Southern University football coach Eric Dooley is known as an offensive guru. At every stop in Coach Dooley’s career, offensive success has followed.
But this season, the Jaguars have had a shaky start, dropping their first two games, with the offense managing only 24 points through eight quarters.
Returning to Southern as head coach in 2022, where Dooley previously served as a long-time assistant on the staff of legendary coach Pete Richardson, the Jaguars averaged 25.1 points per game, which was good for the sixth highest in the SWAC.
When asked during Monday’s SWAC football coaches’ teleconference on how he ranked his offense on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highly dynamic, high-scoring offense that Dooley wants, the Jaguars’ head coach said, “I’d say at a four.”
The performance of the Jaguars’ offensive unit bucks the historical trend of Dooley being able to produce high-scoring outputs.
During his time as offensive coordinator at Arkansas Pine Bluff, from 2011-13, it was a period of progression. UAPB went from averaging 21.1 points per game in 2011 to 28.1 in his last season there.
Dooley’s next stop was at Grambling, where, in each of his four seasons as offensive coordinator, the Tigers’ offense averaged at least 31 points per contest, including leading the SWAC in scoring with 31.2 points per game in 2017. Dooley’s offenses at Prairie View A&M led the SWAC in scoring in two of his four seasons as head coach.
“You’re talking about in two weeks, we have only put up 24 points. Yeah, you just need one more point than the next opponent to win the game, there’s no question about it, but I feel we have the weapons, and we have the tools to get the things that we need to get done,” Dooley stated. “Because I said we were at a four, that doesn’t mean the players are not going out there and practicing hard that they are not doing the things that are conducive [ to be successful]. I have to put them in a better situation to have a better outcome.”
On the season, the Southern offense is currently tied for 11th in the conference in scoring (12 points per game), is last in rushing (61 yards per game ), 4th in passing (243 yards), and 8th in total offense (304 yards per game).
Quarterback Harold Blood has thrown for 486 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. Grad transfer Jailon Howard is the Jags’ leading receiver with seven receptions for 85 yards; Kendric Rhymes’ 55 rushing yards is a team-high.
The Jaguars’ next opponent, Alabama A&M, potentially presents some opportunities for the Southern offense to begin to right the ship.
The Bulldogs’ defense has surrendered at least 160 yards on the ground in each of their first two contest and no fewer than 219 yards through the air.