South Alabama Jaguars Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the South Alabama season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
South Alabama Jaguars Preview
Head Coach: Kane Wommack, 5-7, 2nd year at USA
2021 Preview: Overall: 5-7, Conference: 2-6
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
South Alabama Top 10 Players | USA Schedule
South Alabama Jaguars Preview 2022
It’s not really fair or right to tag any Sun Belt team with being the next Coastal Carolina, but there’s chance South Alabama might just be this year’s out-of-the-blue team in the conference.
The program hasn’t had a winning season since getting up to the big level and the Sun Belt in 2012 – although it has been to two bowl games – and it’s had a a few near misses, like last year’s team that had several chances to go bowling but couldn’t get that sixth win.
Head coach Kane Wommack is only 35, he’s known for his talent as a defensive coach both as a coordinator at South Alabama and then Indiana, and he’s got the guys in place to do big things in a year when all of the Sun Belt focus is on the new additions and the expected big things out of the established stars.
He’s been fantastic in the transfer portal, he’s got a good coaching staff, and this team is loaded with as much starting experience as any team in the Sun Belt.
No, this might not be a dominant force like Coastal Carolina became, but in the winnable Sun Belt West – in a year of transition for Louisiana – just coming up with a breakthrough winning season in Year Two under the rising young head coach would be more than good enough.
South Alabama Jaguars Preview 2022: Offense
The Jaguar offense might have died down the stretch when the team just needed one win in the final four games to go bowling, but it’s a LOADED group coming back full of experience and help from the transfer portal for offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to work with.
The passing attack should be fine, but the scoring has to be there after averaging under 25 points per game. The improvement has to come from …
The running attack has to take over at times. The offensive line has lots of size and plenty of experience, but it struggled in pass protection and it generated a push for just 111 yards per game on the ground.
Four starters are back up front, and now it needs to work for leading rusher Terrion Avery – who ran for just 508 yards and a score – and a ground game that averaged just three yards per carry.
The main backs behind Avery are there, and the help is coming in from the transfer portal with Marco Lee from Virginia Tech and Omni Wells from Mississippi State looking to make a push.
The star of the passing game is gone. Jalen Tolbert caught 82 passes averaging 18 yards per pop with eight scores, and now he’s a Dallas Cowboy. However, the rest of the main receivers are back led by 53-catch Jalen Wayne and speedy Caullin Lacy. All-star TE Lincoln Sefcik caught 32 passes and five scores as a short-range receiver.
Can Desmond Trotter take his game up a few notches? The veteran quarterback was good in 2020, and he’s strong at limiting the mistakes, but he only played late last year in a rough three-game road stretch and now he has to make the O sing. If he can’t, Toledo transfer Carter Bradley will get his shot.
South Alabama Jaguars Preview 2022: Defense
The defense is getting even more help from the transfer portal than the offensive side. The Jaguars get back eight starters, but the Power Five new guys are going to at least build up the depth for a defense that wasn’t bad.
The Jaguars allowed 355 yards and 26 points per game. They need a better pass rush, but the pass defense should be fine. Speaking of the pass rusher …
The Jaguars got production from a variety of spots – mostly outside linebacker – but the line has to find more from the ends. DT Charles Coleman led the team with 4.5 sacks, and the rest of the starters are back.
On the way is Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge from Oklahoma and James Miller from Indiana to try bringing some heat from the edge – if 6-7 Brock Higdon doesn’t turn out to be a star a the Bandit position.
AJ DeShazor led the team with 64 tackles, but he’s hardly alone among the inside linebacker to use in a good rotation. That includes 245-pound Quentin Wilfawn – a thumper in the middle who made 45 tackles.
The secondary has the playmakers to work around, but more of a steady pass rush would be a big help. Darrell Luter was a First Team All-Sun Belt star with a team-high four interceptions and ten broken up passes at one corner spot, and the safety combination of Keith Gallmon and Yam Banks should combine for around 100 tackles.