Southern interim coach Odums stressing discipline
By Mike McCall
September 30, 2012
Rule No. 1 of the Dawson Odums regime: Do. Not. Walk.
Monday evening marked Southern’s first practice since Stump Mitchell was fired and Odums was named interim coach, and while it’s far too early to tell whether the Jaguars will get better because of it, it’s a safe bet they’ll move faster on the practice field.
Whenever players took their time getting off the field or to the line for the next play, Odums or an assistant were quick to jump on them.
“Quit damn walking!” Odums yelled.
“We’re not walking out here!” co-offensive coordinator Elvis Joseph added.
That was the most noticeable characteristic of the first Odums-led practice, which was moved back two hours from the usual time but finished half an hour faster than the standard SU practice.
“One thing about me is I’m a disciplinarian, and I just believe that gets you at least into the fourth quarter with a chance to win football games,” Odums said.
“I believe (fans) will see a disciplined football team and a team that plays with a lot of passion and gives great effort. That’s what I hang my hat on.”
That disciplined approach was on full display Monday, whether it was shouting at the lollygaggers, calmly dishing out up-downs as punishments — as in, “You owe me 20” — or kicking a player off the field, which happened in the first 30 minutes.
During offensive drills, tight end Rashaun Allen dropped two passes in a row and slammed his helmet on the ground after being pulled out of action. Odums, who had been surveying both the offense and defense from midfield, quickly took notice and sent Allen to the locker room.
“As you can see, we’re under new management now,” defensive tackle Casey Narcisse said. “It’s a new house, so everybody has to do what they have to do. Everybody will be held accountable for their actions.”
That’s not drastically different from life under Mitchell, but it’s not quite the same, either.
“Coach Mitchell, he’s more understanding,” Narcisse said. “Coach Odums is not understanding. It’s either be here or be on your deathbed for your excuse. That’s it.”
A little discipline would go a long way, particularly for the over-penalized and lackadaisical offense that showed up Thursday against Mississippi Valley State.
With Mitchell gone, quarterbacks coach Chad Germany and running backs coach Elvis Joseph are sharing the title of offensive coordinator, and Germany is taking on the play-calling duties.
Monday brought a few different looks and more emphasis on hustling to the line of scrimmage, and the offense opened practice by running a series of no-huddle plays straight down the field as a warm-up.
Another time-saving measure included running team drills on both ends of the field, rather than the traditional set-up of having one offense, one defense and rotating groups in and out.
After putting the team through their customary sprints at the end of practice, Odums called his players to the center and — not happy with their hustle — had them put their helmets back on and buckle the chin strap. Once satisfied, he gave the next order.
In unison and with military-like precision, they popped off their helmets and took a knee for Odums’ post-practice speech.
“You have to do a lot of things quicker. Very quick,” Narcisse said.