Southern has been navigating around COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in preparation for its spring football season and now is dealing with significant weather concerns.
Heavy rain washed out Thursday’s practice and likely will do the same to the team’s final scrimmage, although the Jaguars will hold a regular practice in the afternoon.
“This morning we needed life jackets and pontoon boats to get around,” Southern coach Dawson Odums cracked. “Hopefully, we’ll get back out there (Friday). We probably will not scrimmage Saturday, just have a regular practice. Playing it by ear to see where we are physically and mentally.”
Odums’ biggest concern is getting the team healthy and ready for the Feb. 26 opener at Alabama State, which is only two weeks away. The Jaguars have been fortunate with limited effects from pandemic protocols, but have had some injuries affect the practice rotations.
“Today not going is a needed day of rest,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure we get a healthy football team to the gate. It’s going to take unbelievable commitment from our players, coaches, auxiliary staff so these guys have everything they need to be as healthy as possible going into the first game.
“Guys are competing, learning what we’re doing, and coming together. You can see the picture; it’s not a clear picture, but we’re gaining on it. Each day if we continue to get better. Hopefully we can put a good product on the field.”
Odums said losing the scrimmage hurts and that he’s not sure if he will try to make up for it with smaller scrimmage sessions in practices Saturday and next week.
“We’re two weeks out; we’ve got to make a tough decision (on scrimmaging),” he said. “You only have so many good guys. If you get the wrong guy banged up, you could set the whole program back. We have to get our guys as much work as possible.
“Everybody is in the same predicament playing this spring; they have to make tough decision on do you scrimmage, how much do you hold back. Talking to other coaches and listening to them in the fall, they had the same thing.”
Wide receiver Jamar Washington will not play the spring season because of a nagging foot injury and has been scheduled for surgery, Odums said. It is not known if the surgery will affect his availability for the fall season.
In 2019, Washington caught 25 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 197 yards and three scores on 26 carries.
Kickoff times set
Southern will kickoff the season at Alabama State at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 on ESPN3, one of three Jaguar games set for online streaming. Also on ESPN3 are the home opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 1:30 p.m. March 6 and the Jaguars' game at Prairie View at 7 p.m. April 10.
Southern is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. home kickoff against Alcorn State March 27 if the game is not canceled. Alcorn State says it will opt out for the spring season, but the conference office has not issued a decision on the matter.
Jackson State, under first-year coach and former NFL superstar Deion Sanders, is scheduled to appear on ESPN3 or ESPNU six times.