There’s no need to panic yet.
According to Southern baseball coach Roger Cador, everything is going according to plan, despite his Jaguars dropping eight of their first 10 games.
Cador was never shy about his concerns with the Jaguars’ talent level, saying in October that they would struggle early after he completely rebuilt the roster, and the coach is keeping to that assessment now.
“We knew it. I told the coaching staff we were going to struggle (this season),” Cador said. “It’s just difficult to play that many people that you don’t know much about and expect them to meet your expectations without having them go through the failure process.”
But the season may get worse before it gets better.
Cador may have known it would take time for his players to buy into his philosophy, but if and when they finally do has yet to be determined.
“Maybe once they fail a few more times, they’ll buy into what we’re selling,” Cador said. “I’m not surprised and I’m not disappointed, other than that they failed to follow the mission we set for them. Now we just have to refocus them and put them on the right track.”
For now, Cador plans to stay the course on his original strategy for the season heading into Tuesday’s game at UNO, where the Jaguars and Privateers will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Maestri Field.
UNO (9-2) is off to a strong start, with its only losses coming to Southern Mississippi and No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette and fresh off a series sweep of Pittsburgh.
Cador said his lineup changes will be “minimal” moving forward but that sophomore Marcus Hodge will start at third base against UNO over usual starter Franky Montesino, while freshman Eian Mitchell returns to the designated hitter spot where he’s been splitting time with Hodge.
Junior left-hander Jarrod Jarreau will make his second start of the season Tuesday.
Jarreau was given the loss in Southern’s game against Jackson State last week after giving up four runs and four hits in 3.1 innings.
He also allowed two runs on one hit in one inning of work in the series opener versus Auburn, and he gave up an RBI single against Grambling on Saturday.
“We’ve got to find some pitchers we can depend on,” Cador said. “They’ve all struggled throwing strikes, they’ve all struggled with their command, so we’ve got to get them to where they can throw strikes. If they can just throw strikes, our success rate will go up.”
Cador said the focus moving forward has to be on fundamentals and getting players to accept his system.
He has been pleased with the Jaguars’ performance at the plate after a weekend series with Grambling in which Southern put up 24 runs on 35 hits, but he added that the Jaguars are still taking too many “bad at-bats” and thought they could have done more against Grambling’s pitchers.
“Until we learn to stay within ourselves and do little things better, we’re going to continue to struggle,” Cador said. “We’re not the kind of team that can do big things.
“We’ve got a lot of kids playing for the first time, and they have to learn my philosophy and how I want them to play.”