Monday Press Conference

November 13, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 

Defensive coordinator Bill Clark working with Jake Johnson and the linebackers during individual drills on Saturday morning.

The University of South Alabama held their weekly media day on Monday with head coach Joey Jones along with seniors Trey Clark and Jake Johnson. They reflected on the teams loss at North Texas and previewed this weekend’s game against Middle Tennessee State.

Below are highlights from the press conference.

Head coach Joey Jones opened the press conference with his opening statement. “I want to thank our seniors for all they have done and committed to this football program, for what they have meant not only to this university but to our team. They are great leaders and great young men, they care about this team and have done all the right things to build this program from the ground up. Some of the guys have been here the whole time, some have transferred in, but the bottom line is that they have all contributed in great ways. They will be forever missed because they have done a good job here, they have created an atmosphere of hard work and character. We will be indebted to them forever.”

He then spoke about Senior Day this weekend. “I think this is a special day, it really is, because you almost treat it a little differently since it is your last day to play [at home]. Not that you are going to go out and play any harder, because those guys are going to play hard anyway, but you look at it with a little different perspective because you realize this is your last one. There are not many things in life that you know are going to end, maybe retirement. They [the seniors] plan for it a little bit and react in a great way but if they come out with the same attitude that they have all year long then they will enjoy the day very much and take it all in.”

Jones then fielded a question about frustration at being close to winning several games without actually getting the win. “I don’t know that there is anyone more frustrated than I was after the game. I didn’t talk to my wife, I didn’t talk to anyone on the plane coming back, I’m just that way. The next day I wake up and the sun comes up.”

“It has been difficult,” he continued. “One of the things we showed our players today is video of all the plays that had we made we would have won the ballgame the opportunities missed. Not that you are going to make every play every game, but there are certainly 12 to 15 plays in a game that if we make them the game is close and we win. That’s the difficult thing, leaving plays on the field. You’ve got to make those plays. You hear coaches say it all the time, you have three to five plays a game that make the difference.”

“Unfortunately — and fortunately — we are in Division I football right now, and the margin of winning in this conference are about that much [fingers held approximately an inch apart]. Right now we are not making those plays to win the ballgame at the end. Against FAU we did, we made a bunch of plays in the end. They are not difficult, astronomical diving catches, you just have to make simple plays and execute, throw it, catch it, tackle somebody. That’s the negative side of it.”

“The positive side of it is that we are putting ourselves in a position to win games in our first year [in the league]. But all of that doesn’t matter because we are here to win ballgames. We’re not young anymore, we’re 10 games into the season, so we have got to develop and be able to make those plays in games to be successful. I told our players this morning that they are growing up at this point, you’ve got to take the responsibility to look ahead of time and see yourself making those plays. It’s not good enough to just get to the fourth quarter, we have to make those plays in the fourth quarter. We have to coach better, everybody’s unit has to do better.”

“We’ve learned a lot from this season. We’ve learned how tough it is in the Sun Belt Conference. You look at Louisiana-Lafayette take Florida to the wire and Middle Tennessee beating Georgia Tech, it’s a tough league. Florida Atlantic beat Western Kentucky this past weekend, and we beat Florida Atlantic. It isn’t very far from the top to the bottom of the conference. I think in years past it has been a big gap, but right now there’s not a big gap at all between the top and bottom. We had to step in during a year when the Sun Belt is very good, but it has helped us learn a lot about what we have to do as a program to get better and be able to beat some of those teams. We are in that learning stage right now.”

Jones then spokes about Middle Tennessee State, who visits Mobile this weekend. “Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State are probably the two hottest teams in the league right now, they beat Western Kentucky a couple of weeks ago and beat Georgia Tech, they know how to win. The only loss they have in the conference was to ULM when ULM still had their [starting] quarterback. They are playing very good football.”

“They’re running backs are very deep, they have a great offensive line, a good quarterback and a couple of stud receivers on offense” Jones explained. “You can’t just say that you are going to take away the run or take away the pass, they can do both very well. They are very balanced on offense.”

“Defensively, they are very athletic. Tyrone Nix, their defensive coordinator, has been all over the place coaching, he is a very knowledgeable guy who understands the game and how to get those kids to play hard for him. They are a very well-coached team, and that’s why they are in the position they are right now, they’re very good.”

“I know if they win the next couple of weeks they’ve got a chance to play for the [conference] championship with Arkansas State being their last game. I’m sure that’s what their eyes are on right now.”

Senior Offensive lineman Trey Clark, the only player to start all 37 games in the programs history. He began by talking about Senior Day this weekend. “I’m sure with it being our last game as seniors at Ladd-Peebles Stadium that it is going to be emotional with a lot of energy. It’s important for us to stay focused on playing well and trying to get a win. It’s going to be emotional, but we have to stay focused on Middle Tennessee.”

Clark then spoke about what his time at South Alabama has meant to him. “It means a great deal. I’m so fortunate to have been given such a great opportunity to come and play. I have made so many friends and memories along the way, I’m just so thankful and grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I’m looking forward to Saturday and getting a win for our last home game.”

Next he spoke about the Jaguars overall record. “It can be very frustrating, especially the way we have lost these past several weeks. But I’m so proud of my teammates and the coaches because we haven’t given up. We come to practice every day with the attitude that we are going to improve and win. I’m so proud of our attitude and willingness to keep going despite the adversity.”

Clark then spoke about the development of the offense this season. “It helps any time you have players stepping into a role and actually getting game experience, and it certainly helps once you get a few games under your belt. We were still really close the first couple of games. Here of late, we have made strides and put it together more. The young guys have done a great job, and have improved all season.”

Senior Linebacker Jake Johnson also spoke about Senior Day this weekend. “It’s going to be emotional for all of the seniors heading into our last game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the last game here in Mobile in front of our fans – it’s going to be hard. But once that game is over you get over it. We have to stay focused on Middle Tennessee and what our opponent does.”

Johnson also spoke about what his time at South Alabama has meant to him. “It means a lot to me. I transferred here [from Virginia Tech], I just wanted to play again. I didn’t want to play a position that I knew I wasn’t going to play. I wanted to play a position that I could excel at and make it to the next level. I found my home here at South Alabama, and I have had a great experience my first two years along with this year. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. We have played tough every single game this year, there have just been a few bumps in the road each game but we’re right there. My experience has been great here, and I can’t wait to continue it with these next three games.”

He also spoke about the Jaguars overall record this season. “It’s disappointing after the game. Nobody wants to lose. But it does give you the hope being that we are in just about every game. We’re right there every game, right down to the fourth quarter. It gives me the hope that we can get it done and put it all together.”

Johnson then previewed Middle Tennessee State this weekend. “They are a good offense. They have a great quarterback, and a good athletic offensive line. They come off the ball probably faster than anybody we will play this year. They have a good running back and good receivers, they are a good all-around team. We just have to eliminate the big plays. Doing the little things in practice this week are what is going to help us get over that hump.”

South Alabama and Middle Tennessee State kick off at 2:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.


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