2022 South Alabama Jaguars Preview

by Matt Fargo

South Alabama Jaguars

2021-22 Season Record 5-7 (2-6 SBC West) - 5-7-0 ATS - 6-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 8
Defense - 8

Overview

South Alabama football has been around for a decade and has yet to produce a winning record but it has been close with five seasons of five or six wins. This includes last season when the Jaguars opened 3-0 and were 5-3 heading into the final third of the season but the schedule was totally against them with three straight road games and a finale against Coastal Carolina and they lost them all. The defense that was so good all season had no chance in the final two games, allowing 1,052 yards and with an offense that was light years behind, there was no chance. Head coach Kane Wommack got the most out of his team last season in his first year at the helm and he now has to regroup the troops from that finish and should have no problem doing so with 16 starters returning and with his defensive background, that side should once again be the driving force for success.

Offense

The offense had some great efforts last season during those first eight games as the Jaguars scored 31 or more points five times but managed a total of just 66 points over the final four games with two of those losses coming by one possession so better efforts could have had them bowling. They finished No. 92 in total offense and No. 90 in scoring offense and they are in need of a better running game that has fallen flat the last two seasons. The top three running backs all averaged fewer than 4.0 ypc and it will be up to Terrion Avery who led the group with 508 yards to make a big leap. He can do so behind an offensive line that should finally be a strength with four starters back. Quarterback Desmond Trotter played the backup role last season after a decent 2020 season and his experience can get the offense moving. The top receiver is gone to the NFL but there is a lot of depth.

Defense

As mentioned, the South Alabama defense was as good as it gets for a young unit through the first two-thirds of the season but wore out late yet should be better, and longer lasting, this time around. The Jaguars defense improved by 80 ypg from 2020 but scoring remained level and that will need to be better as they finished No. 43 in total defense but just No. 69 in points allowed. Eight starters are back on this side of the ball as well and returning are three of the top four tacklers including both safeties to lead a strong secondary. Keith Gallmon and Yam Banks combined for 108 tackles while corner Darrell Luter, Jr. is also back after leading the team with four interceptions. The defensive line is also loaded with experience and finished last season ranked No. 41 in sacks. A.J. DeShazor heads a linebacking corps that will also be solid after he led the team with 64 tackles.

2022 Season Outlook

South Alabama is in great position to turn this into a special season as they are one of only a few teams in the SBC that are not going through some sort of rebuild and the majority of the ones that are not, they do not even play this year. Wommack is a solid young coach with great upside and he can turn the implosion from the end of last year into a positive. The schedule sets up pretty well for the Jaguars with not many roadblocks along the way. The nonconference slate is not horrible with home games against Nicholls St. and Louisiana Tech and road games at Central Michigan and UCLA so a 2-2 record is a win. They open SBC play at favorite Louisiana-Lafayette but it is tame after that as they miss Appalachian St., Coastal Carolina and Georgia St. from the East Division. The O/U win total is 4.5 and they can hit the over early without being forced to win late like last season. 

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