Fall camp is behind the Southern Jaguars, school is in and the attention has turned toward the start of the season.
Southern players had Sunday and Monday off, the latter day to accommodate the first day of classes, but went in full pads Tuesday with an eye on the season opener at McNeese State.
“It’s game time now,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “Each day we should be getting a little more focused and getting things ready for the opener.
“We worked some on McNeese to the best of our ability. We don’t know what they are going to do. It’s a new staff. We have an idea, but we just don’t know for sure.
“What they might have done somewhere else they may not have the personnel to do at McNeese. We can’t switch film with them because they have no film. It’s tough.”
Sterlin Gilbert takes over this year for a Cowboys program that in the past has won with defense and a strong running game. But Gilbert is an offensive-minded coach who is bringing the spread to Lake Charles, run by quarterback Cody Orgeron.
As offensive coordinator, Gilbert steered a South Florida offense that averaged 513 yards and 38.3 points per game.
The Jaguars will have to account for defender Chris Livings, who enters the season with 20½ career sacks.
The good news is the Jaguars are getting healthier. Wide receivers Hunter Register and Cameron Mackey returned to practice but not in full pads. They will suit up Wednesday.
Cornerback Robert Rhem put the pads on and Odums said the tight ends, running backs and defensive line were all healthy. Defensive end Tyran Nash continues to recover from an injury last season ahead of schedule.
Odums said the team will go full pads again Wednesday, in shells Thursday and helmets Friday before a full pads workout Saturday closed to the media. He said there won’t be much more live hitting.
“It’s too close to the season,” Odums said. “We did some hitting in a couple of live periods, but we stayed up. We have depth but we want to keep our guys healthy and keep our best team out there. We have an idea who we’re going with and who will travel but it will be more clear next week.”
Who’s No. 2?
Reserve quarterbacks John Lampley and Bubba McDaniel are staging a tough battle for the backup spot behind Ladrius Skelton, one that will go right up to the opener.
“We haven’t made a decision but we have a plan in place,” Odums said. “Once we get to the season we’ll know how to execute the plan. We want to keep it under wraps how we handle the quarterback position. We have the capability to play three guys.
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. For more information call 225-939-5906 or 225-931-1000.