Jaguars adding balance to SWAC’s top rushing offense

Sports

BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern led the SWAC in rushing yards during the 2019 season, but the Jags ended the season second to last in the passing game. The Blue and Gold’s 2021 offense will feature new wrinkles through the air thanks to offensive coordinator Zack Grossi, and the players on the Bluff have already seen the new scheme’s fiery potential.

“The offense has been putting in a tremendous amount of work. They’ve been working on all their schemes, and lining up against them, it’s been good competition going against them everyday,” cornerback Tamaurice Smith said.

“Just going against them: explosive plays. That’s all I can really describe it as, just an air attack,” linebacker Caleb Carter added.

While the passing game highlighted the changes, the Jaguars returned two of the conference’s top 10 rushers from last season: quarterback Ladarius Skelton (6) and running back Devon Benn (7).

Benn and fellow running back Jarod Sims were Southern’s main ball carriers in the final games of the 2019 season, and with Benn slated to start once again, the theme will remain the same heading into Friday’s season opener.

“Benn has the nod, but Sims will play a lot. Craig Nelson will probably play more than anticipated as well. This day and age you got to be deep. To have that kind of depth at running back will give us an opportunity, and hopefully all those guys will be ready to go on Friday,” head coach Dawson Odums said.

Whether Benn or Sims carry the ball on Friday won’t matter to the Jags offensive line, who loved blocking for both ball carriers almost 14 months ago.

“It’s amazing blocking for both of them. Both of them are explosive. Each one of them have their own strengths. They’re pretty great running backs to me, honestly. Read blocks pretty well, and they make us look good so got to love it,” guard Jonathan Bishop said.

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