Monday Press Conference – Texas State Edition

November 11, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football 
Colby Sawyer with South Alabama student-athletes during his visit with coach Jones and and the team prior to the Monday press conference. | Photo: al.com usajaguars.com

Colby Sawyer with South Alabama student-athletes during his visit with coach Jones and and the team prior to the Monday press conference. | Photo: al.com usajaguars.com

The University of South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference where he and two Jaguar student-athletes reflect on their previous game and look ahead at their upcoming match up.

This week Coach Jones was joined by defensive lineman Jesse Kelley and offensive lineman Joseph Scelfo. Below are highlights from that press conference.

Head coach Joey Jones’ opening statement. “Obviously last week was disappointing. We had eight starters out, and we didn’t play as well as we could have without those guys. But I’m looking forward to this week. It’s a big week for our football program. Our players understand what’s at stake here, but this biggest thing for me was a real-life example of what you need to do when you get kicked in the gut. I’ve watched our players the past couple of days, and I know how we will respond. I’m looking forward to this ballgame.”

Jones on what the team is doing to move forward after the loss to Arkansas State. “We didn’t do much Sunday on the previous game; we started on this week’s game. It doesn’t happen many times in your coaching career, but that is one of those games you just put away and move on. Our guys are doing that. They’ve been challenged, but they have good character and understand what we’re talking about here. The way they respond is what’s most important to me – not so much the win as how they respond this week and how they go out there and get after it.”

Jones on the importance of this week’s game in the scope of the team’s goals this season. “On the positive side, here we are in a game that’s going to determine whether or not we can go to a bowl. We’ve put ourselves in a position to do that. Had we lost some other games earlier in the year, we might be out of the race. But we’re in the race right now to get into a bowl game, and exciting to know that we can win this one and get to our first-ever bowl game.”

Jones on what he wants to see this week from his team as they prepare for Texas State. “First of all I want to see those (injured) guys back out there. We’re missing five starters on the offensive side and two or three on defense, so getting those guys back out there in practice is going to be big this week. It’s just one of those deals where they weren’t ready to go on Saturday. We thought they might be able to go, but we got to the game and they just weren’t able and it was disappointing at that time. They’ll be ready to go this week, and I think we’ll be back to full strength other than the fact that we lost (wide receiver) Marvin Shinn for the season and Jay Jones earlier in the year.”

Jones on Texas State. “They are a much-improved team. (Head) Coach (Dennis) Franchione has done a great job with them. Offensively they can run it and throw it. They have a quarterback who can do both; he was a freshman last year and he didn’t throw quite as much. But now that he has a year of experience, he is throwing the ball more and they can trust him doing it. They are very effective on offense. Defensively, Coach John Thompson has been around a long time. He coached at Alabama and Arkansas State, and he knows what he’s doing. I have coached against him for about three years now, so we know what we’re getting into there. They are very well-coached, so it’s going to be a good ballgame. It’s two very similar teams, and I think it’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out.”

Defensive lineman Jesse Kelley on this weekend’s game against Texas State. “Both teams have a common goal coming into this game – get a sixth win and get into a bowl game. So I expect this will be the most physical game we will have played this year. We know that on the defensive side of the ball that they are very physical. They ran the ball downhill, and I expect the same thing this year. The quarterback has started to throw the ball a little more, but if we have to stop the run game. This is our Super Bowl. If we don’t win this game, we’re not going to a bowl game. Win and we’re going to a bowl game – it’s that simple. We have to prepare this week like we never have before, and go in with the mindset that we must win.”

Kelley on the importance of playing in front of a hometown crowd. “I think it makes a real difference. We need all of our fan support this Saturday. This game makes our season. I know all of our fans want to make a bowl game, so we really need them to come out and support us.”

Offensive lineman Joseph Scelfo on this weekends game against Texas State. “It’s definitely going to be a physical game judging by last year. It came down to the wire, and they beat us late in the game so we still have that taste in our mouth. They bring some blitzes defensively, and are strong up front. It’s going to be a really physical game, but we’re physical on the offensive line and we have some skill guys who can go up and make some plays. We just have to create the holes up front and protect for (Brandon) Bridge and give him time.”

Scelfo on last week’s game. “We just had to be able to flush it out of our system and move on. Coach Jones challenged us yesterday in the team meeting to be all-in with this team and completely buy in. I think we are, so we just have to continue to get better this week and take every opportunity we can to improve and be ready for Saturday.”

Scelfo on the importance of playing in front of a hometown crowd. “When you step out onto the field and there’s a packed crowd like there was against Mississippi State, it’s electric out there. I know the fans want it for the city, and we want it for the fans. We’re going to give the fans our all out there. We’re going to leave it all on the field because we know how big this game is for not only the team but our fans. We have great fans; they’re loud and are proud to be a part of Jag Nation and we’re proud to play in front of them. We really need them to be loud this weekend.”

Scelfo on playing with a sense of urgency. “If we don’t win, then we don’t go to a bowl game. Last year they took it away from us, so this year we want to take it away from them and get into a bowl game. This win is crucial; we need this sixth win.”

Coach Jones and the players had a very special guest for the press conference on Monday. 11-year old Colby Sawyer signed his National Letter of Intent with South Alabama. Colby is a leukemia patient at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

Colby also had a few words to say. Colby on signing his NLI with USA. “I was a little nervous for the press conference, but I got through it. I’m excited about the game Saturday, and I really want us to win. I’m happy about being on the sideline, and I’m looking forward to a win. It feels really good to be a part of the team.”

Colby talking about meeting Coach Jones and the team. “It was really cool because Coach Jones is letting me come to the game and watch on the sidelines. They gave me a locker; that’s my favorite thing. I’m going to keep my jersey and football stuff in it.”

South Alabama and Texas State is scheduled for a 6:30pm kickoff at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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