During a water break in Friday’s practice, Southern defensive back Marquon Webster cracked a big smile, put his arm on strength and conditioning coach Corliss Fingers’ shoulder and asked, “When’s re-testing?”
Webster didn’t have to worry about taking the team’s conditioning test again, because he passed it the first time. But the 16 players who failed have been stuck working out with Fingers instead of participating in the Jaguars’ first two preseason practices.
On Saturday, one of those 16 didn’t come back.
Running back Anthony Scott, a member of the 2012 signing class, failed the conditioning test and decided to call it quits after a day with Fingers.
“It wasn’t a good deal for him, as it wasn’t for some of the other guys,” SU coach Stump Mitchell said. “He worked with coach Fingers yesterday, and it got tough for him. He was going to be behind the 8-ball.”
Scott is the third of the 15 players in Southern’s signing class who didn’t stick. Defensive tackles Willie Paisley and Eric Eason (academics) never made it, although Eason is still expected to enroll at SU.
Mitchell said Scott was likely facing a redshirt this season, especially because fellow freshman Lenard Tillery has been an early camp standout and might earn some playing time.
That was enough to make Scott, a 5-foot-6, 187-pounder from New Orleans, hit the road.
“It was tough for him, so he said he wanted to quit,” Mitchell said. “I’m like, ‘Do you really want to quit? Or do you want to get in some shape?’ ”
For the 15 that chose to get in some shape, Sunday morning is their shot at redemption.
Mitchell said the group will get another chance at the conditioning test, which consists of 12 full-field sprints within a specified time period for each position group.
Those who pass will be free to practice, and the rest will head back to Fingers.
“We have to have those guys back healthy,” Mitchell said. “I’ve got a lot of experience playing football, and when you just try to rush guys out there, especially in this type of heat and humidity, they’re going to become mentally and physically drained and subject themselves and their teammates to injury.”
New DT on the way
It’s no secret that Southern needs more defensive linemen, even more so after losing Paisley and Eason.
On Sunday, the Jaguars expect to get one.
The team expects to add defensive tackle Donavain Mallet, a transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette, on Sunday, after his arrival was delayed for family reasons.
Mallet was last listed on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ roster in 2010, with a height of 5-foot-10 and weight of 300.
He will be the second ULL transfer at defensive tackle this year, joining 6-foot-5, 310-pound Benay Pryer.
Pryer, a Baton Rouge native and Belaire High graduate, worked with the Jaguars’ second-team defense on Saturday, and Mitchell said he expects Pryer will be a big contributor this season.
Practice cut short
The Jaguars didn’t get in a full day of work Saturday, losing at least a half hour of practice due to lightening strikes in the area.
“Guys worked hard in the weight room this morning — upper body and lower body — and we had a great practice (Friday), so I think we’ll be OK,” Mitchell said. “We’ll try to make up for it. We have a lot of experienced guys, so we’ll have to do it in the classroom.”