South Alabama went 6-7 last season, but the Jaguars played in a bowl game for the second time in three years and also claimed victories over Mississippi State from the SEC and Mountain West champion San Diego State. The problem for head coach Joey Jones’ team lately has been posting a losing record against Sun Belt teams. South Alabama gets a shot against two more Power 5 teams this fall in Ole Miss (SEC) and Oklahoma State (Big 12), but another goal should be emerging as a contender in its own conference. To do that, the Jaguars will need several newcomers to have an early impact and for the offensive and defensive lines to play better.
Previewing South Alabama Football’s Offense for 2017
South Alabama has offensive strengths, but they don’t necessarily mesh. The Jaguars return one of the Sun Belt’s most productive quarterbacks, but no experienced wide receivers. They have a potentially record-breaking running back, but the offensive line must improve its run blocking to utilize his abilities.
Quarterback Dallas Davis led the Sun Belt in total offense at 268.3 yards per game. As long as he returns to full strength after offseason shoulder surgery, Davis should be among the conference’s best quarterbacks. But no wide receiver with at least 10 receptions or 100 receiving yards returns, so expect tight end Maaseiah Francis to be a primary target.
Running back Xavier Johnson is a steady producer, rushing for 831 yards and 10 TDs last season. He enters his senior season only 362 yards shy of the career school record. He will get help from bruising junior college transfer Tywun Walters, but the one-two punch may be hampered by a line that struggled to open holes last season. At least three potential starters have be