It shouldn’t take the Southern football players long to get reacquainted when they report Thursday for the start of preseason practice.
Only about 10 of the more than 100 Jaguars weren’t on hand for summer workouts. The few late arrivals will check in, grab their equipment, participate in the first team meeting, then hit the practice field with their teammates for the first time Friday afternoon.
Coach Dawson Odums said Wednesday he expects the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champions to hit the ground running.
“We expect them to pick up where they left off,” Odums said. “So many of them were here for the summer that we’re not going to do anything slowly. We’re going to be quick with the installation. We’re not complicated. They understand our philosophy. We want them to play fast and confident and the best way to do that is to keep things simple.”
The Southern depth chart has just one position without a designated starter, but it’s a big one — quarterback.
Odums said redshirt freshmen Deonte Shorts and Francis Kanneh and true freshmen Austin Howard and Jarrad Hayes are still in the competition.
“That’s the only position where we don’t have players (that played) returning,” Odums said. “Whoever plays the best is going to be the quarterback. We’re going to let them know that they have a lot of talent around them and we’re not going to put games on them. They have a lot of talent around them to help them make plays.”
Odums said he didn’t have a timetable for naming a starter, other than to have one in place Aug. 30 when the Jaguars open the season at Louisiana-Lafayette.
“How they perform will tell me when it’s time to name a starter,” he said.
Odums wouldn’t rule out playing two quarterbacks if the competition dictated that.
Running back Kylum Favorite, who was expected to see a lot of action behind starter Lenard Tillery, is no longer with the team because of an academic shortcoming, Odums said.
Favorite, who would have been a sophomore, was the second-leading returning rusher behind Tillery after gaining 291 yards and rushing for three touchdowns last season. But his absence should be mitigated by the arrival of two transfers — Malcolm Crockett (Pittsburgh) and Jamarcus Jarvis (North Texas). Jarvis played at East Ascension High School.
“That’s one of the most competitive positions on the team,” Odums said. “We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.”
Two sets of bus trips are available for Jaguars road games this season. The Southern University 6th Man Club is offering trips to all six road trips — UL-Lafayette, Prairie View A&M (Sept. 20), Alcorn State (Sept. 27), Alabama A&M (Oct. 11), Jackson State (Oct. 25) and the Bayou Classic (Nov. 29).
For information, contact Gail Ray (225-356-5252), Anna Jones (225-387-1982/225-907-7212), Freddie Green Sr. (225-388-9403/225-421-6637) or Elijah Wilkinson Jr. (225-355-9249).
Separate trips are available for all but the Alabama A&M and Bayou Classic games. For information on those trips, contact Lisa White (225-408-9928).
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate. For more coverage, follow our blogs at http://blogs.theadvocate.com