Monday press conference for October 24, 2011

October 25, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Bennett on headset

Quarterback C.J. Bennett speaking with coaches on a headset.

Jaguar head football coach Joey Jones with players Paul Bennett and Alex Page met with the media on Monday. They looked back on the Jaguars loss to Georgia State and previewed their upcoming game against Henderson State on Saturday.

Coach Jones opened the press conference with his opening statements. The always humble Coach Jones first congratulated Georgia State on their hard fought win and also mentioned that the Jaguars have been a marked team by their opponents. The then began to reflect on the game in the Georgia Dome.

“What I’d like to do is congratulate Georgia State on a big win for their program. It seems like now, and I don’t know why, that we are the circled team on a lot people’s schedules. We’ve had a lot of success over the last two years, and every coach I’ve talked to after the game says that they have circled our name. I guess we’re the new upstart program that has done fairly well.”

“I felt like we played hard, when you look at the film we played extremely hard. I thought we were focused, but when you look at the game there were four times we got inside the 10-yard line and didn’t score and two times we gave up big plays on defense. If you take those plays out the game is different, but unfortunately  you have to count those six plays. It wasn’t a matter that our kids weren’t ready to play, there’s no doubt in my mind that they were. We just had a few critical errors that can cost you games.”

Coach Jones also commented on how the special teams play has improved over the course of the first seven games of the season. “I think our special teams have improved, they have become a real plus for our program. Early in the year I thought we were deficient there, especially the first ball game, and have gradually got better as the season has gone on. We were only a couple of things away from making every goal we have.”

“Henderson State is a team averaging 30 points a game, they are very good offensively and sound defensively. They run the spread and throw it all over the field. It seems like I’ve got up in front of the players and talked ad nauseam over the last three years about that teams that can beat you. When you look at a team like Henderson State, there is no doubt that they can, they are good enough, are well-coached and do a good job. They are really efficient offensively, so we have to be ready to play.”

“What we have done is focus on us and what we need to do regardless of the competition. One of the things we talked to the team about yesterday is that we should never focus on a team and try to play at their level. We need to play at our best level at all times, whether it’s N.C. State or anybody else. We need to play at the highest level possible, that’s the challenge for our team.”

Coach Jones then elaborated on what Henderson State does well as a team. “They really throw the ball very well. They throw a lot of quick passes where you can hardly get to the quarterback. He takes the snap and gets rid of it in about a second-and-a-half, it’s a lot of short passes and timing patterns. They are very efficient in what they do offensively.”

“Defensively what they are is a very sound football team. They don’t do a lot, whereas a lot of teams we have played this year have been multiple in their fronts and used slants, blitzes and different things. This team is more fundamental and just going to play good, well-coached football.”

“We played them last year and they have a lot of people back. I think they have 16 returning starters from last year’s team, and they gave us a game at the end last year, came back and made a run. Knowing their personnel, we feel better and more prepared playing them.”

Answering a question about the difference in offensive production from last year to this year, Coach Jones said. “I think it’s a combination that we are playing better teams this year, that’s always a factor, and the turnovers. The other night C.J. gets credited with four interceptions, but only one of them was him. Two were dropped balls that we tipped up and gave to the defense and the other one somebody hit his arm when he threw it and the ball went straight up in the air. Really we had one bad play the whole game.”

“I don’t know how we could have prevented them other than catching the ball, but turnovers have plagued this team for sure. Especially in some of the bigger games. Coaches can sit up here and talk about it all the time, but when you have five turnovers you’re just not going to win.”

“But in a lot of ways I think we are better. Last year we had T.J. Glover, who could make a big play for us when we needed one, and I think that area has hurt us as well.”

When asked about possible personnel changes this week coach Jones said, “We’re looking at some things and some different moves, but of course I’m going to keep that to myself at this point.”

He then answered a question about the Jags preparation for Henderson State’s offense with a new quarterback. “They are real similar. If you look at them they do the same things. I don’t think they look much different at all except that they have a new body at quarterback. He’s good, and a big kid – 6-2, 6-3 and over 200 pounds — and has a good arm. They don’t look much different when you look at them last year and this year. They might have averaged a few more points per game last year, maybe a touchdown more per game, but they are still very effective.”

When asked if the Jags will be able to dictate this weekend’s game on offense Coach Jones answered. “We’d like to hope so, that’s our goal every game. That’s who we are as an offensive team. We’re going to start with the run first, we feel like we’ll have some chances there, but we also have to be able to throw it. One thing we need to do a little bit more is throw the ball on run downs to help so that the other defense can’t load up on us. We’ve talked about that as a staff, we’ve got to mix that up a little bit to help us as well.”

Paul Bennett was next up speaking with the media. He was asked about areas of improvement. His answer was short and to the point. “We’re just going to keep practicing and doing what we’ve been doing. We just have to make it work this time.”

Another question was about the team’s state of mind after the Georgia State loss. “We hate to lose. We’ve been brought up here hating to lose. Everyone’s expectations are still high. We’re not going to conform to what everyone else wants us to, we have our own high expectations. We’re just going to keep practicing how we’ve been practicing, and just work out the kinks.”

Defensive end Alex Page was next and answered the same questions. On areas of improvement, “We have a rotation defensively, and it seems to have been effective so far. We’re just going to continue to practice and improve.”

On the team’s state of mind after the GSU loss. “It’s in the back of your mind, having suffered the loss. But as a player, you have to put it past you and keep practicing and preparing for the next game no matter how tough the loss was. That’s what we’re going to do this week.”

Some fans have been vocal online talking about personnel change, primarily at the quarterback position. Which I’m quite sure the personnel question was indirectly meant to address.

The quarterback position is the position that receives the most scruitnity when fans are a bit disgruntled. C.J. Bennett has thrown 13 interceptions to 6 touchdowns this season.

Should Myles Gibbon be given a chance? I don’t have access to all of the game film, but if what Coach Jones says is correct, then you cannot fault Bennett completely for all of those interceptions. They have played against very good opponents and the receivers have had chances to pull down some passes but couldn’t. But at what point to do try someone else to see if that sparks the team or even sparks the other player to work harder and make better decisions?

Go Jags.