By Felix Cunningham
This preseason the Southern University football team has been picked to place third in the Southwestern Athletic Conference due to unlucky circumstances, but the Jaguars are still in the heat of things.
A lack of spring practice is one of the factors Jaguar football critics will point to, but the two players that accompanied Southern head coach Dawson Odums to SWAC Media Day earlier this month in Birmingham, Ala., would beg to differ.
Seniors Demetrius Carter and Anthony Moseley approach a new day in the upcoming season, and both players have seen Southern at crucial heights.
Last season at linebacker, Carter led with 101 tackles, but offensive lineman Moseley was academically ineligible to play after being named to the preseason all conference team. The media voted Moseley as an All-SWAC player for a second consecutive year earlier this month.
“I’m glad to have (Moseley) back,” Odums said. ”I think the coaches knew when they heard the name. It was very unfortunate for him but he still has some time left, and I want him to make the best of it.”
Both senior Jaguars experienced Southern capture the SWAC Championship title two years ago against Jackson State, and Moseley was an integral part of the Jaguars success in Houston, TX that season. The Jaguars have won the SWAC West Division title the last two seasons.
“Even though the past defines us, it doesn’t matter,” Moseley said. “The preseason is nothing. It’s all about the after season awards, and I have to work as hard as I can to make the team the best it can be.”
After winning the SWAC title in 2013, Southern tasted defeat in Houston against Alcorn State in the Jaguars’ return trip to the SWAC Championship last season. Both seniors agree the Jaguars are using last season’s championship loss as fuel for 2015.
“It was only a little bit of adversity but we are used to a little bit of adversity,” Carter said. “We used it as an opportunity to really attack our strength and conditioning. Adversity makes us stronger. This is our identity. We’re used to overcoming adversity.”
“It was difficult to watch but to become a leader, one has to sacrifice, and I believe I sacrificed to return to the field,” Moseley said. “I have to become a leader that coach sees me as.”
Southern has seen academic progress rate issues for the past two years, but this has not prevented the football team from becoming a powerful force in the SWAC.
“They have seen what we could do with restrictions placed on us,” Moseley said. “Now it’s only time to perform.”
The Jaguars have time to look upon their future and work to return to the SWAC Championship for a third consecutive season.
“To become better we have to gel as a defense and read our plays and anticipate our opponents’ movements,” Carter said. “Not having spring practice only made us to want to become faster and stronger as a team.”