Monday Press Conference – Rivalry Week

October 21, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

usa_vs_troyHead coach Joey Jones, offensive lineman Melvin Meggs and linebacker Davin Hawkins met with the media on Monday to recap the Jaguars 30-27 win over Georgia State and the preview their game against Troy on Friday.

“I was really pleased last week with the win, when you can finish a ballgame like we did — the defense stops them, we drive down and score, we stop them again and we kill the clock — it makes you feel good,” said Jones in his opening statement. “The guys kept their poise and composure late in the game, those last four possessions were in our favor. We took over the latter part of the fourth quarter, I was real proud of that.”

Jones talked about what he has been the most pleased about over the last three or four games. “We’ve played extremely well on the road, I thought that was a big step forward for our program. Maturity is probably the biggest thing, we are maturing. Even though we have a lot of starters back from last year, there are still a lot of new players who are coming along really well. Those guys have grown up and are playing good football right now.”

Jones also spoke about the competition in the Sun Belt and ignoring Troys 1-6 overall record this week. “This conference [the Sun Belt Conference] is very tough from top to bottom, you look at Georgia State and what they’ve done last year compared to this year and they are a much-improved team. I know our record, but we don’t keep up with things like everyone else’s. I look at film and watch athletes, how they play and how they are coached because we have to have a good plan to be able to defeat somebody. That’s our plan, I could care less about what record they have.

“We just know we’re playing a good football team this week with a lot of tradition. They know how to win. That is all we are focusing on.”

He then spoke about his concerns about Troy. “Kenny Edenfield is their offensive coordinator, he has done a tremendous job over the years, traditionally they are one of the top offenses in the league. He understands how to distribute the ball around the field and comes up with different kinds of what I call ‘trick’ plays during every game that are new. He just does a great job of play calling.

“Defensively, they are big and physical up front and really run to the football. They are very sound in the way they line up.”

Jones also mentioned the importance of the game for the program. “It’s obvious this is a big game, it’s an in-state game, but Louisiana-Lafayette has become a rival as well. But Troy is there because of the tradition and success they’ve had, it is certainly a big game for us.”

Offensive lineman Melvin Meggs reflected on the Jags win over the Panthers. “We had some things we wanted to accomplish coming off of a bye week, things like improving fundamentals and becoming stronger in our technique. It was a tough win Saturday, but we battled back in the fourth quarter and got the job done. This Friday’s game is big just because it is the next game. We’ve made the corrections from Saturday’s game, and we are preparing to limit those weaknesses and become stronger in our technique for the game Friday.”

He also spoke about getting the team’s first home win of the season. “We owe it to our fans, because they come out and support us regardless of the situation. We have some faithful fans, and to be able to finally get a win at home and give them something to look forward to Friday means a lot.”

Meggs then spoke about the offense’s consistency in the last few games. “I think it all started at practice with some of the seniors who spoke up when things weren’t going right – not in a way to down a teammate but to encourage them. And it spread quickly. Everyone just started trying to pick each other up, and it’s been rolling.”

Finally Meggs spoke about the Trojans defense that he and his teammates will face on Friday. “Their defensive line moves pretty well. They are quick off the ball. The linebackers flow hard – they’re a pretty good football team. We just have to play our technique and play as hard as we can.”

Linebacker Davin Hawkins reflected on the team’s win over Georgia State. “Defensively, we were just trying to get back to the little things like tackling, getting your head across and taking good angles – just the fundamentals. It was a tough win Saturday, but it was a good win. Any win in the Sun Belt (Conference) is a good win. We’re happy for that.”

Hawkins, who was injured earlier in the season, spoke about getting back on the field after missing some games. “It felt amazing. I don’t know what I would do without football. Being at home while everyone was in North Carolina playing was not a feeling I enjoyed at all. It was just great to be on the field. I thought it would be a little worse. I thought I’d be a little timid going back out there but it was just like I never left. I thank God for blessing me to be back on the field. It is a blessing.”

He talked about the team earning their first home win of the season as well. “It was big. I felt like we owed it to our fans. We performed on the road, but we weren’t performing for them when we came home. So I felt like it was great to give them a win, and also for ourselves to know that we are able to win at home.”

Similar to Meggs, Hawkins spoke about the defense’s consistency this season. “(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Travis) Pearson preaches consistency in performance. We felt like we weren’t doing that at times earlier this season, but we just want to be consistent in our performance.”

South Alabama will host in-state rival Troy for a nationally televised game on Friday on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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