Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2011-09-27

September 28, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show 

Running backs and special teams coach Tommy Perry joined Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones at Baumhowers Restaurant on Airport Boulevard for the radio show. They covered the Kent State game and what they are going to do during this off week.

Lee jumps straight to the question that many people want to know after the last two game. Is this program ready week-to-week FBS competition? Coach Jones answered that he thinks the program is ready for that level of competition. Talking realistically, he said that when people looked at this years schedule and saw NC State and Kent State, they just hoping that those games would not get embarrassing.

But Coach Jones pointed out that the team played NC State close, even though the final score did not reflect that but if they had made three or four plays then the game would have been much closer. Then he said that the team came out and played “pitiful” in the first half against Kent State. He said that he takes the blame for not being as focused as they normally are for games. He said they played hard, but made some very critical mistakes and didn’t play smart. But they played good in the second half by gaining 330 yards of offense and holding Kent to around 80 yards but they had a chance to score the tying points late in the game.

But he said that they are a growing team, but that they are ready for the FBS level. They are only about 2 1/2 years into this program but they are certainly ready to play at that level.

Stepping back and taking an overall look, they played NC State very well and they played Kent State pretty well. They were in the games and could have made some plays to change the outcome of those games; could have beat Kent State and probably should have beat Kent State. While they may not be ready for Alabama or Auburn, they are surely ready for the lower level FBS teams.

Lee asked if Coach Jones could explain the difference from the first half and the second half. Coach Jones reiterated that he did not think that the team’s focus was there before the game. The looks in their eyes was not something that he had seen before, but that it wasn’t bad like they were completely unfocused but they didn’t have the concentration that they normally have. The second point he made was that this was the first time someone jumped on them. It was the first time that they made mistakes and before they knew it they were down 16-0. They had never been down like that before, they had been down 7-0 and came back against a lesser opponent, but they had not been down that much before so quickly it seemed.

Basically, the team was stunned a bit until someone made a big play in the third quarter to wake them up, loosen them up and get them going again.

Lee then turned his focus towards Coach Perry. He stated that normally the Jags have much better numbers from the running backs than what we had at Kent State. He asked him to talk a bit about that. Coach Perry credited Kent State’s front seven for being very good. He said they were very aggressive, did some movement that confused and slowed the Jags down up front.

Coach Perry went further on what Coach Jones had previously said about the team being stunned and said that the team needs to learn that they don’t need a big play to get going. That they need to keep working, ignore the scoreboard and manufacture good things out of nothing to be competitive. The Jags have talented, competitive players in the backfield but they made some critical errors in the game with lining up and who they picked up.

Perry continued talking about how tough and how physical those running backs were during the game. This is a good learning opportunity for them to look at how their work had a direct impact on the outcome of the game.

Coach Jones then jumped in and said that Kent State was the #1 rush defense in the nation the previous season for a good reason. He also said that they were, by far, the best defense that South Alabama has played thus far. The Jags had a problem running the football for a reason. Kent State has some good linebackers that are well coached. In the second half they were able to find a few things they could do and hit on all cylinders.

Lee then asked a question that many Jaguar fans had been wondering about during and after the game. Was Kendall Houston hurt? Coach Jones said that, before the game, his lower back was tight and the coaches could tell in warmups that he wasn’t the same.

Coach Perry jumped in to say that Kendall is a football player and that he took some hits the previous week at NC State that he was amazed that he was able to stay up.

Lee followed that up with a question about the running game being a staple of the Jaguar offense. He asked when do the coaches on the sidelines start to try to find something different? Coach Jones said that they worked on schemes all week in order to find a way to run the football. He admitted that they may have overdid that leading up to the game. When you go against a rush defense that good, no matter what kind of scheme you come up with, it’s going to be difficult to run the football. You just try to run, as a team, for about 120 to 130 yards and hope you can throw for over 200 yards.

A fan called in and spoke very positively of the coaches and the players. He said that many teams that go down by that much at halftime will come out and hang their heads but this team did not do that. They came out and played with heart and all of their might to try to get back into the game. He said that the fans were very proud of them and that the future is bright for the team.

Coach Jones said that they are not satisfied with losing and are not satisfied with making mistakes. They are going to keep working on those things. Yes they have accomplished some good things, but they want to get better and win.

Travis Toth joined after the first break to promote the Jags upcoming games. Particularly the homecoming game against Tennessee-Martin which will kickoff at 2:30pm and will be televised on UTV44 and ESPN3. Thursday October 13th will be a pep rally at the Bell Tower at 7pm. Starting at 6pm on Friday, they will have their homecoming parade which will be followed by moonlight madness. Moonlight Madness is South’s version of Midnight Madness where the Jags basketball teams can start practice, which will start at 7pm.

Travis also mentioned that they are getting calls for away game tickets. He said that they had to return the remainder of their allotment for the UT-San Antonio game but they still have tickets available for the game versus Georgia State in the Georgia Dome. They will be available up to October 7th before they have to return the remainder.

Lee then turned to Coach Perry again talking about kick returners and how Jereme Jones has done well, particularly in the punt returns. Coach Perry agreed that he has grown up quite a bit and is fitting in nicely. Lee also mentioned a couple of occasions where, if he had called for a fair catch, it would have been down between the 15 and 20 yard lines. But he returned the kick for up to around the 30 yard line. While it’s not the longest run, both coaches agreed that that is a huge difference in field position. Coach Perry ended the conversation by saying that it’s a hard position to coach because you want them to be aggressive but they have to be smart about it.

Coach Jones reporting during The Orthopedic Group injury report that they had a few small things. Corey Waldon has a sprained knee and they think he will be back soon and no later than by Monday. Corey Besteda underwent a minor surgery to remove a small “loose body” from his knee. It was reported that Besteda’s procedure went very well and should be back by the middle part of next week.

The Jags had actually scheduled to play UC-Davis this week, however they bought out their trip to Mobile. Coach Jones said he would have loved to face UC-Davis again, but the off week was needed and well timed after all.

The next question was about recruiting and priorities of their staff recruiting. Coach Jones said they are graduating several players off of the offensive line, so they will be looking to bring in guys up there. They also want to continue to develop depth in the secondary.

Another caller talked about how well the Jags did against a very good defense. Coach Jones agreed and said he was pleased because there was a defensive linemen that they blocked well that made Alabama look silly at times.

Lee read an email asking about what the quarterbacks coach is doing to improve C.J. Bennett and the other Jaguar quarterbacks performance. Coach Jones said that the biggest thing for them is to have their quarterbacks get their progression down and stick with it. They don’t want them to continually anticipate things. Coach Jones said that is the biggest thing for C.J. and that it’s not anything technical throwing the ball.

Lee asked to look back at the first half of the Kent State game and tell us if he got his progressions right. Lee also mentioned that we have to keep it in prospective because C.J. has only started seven games and he is only a redshirt freshman.

Coach Jones reiterated what he and Coach Gregory have said several times; C.J. is a great quarterback. The problem, he thinks, is that C.J. has learned the offense so well that he knows the coverages and where to go with the ball but that he thinks he can make every throw. It’s that he is too aggressive. But he does have an uncanny ability to go to the right guy. But in certain situations it’s the best thing to throw the ball away.

Coach Jones continued by saying that C.J. is a good quarterback and he is going to be a great quarterback. He has already made several big plays for the team and he will make more. Basically, they want a good game manager but they don’t want the quarterback to be scared.

Lee mentioned to Coach Jones a quote that was published from him that said, “losses will make us better.” Lee asked wouldn’t it be better if wins make us better? Coach Jones clarified that it’s not the losses that make you better but the reaction to the losses that make you better. Complacency in human nature is a tough thing to fight. All they have had is good things, they had a 19 game winning streak and all kinds of good things happening to the program. How they react to these two losses will determine what type of team they are and will make them better.

Coach Jones said that the players will have three days off at the end of this week while coaches are on the road recruiting. They will come back in on Sunday and begin their game week preparation for their trip to San Antonio.

Lee asked if they saw that the team was more banged up coming off of back to back FBS games than they did playing teams like West Alabama. Coach Jones, at first, indicated no but upon reconsideration he said yes but only a little bit. Because the FBS teams are bigger, they probably did have more bangs and bruises, but they fared very well through those two game.

Next season it’s going to be very tough he said, with back to back games against Mississippi State and NC State as well as games against Troy and Middle Tennessee.

At the end of the show, Lee asked coach Perry how his wife was doing. It was last year that they announced that she was diagnosed with cancer. But she has recovered well and is a big inspiration for Coach Perry and many others as well.

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