Monday Press Conference
Head coach Joey Jones met with media on Monday for the weekly press conference. Jones along with defensive lineman Montavious Williams and offensive lineman Ucambre Williams reflected on the game at Texas State and looking ahead to this weekend’s match up against Arkansas State.
Below are highlights.
Jones began with his opening statement. “We’re obviously disappointed about Saturday’s game. Our kids played well late in the game. They (Texas State) committed a couple of late penalties and gave up a couple of touchdown passes to us. We kind of took over in the fourth quarter, but didn’t finish it. But it started with us not playing well early in the game. There was a lot more than just that fourth-and-24 play.”
“But it kind of started with us not playing well early in the game,” Jones said. “We don’t need for it to come to a point late in the game where we have to make every play to win. We need to take care of things before that. A lot of people talk about that one play, but certainly there were a lot of plays before that and early in the game where we could have done a lot better.”
“We need to play well and mature a little bit more and understand that we’ve got to make some plays there at the end because it has come down to that a lot of the time. If we make two or three plays this year everybody’s happy but unfortunately we didn’t in a couple of games and we’re not happy. It’s all about wins and losses and we’ve got to make those plays.”
“All I know to do is fight,” Jones continued. “That’s just the way I am, and that’s the way our players are too. It’s something we have to fight through mentally. We have played well this year. We’ve done a lot of good things. We are a much better team, but all of that doesn’t matter. What matters is wins and losses. But we are a better team, and I think we can bank on the fact that we are better and continue to improve.”
Jones spoke about Arkansas State. “They are probably the most talented bunch on offense that I have seen on film as far as the skill positions are concerned. They have a couple of great receivers, and a really good quarterback transferred in from Utah State. And their running backs are great. They are leading the league in offense. They are very explosive on that side of the ball. And they’re really good on defense as well. They have some seniors up front. They are the defending Sun Belt champions. They’ve won it the last two years. They know how to win, and understand what it takes to win. We know it is a great challenge for us.”
Jones spoke about how playing a full Sun Belt schedule last season is helping the team now. “We kind of found out about all these teams and what they are about by playing that schedule. We lost a couple of close games last year and won one. Just being in those different environments helps you understand teams better, and you always know how to play them the next year when you have played them before. It makes a big difference.”
Defensive lineman Montavious Williams spoke about the disappointment level after the Texas State game. “It’s difficult because I heard that the spread of points that we’ve lost is 11. As a senior it hurts, and I don’t get another shot at this, but try to make the most of it and hopefully get a bowl game for us and our fans as well.”
“It hurts me because defensively we were on the field last and the offense gave us a chance to win the game and we didn’t do our job,” Williams said about the importantance of finishing games. “I feel like we failed them so we have to get back at practice and have the best week we’ve had so far.”
Williams talked about feeling pressure: “It’s kind of self-imposed and fan-imposed as well because they’ve been behind us the last four or five years and we want to give them something to cheer about and hopefully build our fan base.”
“Defensively, it’s tackling.” Williams said is the key for this week against Arkansas State. “I think Coach said we missed 14 tackles, as opposed to a game where we win and it’s five missed tackles or seven missed tackles. We have to put more emphasis on that and get back to the basics.”
Offensive Lineman Ucambre Williams also reflected on the Texas State game. “It’s very hard to come back from a loss like that, but the biggest thing we have to do is move on to the next week and have a great week of practice. That’s the only thing we can do, not think about it and move on to Arkansas State.”
“It hurts a lot. It’s like being on the top of the world and then someone comes and knocks you down, but we just have to move on from it. We’re going to finish the season strong, I promise you,” Ucambre said about the disappointment after the Texas State game.
Ucambre spoke about the importance of finishing games. “It’s very important to finish and also to start. We started off slow at Texas State and that hurt us. The start and finish of each game is important. Coach talks about finishing every quarter and winning every quarter. We have to instill that (belief in us) this week in practice and come out with a victory Saturday.”
Ucambre also talked about having to face three of the top teams in the conference in the final five games of the season. “Having them at home is a key factor. They’re all tough teams, everybody in the Sun Belt is tough, so we have to come out and play hard.”
“On the offensive side of the ball we have start off strong and finish strong,” Ucambre said when talking about the keys for this week. “We kind of get lackadaisical when we get a lead but this week we really have to try and work on that and sustain it for the entire game.”
The Jags and Red Wolves kickoff at 6:30pm on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.