Southern begins spring practice Wednesday

Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Southern football coach Dawson Odums eyes his players as they warm up for their first spring practice on campus last year. The Jaguars begin spring drills Wednesday morning. Show caption
Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Southern football coach Dawson Odums eyes his players as they warm up for their first spring practice on campus last year. The Jaguars begin spring drills Wednesday morning.

Odums gives Jaguars an early wakeup call as offseason practice begins

The Southern football team will be an early riser for the start of spring practice.

The Jaguars will hit the practice field at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday for their first workout of the 3½-week spring period.

“That’s when we normally do our weightlifting,” coach Dawson Odums said. “So it’s nothing new for them.”

The reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference champions will take their first steps toward trying to build another championship contender throughout March.

“These guys will be ready to go,” Odums said. “It’ll be a great start to practice, and I’m sure their energy level will be high.”

Southern set the tone for spring practice when the players took part in Marine Day nearly two weeks ago. Area Marines put the players through a series of drills designed to challenge them physically and mentally as well as strengthen team unity.

But beginning Wednesday, it’s all about football as Odums starts identifying who can fill holes left by the departure of 19 seniors from last year’s 9-4 team, which finished on a five-game winning streak to claim the Jaguars’ first SWAC championship in 10 years.

Additionally, eight transfers who enrolled for the spring semester will start getting acclimated to Southern’s schemes. The transfer class is comprised of two running backs, Malcolm Crockett (Pittsburgh) and Jamarcus Jarvis (North Texas); two safeties, Rhaheim Ledbetter (Florida) and Renaldo Thomas (Tulane); two tight ends, Willis Howard (Atlanta Sports Academy) and Montrell Jones (Rochester Technical Community College); linebacker Martin Henry (Pierce College); and wide receiver Reggie Travis (Memphis).

“We’re going to focus on execution and fundamentals,” Odums said. “You just try to get better every day at the basic things.”

Additionally, Odums said the Jaguars will try to improve at running the ball and stopping the run, in addition to becoming more consistent on special teams.

“We return a lot of good players and we’ve added some more good players,” Odums said. “That should create great competition at all positions. We need to take advantage of that competition. That’s what spring ball is for.”

The Jaguars will practice 15 times leading up to their spring game March 29.