Monday Press Conference

September 30, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Helmet_CameraHead football coach Joey Jones, sporting his freshly grown goatee, and the South Alabama Football team held their weekly press conference ahead of this weeks Sun Belt Conference game against another conference newcomer in Appalachian State. Jones was joined by cornerback Qudarius Ford and wide receiver Shavarez Smith to review the Jags win over Idaho and preview the game versus Appalachian State.

“I’m real proud of our young men and how we played Saturday,” Jones said about his team’s win over Idaho. “It was a total team effort. We played better offensively. We were more consistent, and we have to continue to improve there. Defensively, we played with great tenacity – just getting after the quarterback and guys covering downfield. It was a pretty impressive showing. We were backed up a couple of times where they had the ball inside our 20-yard line and came away with three points in two or three times. I was real proud of our guys. Special teams is an animal I have been real proud of. Our punter (Brandon McKee) is kicking the ball well and we are covering well. We almost busted another kickoff return, so we’re playing sound special-teams wise.”

“He won the job last week”, Jones said about placekicker Grant McLaurin. “We talk about it all the time – your job is on the line every week. He came out and kicked a 44-yard field goal right before the half; he kicked extremely well. I was real pleased with him. He had a cool nature out there and didn’t go out there with any panic. I was real proud of how he kicked on Saturday.”

“Our defensive line is playing really well,” Jones said about the defense. “Those guys are tough; they can rush the passer and play against the run. It starts there. Our linebackers are playing well right now, and our secondary is covering. Our defense is pretty good. We are starting to create some depth behind the starters, and the defensive staff is doing a great job coaching them. They are playing hard and believe in what they’re doing.”

“Our guys look forward to performing on the field,” said Jones about his teams performance on the road, where both of their wins on the season have come. “The goal we had at the beginning of the year was to play well on the road, and we’re starting to get that done. We have to continue to do that this week against a really good Appalachian State team.”

Jones then gave a brief glimpse at Appalachian State. “They are very athletic defensively. They have guys who fly around to the football. Offensively they run a system similar to us. Their quarterback, Taylor Lamb, is a good, young quarterback who really places the ball well. They have some good receivers and an experienced offensive line. They are a good quality football team for sure.”

Senior cornerback Qudarius Ford spoke about both the Jaguars win over Idaho and their upcoming test, Appalachian State.

“It was a big win for us because it gives us confidence going into these next conference games,” Ford said. “We needed that boost in confidence, and just needed to get things rolling. Defensively, we need to play physical and just eliminate the mental errors.”

“They (defensive front) made it real easy for the defensive backs,” Ford continued talking about the defensive front’s play against the Vandals. “They got so much pressure on the quarterback that he didn’t have a lot of time to look for a receiver to throw the ball to. They did a great job, and I know they will continue to do so.”

The Jaguar defense came away with seven sacks and a pick 6 against Lineham and the Vandals.

“(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Travis) Pearson does a good job of just simplifying the game for us and letting us play faster,” Ford observed about the defensive teams play this season. “The thing is we just have to stop the mental errors. That’s really what has been hurting us this season. If we just capitalize on the big plays and be consistent then we’ll be alright.”

“We just have to eliminate the big plays and play physical with them,” Ford said about this weekends matchup against the Mountaineers this weekend. “We are going to prepare for them like any other team.”

Senior wide receiver Shavarez Smith helped the Jaguar offense record 429 yards of total offense, 100 yards more than their average entering the game.

“A win is always a positive thing for a football team,” Smith said about the teams win over Idaho. “It gives us confidence. We play to win, so getting a win is always rewarding because we work so hard during the week. Our goal is to win this conference, and winning that game last weekend was a big stepping stone toward that. We don’t want to lose any more games, period. And we definitely don’t want to lose any more conference games because our goals are well within reach. We are going to try to make sure we keep making stride toward those.”

“Every game as an offense you gain some experience, knowledge and a little more wisdom as far as the game is concerned itself,” he said about the offensive unit. “We also gain a little more chemistry. You can tell by watching our past game that we looked a little better out there from a chemistry standpoint. We are just going to try and build off of what we accomplished last game.”

“We have guys who can make plays. It’s good to see people stepping up and doing that,” he said concerning the depth and wide receiver play of the Jaguars. “We’re trying to give (quarterback) Brandon (Bridge) targets and make him more comfortable throwing the ball. Anytime you can have an offense with multiple weapons, it obviously makes you more dangerous.”

The Jags had a rash of dropped passes in their losses to Mississippi State and Georgia Southern. The receiver corps played much better against Idaho as Bridge went 15-of-25 with few outright drops compared to the previous two games.

“They pursue pretty well defensively; they do a good job of running to the play,” Smith said about Appalachian State. “We are going to have to make sure we protect the ball and finish off our runs with physicality. It’s our job to execute offensively.”

The Jaguars and the Mountaineers kickoff at 5pm on Saturday in Boone, NC. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and, as with every Jaguar football game, play-by-play and color commentary on the radio on 99.9FM and streaming online via iHeartRadio.


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