College Football Preview: The 2015 South Alabama Jaguars
South Alabama Jaguars Preview
2014 Record: 6-7
Joey Jones looks to lead the South Alabama Jaguars to their second straight Bowl appearance.
Overview: The Jaguars appeared in their first ever Bowl last season and with the breakup of the Alabama-Birmingham program USA has signed no less then seven Blazers who will contribute immediately and perhaps help their new team to consecutive postseason berths.
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: The defensive minded Jaguars were outscored 26-22 in 2014 but with former Blazers QB Cody Clements gives USA an instant upgrade after connecting on 66.5% of his throws for 2,227 yards with 14 scores and seven interceptions. UAB receiver Gerald Everett solidifies the passing attack with Danny Woodson II (30-382) being the top Jaguars receiver returning. Blazers RB DJ Vinson, Xavier Johnson and Terrance Timmons give the rushing game options if the O-Line meshes with three starters that includes UAB transfer Cameron Blankenship although the loss of All Sun Belt LT Ucambre Williams will be tough to overcome.
Defense: The defense was easily the strength of South Alabama but might not be in 2015. The defensive line lost their top three players and their 21.5 TFL and 15.5 sacks while the five returning player combined for 59 tackles. The linebacking unit lost their top three with UAB transfer Kalen Jackson will battle for a starting role and gives this group much needed leadership. Only two of the top five in the secondary are back and an influx of freshman might be pressed in to duty so we’ll need to take a wait and see approach to this unit and the defense as a whole.
Special Teams: Brandon McKee averaged over 42 yards on 73 punts while dependable PK Aleem Sunanon connecting 15 of 18 field goals including a 5-6 mark on attempts of 40+ yards. Claude Garrett is the extent of the exprience in the return game with three kick returns so the coaching staff has their work cut out for them.
Outlook: South Alabama has gone from a defense first squad to a offense first team or I should say most of the talent is on the offensive side of the football. Enough to carry a depleted defense? Perhaps but there is very little room for error which makes another Bowl a questionable result.