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Friday, June 14, 2024

Jackson State football navigating through coaching changes

The 2023 spring game at Jackson State football was the first time the team took the field under TC Taylor with largely a whole new team. The 2024 Jackson State football spring game had much more continuity with players, but the coaching staff did look slightly different.

JSU lost both offensive coordinator Maurice Harris (Auburn) and defensive coordinator Jonathan Bradley (South Alabama) to FBS programs in the offseason. 

“That was the thing that was kind of challenging, in that I had to step on the gas,” Taylor said after the spring game. “We lost some really good coaches to some FBS programs that I had to go out and replace. We got those guys in here. We still got to go find a linebackers coach. But very pleased with those guys we replaced. And just a little different from year one to now.”

Torenzo Quinn was promoted from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator. Taylor said usually tells defensive coordinators not to blitz, but that wasn’t the case this year.

“I told him to empty the tank and he did,” Taylor said. “You saw corner blitzes, all the linebackers blitzing. I saw the safeties blitzing, but he did a heck of a job out there mixing it up and keeping us off-balance on the offensive side of the ball.”

Leilani ArmentaLeilani Armenta
Leilani Armenta is one of several kickers for Jackson State football this season.

On the other side of the ball, no offensive coordinator has been named for Jackson State football. Taylor assumed the role on Saturday, and it may or may not be his for a while.

“I did handle it today. I just called some stuff today to try to stay base a little bit. You don’t know who is in the stands watching,” Taylor told the media after Saturday’s game. “(We) just tried to put the kids in position to make plays. That’s what I tried to do out there today. But we’ll see. And I’ll continue to evaluate it, see how I feel about it going forward and I’ll make that decision.”

Overall, Taylor was pleased with what he saw on the field Saturday. But there was one thing was lacking was physicality, something that he has been working on. 

“That’s the part I didn’t see out there today. The D-Line did bring it. But up front on the offensive line — they’re big — but we’ve got to be more physical and be able to run the football,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we did our best job of that.” 

Another part of the game that brought a smile to Taylor’s face this year was the kicking game. The team has multiple kickers, including history-maker Leilani Armenta. He just wants to make sure he’s never in the same position the team was in last year’s Bethune-Cookman game when the cupboard was literally bare.

“We didn’t have nothing out there. So I won’t fall into that situation ever again,”Taylor remembered with a laugh. “I still don’t know how we won that game.”

Jackson State football navigating through coaching changes

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