Southern at UL-Lafayette: Four things to watch _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Then-freshman quarterback Austin Howard takes a snap from then-sophomore center Terrell Lee during practice.

1. Quarterback question

Alcorn can’t be sure just how Southern is going to use its quarterbacks. Austin Howard will play, probably will start and might even go the distance. But the wild card is Deonte Shorts, who started the first three games while splitting time with Howard. The Jaguars played Howard the whole way last week after Shorts missed practice time because of a sore elbow. The elbow is better, but Shorts missed time this week because of a previously unmentioned hernia. He’s doubtful and likely will need surgery at some point.

2. Discipline

Southern has been one of the most disciplined teams in the SWAC this season. It is tied with Jackson State for first in fewest penalty yards per game (51.2) and is second in fewest penalties (27). The Jaguars have been penalized seven times in each of the past two games after being penalized a season-high eight times against Central Methodist and a season-low five in the season opener at UL-Lafayette. Alcorn has been less successful in avoiding penalties. The Braves are sixth with 33 penalties and seventh in penalty yards per game (87.8).

3. Looking for a fast start

The Jaguars have emphasized getting off to fast starts this season. So far, they have mixed results, falling behind Louisiana-Lafayette 24-0 before getting on the scoreboard, scoring first and building a 36-7 lead against Central Methodist and falling behind Northwestern State 17-0 before scoring. Then last week Southern scored on its first possession of the game and never relinquished the lead in a 34-24 win. Now, the Jaguars would like to finish a little stronger after seeing a 34-10 lead shrink to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter.

4. Early start

This will be the earliest kickoff for the Jaguars so far this season. Each of the first four games started at 6 p.m. “I like day games,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “It’s really hard sitting around waiting for kickoff. Once you get to Saturday, you’re ready to play.” This game figures to be played in daylight and comes a week after several Jaguars suffered leg cramps in the second half at Prairie View. Odums had the players run more before, during and after practice this week and proper hydration was re-emphasized.