So let’s say there’s not much going on at Southern these days. Or, perhaps more accurately, there’s not much going on that involves things like footballs, coaches, athletes and stat sheets.
The baseball team flamed out at the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, losing twice to Mississippi Valley at Lee-Hines Field. The softball team is long gone. Same is true with tennis, golf, soccer, volleyball, ballroom dancing and underwater basket weaving.
You’ve got almost two months until preseason camp begins. What to do?
Check us out, of course.
As we all stagger through the summer, we’re taking a position-by-position look at the SU football team, which gears up for a make-or-break season under third-year coach Stump Mitchell.
We’ll outline what the Jaguars did last season, their key returning players and what each position must contribute for Southern to, ahem, improve on last year’s 4-7 record.
First up: the quarterbacks.
Oh, the quarterbacks.
You probably know the deal with these guys. But let’s dig a little deeper.
WHO’S COMING BACK
Dray Joseph (Jr.)
J.P. Douglas (So.)
Reid Sanders (Sr.)
Wynton Perro (So.)
WHO’S ON THE WAY
Justin Morgan (5-10, 155), Pell City, Ala.
Chase Tuten (6-1, 210), Ocala, Fla.
WHAT WE LEARNED IN 2011
How much time do you have?
For SU fans, each game was a trip to the movies: You never knew what you might get, and sometimes, you were sorely disappointed. But you were rarely bored. Sometimes, the quarterbacks were lights-out. Sometimes, they were masters of the untimely turnover.
Between 2010 and ’11, there was noticeable improvement, but also much of the same. Joseph, a part-time starter as a freshman in 2010, was brilliant in some games, but erratic in others. Had he been just a little more consistent as a sophomore, Joseph might have locked up the starting job. Of course, the same was true of Douglas. A short-ish, thin freshman, he played in 10 games, starting four of the last five, and had his moments — particularly in second-half rallies on the road against Mississippi Valley State and Alabama State. But Douglas’ play was also sprinkled with poor decisions, at times, too much emotion.
Of all the quarterbacks, Joseph had the best spring practice; he will likely enter preseason camp as the No. 1 guy. Honestly, that doesn’t seem to mean much with Mitchell. Two years ago, Jeremiah McGinty came out of camp as a starter; he ultimately gave up the job to Joseph and was cut a year later. Joseph entered the season as the No. 1 quarterback, but traded spots with Douglas all season. Mitchell has shown an obvious tendency to flip-flop, even at very, very curious times.
He even said last season that he’s open to redshirting Douglas at some point, thereby allowing the Atlanta native to be a fifth-year senior when the Jaguars play at Georgia in 2015.
With Mitchell, you just never know.
Worth noting: Sanders, a career backup who graduated this spring, also worked with Chris King, the baseball team’s volunteer pitching coach, to build his arm strength after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Also: Tuten might get a long look. The son of former NFL punter Rick Tuten, he was a late signee and listed as a punter, but Tuten also played quarterback in high school, in a pro-style system similar to that at SU, throwing for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.
Bottom line: The Jaguars will be so much better off if one quarterback — whoever he is — emerges as a clear-cut No. 1, and improves his accuracy.
NUMBER TO KNOW
Joseph and Douglas combined to complete 51.9 percent of their passes last season — way short of Mitchell’s preseason goal. The coaching staff wants a completion percentage above 60.