2013 South Alabama football's 10 things to know: Alabama Lite could work

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

If you can find disruptive front-seven talent and craft an offense that is at least semi-efficient and competent, the Joey Jones "Alabama Lite" approach to winning in Mobile could work out pretty well. Schedule, starters and more below.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Alabama Lite

South Alabama's defense was actually pretty decent in 2012, all things considered. Despite rampant inexperience and the upgrade from FCS to FBS (not to mention that whole "This football program didn't exist until 2009" thing), the Jaguars fielded a competent 3-4 defense much in the mold of the program that, until 1968, played a home game a year in Mobile: Alabama.

The Jaguars wasted solid defensive performances because of a total lack of offensive effectiveness, but the approach was solid. USA attacked well with linebackers Jake Johnson, Enrique Williams and Pat Moore, along with end Alex Page -- the four combined for 41.5 tackles for loss -- got to the quarterback on passing downs, and stood up reasonably well to the run.

Despite being a newbie to the FBS ranks, the Jaguars only allowed more than 38 points once and allowed close to the national average in points per game. And when defensive coordinator Bill Clark left to become the head coach at Jacksonville State (and took his defensive backs coach with him), USA head coach Joey Jones looked to Tuscaloosa for his replacement. Jones brought in Alabama's director of player development, Kevin Sherrer, as his new D.C. and added former Bama linebacker Freddie Roach to the staff. Jones' approach and intent here are obvious. Now he just needs to find a Barrett Jones, an Eddie Lacy and an Amari Cooper to bolster the offense. Good luck with that.

2. There is value in experience.

One thing you notice in looking at South Alabama's putrid offensive numbers below: The Jaguars were ridiculously young last year. All of last year's passing yards, all of the rushing yards, and most of the receiving yards are back in 2013, and the line returns 61 career starts. With this level of returning experience, improvement is all but guaranteed. But "improvement" is not necessarily the same thing as "competence." There is probably still a ways to go here.

The defense returns almost everybody as well. That's exciting. USA must replace Johnson, an all-conference middle linebacker, but most of the front seven's other disruptive forces are back, as are interesting corners Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson (combined: four interceptions, 18 passes broken up). If Clark and Johnson can be sufficiently replaced, improvement on both sides of the ball is a possibility.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 2-11 | Adj. Record: 1-12 | Final F/+ Rk: 118
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep UTSA 31-33 L 23.6 - 27.4 L
8-Sep Nicholls State 9-3 W 7.0 - 13.2 L
15-Sep at N.C. State 7-31 L 25.0 - 28.2 L
22-Sep at Mississippi State 10-30 L 22.8 - 26.1 L
29-Sep Troy 10-31 L 13.4 - 30.2 L
13-Oct at Arkansas State 29-36 L 20.9 - 27.3 L
20-Oct Florida Atlantic 37-34 W 20.0 - 34.4 L
27-Oct at UL-Monroe 24-38 L 20.1 - 28.2 L
3-Nov Florida International 20-28 L 29.0 - 25.3 W
10-Nov at North Texas 14-24 L 15.4 - 16.5 L
17-Nov Middle Tennessee 12-20 L 16.2 - 25.7 L
24-Nov at UL-Lafayette 30-52 L 27.6 - 36.3 L
1-Dec at Hawaii 7-23 L 9.6 - 41.7 L
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 18.5 117 29.5 74
Adj. Points Per Game 19.3 121 27.7 61

3. Beware the late fade.

Adj. Points Per Game (first five games): Opponent 25.0, South Alabama 18.4 (minus-6.6)
Adj. Points Per Game (next six games): Opponent 26.2, South Alabama 20.3 (minus-5.9)
Adj. Points Per Game (last two games): Opponent 39.0, South Alabama 18.6 (minus-20.4)

In three straight November contests, South Alabama allowed 28 points or fewer and lost by 10 or fewer points. The offense just couldn't produce enough and wasted quite a few solid defensive performances. And then, predictably, the defense gave in. The Jaguars allowed 948 yards and 75 points in the final two games of the season.

The best way for a young team to prove it is ready to take a couple of steps forward the next year is to take at least one step late in the season. South Alabama certainly did not do that, and in the end, despite the defense, they were closer to 0-13 than they were to 4-9.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 106 124 123 124
RUSHING 103 121 123 121
PASSING 87 124 111 124
Standard Downs 124 123 124
Passing Downs 117 106 120
Redzone 124 123 123
Q1 Rk 116 1st Down Rk 123
Q2 Rk 124 2nd Down Rk 112
Q3 Rk 110 3rd Down Rk 123
Q4 Rk 109

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Ross Metheny 6'3, 205 Sr. *** (5.6) 189 345 2,148 54.8% 12 12 25 6.8% 5.3
C.J. Bennett 6'0, 205 Jr. *** (5.5) 55 102 580 53.9% 4 4 6 5.6% 5.0
Trey Fetner 6'0, 220 So. ** (5.3)








4. Quarterback was the least of South Alabama's concerns.

Virginia transfer Ross Metheny and then-sophomore C.J. Bennett combined to at least provide semi-competent quarterback play. They each completed about 54 percent of their passes, with equal touchdowns and interceptions. These aren't good numbers, but they're just good enough to conclude that USA's biggest problem came when the ball was not in the quarterback's hands. Demetre Baker could be a useful running back, and Jereme Jones could be useful as a possession receiver, but for the most part there just wasn't nearly enough skill position talent.

Joey Jones seemed to understand this -- he brought in two junior college running backs, two interesting freshman running backs (including Kaleb Blanchard, the highest-rated player in USA's recruiting class) and two more interesting freshman receivers. If they prove worthy, they'll get all the playing time they can stand.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Demetre Baker RB 6'1, 210 Jr. NR 118 595 5.0 5.6 3 -4.9
Kendall Houston RB 5'10, 220 Jr. NR 81 217 2.7 1.6 2 -19.9
Ross Metheny QB 6'3, 205 Sr. *** (5.6) 74 337 4.6 3.5 1 -4.9
Terrance Timmons RB 5'7, 175 So. NR 66 212 3.2 2.9 0 -11.5
T.J. Glover WR 5'9, 170 Jr. NR 59 210 3.6 2.4 1 -12.1
C.J. Bennett QB 6'0, 205 Jr. *** (5.5) 25 171 6.8 6.1 0 +6.0
Kaleb Blanchard RB 6'0, 200 Fr. *** (5.7)





Cristobal Dinham RB 5'9, 205 Jr. ** (5.2)





Justin Jones RB 5'6, 180 Jr. ** (5.2)





Xavier Johnson RB 5'9, 170 Fr. ** (5.4)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Bryant Lavender WR 6'0, 185 Sr. NR 72 41 378 56.9% 5.3 17.1% 62.5% 5.2 31.4
Jereme Jones WR 5'8, 160 Jr. ** (5.1) 68 44 510 64.7% 7.5 16.1% 54.4% 7.3 42.4
Greg Hollinger TE 6'4, 230 Sr. NR 46 22 321 47.8% 7.0 10.9% 52.2% 6.5 26.7
Gabe Loper WR 46 17 281 37.0% 6.1 10.9% 54.3% 6.4 23.3
T.J. Glover WR 5'9, 170 Jr. NR 45 27 206 60.0% 4.6 10.7% 62.2% 4.5 17.1
Wes Saxton TE 6'4, 235 Jr. *** (5.7) 44 26 336 59.1% 7.6 10.4% 65.9% 7.9 27.9
Corey Besteda WR 6'3, 190 Sr. NR 42 28 430 66.7% 10.2 10.0% 47.6% 10.9 35.7
Corey Waldon WR 5'10, 175 Sr. NR 15 9 88 60.0% 5.9 3.6% 40.0% 6.4 7.3
Terrance Timmons RB 5'7, 175 So. NR 14 7 46 50.0% 3.3 3.3% 35.7% 2.9 3.8
Demetre Baker RB 6'1, 210 Jr. NR 10 7 58 70.0% 5.8 2.4% 40.0% 8.0 4.8
Kendall Houston RB 5'10, 220 Jr. NR 8 8 34 100.0% 4.3 1.9% 25.0% 6.5 2.8
Cameron Broadnax WR 6'2, 185 So. ** (5.4) 4 2 14 50.0% 3.5 0.9% 0.0% 2.8 1.2
Jared Palmer TE 6'2, 210 Sr. NR 4 2 2 50.0% 0.5 0.9% 50.0% 0.5 0.2
Desmond Jones RB 5'11, 230 Jr. NR 3 3 21 100.0% 7.0 0.7% 66.7% 7.4 1.7
Dejon Funderburk WR 6'0, 175 Fr. *** (5.6)








Caleb Alves WR 6'2, 185 Fr. ** (5.4)








Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 83.7 2.26 3.84 35.7% 51.0% 23.2% 70.1 5.9% 6.6%
Rank 113 120 10 97 122 111 105 85 66
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Trey Clark C 40 career starts
Melvin Meggs RT 6'3, 310 Sr. ** (5.4) 32 career starts
Shaun Artz RG 6'4, 290 Jr. NR 11 career starts
Tremain Smith LG 10 career starts
Chris May LT 6'4, 285 So. NR 7 career starts
Drew Dearman LG 6'3, 320 Jr. ** (5.2) 6 career starts
Ucambre Williams LT 6'2, 285 Jr. NR 5 career starts
Matt Calcagnini C 6'0, 280 Sr. NR
James Elliott RG 6'2, 290 So. NR
Darius McKeller OL 6'6, 325 Jr. *** (5.6)
Steve McKenzie OL 6'1, 320 RSFr. *** (5.5)

5. The offensive line is certainly big enough.

Of the nine returning players listed above, six are at least 290 pounds and five are at least 6'3. This isn't enormous by any means, but it meets the minimum requirements. That said, if it could figure out how to open a few more holes for Demetre Baker and company, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Baker had almost no room to run on standard downs, and this offense isn't nearly talented enough to fall into passing downs too often.

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 106 94 56 110
RUSHING 103 91 57 115
PASSING 87 99 56 107
Standard Downs 99 57 116
Passing Downs 84 66 91
Redzone 48 46 50
Q1 Rk 120 1st Down Rk 87
Q2 Rk 68 2nd Down Rk 90
Q3 Rk 100 3rd Down Rk 32
Q4 Rk 5

6. The defense wore on you.

You have to commend South Alabama for knowing what it wanted to be on defense and sticking to it despite the consequences. USA attacked you, made you inefficient, and forced you to rely on big plays. The Jaguars also allowed you to convert quite a few big plays. The success rates above are some of the better you'll find among the mid-major ranks. But USA was a little too leaky in the secondary; if you got past the first wave of USA defenders, you wouldn't find much resistance in the second.

In an attempt to plug the leaks, Jones has brought in quite a few junior college transfers on the defensive side of the ball, including four defensive linemen and two defensive backs.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 92.8 2.62 3.18 33.8% 75.7% 19.8% 120.7 2.3% 8.7%
Rank 92 21 55 15 112 54 32 114 30
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Alex Page DE 6'1, 245 Sr. NR 13 46.0 6.3% 11.5 6 0 2 0 0
Andy Dalgleish NT 13 26.5 3.7% 4.5 2 0 0 0 0
Montavious Williams DT 6'2, 285 Sr. NR 13 23.5 3.2% 4.5 1.5 0 0 1 1
Jesse Kelley NT 5'10, 270 Jr. NR 11 17.5 2.4% 4 1 0 1 1 0
Romelle Jones DT 6'2, 275 Sr. NR 12 14.5 2.0% 2 0 0 0 0 0
Will Thompson DE 6'1, 260 Jr. NR 12 12.5 1.7% 1 1 0 1 1 0
Randon Carnathan DT 6'1, 295 Sr. NR 8 12.5 1.7% 1.5 0 0 0 0 0
Jerome McClain DT 6'2, 290 Jr. *** (5.5)
DeMarion Harper DT 6'3, 290 Jr. ** (5.2)
Akeem Lewis DE 6'2, 250 Jr. ** (5.2)

Theo Rich DT 6'2, 270 Jr. ** (5.2)






Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Jake Johnson MIKE 13 101.0 13.9% 15 3 0 0 0 1
Enrique Williams WILL 6'0, 235 Sr. NR 13 77.5 10.7% 6 0 0 1 1 1
Clifton Crews SAM 6'3, 220 Sr. NR 13 38.5 5.3% 5 2 0 2 2 1
Bryson James WILL 6'2, 230 Sr. ** (5.2) 13 29.0 4.0% 1 0 1 1 1 0
Pat Moore JACK 6'3, 240 Jr. NR 12 22.0 3.0% 9 4.5 0 3 0 1
Maleki Harris SAM 6'1, 200 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 13.5 1.9% 1 0 0 1 0 2
Anthony Taylor JACK 4 7.5 1.0% 3 2 0 0 0 0
David Hawkins OLB 5'9, 210 Sr. NR 5 4.0 0.6% 2 0 0 0 0 0
Ben Giles MIKE 6'0, 220 Sr. NR 7 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ridge James JACK 6'5, 200 Sr. ** 4 1.0 0.1% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Cordivido Grice MIKE 6'0, 215 So. NR 6 0.5 0.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davion Stuarts ILB 5'10, 190 RSFr. ** (5.4)
Desmond LaVelle LB 5'11, 230 Jr. ** (5.2)






7. The front seven really is pretty exciting.

Now, "exciting" isn't necessarily the same as "good," but you won't find many mid-major defenses this capable of making plays and rendering you inefficient. The loss of Jake Johnson is a big one, but that's pretty much it. If the JUCO transfer up front can help take attention off of Alex Page, and if Enrique Williams and Pat Moore can keep flying off of the edges of the offensive line, the excitement level will still be there in 2013.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Charles Harris (2011 stats) SS 6'1, 200 Sr. NR 10 60.5 10.9% 1.5 0 1 1 3 1
B.J. Scott FS 13 66.5 9.2% 6 1 2 3 2 1
Terrell Brigham SS 6'0, 190 Jr. NR 13 56.5 7.8% 1.5 0 2 5 0 2
Darrius Morrow CB 5'10, 170 Sr. ** (5.2) 13 37.0 5.1% 1.5 0 0 7 1 0
Tyrell Pearson CB 5'8, 150 Sr. ** 13 30.5 4.2% 3 0 4 11 1 0
Charles Watson CB 6'1, 200 Sr. ** (5.2) 13 25.0 3.4% 0 0 1 2 1 0
Alonzo Long SS 5'10, 200 Jr. NR 13 11.0 1.5% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Eddy Cabrera CB 5'9, 170 Sr. NR 13 5.0 0.7% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Jonathan Cameron CB 6 3.0 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Montell Garner DB 6'1, 185 Jr. ** (5.2)

Steven Fuller DB 6'4, 200 Jr. ** (5.2)

Roman Buchanan DB 6'2, 205 Fr. ** (5.4)






Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Scott Garber 5'9, 195 Sr. 72 39.6 2 15 15 41.7%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Michael Chapuseaux 54 59.9 16 29.6%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Michael Chapuseaux 24-24 14-17 82.4% 6-10 60.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
T.J. Glover KR 5'9, 170 Jr. 27 23.8 0
Jereme Jones KR 5'8, 160 Jr. 6 18.3 0
B.J. Scott KR 3 17.3 0
T.J. Glover PR 5'9, 170 Jr. 14 8.8 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 99
Net Punting 80
Net Kickoffs 23
Touchback Pct 53
Field Goal Pct 100
Kick Returns Avg 40
Punt Returns Avg 47

8. Chappie Chapuseaux could be missed.

Kicker Michael Chapuseaux was a little sporadic, but he had a big leg and made some big kicks for USA in 2012, including the one that beat Florida Atlantic. He was also rock solid on kickoffs, and he was the only USA player to attempt a kick last year. He is the only primary departure in the special teams unit, but he's a pretty big one.

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2012 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
7-Sep at Tulane 111
28-Sep at Tennessee 44
19-Oct Kent State 80
16-Nov at Navy 95
? Arkansas State 61
? Georgia State 125
? Texas State 114
? Troy 101
? UL-Lafayette 73
? UL-Monroe 82
? Western Kentucky 94
? ?
Five-Year F/+ Rk 119
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 119
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -12 / -2.4
TO Luck/Game -3.7
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 17 (9, 8)
Yds/Pt Margin** +5.1

9. There aren't any slam dunks here.

South Alabama should expect to beat Georgia State and perhaps win one or two against the batch of Tulane, Texas State, Troy, Navy and Western Kentucky. But the chances are good that the Jaguars will have to scuffle through another iffy season with few wins. The good news, however, is that last year's team was so young that this team is also pretty young. So the experience and improving talent base could be pretty nice in 2014.

10. Alabama Lite could work.

If you can find disruptive front-seven talent and craft an offense that is at least semi-efficient and competent, the Joey Jones "Alabama Lite" approach to winning in Mobile could work out pretty well. It likely won't in 2013, but there is plenty of growth potential.

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.