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    Southern University trains with Marines; Coach calls football combat

    Marines train Southern University Football Players

    Photo By Cpl. John-Paul Imbody | Players from the Southern University football team carry a fellow teammate on a...... read more read more



    Story by Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Scranton 

    6th Marine Corps District

    BATON ROUGE, La. - When the commanding general of Marine Forces Reserve Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills shook hands with Southern University coach Dawson Odum at the Bayou Classic press conference on the floor of the Superdome Nov. 22, 2013, it wasn’t the first time the Marines had contact with the Jaguars. Earlier this year the Marines put the team through some grueling training which both Odum and his staff said helped prepare the team for the upcoming season.

    “We train so much physically; the same as the military, but usually, when it’s time for us to do a job it requires our mental fortitude,” Odum said. “We needed to be put into adverse situations so we could overcome things once we’re put in combat.”

    The Marines provided an opportunity earlier this year to do that when they approached the Jaguars head coach with the idea of putting the team through training similar to that which the Marines commonly use to help build teamwork and camaraderie amongst its combat units. Odum agreed.

    Early in the preseason the Marines had the Jags crawling through the mud, hefting around logs and carrying fellow teammates on stretchers. The Marines both figuratively and literally gave the team a taste of what it’s like to be a Marine even going so far as feeding the players military field rations known as MREs or Meals, Ready-to-Eat.

    “We wanted to give them an introduction to how the Marine Corps inspires and trains its leaders,” said Capt. Adesina O. Aladetohun, who headed the Marines training with the Jaguars. “We wanted to push the players both physically and mentally and allow them to test their own limits. We also wanted to force them to rely on one another to get through the exercises.”

    Odum said training with the Marines helped provide a foundation for their success on the field this year and that he has frequently called upon the team’s shared experiences with the Marines to help rally them to victory throughout the season. With Southern University sitting on a 7-4 record, its first winning season in three years, the experience the Jaguars had with the Marines appears to have been not only foundational, but transformational.

    “We take our MRE’s out there with us in the fourth quarter and we hold them up,” Odum said. “And we say this is where it started. This is what brought us together.”

    Although the term transformation may be used infrequently in college football, Aladetohun said transformation in his line of work is a topic of daily discussion. Aladetohun said he sees the process at work with each man or women he sends off to become a Marine.

    “Changing young men and women’s lives for the better is something we do every day,” Aladetohun said. “I’m glad the Jags feel we had a hand in helping them become successful on the field. We wanted to show the relevancy of the Marine Corps in their lives and give them some Marine skills, which directly translate into life skills.”

    While Aladetohun said he is happy he and his fellow Marines could help the team prepare for a winning season, as the Marine who is responsible for recruiting future Marine officers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge he is hoping their efforts will lead to the Marine Corps winning a victory of its own.

    Aladetohun said that win would be seeing a Jaguar transition from a uniform of blue and gold to camouflage green. The Marines efforts at Southern University are part of a larger effort by the Corps to bolster diversity throughout its ranks. The Marine Corps has put an active outreach program in place which includes many of the historically black colleges and universities like Southern hoping to attract a future Marine force that has the cultural expertise, language skill sets and the varied philosophies needed to meet the Marine Corps future operational commitments across the globe.

    “I’m glad we were able to play some part in helping their players develop as athletes and young men,” Aladetohun said. "Hopefully, some of these player may consider joining another winning team. The Marines.”

    For more information about scheduling interviews or media coverage of the Marines involvement with Southern University or the Bayou Classic event, please contact Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Scranton, at 678-464-2553 or



    Date Taken: 11.27.2013
    Date Posted: 11.27.2013 16:26
    Story ID: 117512
    Location: BATON ROUGE, LA, US 

    Web Views: 326
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