Fiery first-year Army Prep Coach Tom Simi demands discipline from Cadets
The University of South Alabama finally kicks off its inaugural football season this Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium against Army Prep.
Oh! Wait a minute!
Say what? The Jags already played their first-ever college football game more than two weeks ago you say?
Hey, Coach Joey Jones, what gives here?
“Yeah, it almost seems like the first game doesn't it,” said Jones of this Saturday’s opponent, the Cadets of Army Prep from West Point N.Y.
The (team’s) anticipation is there and they’ve done a good job of coming to work each day.
“I anticipate us playing like we did the first time around.”
The Jags put on a great show for 27,000 people that first time around, a 30-13 lambasting of Hargrave Military Academy, Sept. 5.
But in one of the strangest college football scheduling quirks you’ll ever see, they don’t get a chance to get back on the field until 4 o'clock Saturday when the Cadets come calling all the way from the banks of the Hudson River in New York.
Unlike Hargrave and its roster of soon-to-be Division I players, the Cadets (1-2) are smaller, quicker and … needless to say … play a much more cerebral game.
They dropped their opener 21-14 to Ft. Monmouth, and were nipped 13-8 by Nassau Community College in their last outing.
In between, the Cadets came back from a 21-12 deficit to hold off Hudson Valley Junior College, 46-44, at Shea Stadium in New York City.
Jones knows they’ll be bringing their A-Game to town this weekend, as well as one stellar trait you find in all service academy teams.
“Discipline. They are very well disciplined,” he said.
“We can build off the first game. But this team is so very well disciplined (that) if we make a mistake they’ll make you pay.”
“They also run the option and we have to stop the fullback first in that offense,” he said of the read-oriented triple option attack.
“My biggest concern is that emotionally we’re ready to play, and that we play at a high emotional level.
“They say you make the biggest improvement from the first to the second game. I hope the experience factor (from that first game) is something we can use.
“I hope their light has turned on.”
One Jag who had his high beams on in the opener was cornerback Jerron Mitchell.
The junior transfer from Birmingham Southern played rock solid defense all day against Hargrave and came up with a timely interception to snuff out a scoring threat.
He says he already knows what to anticipate Saturday, despite the three-week layoff.
“The speed of the game,” said Mitchell.
“When you’re practicing the coaches can stop play and coach you up. But when you’re in the game everything is so fast.
“You have to go every play as hard as you can.”