Southern football seeks strong spring finish

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern quarterback Deonte Shorts Show caption
Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern quarterback Deonte Shorts

Spring football is winding down for Southern.

The Jaguars held a walkthrough Friday afternoon in the parking lot next to A.W. Mumford Stadium to preserve the wet field for the spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday inside the stadium.

The 70-75-play spring game will be a little more than half the length of a scrimmage last Saturday and will conclude the spring session. The Jaguars have managed to avoid any serious injuries over the last 3½ weeks and coach Dawson Odums would like to keep it that way.

He said the team has accomplished what he set out to accomplish and now he wants to finish on a positive and healthy note.

“That’s the number one goal; we’re just trying to get through spring ball healthy.

“We want to end on a positive note. There should be some signs of getting better. I think we’ve been doing that so I’m looking forward to guys continuing that execution (Saturday).”

Odums said he likes what he has seen on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“Defensively we got better against the run,” he said. “We wanted to focus on that and as we close out spring we want to continue to get better against the run and we want to get better at understanding our pass concepts.”

Improving the run defense has been a point of emphasis since the spring began.

“Everybody is showing up in their gaps and everybody is handling their responsibilities,” linebacker Daniel Brown said. “There’s just a better effort getting to the ball.”

The battle continues between Deonte Shorts and Francis Kennah to be the starting quarterback, but the key to the offense will be balance.

“On offense we’re still working on the running game,” Odums said. “If teams are going to load the box we’re going to be able to throw the ball. I think with our offense it’s going to be really hard to stop both the running game and the passing game.

“We’ve got two quarterbacks that can throw the football and they’re getting better every day. I keep telling people it’s a battle.”

It’s a battle that Shorts leads, but which won’t be settled until fall camp, Odums said.

The quarterbacks have the benefit of a deep and talented group of wide receivers. Odums said as many as 10 receivers could see playing time in the fall.

“In the spring game we want to prove we’re better than we were the first day we started,” wide receiver Mike Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of depth and competition at wide receiver this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Odums said he won’t release a depth chart until the fall in hopes of maximizing competition throughout the summer.

“The spring game is a test to see who’s been working hard,” offensive lineman Dwayne Houston said. “It’s a chance to show how you’ve caught up on the material and to work on new things.”