Southern football coach Dawson Odums said starting cornerback Robert Rhem is out for the season because of a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener against McNeese State.
Rhem, a sophomore from Ocala, Florida, has missed the past two games. He saw playing time last year and had eight tackles with three pass breakups.
Southern’s other starting cornerback, Glenn Brown, has yet to play this season because of an eligibility issue. Odums said he’s still waiting on word of Brown’s status. Transfers Jordan Eastling and O.J. Tucker have filled in at corner.
“Robert Rhem out for the season,” Odums said on the SWAC conference call Monday. “I hope to hear something on Glenn Brown today. It’s a good thing we had a little bit of depth at that position. Those guys have been forced into a role as starters.”
Dawson did get good news on left tackle J’Atyre Carter, who missed Saturday’s game. Carter will be back after senior Mason Sims filled in during Southern’s 61-0 victory Saturday against Edward Waters.
“If we had to have him he could have played, but he needed some rest," Odums said. "He’s ready to roll, 100 percent. It’s been nine weeks since we started camp. Hopefully we can get to that first bye week healthy.”
Southern takes on a familiar opponent with a road trip to Florida A&M at 5 p.m. Saturday. The teams have met 61 times but only seven times since 2000. The most recent meeting was a 21-14 Southern victory in Atlanta in Odums' second game as interim coach.
The Rattlers (1-1) thumped Fort Valley State 57-20 on Saturday, and like Southern led 40-0 at halftime. FAMU lost 62-0 to Central Florida in Week 1.
FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns against Fort Valley, all in the first half. Wide receiver David Mango caught seven for 110 yards and a score while George Webb had five catches for 106 yards. Seven Rattlers receivers caught passes.
Defensively, the Rattlers held Fort Valley State to minus-15 yards rushing and 169 yards overall. The Rattlers forced four turnovers and had seven sacks. FAMU weathered 14 penalties for 130 yards.
Kicking it up
Odums might have a change to make at placekicker. Martell Fontenot missed a 36-yard field goal attempt against Edward Waters and missed a 32-yard try against McNeese State. He made his only other attempt, a 34-yarder against Memphis.
After Fontenot's miss Saturday, Odums switched to Cesar Barajas, who handles kickoffs and punting duty because he has a stronger leg than Fontenot, for field goals. Barajas successfully converted a 33-yarder.
“We have two really good kickers,” Odums said. “It’s a matter of who goes out there with the right mindset. Cesar has a strong leg. (The ball) comes off like thunder. But it’s about being consistent. He’s going to work to fix his mistakes.
“Martell is a consistent guy, in his demeanor and approach. He pushed it (Saturday’s miss). It could be alignment or a lot of things. Most of it is mental.”
When asked Monday if he was going to make a change, Odums said, “They’ll play rock, paper, scissors.”
The Jaguars moved up one spot from No. 6 to No. 5 in the BOXTOROW media top 10 for HBCUs and stayed put at No. 4 in the coaches poll.
Southern swapped places with Prairie View, which fell 42-35 to Nicholls State while Southern was routing Edward Waters 61-0.
North Carolina A&T held the top spot and garnered all first-place votes in both polls, followed by Bethune-Cookman and Alcorn State.
The Rattlers have two Louisiana players on their roster, both redshirt freshmen from New Orleans. Quarterback LeJohn Howard played at McDonogh 35 and redshirt freshman defensive end Kyle Jackson at St. Augustine.