Three Days Till Kickoff Of 2013 Season
The University of South Alabama football team is just three days away from kicking off the 2013 season, the fifth of the programs history and the first as a full FBS member.
The Jaguars met with the media for their weekly press conference and both the coaches and players shared their excitement for the rapidly approaching season. After about 26 practices with only themselves as their opponent, they are ready for a new challenge. Starting quarterback Ross Metheny told AL.com, “We’re excited to finally go up against somebody other than ourselves. We’ve been hitting each other for a long time. It’s crazy to think about how many hours and how much work we put in all year round all for 12 days in the fall. If you look at it that way, you have to really love the game.”
Qudarius Ford added, “We’re excited about this Thursday. We’re excited about the challenge. We know Southern Utah is going to come in here and be ready to play. We know they play physical. We’re ready for the challenge. From last year to this year I’ve seen a big difference in the team chemistry and we’ll be ready to play ball on Thursday.”
The Jags had a tough season last year as they went 2-11. However the team kept their composure and was competitive in almost every game. Though they were not eligible, they went ahead and played a full Sun Belt Conference schedule in anticipation of this season. Coach Jones knew it would be a tough season last year, but knew it would help prepare his team for the toughest schedule yet for the program this season.
“Going through last season has prepared us for this season, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Joey Jones said to AL.com. “I think experiences in life, there are certain ones you just have to go through to be great at anything and we went through a season last year where we decided to play Division I football while being a FCS team. It really helped us in the long run.”
“Our kids are excited. They’re excited about the possibilities that we can go to a bowl game and the possibility that we can win a conference championship, and we haven’t had that in the last four years. Dangling that carrot out there certainly makes a difference in the motivation of our players.”
“I know one thing, we’re a lot better football team than we were last year,” said Jones when asked for a season prediction by AL.com. “I can say that. How that translates into wins, I don’t know. But I know we’re better and our leadership is not necessarily better but we have more of it. We have 28 seniors. I see a difference in our ball team this year, I really do. I see a calmness and a confidence that we haven’t had.”
“Stepping into Division I last year, I think we were a little starry-eyed, and maybe as coaches we were. We just didn’t know what to expect to go play Arkansas State and to go play Mississippi State and N.C. State and those people. You just didn’t really know. This year, our kids have been through it, our coaches have been through it. We’re looking for big things. We have lofty goals and we’re always going to have those no matter where we are in our program.”
They will be looking to start the season off on a better note that last season. They originally scheduled to start the season on Thursday night against Texas-San Antonio, but bad weather forced the postponement until Saturday in which the Jags lost a close one on a field goal. That was the first and only season opener the Jags have lost in four seasons at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Coach Jones and his team will look to run that record to 4-1 in season openers at home on Thursday.
The Jaguars and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds kickoff at 6:30pm on Thursday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The weather will cooperate this season as Thursday looks to be mostly sunny with a high of 93 and a low of 67. You couldn’t ask for better weather to start the football season in August.