The few. The proud. The Southern Jaguars.
Days before putting the Southern football team through its first workout of spring practice, coach Dawson Odums welcomed local Marines to campus and had them put his Jaguars through a Marines-like training session.
Sit-ups, push-ups and flipping tires were among the activities Friday morning on Southern’s muddy practice field.
Southern starts spring practice Tuesday.
“They already have the respect of people because of who they are and what they represent,” Odums said of the Marines. “So it didn’t take long for our guys to fall in line.”
Odums said the Marines created the kind of environment he and his assistant coaches cannot.
“We were looking at it from the standpoint of teamwork, discipline and accountability,” Odums said, “because those are things we’ve been talking about and working on.”
The morning began as the Marines fed the players MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) in the Southern team room.
From there, the Jaguars broke into four separate teams and hit the muddy practice field, where they competed in a series of challenges to test strength, endurance and — most of all — teamwork.
The winning team received a trophy and other keepsakes.
“It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve been through since I’ve been at Southern,” Southern receiver Lee Doss said, “but it was also probably one of the funnest things I’ve been a part of.”
Southern guard Corey White said the workout opened his eyes.
“I don’t see how the Marines do it,” he said.
Odums, entering his first full year as Southern’s coach, said the Jaguars must work hard now to have success in the fall.
But he doesn’t want the workouts to become monotonous.
“Whatever I’ve got to do to create a mental edge, that’s what we’re gong to do in trying to build this football team into a football program,” he said.