By Mike McCall
Southern fans showed up in force for fan fest on Saturday, with more than 30 RVs lining the parking lots and a solid number filing into Mumford Stadium for the team’s third and last preseason scrimmage.
Unfortunately, all they got to see was some team stretching before heavy rains came down, and while the Jaguars persisted long enough to finish position drills and pass skeleton, they ran just one play in the scrimmage before lightning spoiled the evening.
That means all three scrimmages were altered by weather. Wet conditions drove the first over to Doug Williams Stadium (which still cracks me up), and the next was cut in more than half because of lightning.
BUT, the coaches will still decide on all of the team’s starters Sunday, giving them a finally finalized depth chart in advance of next weekend’s game at New Mexico. Of the hotly contested position battles, coach Stump Mitchell has only announced one.
On Saturday, Mitchell said he’ll turn to freshman Greg Pittman at kicker over Matt Hill. If you’ve been following my coverage regularly, you now know I’m a dummy, because I had Hill as a a heavy favorite based off what I’ve seen. But Mitchell said Pittman has been better statistically (if not in game situations, which is what I went off of), and he also likes Greg’s potential a lot, so he’s willing to ride out some growing pains to reach the payoff.
In other seemingly-small-but-potentially-major news, long-snapper Justin Williams may no longer be with the team. He wasn’t at practices the last half of the week, and Mitchell said that as far as he knows, Williams has quit the team. From what I’ve heard, Williams was running into some problems getting registered for classes, so it may not be over yet. In the meantime, linebacker Javon Allen is snapping. Mitchell said he snapped in high school, and while Allen hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been Williams either. So that’s something to keep an eye on.
Tomorrow and Monday we should find out the winners of a bunch of position battles. Here’s a quick look:
Quarterback: Dray Joseph vs. J.P. Douglas
My pick: Joseph.
Running back: Darrius Coleman vs. Terrance Clayton vs. FB Brian McCain vs. FB Lee Mitchell
My pick: Coleman, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCain or Mitchell get carries against UNM.
Slot receiver: Lee Doss vs. Willie Quinn
My pick: Doss, but Quinn should play a lot.
Right tackle: Eric Janeau vs. Anthony Mosley
My pick: Janeau, although I think the coaches would start Mosley if he’d had more time to learn the position. He was moved over this week from defense after starter Taylon Jones went down.
Linebackers (alongside Corry Roy): Javon Allen vs. Franchot West, Detrane Lindsey vs. Anthony Balancier
My picks: West and Balancier. Allen and Lindsey have looked good, but I think the coaches opt for more experience. All of them should play plenty.
Free safety: Mychal Bell vs. Johnathon Wilson
My pick: Bell. Wilson had this to himself early in camp, but Bell snatched it away with authority.
No. 2 corner: Johnathan Mack vs. D’Andre Woodland vs. Kevin King
My pick: Mack, who held off a hard charge from newcomer Woodland. King is in a walking boot due to an ankle injury.
Be sure to check back, because I’ll have more on all of these over the coming days.