BATON ROUGE, La. – “Run blocking, run blocking, run blocking,” Reggie Flood, co-host of The Jaguar Journal, said when asked what Southern needs to do better after its bye week.
The Jaguars struggled running the football during the first two weeks of the spring season. In 2019, the Jags averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry, which was second-best in the conference. After two games this year, the Blue & Gold averaged 3.9 ypc, third worst in the SWAC. Flood referred to the poor play in the trenches causing the ineffective ground game.
“They’re not moving the line of scrimmage. They’re not reestablishing the line of scrimmage, and with teams keying on the run, they know that’s what Southern wants to do, especially when Ladarius Skelton is in the game. You saw Arkansas-Pine Bluff bring nine, 10, sometimes they had 11 men within nine yards of the line of scrimmage,” Flood said.
The O-line hasn’t been the only issue. Running backs Devon Benn and Jarod Sims both registered fumbles, which the opponents recovered, in the first two games, and neither running back has reached 100 rushing yards this season.
“I think Sims is doing well. He just has to protect the football. I think Devon Benn is really struggling right now. There have been some opportunities for him. I just don’t think he’s been able to hit the open holes the way he usually does. He doesn’t look like the same Devon Benn that we’ve seen.”
Southern entered the week with the second-most rushing yards in the conference, but don’t let the ranking fool you. Both the Jags and the SWAC’s top rushing team Jackson State are the only teams to play two games thus far.
UAPB and Grambling won’t need 100 rushing yards to surpass the Jags on Saturday.
No matter who runs the football. Southern must reestablish its offensive strength, or the Jaguars’ chances of three-peating as SWAC West champs will dwindle.
Click the video for more on the story.