchell make that decision?
“When we weren’t getting it done with the other guys,” he said. “We can’t keep telling guys the same thing every day and just stick with them. We’ve been in camp for two weeks, and it just hasn’t happened.”
Southern’s offensive line showed a weakness in pass protection during last week’s Saturday’s scrimmage.
During preseason camp, the team mostly used freshman Isaiah Webster and sophomore Aaron Hall at right guard.
Mitchell said the 330-pound Glover performed slightly better than the others in Saturday’s scrimmage.
House is back ... maybe
Jason House is back. Sort of.
House, a member of the Southern football team since 2006, returned to the team Wednesday, though he did not practice. Mitchell said the NCAA has not yet granted House a sixth year of eligibility, which he needs.
“We’ve filed a waiver, but we haven’t heard back from them,” Mitchell said. “House is just out here, as far as I’m concerned.”
Playing free safety in 2009 for the first time, House led the nation with 10 interceptions.
A fifth-year senior last season, he suffered season-ending knee and ankle injuries in the Jaguars’ third game of the season, at Alabama A&M.
House was off-limits to reporters Wednesday.
“I’m not going to give him any reps,” Mitchell said. “I can’t afford to take reps from guys that I know are going to play, and give them to House.”
Fan Day is Saturday
Southern will hold its Fan Day? Saturday in conjunction with the team’s final preseason scrimmage.
Fan Day is free. It will be held on the west side of A.W. Mumford Stadium. Gates will open at 10 a.m. with the scrimmage to follow at 11 a.m. For $5, the first 100 fans can watch the scrimmage from the main suite in the A.W. Mumford Field House.
The Human Jukebox will perform at about 10:15 a.m.
The Ballentine plaza will be available to RVs for tailgating on?a first-come, first-serve basis.?