Southern quarterback Jeremiah McGinty, who started seven games as a sophomore last season, has been dismissed from the team with no explanation from coach Stump Mitchell, the player’s father said Wednesday.
Durward McGinty said his son called him late last week to say the coaching staff told the junior quarterback he was no longer a member of the squad.
“We talked to Jeremiah just yesterday (Tuesday),” Durward McGinty said. “He said nothing has changed with that.”
Mitchell said he had no comment regarding McGinty’s status with the team.
Jeremiah McGinty completed 45 percent of his passes for 1,271 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He also ran for 229 yards.
He underwent offseason surgery on his left (nonthrowing) shoulder, an injury that bothered him much of last year.
Durward McGinty said that this summer Mitchell told the quarterback that he would probably redshirt this season, then return in 2012 as a fourth-year junior.
McGinty went through preseason camp but took fewer snaps with the first-team offense, working behind sophomore Dray Joseph, freshman J.P. Douglas and senior Hasoni Alfred.
McGinty did not travel with the team for its Sept. 3 opener at Tennessee State.
Asked if he dismissed McGinty or if the quarterback quit, Mitchell again declined comment.
“We have not talked to (Mitchell) since this thing happened,” Durward McGinty said.
Jeremiah McGinty was named All-Greater Houston Offensive Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle in 2007, but received no scholarship offers and spent one year at a prep school.
He threw five passes as a freshman at Southern in 2009, then assumed the No. 1 job last season. McGinty had a 2-5 record in seven games as a starter, though Joseph came off the bench during the second half in both of Southern’s two wins.
Redshirt freshman Wynton Perro, who moved from quarterback to safety this summer, re-joined the quarterbacks this week, wearing a red No. 7 jersey.
Joseph is now the clear-cut starter at quarterback, with Douglas the main backup.
Joseph has completed 50 percent of his passes for 717 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception.
Focus not a problem
Mitchell said he doesn’t believe his team — fresh from last week’s emotional 28-24 home loss to Jackson State — will have much of a problem getting recharged for Saturday’s game against Florida A&M, another historical rival.
“We didn’t take advantage of a bunch of turnovers this past weekend, and we know we have to get better in that area, so all of those guys have got a lot of pride,” Mitchell said.
“They know we should’ve been way ahead of that team, because of where we got the football, in terms of field position. So it’s not going to be hard for those guys to get up. That’s what they do.”
Southern (1-2) faces Florida A&M (1-2) in the Atlanta Football Classic at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
Stump: Run game will rise
Southern’s running game, which has produced 82 yards in three weeks, has been a frequent topic of conversation lately for SU fans and coaches alike.
Mitchell repeated Tuesday that the struggles are simply the result of the offensive line, which has been dependable in pass protection but shaky in the running game.
“It just hasn’t happened for us — yet,” Mitchell said. “But it will.”
The last Southern player to rush for 100 yards in a game was quarterback Bryant Lee, who gained 102 yards at Texas Southern on Dec. 5, 2009.
That was Pete Richardson’s final game as coach.
The player who came closest to a 100-yard game in the Mitchell era is tailback Sylvester Nzekwe, who gained 99 yards in the Jaguars’ win over Delaware State last season.
That was Mitchell’s first game as the SU coach.
FAMU: No major injuries
While the Jaguars suffered a close loss last week, the Rattlers were blown out at FBS opponent South Florida 70-17.
FAMU coach Joe Taylor said that in some respects, his team may have benefited from the loss because players were re-energized Sunday upon their return to Tallahassee.
“If what comes out of this is that we get more attentive in the weight room, or we get more attentive in the film room and the practice field, then yes, that will cause us to play better,” Taylor said.
Taylor also said his team suffered no major injuries last week.
“We’re really fortunate from that standpoint,” he said.
Coach impressed with QB
Taylor also said that after watching video of Southern’s first three games, he’s impressed with Joseph.
“The quarterback, I’m very impressed with,” Taylor said. “Once he decides where he wants to put the football, he really gets it there. And they don’t drop his passes. So that’s a concern for us.”
Joseph completed only 40 percent of his passes against Jackson State, but threw for three touchdowns. Joseph has thrown 88 consecutive passes without an interception.
Since he came Southern in 2009, Justin Williams had been rock-steady as a long snapper. Until last week. In the JSU loss, Williams botched a snap on what would’ve been a 39-yard field-goal attempt, and he later overshot punter Manuel Canto in the fourth quarter.
Cause for concern? Not to Mitchell.
“Let me tell you: Our snapper works extremely hard,” he said. “So it’s not like he’s going to hang his head, because he knows he’s going to have an opportunity to snap again this week.”
Williams is also a receiver and a backup punter.
Mitchell said he has still not heard from the NCAA regarding the status of TE Javon Jordan, whose academic eligibility is in question. SU filed a waiver request on Jordan’s behalf. ... Southern is the designated visiting team and will wear white jerseys Saturday. ... This year’s game is part of a two-year agreement. SU will return to Atlanta next year as the designated home team. ... Game spokeswoman Cama Poffenberger said more than 40,000 tickets have been sold or distributed, and that 100 Black Men of Atlanta, which sponsors the game, expects a crowd of about 60,000 at the game.