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2018

South Alabama

College Football

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After a disappointing 4-8 season, South Alabama moved on with its head coach and hired Steve Campbell away from Central Arkansas. The Jaguars still aren’t expected to compete for a bowl with an over/under of 4.5 wins, although it opened at four wins. They also aren’t given much of a chance in the Sun Belt with +5500 odds to win it all as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Along with Campbell comes new offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield, who brings an up-tempo, spread attack that will hopefully lead to more than 20 points per game. Redshirt freshman Cephus Johnson took over the spring and has the leg up on Cole Garvin at quarterback heading into the fall. Garvin managed seven touchdowns and seven picks on a 52.6% completion rate as a starter for half of 2017. The difference for Johnson is that he provides a running element that will help behind a line that only returns two tackles and has a few questions between them. To help the QB, all of the top wide outs return in Jamarius Way (762 yards, 3 TDs), Sam Harris (570 yards) and Malik Stanley (324 yards). With the offense set to run a few more plays than a year ago due to scheme, expect everyone’s numbers to improve. The same goes for running back as Tra Minter (341 yards) is the top returnee and he’ll need to do better than the 3.2 yards per carry he averaged last season.

Defense is in a similar position in that it should improve under new coordinator Greg Stewart, who also comes from Central Arkansas. There are pieces to work with at every level, but linebacker may be the best unit with sophomore Riley Cole and senior Bull Barge expected to run the defense. The line has a couple returning starters and the same goes for the secondary led by three seniors, namely safety Nigel Lawrence and rover Malcolm Buggs. This group was mediocre last year allowing 26.5 points per game and if they can find a little more consistency, that would be a big help to getting more wins. 

This team’s talent was seen in wins against Troy and Arkansas State last year, but inconsistency showed up in numerous games lost in the fourth quarter. If Johnson can become a playmaker at quarterback and the defense takes another step, South Alabama could be close to a bowl game. They have a couple tough road tests in non-conference, but home games against Texas State, Alabama State, UL Monroe and Coastal Carolina should all be wins. That being the case, only one upset may be needed for the Jaguars to hit the over. And while this team wasn’t exactly trustworthy last year, the new coaching staff could change that. 

 

2018 South Alabama Jaguars Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Louisiana Tech

Sept. 8 at Oklahoma State

Sept. 15 vs. Texas State

Sept. 22 at Memphis

Sept. 29 at Appalachian State

Oct. 6 at Georgia Southern

Oct. 13 vs. Alabama State

Oct. 23 vs. Troy

Nov. 3 at Arkansas State

Nov. 10 vs. UL Monroe

Nov. 17 at Louisiana 

Nov. 24 vs. Coastal Carolina

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