Monday Press Conference

November 6, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones speaks with Pat Greenwood as the team heads into the locker room for halftime against Florida International on Saturday, November 3, 2012.

South Alabama held it’s weekly press conference on Monday with head coach Joey Jones, offensive lineman Chris May and defensive back Charles Watson. They spoke about the Jaguars game against Florida International on Saturday and previewed their trip to Denton, Texas to face the Mean Green of the University of North Texas.

Below are some highlights from the press conference.

Coach Joey Jones began with his opening statement. “North Texas is a very physical team, they play power football offensively. Defensively they don’t run a lot of things, but they do them extremely well. They have big guys up front who are 330 and 300 pounds inside. They play very good fundamental football and are very well coached.”

“They beat Louisiana-Lafayette on TV three weeks ago, they got after them. They play with a physical nature that they bring to every game.”

Jones then spoke about the Florida International game. “I walked into the locker room and for the first time I felt like we weren’t ready to play. I don’t mean that they didn’t care, they weren’t emotionally into the game. They were prepared mentally as far as X’s and O’s went, but when you play the game of football you have to bring some passion to it and I don’t think we did that early.”

“We gave up 303 yards of offense to them in the first half and in the second half they got two first downs, I think that tells you something,” Jones continued. “We brought our focus back in the second half and played defense the way we are supposed to play it. Offensively, we scored one touchdown in the first half as we sputtered around a little bit. We played much better in the second half, and had 460 yards of offense, the most we have had in the Sun Belt [Conference]. Offensively I thought we played well other than when we got down in the red zone. We got on the one-foot line, jumped offsides and didn’t get a play call in and had to call timeout, that was frustrating. Ross played well, he scrambled around and made some runs, he did some good things.”

“When you get behind 28-7, you better do everything perfect to have a chance to win and we didn’t. I think if we played the first half maybe the score is tied and it isn’t so critical that you have to make every play. We made a ton of plays to get into the game, people forget about those. Third-and-longs, throws across the middle. But when we got down on the goal line we really didn’t do well.”

On the subject of matching up with a physical team like North Texas, coach Jones had the following to say. “I don’t know which one I would choose, but I know that most of the conference are spread teams and this is one of the first teams we’ll play that I would call a power football team. It will be interesting to see how the kids match up against it.”

“The thing that is dangerous about them is that they will run, run, run, run and all of a sudden run play action and throw it deep over the top,” Jones explained. “We have to be smart and not give up the big throw. Our cornerbacks and safeties are really going to have to do a good job this week. We have to be disciplined in the secondary, especially this week.”

Jones commented about North Texas’ offensive style. “They are much like us last year, they run power and run zone and play action. They do a lot of different things with their sets and formations, but they are basically trying to set up the run. It’s not simple, they do a lot of different things, but their belief is that they are going to run the football and play-action pass.”

Jones then answered a question about how the Jaguar defense reacts to the style of play used by North Texas. “You would think looking at us that we would react pretty well to that, our defensive linemen are big guys on the inside with some size to them and they are pretty strong. But until you go out there and play a team that is this physical play after play after play, you don’t know. I don’t know that we have played against a team that is going to be this physical running the football.”

“We’re going to see how we match up this week for sure because they are going to pound you every play.”

He then spoke about how the team reacted to the loss to Florida International. “We met this morning, and the thing that was disappointing was the first half. Overall, we didn’t come to play and were down 28-7.”

“I asked them to tell me the difference between the team in the first half and the second half, and of course they didn’t have an answer for that. I don’t either, other than the fact that we weren’t ready to play, and we do that at this level we’ll get beat.”

“We’ve played some good games, but I don’t know that we have played a four-quarter game yet, I really don’t. I think we have played three quarters, we have played two, we have played three-and-a-half against Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State. We are doing some good things. For us where we are in our program, we have to play four quarters to have a chance to win. I thought our kids understood that going into this game, and they didn’t, if that’s not getting across to them, that’s my fault.”

Jones also answered a question about how the team’s improvement not being reflected in the overall record this season. “We have played some really good games, I think we have gained some respect from the other coaches and the teams we have played against. That’s gratifying in some ways because when you walk across the field and shake a guy’s hand, you can tell that they respect what you are doing. But it still wasn’t a win on the scoreboard, and until we start getting some of those it’s going to sting.”

“We’re a much better football team now than we were the first year. It’s probably the biggest improvement that any team we have had these first four years has made within the season. You look at the games against Nicholls and UTSA and N.C. State, we are a way better football team, especially on offense, than we were back then.”

“Is it showing up in the conference standings? No, because we still see some L’s over there on our side. Did we play really well? Yes, but this game is all about winning.”

Offensive lineman Chris May spoke about his progression this season. “Coming into the season, Ucambre Williams and I were rotating out the first couple of games. Then he went down in the Arkansas State game, and I had to step up and fill in. That’s some pretty big shoes to fill. He was playing really well before he went down. We’ve improved a lot as an offensive line, as a unit, since the beginning of the season.”

May, speaking about the FIU game, echoed coach Jones’ talk about how the Jags have not put together a full game effort. “We really haven’t played all four quarters in a game. We came really close against Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe. If we would have come out with higher intensity in the first half than we did Saturday, then we would have had a better chance of pulling a ‘W’ out. We just have to learn as a team to come out and play all four quarters instead of just two or three.”

He then spoke about how the team measured up against Sun Belt opposition. “All of our conference games, except for Troy, we were right there in them until the end. I feel like that’s making a statement as what we’re going to do in the Sun Belt in the next few years. Those losses at the end [of the game] do sting, but it’s a statement for us as well.”

When asked about the offensive line play so far this year May said, “We’ve improved a lot from the beginning [of the season]. We’re so much better now than we were in the UTSA [Texas-San Antonio] game. We’re a little banged up right now, and have had people step up to fill in. As a unit, I feel like we’ve played pretty well this year.”

May then spoke about going from playing minimal snaps to starting. “I started cramping up at halftime of the Arkansas State game. I was only expecting to play a few plays, then Ucambre [Williams] goes down and I had to step in. You have to prepare a lot differently from the mental aspect of the game as a starter, compared to when you are just rotating in.”

Finally, May spoke about their opponent this weekend in North Texas. “They have some pretty big guys up front, and have a couple of good safeties. Their outside rushers are good, but I feel like we match-up with them athletically.”

Defensive back Charles Watson spoke about the defense’s halftime adjustments in the game against FIU. “We were open to a challenge. [Defensive coordinator] Coach [Bill] Clark told us that we could either get embarrassed or we could come back, play our ball and do what we normally do. If we start fast, then the sky’s the limit for us. And that’s the same for the offense. As long as we get them [offense] the ball, I have faith in them. I feel like we’ll have a better finish to the season than how we started, and we’ll finish strong.”

“We just had to go back to the basics,” Watson also stated about the second half performance against FIU. “We started off slow, but once we got things going we started playing our ball. We pretty much just preached shutout from then, and that’s what gave us the momentum from then on.”

Watson also spoke about North Texas. “Our coaches know what they [North Texas] like to do in certain situations. The coaches have a great plan for everything. We have a good defensive line and good linebackers. Our coaches want us to be able to stop the run. We have a good scheme [for this weekend], and as long as we [defense] pull together then we’ll be alright.”

South Alabama and North Texas kickoff in Denton, Texas at 4pm according to the UNT Football website. Video will be available through their website for a one month access fee of $10.95.

Jags Work In Shells Preparing For Saturday Scrimmage

August 17, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Offensive line gets set while Coach Clark directs the defense during a practice early preseason camp.

The Jags hit the practice field on Thursday which marks exactly two weeks to the day that the South Alabama will open their season against Texas-San Antonio at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The two-hour practice was in shells.

Thursday’s practice had sessions where the offense worked on inside running plays, team blitz and blitz pick-up and some two-minute drills to close out the practice.

During the blitz session, C.J. Bennett completed passes to Kendall Houston, Corey Besteda and Terrance Timmons. Also Ross Metheny completed passes to Besteda, Cameron Broadnax and Houston. Drew Dearman was very impressive in pass protection.

During another 11-on-11 session, Bennett and Metheny both had big passes. Bennett found T.J. Glover for a touchdown while Metheny hit Bryant Lavender for a big gain. Also the defense made several interceptions; Charles Watson, B.J. Scott, E.J. May and Ben Giles all picked off passes.

During the two-minute drill, Demetre Baker broke a big run and Bennett hit on two big passes with Lavender. However the first team offense stalled and settled for a 50-yard field goal attempt. The kick missed it’s target though. The defense ended the drill with back-to-back interceptions by May and Terrell Brigham.

“It was a good day. We tried to back off a little bit and practice at about 90 percent where we’re getting to the football, and I thought we did that,” head coach Joey Jones said. “They’re starting to get a little tired, so we have to be smart about what we’re doing. We have a great special teams period lined up for tomorrow, and then we’ll bring them back Saturday for the scrimmage. I’m really looking forward to see how well we do when we start putting it all together and look at how everyone concentrates during a game-type situation.”

A highlight of the day for the defense was when Tyrell Pearson manhandled Rush Hendricks on his way for a tackle.

The Jags scrimmage on Saturday will be held at 8am at Ladd-Peebles Stadium but will be closed to the public. The Jags will not have practice on Friday.