Southern coach Stump Mitchell wasn’t going to wait forever on help at defensive tackle, no matter how badly the Jaguars needed some.
Mitchell announced Monday he would be “moving forward” without former University of Louisiana-Lafayette lineman Donavain Mallet, who reported to the team last week but had been absent from practice in recent days. Defensive back Jaleel Richardson, who appeared in one game — making one tackle — for the Jaguars as a freshman last season, will take the roster spot Mitchell had been holding for Mallet in hopes of getting some help on the defensive
“He’s done,” Mitchell said of Mallet. “We gave him the opportunity to come on. He came to practice one day. He was supposed to report back here (Sunday) for a practice. He didn’t, so now I’m going to move forward and bring Jaleel Richardson back into camp.”
Mallet was listed on ULL’s roster in 2010 as a 5-foot-10, 300-pound redshirt freshman. He missed the early part of preseason camp at Southern for what was described as family issues.
“I gave a defensive lineman an opportunity because we need D-linemen,” Mitchell said. “But now Jaleel will come in, and I expect him to help us on special teams.”
Three yet to pass
Southern is down to only three players waiting to pass the team’s conditioning test before they can join their teammates for preseason practices.
Eleven players passed the test Sunday that requires completing 12 sprints at a time determined by position. Linebacker Chris Scruggs made only 11 of the 12 sprints in time, but was given the go-ahead by Mitchell because he’s working his way back from knee surgery.
Mitchell said offensive linemen Devante Lawrence, Brandon Thibodeaux and Allan Spry are the only Jaguars who have yet to pass the test.
“Those guys have to get in better shape in order for us to be able to depend on them,” Mitchell said.
Defense turns tables
Linebackers Jeremy Coleman and Detrane Lindsey provided the top highlights during team drills Monday matching the offense and defense in a scrimmage-like setting.
Coleman intercepted J.P. Douglas in the right flat, then high-stepped into the end zone for a pick-six. Later, Lindsey stripped the ball from wide receiver Jordan Bilbo, who caught a pass near the sideline and was fighting for extra yardage.
Mitchell commended the defense’s effort, but said Southern must do a better job of protecting the ball after committing 30 turnovers last year.
“We want to be a physical football team. That starts offensively — not defensively,” Mitchell said. “Because of those two plays, the defense won. We have to be able to finish plays.”
Douglas owed his coach three laps around the practice field for throwing the interception.
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