Monday Press Conference
On Monday, head football coach Joey Jones, quarterback Ross Metheny and defensive back Terrell Brigham met with the media to recap the Jags trip to Knoxville and preview their trip to Troy.
Head coach Joey Jones began with his opening statement, “I’m real pleased with our effort on Saturday. They (Tennessee) came out and jumped on us. They got on a roll against us offensively, and kind of had us on our heels a little bit. Offensively, we drove down that opening possession and had a tremendous drive to score. We stalled a little after that, and we just kind of hung in there and it ended up being 24-7 at the half. They came out and got another touchdown to make it 31-7, but I thought we played really well from that point forward. One thing about our players and staff is that we’re not going to quit at any time. Our kids believe they can win. We got after it and made a lot of plays in the second half, and had a chance at the end to win the ballgame.”
Coach Jones also spoke about the positives for the team in the second half of the loss to Tennessee. “It shows us that if you come with the right frame of mind and you approach the game with a winner’s attitude, we feel like we can play with anybody. Our kids understand that now. They understand what it takes, because we have been through it. That right there is going to help us in the future.”
Jones believes that the Jags winning late in games will help them down the road. “Our players certainly understand how to act and what they need to do to get things done in a close game in the future. I think it’s going to do nothing but help us.”
He spoke about Troy and what the Jags will be focusing on this week. “What our guys have taken on this year is focusing on what we need to do. I think that approach has helped us. We’re not worried about the other team anymore, even though we have to prepare for them. We’re worried about what we do, and I think that has made us a much better team. We’ve worked on things like being one in practice, and our offense, defense and special teams are on the same page right now. We’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s what we’re focusing on. Troy is our next conference game, and that is important for us and to our goals. We want to get in a bowl game and win a conference championship, and that’s where we are. That’s why we are going to work hard this week and do the things we need to do to get prepared for Troy.”
The talked about where the Jaguar program stands in the Sun Belt Conference. “It is a long season, but I think the biggest thing for us and the confidence we’re building on is we’re just better. We’re a better team because our players and staff have done a great job of preparing every day to become better. That’s what we’re focusing on; we’re not focusing on where we are at right now. The thing I challenged them (team) with a few weeks ago is we want to look at ourselves now, and then look five or six games down the road – we want to be a better team and take some of our weaknesses and hopefully they become strengths. If we can do that we’ll be in contention late, but you have to do your work every day to get there.”
Quarterback Ross Metheny reflected on the Tennessee game. “Last week’s game was a great experience for us as a team and a program. We came in at halftime down by a considerable margin and Coach came in and challenged us as a team to fight. I think we came out in the second half and did that. We executed at a higher level in the second half than we did in the first half. It was good for us to go in an environment like that and stand up and fight and battle. I think we can use that going forward. In all of our games this year, it’s taken 60 minutes of football. Moving forward, we understand how to play 60 minutes of football and that will benefit us the rest of the year.”
Metheny also spoke about why the execution was better in the second half against Tennessee. “I think the challenge that Coach presented at halftime really spoke to us. There were a couple of times where we got the ball in really good field position off of turnovers, and we had the mindset of, ‘This is where we need to put ourselves in a position to be successful.’ We went out and put blinders on and didn’t worry about the crowd or the Orange or Rocky Top. We just went out and executed and focused on our assignments. That’s something we can take and move forward with it the rest of the year.”
Metheny also spoke about the budding rivalry against Troy and the importance of the game against them towards their goal of winning a SBC title. “Troy is a good opponent. They’re solid in all three phases of the game. This rivalry is new and trying to develop. It’s good for the state of Alabama and it’s good for both South Alabama and Troy. We know that they’re going to come out and be aggressive and try to win a football game. We have to prepare hard this week and come with our best game.”
“We know Troy is one of those teams that are usually at the top of the Sun Belt. That speaks volumes about their program, their coaches and the players they have. They have a tradition of being successful. We want to be where Troy is, and in order to do that, we need to take that next step. We have the ability to do that this weekend. We know it will be a challenge, but we’re excited for the challenge.”
Brigham spoke about the Tennessee game and the Troy offense. “It was definitely a good experience for our offense and defense. For our offense to go down there and score on the first drive shows they weren’t intimidated. Our defense only gave up seven points in the second half. We can take that and learn from it next week against Troy.”
“Troy’s always had a pretty good offense. They air the ball out and have some pretty good receivers and a lot returners on offense. We have to do what Coach says, play for 60 minutes and execute and hopefully things will work out.”
South Alabama will square off in Troy on Saturday, October 5. The game will be available on the Sun Belt Network on CSS and on ESPN3. Kickoff is scheduled for 12pm.