This season has been a more than interesting one for the Jags. Coming off their spring campaign, they looked to take full control of the SWAC. The plan hit a speed bump however once former head coach Dawson Odums left the bluff for Norfolk State. This move then created space for now interim head coach Jason Rollins.
Although this is his first season as head coach, Rollins has now coached through six of the Jag’s 11 game schedule. With the Jags at the halfway mark of the season, now seems like the best time to review Coach Rollins’s performance so far.
Starting off the season, Southern matched up in an out-of-conference game with Troy University and were eviscerated on the scoreboard. This initially came off as a misnomer of a game because it was out of conference and frankly, the first game of the year. There were questions about the defense but they weren’t as abundant at that point.
The next two home games however displayed two different versions of the Jags football team. The first game which was aptly titled the Pete Richardson Classic was a resounding success for the Jags as they won the game. However, they had to come back to secure the win in the second half which once again raised more questions. The following week they lost a close game to McNeese State. The defense gave up 31 points in that game and it seemed that the defensive missteps were once again prevalent.
The next three games were once again following the win-loss pattern of the first three contests. This then leads to the question “Is Coach Rollins truly figuring it out or are they figuring him out?” The Jags have yet to hit their stride despite great offensive performances every weekend. The defense was in question to start the year and is still in question at the halfway mark.
With the Jags seemingly waiting for Superman to arrive on defense, when will change truly arrive? This issue has been the defining one of Coach Rollins’s fall campaign; Changes: where are they and can they be made? Consistency and stability must be areas of work each week for the team, and yet routinely, mistakes are made.
To call Coach Rollins' season a disaster would be far too short-sighted, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. The season doesn’t get any easier from here either. With games against long-time rival Jackson State and SWAC newcomers FAMU, the Jags must reach a new plateau. Rollins must find a way to turn the Jags into a well-oiled machine in time to make a run at the SWAC title. Starting with discipline on defense coupled with renewed first-half energy for the entire team could go a long way.
In closing, Interim Coach Jason Rollins may have not burst out the gates with immediate success, but!there is still time to right the ship. Rome was not built in a day and neither is building a winning culture. Patience will be key as Rollins looks to get the team back on track for the rest of the season.