Southern closed the book on preseason camp with an open, controlled scrimmage that was high on basics and low on detail.
The Jaguars went approximately 90 plays and stayed vanilla in both the offensive and defensive playbooks. The defense didn’t tackle to the ground and third-and fourth-team players saw a large number of repetitions.
“We were keeping it basic and seeing if the guys were recalling the information,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “It was basic (defensive) playbook. We might have had two or three calls. On offense, we were very vanilla. You didn’t see a lot of quarterback runs other than scrambles.
“When you close the scrimmage you can do more and I know the fans may get upset about that but we live in a different era (of social media). So we have to protect the privacy of the program, protect the players and coaches.”
The Jaguars went through situational series, coming off the goal line and red zone offense. The offense scored three touchdowns and got two field goals from the special teams. The defense forced five turnovers, including two interceptions, a fumble recovery and two turnovers on downs.
“We need a lawyer at practice,” Odums joked, referring to the deal with the defense that more than tree turnovers results in coaches running post practice sprints. “It seems when the numbers are in they’re favor, they go up. The rules say turning it over on downs counts as a turnover, so we ran.”
Starting quarterback Ladarius Skelton returned after missing the previous Saturday’s scrimmage with a heat-related illness. He was eight for 13 passing for 73 yards and one touchdown, an 8-yard pass to tight end Jeremias Houston to cap off a 45-yard drive. The 6-foot-6 Houston went high to tip the ball with one hand and control it for the score.
“Skelton looked great and getting better,” Odums said. “He has command of what we’re doing, a solid foundation. He’s ready to move on and get into game preparation mode. It was good to see him there.”
Odums lauded the play of reserve quarterback Glendon “Bubba” McDaniel, who took the second turn on quarterback reps. He scrambled 9 yards for one touchdown and threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Craig Nelson for another. John Lampley threw a 45-yard scoring pass to Darbbeon Profit on a screen play.
McDaniel was 15 for 20 passing for 124 yards. Corey Williams caught four passes for 39 yards, Brandon Thomas three for 35 and Nelson caught three for 15. Quarterbacks had decent protection despite three sacks and one holding penalty.
“We had a solid day,” senior center Jaylon Brinson said of the offensive line. “We have some things we need to improve on, but we had some nice pockets.”
Odums said McDaniel may have had the best camp of all players.
“I’m proud of him,” Odums said. “He’s had some adversity in his life. To put it behind him, step up and be a competitor, I take my hat off to him. I’m proud of him to come out and play football and put all that behind him.”
Defensively, Chase Foster and Tamaurice Smith had interceptions while Glenn Brown and Robert Rehm had pass breakups. Donovan White and Jordan Lewis each had a sack for the defense but Odums was troubled by four offsides calls.
“We can’t beat anybody giving away yards,” he said. “We’re going to put together a penalty highlight video and show them so we can get better in the next couple of weeks.”