Memorable moments are certainly part of South Alabama’s relatively brief college football tenure.
There have been bowl games and big wins. There was a win at Mississippi State and a victory over nationally ranked San Diego State in Mobile.
Second-year head coach Kane Wommack doesn’t want those memories erased. However, Wommack, who was the program’s defensive coordinator in 2016 when the Jags beat Mississippi State and San Diego State, wants something more important.
“Consistency is a huge piece of what we have to do,” Wommack said. “We’ve been to bowl games and all that stuff, but consistency is what we have lacked in our program. That's something we build every single day.”
He points to last season as a good example of what could have been. South Alabama pushed the two premier teams in the conference to the limit, yet had nothing to show for it. Sun Belt champion Louisiana escaped with a 20-18 victory after Diego Guajardo missed a 37-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining. In the regular season finale, South Alabama dropped a 27-21 decision in overtime to Coastal Carolina.
“The best teams in our conference this past year, we went toe to toe with those teams,” Wommack said. “I think, for the most part, we weathered the storm into the fourth quarter, but maybe we were just excited to be in that moment as opposed to expecting to be in that moment.”
Media members expect South Alabama to be among the top teams in the Sun Belt this season. The Jags were picked to finish second in the West Division behind Louisiana and received a pair of first-place votes. The Jags finished 16 points behind Louisiana and three points ahead of third-place Troy. Combine the two divisions and South Alabama had the third most points, edging out Coastal Carolina, which was two points behind.
Don’t expect Wommack to spend much time with his team bragging about the predictions.
“In our building, you never see up on the board, team goals – Sun Belt championship, a bowl game and all those other things,” Wommack said. “Certainly, we have high aspirations and expectations and ultimately, wins and losses dictate our future. We just want to narrow the margin of error so that we can work within the margin of success.”
Perhaps success will come to Mobile this season.
“I think if you are process driven like we are, people look at that and say it must be a coaching cliché,” Wommack said. “But, ultimately that is our responsibility. There are factors that are out of your control in a college football game. We call it Murphy’s Law in our program – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy is going to show up in every single game. Our job, as a program, is to become so consistent, so relentless in the details for accomplishing our vision, that we are just narrowing the margin of error.”
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