Monday Press Conference
South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones held his weekly press conference on Monday to reflect on the Jaguars win against Louisiana-Monroe and to preview their game against Georgia State in Atlanta.
Jones was joined by center Matt Calcagnini and linebacker Enrique Williams. The following are highlights from his time with the media.
Coach Jones talked about what he and the team can take from their win over ULM as they move on to Georgia State. “I was very proud of our guys and how they fought in this ball game. They showed what their true character is all about. I challenged them during the week that their character would be revealed through this and good things happened. Obviously we have momentum now, we’re going to play a good Georgia State team this week and still have a chance to get in a bowl. There is always hope when you have that. We have two more games and we want to finish strong.”
He also spoke about how important it is to have momentum from the ULM win going forward. “I think that game was critical for us, it was a do-or-die stage to be honest with you. I put it on my coaches, I told them we have to win this ball game because I’m tired of losing a game on the last play and talking about how close we are. We did that, and I am so proud of how we prepared. I think it’s going to do nothing but help us the last two weeks. You’re worried about your preparation, and we have prepared, but it was nice to walk away with a ‘W’ on the scoreboard. I thought our kids played a pretty complete game, offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
Jones then turned his focus on Georgia State as he answered a question about whether the Panthers are a dangerous team. “They have gotten a lot better. One thing you look at with a team is how they performed early in the year and late in the year to see what is going on with them, and they are 100 percent better now than they were then. They took Troy down to the wire, they took Arkansas State down to the wire. All we have to do is watch the film and we know we are playing a heck of a ball team that has really improved. They’ve done a great job coaching and they have good athletes.”
“I think you can take anybody in our league, other than Louisiana-Lafayette, who is a little bit above everybody else in talent and the way they are playing, put us in a bag, shake us up, pour us out on the table and we’re all about the same. It’s going to be a big challenge this week.”
Jones then talked about some areas where Georgia State has shown the most improvement. “Their consistency on offense, they are scoring more points. Early in the year they weren’t scoring very many points, but the quarterback is doing a good job throwing the football and they probably have the best receiver in the league, if not the best, he’s in the top three, in Albert Wilson. They are doing a good job of getting the ball into people’s hands who need to have it, and adjusting and growing as the season has gone along.”
He was then asked about aspects that stick out on film concerning Georgia State. “At the beginning of the year it looked like they were distributing the ball to different people and it seems like now they are more intent on getting the ball into people’s hands who can make plays. And they’re just executing better, their line is blocking better than they were earlier in the year, they have just made a lot of improvements.”
Center Matt Calcagnini first talked about the team’s mindset as they go into their game against Georgia State. “We can’t take this team lightly. We still have our goal in tact to become bowl-eligible. Our season is not over by any means. We can still win out this season and become bowl-eligible, which was one of our goals at the beginning of the year.”
He talked about the ULM game. “During the week we knew we had a three-game losing streak, and knew what we had to do. If we wanted to be a bowl-eligible team, we have to win the last three games. I feel like we brought a little more fire to practice throughout the week and brought it to the game. There was a lot of great energy on the sideline, and we just executed great.”
He then spoke about Georgia State. “It is going to be their Senior Night. They don’t want to go into the offseason without a win, so we feel like they’re going to throw everything they possibly can at us to get the win. We just have to play our football and execute to a high level like we know we can do.”
He also talked about how their win over Louisiana-Monroe will help with their confidence. “It broke our losing streak. We were on a three-game losing streak, and it was something that we needed to do. We needed to execute and win that game. We need to finish out the season strong like we did that game.”
Linebacker Enrique Williams talked about the team’s mindset as they prepare for Georgia State. “As a team we know what we have to do. Everyone is focused on getting bowl-eligible, so we know we have to come out and play hard and finish these last two games.”
He spoke about the ULM game. “The energy was a lot higher than the previous games. The preparation wasn’t too much different, we prepare hard every week. But it just finally clicked together and everybody was on the same page.”
He also spoke about Georgia State. “I know they’re going to come out with a lot of different looks. This is their last game, so I know they are going to try and throw everything at us that they can to try and end the season with a victory.”
Williams talked about how the win over ULM helped their confidence going into this game. “It was important because we prepared hard, just like every other week. It was nice to finally see it pay off. We’ve lost some tough, close games so to win this one was great for our team to build off of going into this week.”
Williams also talked about the 2011 meeting between the Jags and the Panthers. The Jags lost the game in overtime in Atlanta. “It kind of left us with a chip on our shoulder. We were expecting to win going in to that game, and we just couldn’t get it done. We just have to come out fighting and play hard to bring home a victory this weekend.”
South Alabama and Georgia State kickoff at 1pm on Saturday in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The game can be heard on 105.5 FM and WSNP.com and can be viewed on ESPN3.