Monday Press Conference
Head coach Joey Jones held his Monday press conference where he spoke about the Jaguars victory over Georgia State and previewed their regular season finale against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. Below are highlights from Coach Jones.
Coach Jones’ opening statement. “I’m excited about this last ball game. We’re playing a great team in Louisiana-Lafayette. Obviously, they are already conference champions. But it is a chance for us to go to 6-6. We are excited about that and are looking forward to playing this ball game.”
Jones then spoke about momentum heading into this week’s game. “There’s no doubt we have played really good ball the last two weeks. I feel like we have played well all year, but for the last two weeks we have played extremely well in all three phases. We just have to keep that up. We want to finish strong. Our kids have kept fighting, and I am so proud of that they have been able to do that.”
He then spoke about the balance of the offense in this game and over the last two weeks. “Our offensive line is blocking really well right now. They’re doing a good job of protecting the quarterback and giving him time to throw. It starts there. And our quarterback play has been good. Ross (Metheny) has done a good job. He is leading the league in total yards, and is just playing extremely well. Shavarez Smith has come up and made some great plays. We have a lot of people who can step up and make good plays.”
Jones then began talking about Louisiana-Lafayette by beginning with their offense. “They are really big upfront. They are the biggest offensive line we have faced other than Tennessee. They probably have the best two backs, as far as a tandem goes, in the conference. They have a great scheme in the running and passing game. One thing I admire about what they do, is they continue to do the same things over and over all year long and just get good at it. They do a great job as far as run-pass ratio is concerned and keep the defense on its toes.”
He talked about last week’s game between ULL and Lousiana-Monroe which the Warhawks won 31-28. “Louisiana-Monroe won the game last weekend. They (ULL) lost their quarterback and that hurt them. But I think everyone in the Sun Belt Conference is fairly close. I think Lafayette is a step ahead talent-wise the way they are playing. So we’re going to have to play at a higher level to beat them. I think our players understand that, but we’re playing pretty well right now and that’s all we can control.”
Jones then talked about how the injury to ULL’s starting quarterback affects it’s offense. “In watching the little bit of time that the backup quarterback has played, he is athletic and can throw. He is tall and very capable, I just don’t know that much about him because he hasn’t been on film quite as long. But I don’t know if it will change anything we’re doing. They are going to run the same offense, I think, regardless of the quarterback that is in the game.”
He spoke about Senior Night and what these Seniors have meant to the program. “This is the largest senior class we have had and a lot of them were here when we started the program. It’s going to be a little extra-special with those guys. I’ll miss them. I love all of those guys. They have done a lot to start our program. They care about our program, they understand what being a Jaguar is all about and they have done things the right way. They have great academics and great character. The foundation that they’ve built is going to last for a long time because of the way they have acted and how much they care about South Alabama.”
Finally, he spoke about what finishing with a win to get to 6-6 on the season would represent. “It is one of our goals. One of our goals for a brand new Division I program is to become bowl eligible. That would mean a lot. We wanted to win a conference championship as well. Those were our two goals. If we win this ballgame and go to 6-6, I think we would have had a successful year in a lot of ways. Could it have been a lot better? Heck yes. But there’s no doubt that doing that in our first year in Division I would be a great accomplishment.”
USA and ULL kickoff at 7pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday.