South Alabama football changed its identity after the 2017 season. The Jaguars replaced Joey Jones – the only head coach in the program’s 10-year history – with former Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell.
Campbell has been busy since he arrived in Mobile on Dec. 9, 2017.
“We’ve been working toward getting the team on the field since then,” he said. “We’ve been hard at work in recruiting, in the weight room through the offseason, spring training and summer school.”
The 2018 football season is fast approaching. Alabama NewsCenter continues its tour of college football programs in the state. Next up are Campbell’s Jaguars, who were 4-8 in 2017.
Alabama NewsCenter: What is the outlook for this season?
Steve Campbell: We don’t put numbers on it or anything, but it’s very promising. We look to be a much-improved football team this year.
ANC: What is the strength of this year’s team?
Campbell: We’ve got good senior leadership. We’ve got an older group of defensive linemen. I really like our defensive line and we’ve got an older group at receiver and tight end. The strength of our team ought to be our kicking game. We’ve got a preseason All-American punter in Corliss Waitman and a preseason all-conference kicker (Gavin Patterson). We’re counting on them to really be a strength of our team.
ANC: Who are your team’s standouts?
Campbell: I’d say linebacker Bull Barge, defensive lineman Tyree Turner (and) defensive end/linebacker Riley Cole defensively, and offensively, tight end Collier Smith, Cole Garvin, Cephus Johnson and Jamarius Way. Garvin and Johnson are the two quarterbacks and Jamarius Way is a wide receiver.
ANC: What game do your fans have circled on your schedule?
Campbell: I’m sure the fans have the Troy game circled. Troy’s a huge rival, and they were the conference champs last year. They went 11-2. (The Jaguars handed the Trojans one of those losses, 19-8.) For us, every game is the most important game because it’s the next game.
ANC: What is your lingering question?
Campbell: We’ve got a lot of question marks. This is our first year with the program. The thing I don’t question is how hard the kids have worked and how hungry they are. We’re putting in new offense, new defense, new kicking game, new head coach, new offensive coordinator, new defensive coordinator, new special teams coordinator. It’s a lot of questions.
Read 2018 football previews for Jacksonville State University, Miles College, the University of West Alabama, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of North Alabama, Samford University, Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, UAB and Auburn University, and look for new football previews each weekday on Alabama NewsCenter.