College Football Preview: The 2014 South Alabama Jaguars
South Alabama looks to win the close games in 2014.
2014 College Football Preview
The South Alabama Jaguars look to retool a depleted defense and win the close ones to challenge in the Sun Belt.
Overview: South Alabama returns virtually their entire offense except QB Ross Metheny but the front seven of the defense is thin. The question is whether Joey Jones can replace the lost talent and improve upon their five defeats by a touchdown or less.
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Offense: Metheny was a solid contributor in the air and on the ground with over 2,600 passing yards while running for 720 which was second on the team. Brandon Bridge threw for nearly 400 yards as the backup but connected at just 44% but he probably is the starter by default or the meantime or longer. Leading rusher Jay Jones brings 737 yards back with the #3 and #4 runners returning as well. The top four receivers are back including Shavarez Smith who approached 1,000 yards along with the entire offensive line including All SBC performers Chris May and Ucambre Williams so the offense is loaded.
Defense: It's more of what was lost on this side of the ball which is a lot. The top three linemen are gone as well as 20.5 sacks and 41 TFL and overall six of the top nine have departed. The linebacking crew is in need of playmakers as well with four of the top six having graduated although Maleki Harris is a solid pass defender and but will need to do more as the only real experience of this group. The secondary is loaded with depth with six of the top seven returning but the Jaguars sometimes struggled in pass coverage so experience doesn't guarantee success.
Special Teams: USA has to find a punter but placekicker Aleem Sunanon is rock solid as he hit 18-23 including 8-10 from beyond 40 yards. TJ Glover will handle both return jobs
Outlook: If the Jaguars find a decent quarterback the offense is in very good shape. The defense might not be as bad as the losses look but they could be. The bottom liine is we have to see how this team plays but my guess is this team will be on par with the one we saw a season ago.