After three weeks of fall practice, Southern football players are as itchy as any team to take their game under the Saturday night lights.
The Jaguars experienced squad is ready to embark on the 2019 season just to escape the drudgery of practice against all-too-familiar faces. They are already getting a look, via the scout team, at their season-opening opponent McNeese State. The teams kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m ready to hit somebody else,” Southern center Jaylon Brinson said after three weeks of knocking heads with the likes of defensive tackle Dakavion Champion and linebacker Calvin Lunkins, his defensive teammates. “(Last) week we started working on McNeese. We’re getting a bead on them on defense, the different types of things they like to do. The coaching staff is doing a great job of giving us the looks we need specific to what we expect them to run.”
Southern coaches are doing the best they can to figure out exactly what that is. McNeese will run a spread offense under first-year coach Sterlin Gilbert, unlike their run-oriented offenses of the past. Southern coach Dawson Odums doesn’t know what to expect defensively but has put together a game plan based on past tendencies.
Gilbert was offensive coordinator at South Florida last season. Defensive coordinator Jim Gush spent the past two seasons at Navarro College but worked at four schools — Baylor, SMU, Kansas State and Iowa State — under former LSU defensive coordinator Phil Bennett.
Southern is counting on its vast experience and depth in a season full of promise. Brinson said the leadership has been a constant from spring through the summer and fall camp.
“We (seniors) have led the team in camp,” Brinson said. “We still have areas we want to work on. We harped on discipline. We’re making sure everybody is doing their job and everything possible to get us where we want to be. It has to be done week by week, day by day, winning the day. You can’t win a championship unless you win that day. If you win that minute, you can win that hour and you can win that day.”
Orgeron wins job
One clue about McNeese State that Southern coaches can count on is that junior Cody Orgeron, son of LSU coach Ed Orgeron, will start at quarterback. Orgeron played all 11 games last year and started three. He completed 50 of 90 passes for 406 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions.
Orgeron is also a running threat. He carried 43 times for 148 yards and one TD. He won the starting job in spring practice.
“Cody elevated and separated himself during the spring and had a really great summer,” Gilbert said. "He has all the intangibles. He can throw the ball well and make plays with his feet. He’s highly competitive.”
Jaguars on TV
Southern’s game with McNeese State will be broadcast live on Cox Sports Television and ESPN+ and the season’s second game at Memphis will be shown on ESPN3.
McNeese bus trip
The Southern Quarterback Club will once again sponsor bus trips to away games beginning with the Jaguars at McNeese State in Lake Charles Aug. 31. Cost of that trip is $100 and the bus leaves at 11 a.m. for the 6 p.m. kickoff. The price includes the game ticket and snacks.
Tickets are also available for trips to upcoming away games at Memphis and Florida A&M. Both include hotel stay. Tickets for Memphis start at $250 (single room) up to $730 (quad room), and tickets for Tallahassee, Florida, start at $305 up to $830.
For more information or to reserve seats, call (225) 939-5906 or (225) 931-1000.