Southern was back on the practice field during its final week of camp and it was tight ends and quarterbacks who stood out for coach Dawson Odums.
Starting tight end Jeremias Houston returned to workouts after missing some practices last week and the Saturday scrimmage. Odums said Houston, who is 6-foot-6 and 254 pounds, will play a much bigger role in the offense this season.
“Jeremias is a senior with a good skill set,” Odums said. “Other guys at that position are not as experienced. But the tight ends made some plays today, they made some catches and turned them into big runs.”
Houston backed up Dennis Craig last year and caught five balls for 143 yards, while Craig had four catches for 67 yards.
“Jeremias has been in our program a while and we don’t get many 6-6 tight ends as athletic as he is,” Odums said. “He’s played a lot of football and gives our quarterbacks another big target. He’s improved in all areas, the point of attack in the run game, his route running. He’s really improved his blocking. We have a weapon people are going to have to account for.”
Backing up Houston is junior college transfer Travis Tucker, whom Odums said is “getting better every day.” Other tight ends in camp include Jadarion Davis, Izayah Hill and Jalen Kelly, all freshmen.
Odums also lauded the play of reserve quarterback Bubba McDaniel, who got extra reps in practices last week and in the Saturday scrimmage with Ladarius Skelton being out. Skelton returned to the practice field Monday.
“Ladarius was back and shaking some rust off,” Odums said. “Bubba McDaniel is really doing an outstanding job in his reps. It’s pleasing to see the progress he’s made since last season. The quarterbacks jumped out at me in today’s work.”
Also returning to practice Tuesday was defensive tackle Davin Cotton, who missed the scrimmage.
Odums is dialing back the workload. The Jaguars worked out in helmets and will do that again on Wednesday. Thursday they will be in shells (helmets and shoulder pads), and go back to helmets only Friday. On Saturday the Jaguars will scrimmage at 7:45 a.m. as part of the Fan Fest activities.
“We had great tempo, energy and competitiveness today,” he said. “We’re a little banged up. We have guys nursing soft tissue injuries. Trying to get them healthy this week. We’re going to count the reps and try to get some of our down the line guys some snaps. We don’t want to lose anybody before start of the season.
“We’re starting to get guys back. We had a good concentration practice today, and hope to have one tomorrow. We want to practice smart but still get our work in.”