Year one under Steve Campbell was a tough one for South Alabama as the Jaguars had their worst season since their first year in the FBS (2012). To add to that pain, a lot is gone from that team, meaning experience will be low, and the Jags will face a really tough draw in the scheduling department.
This is a tough team to predict, the ends and the passing game lose a lot, but there is some talent in the front six.
USA struggled mightily on offense last year. Evan Orth and Cole Garvin split time at QB and while neither were that impressive anyways, they are both gone. The projected starter is sophomore Cephus Johnson who was… fine in one start last year, JUCO Tylan Morton will challenge for the job.
Whoever the QB is will have a tough time finding guys to throw to as USA loses two of their top three (and five of their top seven) pass-catchers. Kawaan Baker is back after a pretty good year in 2018 (494 yards, 15.0 YPC, four touchdowns). Malik Stanley and Jalen Tolbert are the other two projected starters.
The two top rushers are back from last year, but neither were that impressive (4.4 YPA, 4.3 YPA), and while four linemen with multiple starts are back, the line was pretty horrid in 2018.
Losing the top two QBs and a bunch of your receivers when you are a pass-first team really isn’t ideal, but the Jaguars don’t have many places to go but up.
The front six held up pretty well last year but the secondary was awful, luckily, a decent bit is back on the first two levels, but experience may be an issue in coverage.
285-pounder Tyree Turner is the top returner on defense after four sacks and six TFL last year, and Jordon Beaton (two sacks, four TFL) returns on the inside as well.
The end spots are crowded with a lot of potential interesting names to choose from, so I’ll expect someone to emerge there between Taji Stewart, Jeremiah Littles, and a handful of other names.
The linebacking group loses Bull Barge (79 tackles) but does return Nick Mobley at the will and gets Roy Yancey back at the middle after he was out for the year in 2018.
The secondary is where we run into issues as a lot is gone from a unit that was already bad. Jalen Thompson (8 PBUs) showed flashes last year but was inconsistent, and some JUCOs will come in to help with some depth.
The secondary will be tough but there is enough talent returning in the run defense game that this should be an improved group.
The schedule is, to put it lightly, not ideal. Outside of a buy game against Alabama State, the Jaguars will be double-digit dogs in all of their non-conference games.
Things don’t get much better in Sun Belt play. Four of their five toughest opponents will come to Mobile, meaning most of their winnable games will be on the road.
USA will not be favored in any game against an FBS opponent on their schedule and could end up with one of the worst records in the nation due to the nature of their draw.
|Date||Opponent||OPP. RANK||Proj. Margin|
|9-Nov||at Texas State||112||-6.6|
|23-Nov||at Georgia State||120||-4.0|
Average Projected Record: 3.3 wins, 8.7 losses (1.9 wins, 6.1 losses)