The Valdosta Daily Times
The Jackonsivlle Jaguars’ caravan made a stop at the Valdosta Mall Saturday for their second visit in as many years.
A crowd gathered in the center of the mall in anticipation of the team’s arrival. The team’s mascot, Jaxson de Ville, rolled in to the sound of applause on a segway, followed by four members of Jacksonville’s ROAR cheerleaders.
Tony Boselli, former Jaguar offensive lineman, got the festivities going when he declared Valdosta as “Jaguar Country.”
“Forget about the Falcons,” Boselli said. “We’re planting our flag right here in Valdosta.”
Boselli rallied the crowd with talk of the Jaguar’s new uniforms, which were on display, new head coach Gus Bradley, and new GM, Dave Caldwell from the Atlanta Falcons.
The Jaguars began their caravan to focus on sparking interest for the team on the road, by traveling more than 1,500 miles, stopping in nine cities and connecting with approximately 5,000 fans.
Three Jacksonville players also joined the caravan on its stop in Valdosta.
The team’s 2013 leading receiver, Cecil Shorts III, defensive end Jeremey Mincey, and offensive guard Will Rackley spoke to fans and signed autographs.
Before giving out prizes, including game tickets, to some of the fans, the players spoke about the Jaguar’s upcoming season and the changes made in the organization.
Boselli told the crowd that the Jaguars were planning on fighting for the AFC South division title, making the playoffs, and, eventually, brining a Super Bowl to Jacksonville.
Mincey spoke a bit about the team’s new defensive schemes and coach Bradley.
“He’s the most energetic coach I’ve ever seen,” said Mincey. “We’ll be playing the 3-4 with some 4-3 stuff in there too. We’ll have a leo and you’ll see a lot of blitzes.”
Shorts provided fans with some hints of what to expect from an offense that has been underwhelming at best the last few years.
“It’s a high-tempo, no-huddle offense,” Shorts said. I’m expecting a big season from myself.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been plagued by low-attendance in recent years, which has resulted in some local blackouts.
Seeing the team on the road to give back to fans was a welcome sight for one longtime Jaguar fan, Chris Carter.
“I love to see the organization reaching out and expanding the fanbase outside of Florida,” Carter, 23, said. “Not only does this let new people get to see what the Jaguars are like, but it also gives diehard fans like myself a chance to meet their favorite players.”