Monday Press Conference – Navy Edition

November 25, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football 

newjagsmallSouth Alabama head football coach Joey Jones was joined by defensive back Terrell Brigham and offensive lineman Melvin Meggs when he met with the media for their weekly press conference. They recapped the Jaguars loss at South Carolina and previewed Friday’s regular-season finale against Navy.

Coach Jones’ on Senior Day. “We had a great meeting about our seniors Sunday. We voted for permanent team captains, which will be released on game day Friday. Some of the guys came in here in 2010, which was the second year of our program. They came in and helped build this dream of where we are now – our second year in Division I and being bowl eligible and hopefully getting in a bowl (game). Our guys have done a great job of leading this football team and getting to that point. Our seniors are certainly a huge part of that.”

Jones on the team’s mindset entering this week. “I told the team on Sunday that I was extremely proud of the way they played. Now, do we need to take care of the football? Yes, we have to be able to do that. But they played hard with intensity and passion and without fear. They did all those things. Minus a few turnovers, and I think the game is different. And I’m sure they (South Carolina) would say the same thing. They turned the ball over five times as well. But other than that, I thought our kids played extremely hard. I was proud of them. So mindset-wise, we played the way we were supposed to play minus a few exceptions there. Going into this week, everyone understands the Navy offense and how good and disciplined they are. We have to be a very disciplined ball team this week, and be a team that is not intimidated by what they do. We need to go out there and play well. We have guys who can make plays and go out there and not make mistakes, so I always tell them most teams lose ball games – they don’t win them. We have to keep from losing it; I think that’s any team. You have to stay away from those mistakes.”

Jones talks about defending Navy’s triple option attack. “Fundamentally, we’re telling our guys to play your assignment and we should be good. That’s what we need to do defensively, and that’s one thing our coaching staff has done in trying to put our game plan in – let’s not get overwhelmed by what they’re doing. Are they good at it? Yeah. Is it a different offense? Yeah, but what we’re asking you (defense) to do is the same thing we ask you to do all the time which is play good technique football.”

Jones talks about hosting Navy in Mobile. “I’m honored to have them come to Mobile. (Former USA Director of Athletics) Joe Gottfried kind of set this game up in the first year or so. Getting a program like Navy to come here is a big deal. We want to play teams like that. We went out against South Carolina, and even though we didn’t win, we played well. We need to play better, but when you play team like Navy – they’re a nationally-known team that took Notre Dame down to the wire and beat Georgia Southern last week. They’re a very good football team and everyone knows it. If you can somehow get in there and beat them, it becomes something you put on the wall forever in a place like ours. So it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Jones on the differences between Navy and Georgia Southern, the other triple-option offense the Jaguars faced this season. “Philosophy-wise it’s the same. They do most everything under center. They do some things from the shotgun. Georgia Southern was completely out of the shotgun. So it does change things a little. Our kids are a little more comfortable seeing a quarterback in shotgun as opposed to under center, but it’s triple-option football either way you put it. They (Navy) probably don’t throw it quite as much, and there are more cut blocks that our defense has to endure – but that’s football.”

Jones on Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. “He’s their best athlete on offense. He has the ball in his hands every play, and he’s making a play. He’s a good one. I noticed last year when they played Western Kentucky, he got hurt and they scored seven points. The rest of the year they’re probably averaging 38 or 40 points per game. That’s how much difference he makes on that football team. He makes the right reads, he’s smart, he can run it, and if you put too many people in the box he can throw it past you. It’s kind of a deal where our defense has to decide what to do. We’re not going to be able to guess right all the time, but we have to be smart about what we do and not give up any big plays.”

Jones talks about this senior class. “The thing that makes you feel good about these guys, a lot of these guys came here in 2010 and some of them took a chance on South Alabama at that point and now here they are leading this team in Division I football and hopefully into a bowl game. That’s the thing that I prayed about in the offseason, was that these guys could get honored in that way. I wanted to win a conference championship as well, but the second thing was getting in a bowl. I can’t tell you how gratifying it was after that Texas State game for them to come through, and know that they made themselves bowl eligible. That senior class that came in here and took a chance and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to get in a bowl one day.’ Hopefully that’s going to happen in 2014.”

Jones on the team’s progress from the first game of the season to this point. “We’re a lot better football team now, obviously. I think our defense has really grown into a great defense. I think our defense was solid to good early in the year. But I think we have turned into a great defense. I consider this a great defense on the Sun Belt level. Offensively, we have struggled at times. We’ve turned the ball over too much lately, but at times we have looked like a million dollars. We had a three-game stretch earlier in the season where we were moving it pretty good. We beat Appalachian State and had 40 points by the third quarter, and you look at what they’re doing now; they’re a good football team. We were playing some good football there for a while, we just have to get back to that and execute better offensively.”

Offensive lineman Melvin Meggs talks about senior day. “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been here five years, so we’ve been through a lot, and it’s finally winding down. It’s surreal, and I’m a little taken back by it, but the vibe is good; we all know what we have to do this Friday. It’s another game that we have to prepare for and get ready to execute.”

Meggs talks about playing a nationally-recognized program in Navy. “That’s what you play for – the games under the big lights. What better way to end it? They play hard, they don’t quit. You just have to face it; that’s the team that’s on the schedule next. We’ve just got to go back to our basics, sharpening our fundamentals. We’ll play hard and play with good technique, and the best men win.”

Meggs talks about the memories he will take with him from his time at South Alabama. “We were very honored to have grown up under senior classes that included Justin Dunn and Charlie Higgenbotham, amongst others. Those guys taught us how to do it the right way. As a freshman, you feed off that and subconsciously take those qualities yourself. Hopefully, that keeps rolling on and becomes the culture around South Alabama. We had our ups and downs over the years, but we’re kind of a relentless program. You hit us in the mouth; we’re going to come back. The coaches have done a great job of bringing guys here that have what we call the ‘Heart of a Jaguar.'”

Defensive back Terrell Brigham talks about senior day. “We’ve been doing this for five years, since the beginning years of the program. We came here to play the top competition.”

Brigham talks about his role against Navy’s triple-option coming up on Friday. “[Studying] film this week is key. You have to pay attention to your keys every Saturday, of course, but this week you have to be disciplined with your eyes, knowing who you’ve got and what you have to do on any given play. They also chop block, and you have to work on that in practice.”

South Alabama and Navy will begin at 2pm on Friday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. There will be a slight change in parking and shuttle service due to Black Friday shopping. Instead of parking and riding the shuttle from Bel Air Mall, the shuttle service will be running from Lipscomb Field located on Michael Boulevard just off of Montlimar Drive. Service will begin four hours prior to kickoff and will end 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game. The cost will remain the same, $2.50 round trip per person.

The address is 3610 Michael Blvd, Mobile, AL 36609.

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