Monday press conference previewing MVSU on Thursday

November 1, 2011 · By · Filed Under Football 

The Jaguar offense lining up in the wishbone set in the first quarter against Henderson State.

South Alabama Head Coach Joey Jones recapped Saturday’s win over Henderson State and a preview of the Jaguars game against Mississippi Valley State on Thursday night. Joining Coach Jones was defensive end Anthony Taylor and freshman running back J.J. Keels.

Coach Jones spoke about Saturday’s win after coming off a loss to Georgia State. “We were challenged by that loss, and we needed to respond not only as a team but as men. I thought we did that. The kids came out and played hard again, which they always do, and got after and played passionate football. The challenge this week is that we have to do it again. We’ve talked about winning the game during the week – at practice. And they have continued to work hard and it has been a good deal.”

Quote on Coach Jones comments about the team’s defensive performance. “We had seven takeaways and I think we just got after them early and they just never got going. I thought we played extremely well defensively in the first half. It ended up being 28-0 at halftime, and I think it just took them out of the game.”

Coach Jones comments on Mississippi Valley State. “They are athletic on both sides of the ball, and got their first win of the season last week. They have a quarterback who is a tall, rangy guy who can run and throw. He is the key to their offense. Defensively, they run a lot of different fronts and multiple blitzes so it’s making us simplify our game plan even more – the fact that we have a short week and they run a lot of things defensively. The biggest challenge for us is the multiplicity of what they do defensively.”

Coach Jones speaking about Thursday’s game and how it affect the team. “It is a short week, and it changes your schedule somewhat. There isn’t a lot of preparation time. We’re used to getting a lot of preparation time in for a team, but it’s something we have to deal with and fortunately the other team does as well and they have to travel. We feel good about it, and the coaches have done a good job simplifying the game plan. What you have to do is execute in a game like this. You don’t want to put too much in and then the kids don’t get it and don’t perform well on Thursday night. Sometimes change is just good. As coaches, we are about routine. We have our routine and everything is planned, but sometimes a change is good not only for the staff but for the players. The great thing is that after this game on Thursday, we have a short week. They are going to get some time off, and that could really help us for that last ball game.”

A follow up on how the quick turnaround affects the Jaguar game plan. “We had to have it ready by Monday morning. Not only did we have to speed things up, but we also had to simplify a little bit to make sure we can execute. The biggest thing I stress is we have to be able to execute. We can’t put in too many things, and we just have to be smart about what we do.”

In the game against Henderson State, Anthony Taylor recorded his first career interception. This is what he had to say about it at the press conference. “The interception really turned it around, because they were moving the ball on us. We had a zone blitz called, and I dropped back into the right coverage and made the first pick of my career. It was a big moment for me and my team. I’m just happy I’m out there making plays for them. I got a newfound respect for what running backs do on that play. There is a lot going on and a lot of colors running together. The first thing I did was get out of bounds. But it was a big play and was really exciting.”

Taylor also spoke about the defense’s preparation for the Henderson State game coming off of the Georgia State loss. “Coming off the loss to Georgia State, our coaches really emphasized running to the ball. We really got back to that last week, and I think that showed. We got seven takeaways, that was a record-setting performance. I think getting back to the little things really helped us, just being an all-around swarming defense.”

Running back J.J. Keels spoke about his first career start against Henderson State. “I was happy and excited and tried to do my best to show everyone why I was recruited. Hopefully I can show that for the rest of this year and next year. I didn’t know I was going to start until our walkthrough before Saturday. It kind of took me by surprise, but it was the position I wanted to be in.”

Keels spoke about Saturday’s win as well. “I think the turnaround started at practice. Coming into the game off of a loss to Georgia State, everyone felt like we had to do better. During the week at practice, everyone knew that it was our week. These last three weeks will be the last games we will ever play with some of these people. This side of the ball, everyone came off with fire and so much passion that coach Jones was excited and he was happy with that.”

Keels also spoke about playing on a Thursday night. “It’s been a while since we played on Thursday. The last time was against West Alabama. The practice week is very short and we practice on days we normally do not practice. The times are stricter, but we have more fans on a Thursday. I think this game is big on Thursday. Everyone can come for entertainment, but it’s just another day at work.”

South Alabama and Mississippi Valley State kick off at 6:30pm on Thursday, November 3 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags will be wearing their all white uniform and are asking the fans to wear white as well.

Go Jags!


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