SOUTHERN CAMP REPORT: QB juggling completes first week

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUKQuarterback Deonte Shorts hands the ball off to  Herbert Edwards last week during Southern's first day of practice in the Clifford T. Seymour Gymnasium.
Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUKQuarterback Deonte Shorts hands the ball off to Herbert Edwards last week during Southern's first day of practice in the Clifford T. Seymour Gymnasium.

The preseason camp phase of Southern’s quarterback competition completed its first week Thursday.

The Jaguars have held eight practices with redshirt freshmen Deonte Shorts and Francis Kanneh and first-year freshmen Austin Howard and Jarrad Hayes taking turns trying to demonstrate they are best suited to leading the Southern offense when the season begins Aug. 30 at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Coach Dawson Odums said his decision will be based primarily on how well the quarterbacks make their decisions.

“I think the decision making is getting better,” Odums said of the group as a whole after Thursday’s workout. “We’ve still got to get rid of the football. We’re holding on to it a little bit, but I like the way they’re competing and handling adversity.”

Shorts has gotten the most reps with the first team during the first week. In the last two days, Howard and Hayes have alternated between the second and third groups. Kanneh has bided his time in the fourth spot the last two days after being mostly second before that.

“We’ve been mixing it in,” Odums said. “Different guys have been getting in with the ones.

“It’s (Kanneh’s) time to sit down and let some other guys get some reps. He got his early on in camp, so we’ve got a little rotation going.”

Edwards on a good run

It’s difficult for running backs to be upwardly mobile on the depth chart with expectations high for the top three — Lenard Tillery, Malcolm Crockett and Jamarcus Jarvis. But sophmore walk-on Herbert Edwards from St. Augustine made two long runs Thursday, continuing an impressive camp.

“Good walk-on running back,” Odums said of Edwards. “I tell people, you can find the scholarship guys but at our level you’ve got to be able to get quality walk-ons and we’ve got several that’s walking on here that’s going to have a chance to help us this year.”

Pittman joins injured list

Place-kicker Greg Pittman (knee) joined the lengthy injured list Thursday.

Others continuing to miss practice were WRs Randall Menard (foot), Willie Quinn (jaw) and Justin Morgan (ankle), CBs Dionte McDuffy (head) and D’Andre Woodland (hamstring), OL Clayton Slyve (back) and NT Jaylen Jordan and OL Neako Jones, both of whom are awaiting medical clearance after reporting late to camp.

“We hate to drop them in camp, but I think we’ve just got some bruises and stuff,” Odums said of the large number of injured players. “Everything will take care of itself.”

Workout schedule

Southern followed its first two-a-day Wednesday with a single, two-hour workout Thursday morning. Increased cloud cover make the heat a little less stifling than it had been.

The Jaguars will hold two practices again Friday, but the afternoon workout will be light in preparation for the first preseason scrimmage Saturday morning.

The scrimmage, scheduled for 9:15-11:15 a.m. Saturday, will be held on the practice field and will be open to the public.

Les East

Quick read: Three observations from Southern’s Thursday practice

1. MLB Kentavious Preston is one of the first-year freshmen who will play right away. He got reps with the first team Thursday.

2. The Jaguars are being very detailed in their special teams work. They’ve spent a lot of time on the kicking game and worked on a variety of situations.

3. The defense made several big plays in the two-minute drill late in practice and wasn’t shy about celebrating.

Les East