Since Southern’s coaching change brought a new atmosphere to practices, the two words used most in describing it have been “discipline” and “military-like.”
That sure didn’t show on Saturday.
For all of interim coach Dawson Odums’ emphasis on discipline, the Jaguars were remarkably undisciplined in their 28-21 victory against Jackson State.
They were penalized 14 times for 136 yards — numbers that were hard for Odums to stomach. At more than 10 penalties and 85 yards per game, SU is the third-worst team in the conference in that category and had several that could have cost it the game this weekend.
The Jaguars helped along the Tigers’ second touchdown drive in the fourth quarter with a personal foul that moved them to the SU 26, and an illegal block penalty on a kickoff cost Southern 20 yards when it needed to run off the final four minutes of game clock to win the game.
Odums’ squad was able to survive those mistakes, partly because JSU tallied up 11 penalties of its own for 118 yards. But moving forward, he knows they aren’t likely to get away with such a flag-filled afternoon again.
“I think we had some kids that really made some bone-headed plays,” Odums said. “We’re going to address that at practice. We had a couple of physical penalties like hands to the face and a chop block, and those are the things that we can’t do. … We stress discipline, but we didn’t show a whole lot of discipline Saturday.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Southern’s offensive performance Saturday was that the Jaguars did it without their top wideout.
Charles Hawkins, who led the team with 80 yards on six catches against New Mexico, has missed the past two games with a pulled hamstring.
Although SU didn’t miss Hawkins against the Tigers, he’ll be closely watched during practices in hopes he’ll come back to boost the offense against Florida A&M.
He began Monday’s practice by jogging laps around the field, but his place with the first-team offense was occupied by Thomas Jackson, who notched his first career touchdown Saturday.
“We won’t test him too much, but we want to get a feel for where he’s at,” Odums said of Hawkins. “If he’s able to go, he’ll play Saturday.”
Pittman back at practice
After skipping a practice last week and being held off the travel squad, former starting kicker Greg Pittman was back in action on Monday. Matthew Hill took his place at Jackson State.
Track nearly complete
Southern’s players had to take a different route to practice Monday.
Rather than their usual path through A.W. Mumford Stadium and out the side onto the practice field, they had to walk around and through the parking lot.
That’s because the school’s track is strictly off-limits.
After a long delay, the Jaguars track program is finally close to having a fresh surface to run on. Resurfacing is nearly complete, with the dark-red surface in place and awaiting the final touches and paint.
The project is expected to be done Thursday, and a tarp will be used to protect it during the school’s scheduled soccer match on Friday.
The 6th Man Club is sponsoring a trip to the Florida A&M game in Atlanta.
The costs are $305 for the bus ride, game ticket and single hotel room; $480 for the bus ride, game tickets and hotel accommodations (the Atlanta Marriott Downtown) for two; $655 for the bus ride, game tickets and hotel accommodations for three; $830 for the bus ride, game tickets and hotel accommodations for four; and $130 for the bus ride alone.
The bus leaves at 8 p.m. Friday from 4523 Plank Road.
For more information, call Anna Jones at (225) 387-1982 or (225) 907-7212), Freddie Green Sr. at (225) 388-9403 or (225) 572-3060 or Elijah Wilkinson Jr. at (225) 355-9249.