Southern was picked to win the SWAC West ahead of the conference’s media day, and that expectation is something first-year head coach Eric Dooley isn’t shying away from.
In fact, Dooley and the Jaguars actually relish the opportunity to be tabbed as favorites in the division in front of Alcorn State, defending champion Prairie View and Grambling State.
“You know, I love those high expectations,” said Dooley, who joins Southern after a four-year stint a Prairie View. “I don’t want to go anywhere where they aren’t expected to win at all. I don’t want to go anywhere where they count the number of games they’re expected to lose because that’s not football to me.”
Southern will try to bounce back from a 4-7 season under interim coach Jason Rollins that unceremoniously ended with a loss in the Bayou Classic to in-state rival Grambling State.
Dooley is hoping with junior college transfer Besean McCray cemented as the starting quarterback to maturate alongside inexperienced pass catchers, and a defense led by former Buck Buchanan Award winner Jordan Lewis and transfer Jason Dumas, Southern can reach the SWAC championship round for the first time since 2019.
“My expectations are extremely high,” the one-time Southern assistant under the legendary Pete Richardson said. “We want to win it all. So I do understand that and think the expectations here (at Southern) go hand in hand with my expectations.”