JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University coach Kerwin Bell has liked was he has seen this week as his team tries to shake off a loss to Marist and hits the road for the fifth consecutive week when it travels to Davidson College Saturday.
Bell believes the Dolphins (7-2, 5-1 Pioneer Football League) have gotten over last week's last-second 17-16 setback to the Red Foxes which put JU back in to a three-way tie with Dayton and San Diego for the league lead.
"We've have a really good week of practice and this team has been resilient all season,'' Bell said. "Last week was tough but it's time to play another one.''
He also is wary of Davidson, a team he sees on the improvement trail, and says the Wildcat record (1-8, 0-5) isn't a true reflection of what the North Carolina team is all about.
"I'm sure their record isn't what they would have hoped it to be,'' Bell said, "but, you look at their games and you see several of their losses were by one possession or less (an average of 5.5 points). We've seen them on film and we know what we're up against. They are smart and aren't somebody to take lightly and they've had an extra week to prepare with a bye week last week.''
In fact, one of the Davidson losses was a five overtime affair against Dayton (54-48) on Oct. 4 and the Wildcats led Campbell from the first drive until the final minute in a 28-27 loss.
"They have a young quarterback (freshman Taylor Mitchell) who can throw it around,'' Bell said. Their running back (Jeff) Keil and wide receiver (William) Morris have won weekly awards for outstanding play. They obviously have some talent there and they have continued to improve all season long.''
Kiel, for example, rushed for 215 yards in the team's last outing, a 40-34 loss to Stetson.
Davidson coach Paul Nichols has liked what he has seen from his team this week as his team prepares for Senior Day and its last home game of the season.
"We had an unbelievable practice (earlier in the week); probably our best practice of the year,'' Nichols said on his weekly show.
Nichols noted JU's loss to Marist.
"I'm sure they are going to be very excited when they get here,'' he said. "The challenge for us is to rise to the level they are going to show up with.''
The Dolphins have loaded up on yards of late but have had problems scoring touchdowns, specifically in the red zone.
Against Marist, JU went into the red zone seven times and converted only once.
"Yeah, we're way down, probably the worst red zone team since I've been here,'' Bell, in his eighth year, said. "We pride ourselves in being high percentage, the high 80s, that's been a big key for us. We've turned the ball over down there, some turnovers on downs, a mixture of things. We're really focusing in on that area. For seven years we've been great in that area and I feel like that gives you a chance to separate teams. It's not been just one thing.''
Game time is 1 p.m. and can be heard on 92.5 FM. The pregame show is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
- The Dolphins continue to lead the nation in interceptions with 18. DB Dallas Jackson (Palmetto, Fla.) has four which is 12th in the nation and fourth in the PFL.
- JU leads the PFL in total offense at 500 yards per game. The Dolphins are 14th nationally against all opponents with 474 yards per game (Yale leads at 599.6).
- The Dolphins had their first six-sack game of the year and now have 10 in the last two games (20 for the season). Mike Klein (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) led the sack brigade with two against the Red Foxes. JU has recorded at least one sack in its last 19 consecutive games going back to the first game of 2013.
Join fellow Dolphin fans at two gatherings in Charlotte this weekend
Friday November 7th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm: Happy Hour at Bonterra
Saturday November 8th, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm: Pre-game party at Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse
Kick-off at 1pm – campus is right across the street.
RSVP for the events by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Contact Jennifer Simmons, Director of Parent and Family Programs 904-256-7535