For Southern’s latest round of hopeful draftees, pro day has come and gone.
For the returning players, spring practice has come and gone.
The Jaguars were supposed to practice three more times after the March 17 spring game — but when last week’s thunderstorms swept through the city, Stump Mitchell figured he had a better chance of water skiing on the SU practice fields than playing football. So he called off the rest of spring drills.
“We wound up doing 12 days instead of 15. … We focused on grades these last three practices,” Mitchell said. “We got enough out of spring ball. We saw what we needed to see — some improvements and some guys that did pretty good.”
Thursday afternoon was supposed to be the last day of spring drills at SU. Instead, many current players made the short trip to the Louisiana Leadership Institute, where they watched former teammates work out for NFL scouts at Southern’s pro day.
ANOTHER QB IN THE MIX?
Mitchell confirmed last week that punter Chase Tuten of Ocala, Fla., joined the Jaguars’ class of incoming freshmen.
Here’s what Mitchell didn’t mention until now: Tuten will try out at quarterback, too.
Tuten — the son of former NFL punter Rick Tuten, who played for four teams from 1989-99 — averaged 38.8 yards per punt as a senior at North Marion High. But he also played quarterback, throwing for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“Oh, we have to look at him as a quarterback,” Mitchell said. “His father played in the league as a punter. He can punt, no question about that. But he also can play quarterback, and he has some good size to him. And he’s a smart young man. So there’s no reason why he shouldn’t play quarterback.”
The Jaguars have only two quarterbacks — junior Dray Joseph and sophomore J.P. Douglas — with college experience.
MOVING DOWN THE O-LINE
Dwyane Houston, who missed spring football while competing with the SU track and field team (he finished second in the shot put at last year’s SWAC outdoor meet), will probably move from right tackle to guard when preseason camp begins, Mitchell said.
It’s all part of a reshuffling along the offensive line.
Left tackle Chris Browne (ankle) sat out spring practice, as well, but will return to his usual position in the fall. But others, including Houston, will move. Aaron Hall moved from guard to center, where he’s penciled in as the starter, and former tight end Eric Janeau moved to left tackle this spring.
He figures to stay there, probably as a backup to Browne, a fifth-year senior.
“I really like his feet,” Mitchell said of Janeau. “I think he’s going to be able to do something. … I would say he’s a better pass-blocker at this particular point in time. He’s got to get stronger.”
Houston, who played only one year of football at Northside High in Lafayette, redshirted in 2010, then played extensively at right tackle last season.
Mitchell also said that Reginald Redding, a 6-foot-5 Indianapolis native (and Houston’s teammate on the track and field team), will probably join the football team this fall.
Clinton Boyd should also be available at tackle.
REINFORCEMENTS AT LB …
Outside linebacker Detrane Lindsey, academically ineligible last season, returned to the team this spring, and though he suffered a wrist injury earlier this month, Lindsey (6-foot, 210 pounds) should recover in time to participate in summer workouts and training camp. He’ll be a third-year sophomore this season.
Another classmate might join him.
Mitchell said linebacker Javon Allen — who, like Lindsey, redshirted in 2010 but was ineligible last year, should return to the team when preseason camp begins (he did not practice this spring).
Allen (5-11, 205) could add depth to a position that needs it.
“I’m looking forward to him getting back,” Mitchell said. “He’s a smart guy.”
… AND REINFORCEMENTS AT DT
Injuries to Lindsey, defensive end Dion Palmer (knee), middle linebacker Daniel Brown (shoulder), defensive end Kadeem Lewis (ankle), defensive tackle Traé Tiller (knee) and safety Levi Jackson (thumb) left the defense fairly thin on defense.
No worries, Mitchell said.
“I think we’re going to be OK,” he said. “I think we’re really looking for more from those defensive tackles coming in than anybody else, for the most part — other than the kickers.”
Southern’s signing class included four defensive tackles: Willie Paisley of Miramar, Fla.; Gabe Echols of Decatur, Ga.; Eric Eason of Memphis, Tenn.; and Gerard Levier of Port Barre.
The team has only a handful of veterans at the position, including seniors Casey Narcisse and Brandon Turner and junior Tiller. Delwin Williams, a senior who spent three years at defensive end, moved to tackle during spring drills.
Now, spring drills are over. Now, it’s on to final exams and summer workouts.
Followed, of course, by training camp.