By Felix Cunningham
Last Friday at the Marriot Hotel in Birmingham, Ala., Southern University’s head Coach Dawson Odums sat on a panel with nine other Southwestern Athletics Conference coaches and spoke on the future of his program.
The coaches were sitting in front of a prize to fight for, the new 2015 SWAC Championship trophy.
Southern has been Western Division champs twice in the first two years of the Odums era, with two Bayou Classics wins and back-to-back trips to the SWAC Championship under his belt.
Southern is starting off right in the preseason with three players being named to the first team All-SWAC offense: running back Lenard Tillery, offensive lineman Anthony Moseley and wide receiver Willie Quinn (also dubbed the return specialist). Jumpstart defensive back Danny Johnson was named first team All-SWAC defense.
Other Jaguar players honored include offensive lineman Terrell Lee on the second team All-SWAC offense and defensive lineman Gabe Echols and defensive back Dionte McDuffy on the second team All-SWAC defense.
Grambling State University was voted to finish first the SWAC Western Division, while Southern placed second.
“The preseason is for the media and everything matters at the end of the season,” said Odums. “That is when everything is on the line. It is when we compete for the trophy and to do we have to accomplish the goals that are ahead of us.”
Odums’ focus is on the future, to fight for a chance to move ahead positively in the upcoming season by setting realistic goals.
“Our goal is for all eleven guys to do their job and if you do that then we will have a successful team. By that I mean that I focus on how can we get the individual to do their job to make the team successful,” said Odums.
With only four home games this season, Southern will have to adopt a “road warriors” mentality as they travel throughout the conference.
“[The team] better get their minds right and that means eliminate distractions and sacrifice because it is a tall order to win in another state,” said Odums.
Southern’s toughest opponent this season is familiar to Southeastern Conference fans: the Georgia Bulldogs. The Jaguars have the chance to face one of the SEC’s most historic programs when they travel to Athens, GA on September 26.
“We have to go to Athens, but at the end of the day we have to embrace the opportunity and we have to face it to the best of our ability and show who we are,” said Odums.
Offensive lineman Anthony Moseley said he is excited to face Georgia this season.
“Our motto for the team is to start fast and finish strong and we are ready to face Georgia with the help of former LSU employee, Mr. Lawson, knows a bit about Georgia but nothing will stop us because the only thing that can stop us is ourselves,” said Moseley.
Southern is striving for a great future after the athletic ban that affected the Jaguars last season was uplifted before the summer began. Odums said he is very confident of the football team moving forward this season.
“I’m confident of the football team, and I have a motto: we chase A’s, B’s, Championships and Degrees,” said Odums. “That’s how we can fight on the field, and also it is a lesson in life.”
Southern begins its football season on Saturday, September 6 as they travel to Ruston, Louisiana to face Louisiana Tech.