Monday Press Conference – Homecoming Edition

October 14, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Helmet_CameraHead football coach Joey Jones held his weekly press conference along with defensive lineman Ridge James and offensive lineman Ucambre Williams to review the previous week, which was an off week for the team, and to preview their upcoming contest against Georgia State.

Coach Jones opened the press conference with his opening statement. “We had a good week last week, I thought we had three good days of practice which consisted of half working on fundamentals and half working on Georgia State. Our guys came back last night and you could tell they were refreshed and ready to go, which I think is a good thing. We’ll find out when we put on the pads tomorrow, we’ve challenged them that they better to be ready to go to have a chance to win this ballgame.

“I think we will take that mentality into practice this week, which will hopefully carry over to the game.”

Jones speaking about if the team’s performance in the previous two games, both wins prior to the off week, help the team as it returns to the field. “It always helps when you play well. You work all offseason to have good games on Saturday, so when you see it happening it is certainly gratifying and builds your confidence level. You gain confidence by doing things the right way. But there is so much room to improve, I know all coaches say that, but I mean it. There are areas I look at and think if we can improve, and I think our kids have taken that mentality knowing that we are never going to be perfect but getting as close to perfect as we can. The only way to do that is by working on the field, and gaining that experience in games and actually making plays when we have to.”

Jones spoke at length about the team’s improvement before their open weekend. “We have played really good defense the whole year, but I think there is a factor of time where we are growing and leadership has come into play. You see that bond defensively, and defense is the ultimate team effort. Everybody has to fly to the ball and play the same way, and they have bought into that. We’re getting better and better as we go.

“Offensively it was just a matter of execution. If you have one guy drop a pass, or jump offside, or doesn’t make the right read, whatever it is you have to get all 11 going together which I think we are getting closer to having that. On specials teams we had our struggles kicking last week, so we have to find guys who are going to step up to the plate and kick the ball through the goal posts. We have two guys who are very talented, we’re going to work this week to see who is going to do it. Our return game has been pretty good, but one of our goals is to be great at specials teams and we haven’t lived up to par in some facets like we can.”

“I admire Trent Miles, he’s a great man and has done a great job.” Jones said turning his focus towards Georgia State. “They are the most improved team in our league by far. The biggest difference I see in them offensively is they are converting on third down, when it was third-and-eight or third-and-nine last year they struggled but now they are converting 46 percent. They play with a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy defensively — they don’t blitz as much as some of the other teams we’ve faced — but they are real sound in what they do.”

“You have to get your players to make sure they are focusing on the game and practice because there are some distractions during the week, but I don’t worry about that as much in college,” Jones said concerning homecoming week possibly being a distraction this week. “We’re looking forward to having a great crowd, a lot of our alumni will be back; it’s always good to see those folks. I’m excited to see our former players come back, guys who started this program and helped build this thing, it means lot to our players now and to our staff.”

Ucambre Williams

“It came at a good time so we could recover from injuries, and get an extra week to prepare for Georgia State and their scheme,” Williams said about the bye week. “They are a pretty good team. We can’t take them lightly. That week of recovery and getting better really helped.

“We played very well the last two games, but we want to play well at home. We want to show our fans at home how we can play. These last two games really showed how we can play, and we’re going to come home and play like that.”

Williams then talked about the Georgia State defensive, which he will face on Saturday. “They are very big and athletic, especially at defensive end. We really have to hone in on technique, because we’re not a big offensive line. They have some guys who are really athletic on the edges, so we’re going to have to prepare for that. And they have a good linebacking corps, so we are going to have to make some big plays.”

Ridge James

“We are anxious to get back on the field,” James said about this weekend’s game against the Panthers. “I think we have a really good thing going right now, and we just want to keep it going.”

James spoke about the Jaguar defense and his play this season. “We’re just flying around and having a lot of fun on defense. Our coaching staff does a great job of putting us in position to make plays.

“I’ve gotten a lot better since I have been here. I’m just thankful to the coaching staff to put me in the position that I am in now. (Assistant) Coach (Freddie) Roach has helped me out a lot, especially when it comes to playing more physical and with toughness. It’s really paying off.”

South Alabama and Georgia State will face each other for the fourth time overall and the second time in Mobile at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags hold a 2-1 record over the Panthers. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm this Saturday.

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