A lot has changed since Jackson State played in last season’s SWAC championship game.
Gone is their starting quarterback from a year ago Clayton Moore. The offensive coordinator has departed only to be replaced by a neophyte in Timmy Chang. There are 60 returning players battling for positions this spring.
The most important alteration, however, has been at head coach.
Out is Rick Comegy after eight solid seasons that featured one title and four conference championship game appearances at JSU.
Hello, Harold Jackson for his first.
The biggest question looming for the reigning SWAC East champs will be whether Jackson, who has never been a head coach for an extended period of time at any level of football, can be more successful that his predecessor?
With spring practice underway and a season still left to be played, that question might not get answered right away. Not with a plethora of new faces, new systems, new chemistry to be developed and new terminology to grasp.
What will work in Jackson’s favor heading into the 2014 season is his obvious wealth of coaching experience and football knowledge.
At 68, Jackson has been a position coach at the FBS level and in the NFL. That familiarity should aid in player development – a criticism of Comegy during his tenure.
The lack of head coaching chops even with all the years of football acumen Jackson can draw from can’t simulate how practices are to be run, game plans installed and games managed. Unlike other first-year head coaches entering a program, Jackson will not be given much time to easy his way into it.
Not at Jackson State where the expectations are high. Not when he inherits a team that was a single play away from winning a championship. Not when he’s the highest-paid coach in the SWAC.
How Jackson guides this team through the regular season will be the most important storyline at Jackson State.