#99 South Alabama Football 2015 Preview

South Alabama Jaguars

Overall Rank: #99
#5 Sun Belt

South Alabama Team Page#99 South Alabama Football 2015 PreviewBuy South Alabama Football Tickets

South Alabama has come a long way in a short amount of time. In their first season in the FBS in 2012, the Jaguars managed to win just two games. A year later they were 6-6. And last season they reached their first bowl game, losing to Bowling Green 33-28 in the Camellia Bowl. Coach Joey Jones has this program moving in a good direction. However, on paper, this year could easily result in a step back.

2014 Record: 6-7, 5-3
2014 Bowl: Camellia Bowl vs. Bowling Green (L 28-33)
Coach: Joey Jones (37-28 at South Alabama, 40-35 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bryant Vincent
Defensive Coordinator: Travis Pearson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Xavier Johnson, RB, 438 yards
Passing: Hunter Vaughn, QB, 342 yards
Receiving: Danny Woodson II, WR, 382 yards
Tackles: Roman Buchanan, S, 74
Sacks: Jimmie Gipson, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: E.J. May, CB, 1; Devon Earl, CB, 1; Margo Reed, CB, 1

Other Key Returnees: TE Braedon Bowman, S Roman Buchanan, DE Jimmie Gipson III, OL Chris May, OL Joseph Scelfo, CB Antonio Carter, P Brandon McKee, K Aleem Sunanon

Key Losses: RB Kendall Houston, QB Brandon Bridge, WR Shavarez Smith, WR Jereme Jones, DB Montell Garner, DB Terrell Brigham, LB Maleki Harris, DE Theo Rich, DL Jesse Kelley

The South Alabama offense has a lot of potential thanks to the disintegration of the UAB football program. Seven players from UAB landed at South Alabama and it wouldn’t be too far-fetched if most of them started on offense for USA this fall. UAB signal caller Cody Clements is a fine replacement for departed quarterback Brandon Bridge. Clements threw for 2,227 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Blazers last season. Former UAB back D.J. Vinson, tight end Gerald Everett and offensive linemen Cameron Blankenship and Lee Dufour will all at least add depth and competition. Vinson is expected to move to receiver, leaving Terrance Timmons and Xavier Johnson to compete for the starting job. Also keep an eye out for Dami Ayoola, a former Illinois running back who spent last season at the junior college level.

The defense basically has to start all over after playing very well in 2014. A lot of pressure will be on end Jimmie Gipson to turn into a playmaker and a leader while youth and inexperience are plugged in around him. Like Gipson up front, safety Roman Buchanan will be asked to be a leader of the unit. Gone are the other three starters from the secondary and there is not much proven experience behind them. We will find out if the recruiting classes the last couple of years have been as good as advertised because they will have to play a big role on defense.

The Bottom Line:
Losing so many starters means this team should take a step back. But winning five Sun Belt games, combined with a win over Gardner-Webb and losses in the other non-conference games, is not out of the question by any means. Coach Jones has built more depth in the program and now it is time to see just how good that depth can be. The addition of all of the UAB players certainly helped lessen the blow and that could be enough for another six win season.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 179.0 (51st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 197.0 (94, 8)
Total Offense: 376.0 (84, 6)
Scoring Offense: 22.5 (102, 7)
Rushing Defense: 186.1 (87, 3)
Pass Defense: 212.8 (40, 5)
Total Defense: 398.9 (65, 2)
Scoring Defense: 26.4 (59, 3)
Turnover Margin: -0.54 (105, 6)
Sacks: 2.08 (68, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.38 (85, 5)


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