BATON ROUGE, La. – “The ticket request list was very, very, very long, extremely long,” Southern interim head coach Jason Rollins jokingly said.
The Jaguars will host Rollins’ alma mater McNeese Saturday afternoon, but September 18th won’t be the first time he coaches against his college team.
Instead, the 6 p.m. kickoff will be the first game the former Cowboy faces the Lake Charles school as a head coach, but there’s no love lost between the two parties.
“That’s your alma mater. Everyone has a special place in their heart for their alma mater, but I’m a fan of theirs every week but one so this is the week that I’m not a fan of them,” Rollins added.
The 1996 graduate doesn’t have ties to just the school. Rollins worked under current Cowboys head football coach Frank Wilson, when the two were at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
“We know each other really well. He knows me as well so that neutralizes each other, and it’s on film so there aren’t any secrets. You just know, when you playing a Frank Wilson’s football team, they’re gonna be very well coached, very fundamentally sound, and they’re going to be very disciplined,” Southern’s head coach concluded.
Discipline was lacking for Southern last time the two schools played each other.
“We beat ourselves. That’s all I can think of. We beat ourselves,” senior running back Devon Benn recalled.
In 2019, Southern held McNeese to 303 total yards and recorded three sacks, but the offense and special teams was the Achilles heel.
The Jags fumbled the ball six times, creating five giveaways, and the offense finished with nine penalties for 70 yards.
“We gotta come out this week in practice. How we practice going tell how we play,” Benn said.
The senior didn’t have a strong performance against McNeese. Benn finished with 11 carries for 33 rushing yards, and the 2019 loss will be added motivation Saturday.
“Oh yeah, it’s on our mind,” Benn bluntly said.
Senior guard Johnathan Bishop, who also started in the game two years ago, echoed Benn’s sentiments about discipline and redemption, and the preparation for Saturday has been the team’s focus.
“Playing McNeese, it means we have another opportunity. It’s all about what we do with it though. If we’re disciplined with our details and make sure that we do the right things and make sure that we’re grinding hard each and every day at practice, so we’ll see what the outcome is everyday at practice,” Bishop added.
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