Southern’s preseason camp ended Saturday, but the Jaguars still have nearly three weeks to prepare for the season opener Sept. 5 at Louisiana Tech.
Camp lasted 13 days and ended with a 90-play scrimmage Saturday morning.
“I thought we did exactly what we wanted to do,” coach Dawson Odums said. “We wanted our upperclassmen to play fast and we wanted to get the younger guys a lot of reps so they could learn what we’re doing and we wanted to be healthy. I think we accomplished those things coming out of camp.”
Southern begins classes Monday, the players return to the practice field Tuesday and the team will gradually turn its attention to Louisiana Tech.
“Now it’s about, let’s look at what we did coming out of camp,” Odums said, “what we do well, throw away what we don’t do well, let’s clean it up, let’s game plan, let’s get our mind focused on the opponent that’s in front of us.”
Several players had heat-related issues, but nothing serious despite the tempertaure exceeding 100 degrees on several days.
“Some days it was so hot out there we’d forget our names,” linebacker Demetrius Carter said, “but we got through it.”
Comings and goings
The Southern roster has changed quite a bit since the start of camp. The Jaguars lost nine players and added six.
The players no longer on the team are OLs Brandon Thibodeaux and Neako Jones, DBs Justin Bethancourt and Javen Toney, TEs Dennis Craig and Vance Adams, DL Justin Woods, LB LeMar Martin and WR Kelvin Woods.
The additions are DB Danshawn Jenkins, QB Micah Zanders, WR Tyler Walker, DT Darrian McMillan, OL P.J. Glover and LB Terrance Simon.
Southern hasn’t specified the reasons for the late additions or subtractions.
WR Gales stands out
Wide receiver is the deepest position on Southern’s team and another player made a push to move up the depth chart there in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Sophomore Devon Gales, who has been battling to be a third-team receiver, caught several passes Saturday, including two touchdowns.
“Devon Gales is a small guy (5-foot-9, 158 pounds), but he’s lion hearted,” quarterback Austin Howard said. “He isn’t scared of anything. If he has to run a slant and get hit by a linebacker he’s going to go do it. Those are the type of guys that we need.”
Gales caught one touchdown from Howard and another from Jarrad Hayes, who was his teammate for one season at Central High School and a fellow member of the Jaguars scout team last season.
“We developed a bond on last year’s scout team,” Gales said. “I know where the ball is going to be and he knows where to throw it.”
Gales played in 10 games on special teams last season and made eight tackles, but didn’t record a statistic on offense.
“We have a lot of good receivers,” Gales said. “We have a lot of veterans and I’m just a sophomore. I’ve been learning. I think I can make an impact on the offense.”
“Great Wall of Louisiana”
Offensive line coach Chennis Berry traditionally calls his group “The Nickel” in reference to it being a unit of five. Now the linemen have coined a second nickname for themselves.
“They’re the GWOL now,” Berry said. “That‘s what they call themselves. The Great Wall of Louisiana. They’re fired up about that. Every time they send a text to me they put the hashtag with GWOL.”
Former Jaguar dies
Former Southern football player Nack Thomas, a long-time police officer in Houston, died last week at age 95.
Thomas, whose full name was Edward Alfred Thomas, was born in Keatchie, and played for legendary Jaguars coach A.W. Mumford in the late 1930s before being drafted into World War II.
He served 63 years in the Houston Police Department, which named its building after him in a ceremony earlier this summer. Funeral services will be Tuesday in Houston.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.