After a 129-play dress rehearsal scrimmage a week ago, Southern University will give its fans a sneak peek at the 2019 football team in the spring game at 1 p.m. Saturday at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Admission is free and the gates will open at noon. Fans should enter through Gate 6 on the West side with parking on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Jaguars have been practicing three times a week since March 7, working with a squad that has 18 starters returning from a group that went 7-4 in 2018 and won the SWAC West Division. Coach Dawson Odums was pleased with the progress his team showed in last Saturday’s scrimmage and hopes to show more.
“We still have some work to do,” Odums said. “We’ve got a pretty good team coming back. The effort was great and the competitiveness was there. We ran a lot of plays. It was great to see us mix it up a little bit.”
Odums said the format will be controlled with no kicking or punting. The play promises to be competitive with the first-team offense facing the first-team defense and twos vs. twos (second team) for two series each starting on the 20-yard line, followed by one series with the threes (third team). The starting points of drives will be moved around after that.
Southern will hold four more spring practices after the spring game focusing on building depth with the threes and fours participating in a scrimmage.
“We’re going to get in and get out,” Odums said. “We’re pretty much done with scrimmaging until the last day when we get our threes and fours (fourth team) some live action reps to evaluate them.”
Odums called the spring work “very competitive and spirited” through the past four weeks. The experience returning showed up as both he offense and defense had high points after which the opposite side responded.
“The offense started out slow but got rolling,” Odums said. “The defense came out fast then hit a lull. All three quarterbacks played well. LaDarius Skelton, John Lampley and Glendon McDaniel all did a good job of making the right decisions with the ball and that’s going to give us a chance.
“The one and two offensive lines did some really good things. Even the third offensive line helped us move the ball. The running backs were solid. Good to see guys who haven’t played a lot make some plays.”
Odums complimented the play of starting wide receivers Jamar Washington, Kendall Catalon and Cameron Mackey, and tight end Jeremias Houston.
“There’s a reason we can score some points,” Odums said. “We’re pretty athletic.”
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect on defense was improved play vs. the run by the defense, a large point of emphasis for Odums and the defensive staff, headed up by recently appointed defensive coordinator Lionel Washington.
Odums cited defensive tackle Dakavion Champion for setting an example by “playing hard every snap” while linebackers Calvin Lunkins and Jordan Williams played with physicality.
“The secondary, we had some guys that did really well,” Odums said. “(Benjamin) Harris had an outstanding scrimmage, he made some plays. Along with Chase Foster and Kaycee Ntukogu, those three safeties stood out. Our one and two deep were really competitive.”
Odums also liked the performances of the corners, where several players are vying to replace lost starters Timothy Thompson and Demerio Houston.
“Jordan Eastling, Robert Rheim and Glenn Brown really stepped up to the plate and are going to be ready to be the starting corners for us,” Odums said.
Placekicker Cesar Barajas was perfect on his field-goal attempts.
Spring game parking instructions
Cars, trucks and SUVs can park in lots B and C, entering from Swan Avenue or Harding Boulevard. RVs can park in Balentine Plaza and the F.G. Clark gameday area, with access from Swan Avenue only. RVs must provide their own power, there will be no hookups available. Because of construction, the East side of Mumford Stadium is off limits.