[su_spacer size=”20″] Les East covers Southern University and does an excellent job filling us in on the Jaguars and Saturday’s game. He works for the Baton Rouge Advocate, which is one of the best newspapers around, especially when it comes to covering collegiate athletics.
What are the goals for the Jaguars this season?
[su_spacer size=”40″] How important was it to make the SWAC title game last year?
They really have just one simple goal — win the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. Southern fell short of a second consecutive championship when it lost to Alcorn State in the SWAC title game in Houston last December. The players say they have been driven ever since then to get back to the championship game and win it this year. The players wear T-shirts inscribed “Remember 38-24”, which includes the final score of the championship game loss.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Is there excitement around the program to play Georgia?
It was important to get to the title game, but the real goal was to win a second consecutive SWAC title. Southern’s 2013 SWAC championship was its first in 10 years. Winning a second consecutive West division title showed that the program has sustainability as a perennial championship contender, but the goal was to do that with a second consecutive overall title.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What is your take on the Bulldogs?
Yes and no. There’s certainly excitement about playing an FBS opponent as prominent as Georgia and the fans traveling to the game are excited about being “between the hedges.” But knowing what’s likely going to happen in the game isn’t particularly excitement. The Jaguars are 0-8 against FBS programs and they generally have been beaten very badly by programs of a lesser stature than the Bulldogs. Fans wonder just how bad the beating could be.
[su_spacer size=”40″] There is a lot of anticipation in Athens to see the famous Southern University Marching Band. I would think the school and the fans and alumni take a lot of pride in the success of the band?
I have a lot of respect for Coach Mark Richt and his program. I know Nick Chubb is an outstanding running back. I covered SEC Media Days in July when LSU running back Leonard Fournette praised Chubb as the best running back in the SEC. It seems the Bulldogs are always a threat to win the SEC East and are often a national player.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Is there as much pride taken in the band as there is in the football team?
Yes. The band — sometimes called The Human Jukebox — is outstanding and has brought national attention to the university. All of the schools in the SWAC pride themselves on their bands and “The Battle of the Bands” between Southern and Grambling is always one of the highlights of the Bayou Classic events that take place in New Orleans every Thanksgiving Weekend.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What are some changes you would like to see in college football?
Probably so. The band never seems to have an off year.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Who are some Southern U. players for Georgia fans to keep an eye on?
I often complain about preseason polls. The starting point for the polls are meaningless preseason predictions and they can skew every subsequent poll. In Week Two, we saw two examples — No. 6 Auburn and No. 18 Arkansas — of rankings that seem undeserved. Ranking teams based solely on their performance would be my preference.
[su_spacer size=”40″] I also think games such as the Southern-Georgia match-up are of dubious value. Certainly the money earned is extremely important to schools such as Southern and schools such as Georgia have a tough enough schedule with the SEC match-ups. But the games them-selves don’t seem to serve much of a purpose and they will probably become extinct in the near future.
No. 25 — Willie Quinn. He’s just 5-foot-5 but he has seven career returns for touchdowns, including three in two games this year. You might have seen the two he had against Mississippi Valley State last week. Both made SportsCenter’s Top 10 and he also threw an 89-yard touchdown pass. He’s a really exciting player to watch and he’s also the team’s leading receiver. Other players to keep an eye on are RB Lenard Tillery, QB Austin Howard, WR Randall Menard, LB Daniel Brown and CB Danny Johnson.