If Thursday morning’s practice was any indication, the Southern football team’s defense looks to be a step ahead of its offensive counterparts.
When practice concluded with the sides squaring off in red zone, goal line and overtime situations, the defense consistently came out ahead. Co-offensive coordinator Chadwick Germany said his players have a lot of catching up to do.
“The defense did a great job of being hard-nosed,” he said. “As an offense, we’re not satisfied with where we are.”
His group welcomed All-Southwestern Athletic Conference receiver Lee Doss back to practice Thursday after he suffered a hip contusion Monday. Doss led the Jaguars with 65 catches for 703 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior last season.
“We think we’ll have a good, solid unit at receiver led by Doss,” Germany said.
That belief was reinforced by the addition of freshman Chuck Baker, a former LSU commitment. Baker comes to Southern as one of the highest decorated recruits in program history; he ranked 205th on ESPN’s list of the top high school prospects for 2013.
Baker led Salmen High School to the second round of the playoffs last season. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he can both overpower defenders and create separation by using his speed and athleticism.
But being a freshman comes with a learning curve, even for the top recruits.
“College football for freshmen is an adjustment,” head coach Dawson Odums said. “We know he’s a special talent. He’s just got to learn what we’re doing. You can’t play fast if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Part of that adjustment includes finding his place in the offense.
“Chuck is learning the offense, and he’s gradually fitting into what we are doing,” Germany said. “We’re looking forward to what he’ll bring to help us be a solid offense. He’s improving daily. He’s staying focused. He’s in his playbook. He needs to continue to stay focused and be a team player.”
The Jaguars haven’t determined Baker’s role for the season opener Aug. 30 against Houston at Reliant Stadium. Baker didn’t crack the depth chart released before training camp.
With a scrimmage set for Saturday, the Jaguars hope to learn more about their young standout soon.
“It’s like Coach Odums says,” Germany said. “One good day is not enough. We need to put good days on top of each other, and that will put us in a good direction heading into Houston.”