Beyond the bluff: Southern University football legacy
POSTED: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 10:47pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 3:57pm
BATON ROUG, LA (NBC33) — The Southern University football program has seen its better days. This year the Jags are 3 and 5 leaving fans longing for the glory days.
From 1993-2003 Southern football was a SWAC powerhouse winning five titles.
We caught up with members of the 1993 SWAC Championship team to get there perspective on being a champion and what it will take to turn a season around.
"2011 LSU tiger team, that was Southern University 1993 team. We had depth. We had size. We had speed. We had talent, and we had swagger," said Virgil Smothers, former Southern University right defensive end, " We knew we good."
Members of the 1993 Southern University football team say they'll always remember winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship.
"We were always prepared. Preparation is no just on the field it's in the film room. We study film. We study their tendencies. We went in the weight room. We work out. We prepare like a well oiled machine," said Smothers.
But going into the 1993 season, not many Jaguar fans believed their team could take it all the way to the championship. The year before the Jags were 5 and 6. And with only 5 wins under their belt, even Southern players need a pep talk.
That season veteran players like then defensive back, Sean Wallace went before the student body and made a promise they were going to take home the title .
" We knew we had the power, we just had to put it together all the way. If we commit to excellence we had a chance to win. Going into the season we knew we had a chance. We were the only people who knew we had a chance," said Wallace.
That year the Jaguars went 11 and 1 taking home the championship.
Flash forward to 2011 the Jags are 3 and 5 with only 3 games left to turn it around . The Jaguars have had several loosing season in a row, and veteran players say it's time to bring back the powerhouse title to Southern.
Virgil Smothers said, "They have to understand that they have to hold each other accountable the coaches don't play the coaches coach. It's up to the players to not just practice if you want to win you have to practice winning wining is not just something you show up and do it's a culture.
"Somebody on the team needs to step up and believe we can win southern university is traditionally winners it means something to put on the blue and gold . lets take some pride lets put the work in lets win," said Wallace.
Earlier this season sixteen players were suspended for a huge fight after a narrow loss to Arkansas Pine Bluff.
But Virgil Smothers said it's not the first time a fight has happened on a college football game day and the team does not need the distraction: "These are kids, and they are going to make kid mistakes. Who among us haven't made mistakes it's about understanding the mistake that you made learning from it. It's football, you want to be emotional take it out between the lines."
Southern University head football coach, Coach Stump Mitchell said " We are own worst enemy, so there isn't anything that our opponents have done to cause us to loose those games. It's what we've done. Hopefully, we'll correct the mistakes we've made and we'll be able to finish games."
The next big challenge for southern is the bayou classic on november 26th. It's an age old rivalry that some say is a must win. Some Southern fans even say you can loose every game during the season but if the team beats grambling the team is still a winner.
Smothers said, "It has all the hoopla and the pretty stuff surrounding it, but when it comes to the field it's bragging rights for twelve months."
Members of 1993 team say one thing that will help the Jaguars return to a power house again is patience. Coach Stump Mitchell became the Jags head coach last season, and getting people used to a new coach's style of play doesn't always come easy.