Southern must correct targeting issues ahead of conference opener

Jaguar Nation

BATON ROUGE, La. – Jason Rollins had an intense moment with his defense, during the Jaguars’ loss to McNeese.

Southern’s interim head coach ripped into his team late in the second quarter for drawing a targeting penalty. Safety Kaymen St. Junios hit Cowboys’ quarterback Cody Orgeron, while the QB was sliding, and Junios was ejected.

The Jags’ drew the penalty again in the third quarter. Running back Devon Benn was trying to tackle a McNeese defensive back, after quarterback Ladarius Skelton threw an interception. Do the math and two players were ejected.

Moreover, Saturday was not the first time Southern had an ejection. The Jaguars have had five players tossed for helmet-to-helmet hits, since the beginning of the season, and at least on ejection occurred each week. Even though Rollins said the penalties are “bang-bang” calls, the aftermath is where he’s disagreed most.

“It’s harsh. It is. It is very harsh, missing a half of football is harsh, but those the rules and we’re gonna have to adjust and play by them,” Rollins said.

“We want guys to leave the field and say ‘wow, that was a physical defense. That was a physical game.’ We want to be hitting. We want to be out there making those plays, but at the same time, we gotta be smart with it as well,” linebacker Ray Anderson added.

Benn’s penalty could have the most impact on the Jags. Since the senior was ejected in the second half against McNeese, he will miss the first half of the SWAC opener versus Mississippi Valley. Rollins announced Craig Nelson as the starter in Benn’s place.

The sophomore led the team in rushing through the first three games. Nelson’s season totals reached 197 rushing yards, 8.6 yards per carry and one touchdown, after Saturday.

“I feel great. I been preparing for this moment, and hopefully I do good this Sunday coming up,” Nelson said.

“I feel like Craig been doing his thing. He’s definitely a great runner. I love going against him everyday in practice,” Anderson added.

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