Jackson State players have put in the work during the last week of camp to erase the stain of last season’s 5-7 record.
The results of that work, and the true signs of where each Tigers player currently stands, will be revealed when JSU holds its first scrimmage of camp today at 10 a.m.
“I just want to see where we are, and what kind of team we really have,” Tigers coach Harold Jackson said. “We’ll see who can come out here and execute …”
There should be plenty to keep an eye on on offense, which is in its second year of coordinator Timmy Chang’s “run-and-shoot” system.
LaMontiez Ivy is the entrenched starter at the quarterback position, but it will be interesting to watch how the backups continue to develop. It will be the first year in JSU’s system for UNLV transfer Jarin Morikawa, the primary backup, as well as freshmen Jordan Williams and Anthony Moore.
“They’re coming along well,” Chang said of the young quarterbacks. “They’re doing a good job, I see a progression of them learning the offense. It really starts with the basics … they’re getting it, it’s a slow process. Eventually, they’re going to be veterans, too.”
Also worth watching is the offensive line, which was re-worked this offseason with the addition of transfers Kenneth Tyler and Vincent Hunter, who have lined up at right guard and left tackle, respectively, during camp.
Yacoub Hammoudeh, an athletic 6-foot-5, 315-pound transfer from Contra Costa Community College, has also worked with the first team at right tackle during Thursday’s and Friday’s practices, so there will be new faces across the line during the scrimmage.
“It’s just a chance to get better than the day before,” Chang said. “ (We’re) trying to improve on what we do, and be technique sound as well as execution sound from all phases, from o-line to running back to quarterback and receiver.”
New defensive coordinator Alonzo Lee’s 4-3 defense has looked solid during camp, and he’s going to give his players the opportunity to showcase what they can do today.
“We’re still locating, still finding, still looking for a few spots to be solidified,” Lee said. “I want guys to be able to get every rep they can … I like to give everybody a chance in that first scrimmage to prove themselves.”
Lee said there haven’t been any real surprises, for him, during camp, but he has been pleased with Justin Jemison securing the other cornerback spot opposite Robert Porter.
Those corner spots seem to be figured out, as do most of the positions in the front seven. Brandon Smith and Brandon Maiden have been running with the first team at the safety spots.
Maiden, who always seems to be near the ball, has had an impressive camp and aims to continue that today.
“He’s a student of the game,” Lee said. “He wants it, he’s doing some real good things. It was great this morning, he had a great (interception).”