JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson State’s spring football game was cancelled over the weekend due to severe weather, but the Tigers held an open practice on Tuesday to make up for it.
As it has been in recent years, a lot of focus was on the quarterback battle this spring for the Tigers.
There are three guys fighting for the position. Derrick Ponder who was a starter for the Tigers last season, Matt Little the Western Michigan transfer, and Jack Strose a redshirt freshman.
“I’m really happy with the way our quarterback battle is shaping up,” JSU head football coach John Hendrick said. “We look like we have somebody beginning to step up to take the lead.”
Hendrick said nothing is final yet, but he does consider Ponder to be the front runner. The junior played in nine of 10 games last year for the Tigers. He completed just 56 of 115 passes, had four interceptions and just one touchdown. But Hendrick seems to think Ponder’s experience puts him above the rest.
“He runs the offense. Derrick does a good job of making sure we’re in the right play,” Hendrick said. “He does a good job of adjusting. He’s not making mistakes. Right now he’s doing a great job and I’m really happy to see his progress.”
Ponder said he has been focused on shaking off bad plays and looking ahead.
“When things maybe don’t go well, we have to stay calm and play the next play,” Ponder said. “That’s something we’ve talked about and something we’ve preached and still working on. We can always work on doing better at that.”
Hendrick added that he thinks this is the best football team the Tigers have had since his time at JSU.
“Every position is better today than it was when we started spring ball fundamentally,” Hendrick said. “As long as we keep the development going in that regard and in that respect, we’ll be okay.”
JSU opens up the season September 1st in Atlanta against Bethune-Cookman University.