Southern works to recover from loss

Updated: October 28, 2003, 12:32 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Southern University is in new territory this week.

The Jaguars (7-1) are not only working to get ready for the next opponent, they're working on recovering from their first loss, an upset by Alcorn State.

"In college football you're either teaching or you're learning," Southern defensive coordinator Cliff Lewis said. "This is our week to learn."

The Jaguars gave up 36 points, 506 total yards, 379 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, 27 first downs and 81 total plays -- all season records.

"We didn't play well," Southern head coach Pete Richardson said. "I tried to warn individuals and people: We got off to a great start, but that doesn't mean we're a great football team. We have a way to go to be classified as a great football team."

Richardson spent the early periods of practice with the pass defense, helping correct mistakes the staff detected from dissecting the game film.

"I saw some guys willing and eager to work to get better," said cornerback Lenny Williams.

Some of Southern's problems could be traced to Alcorn quarterback Donald Carrie, a three-year starter, having a career day. In the process, he earned national offensive player of the week honors.

"The kid did an outstanding job of putting the ball where it had to go, scrambling and pinpoint passing he hadn't demonstrated in the past," Richardson said. "We had him corralled a couple of times, and he broke tackles. Sometimes, an individual gets in a zone like that."

Some of the problems, players and coaches said, could be traced back to the mental game.

"We have to get our mental state back, because of the expectations the public put on our team as a result of the great start we had," Richardson said. "This brought them down to where they're more receptive to following instructions and playing within the confines of offense and defense."

Richardson said he saw his team's focus start to fade the week before in the second half of a 30-20 win at Jackson State. And he said that lack of focus continued during last week's practices and was "glaring" during the Alcorn game.

"I didn't think the focus or concentration, the paying attention to details, were as they should be," Richardson said. "We have to hone in on that, buckle up and finish strong."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index