Scouting Florida’s 2020 opponents: Game 3 — South Alabama

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Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas (12) and South Alabama quarterback Desmond Trotter (11) talk after the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Julie Bennett)

Editor’s note: While we have no idea when college football will start, we are bringing you a look at each of the 12 opponents Florida has scheduled to play.

Today: South Alabama.

When: Sept. 19, TBD.

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Last year: It was not a good year for the Jaguars as they went 2-10 and 1-7 in conference play. The good news was that they won their finale in a Friday-night upset over Arkansas State. USA played some close games, but did not have the offense to pull the games out, finishing 113th in the nation in total offense. 

Outlook for 2020: South Alabama made a change at quarterback after eight games last year going to Desmond Trotter and the offense showed some improvement. Chance Lovertich, who played at Mississippi Gulf Coast the last two years, will have a shot at winning the job after throwing for more than 2,000 yards last season. A solid recruiting class that was bolstered by some other junior college players has coach Steve Campbell — who spent a bulk of his career as a juco head coach — believing his team could be trending up after only five wins in his first two seasons.

Best offensive player: Senior Kawaan Black is a receiver who can also run the ball on jet sweeps as shown by his nine rushing touchdowns two years ago. Last year, he caught 35 passes for 574 yards and rushed for 102 yards.

Best defensive player: South Alabama’s defense wasn’t the problem last year and one reason was linebacker Riley Cole. He was a former Alabama commit who had the scholarship pulled late and ended up in Mobile. Last year, Cole had 59 tackles with three sacks and can line up at times as an edge rusher.

Fun fact: South Alabama started playing football in 2009 and already has a new stadium. The week before the Jaguars play in Gainesville, they will open 25,000-seat Hancock Whitney Stadium. USA had been playing at Ladd-Peebles Stadium off campus where the Senior Bowl is annually played.

Quote: “Obviously, the expectations are higher than the past couple of seasons. There is some optimism that the offense will be better. They played a lot of close games last year and for the record to improve, the offense has to get better.” — Tommy Hicks, sideline reporter for USA games.