Southern improving fundamental piece of SWAC’s top defense

Jaguar Nation

BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern finished the 2021 spring season with best total defense in the conference, but the Jags struggled in one key area: Tackling. The Jaguars only had one player rank in the top 25 of the SWAC in total tackles: Linebacker Caleb Carter, who graduated and opted not to return. After two days of fall camp, Southern’s emphasis on tackling showed signs of improvement, even without pads.

“They’re getting better positioning, getting their feet right. Even though we’re tagging off, they’re making sure that they’re on our hips. Just making sure the technique, feet, hands, are all in the proper place and not just reaching out there for guys or lunging,” senior tackle Johnathan Bishop said.

“We just emphasizing the safety of tackling pretty much. Just knowing everybody on the team gotta know how to tackle,” sophomore defensive tackle Davin Cotton added.

“Just pursuing the ball, making sure we taking great angles and just execution. If somebody messes up, lift them up. Let them know it’s okay. Just make the next play,” senior safety Chase Foster commented.

Interim head coach Jason Rollins’s educational approach has been one reason for the quick changes. During the off-season, Rollins enrolled the team in classes to better educate them on their positions, but he didn’t stop there. Rollins has attacked every angle to help his players understand what their responsibilities are and how to perform them.

“It’s a teaching progression so you just can’t go out on the field and just say ‘run this play.’ People learn in different ways. Some learn visually. Some learn actively. Some learn by just watching on film and writing so we wanna reach all three learning styles,” Rollins said.

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