Skip to main content Skip to footer

Jay Hopson Media Conference (Oct. 2)

Oct. 2, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson held his weekly news conference Monday at the Duff Athletic Center as the Golden Eagles get ready for their Conference USA road tilt at UTSA this week.

The two teams play at the Alamodome this Saturday, Oct. 7, in a 6 p.m., contest. The game can be seen on Stadium on Facebook.

Here are some of things Hopson said during his news conference:

Opening Statement:
“Just a tough loss. It was kind of a tale of two halves, really. We were playing really good football until about five minutes left to go in the second quarter. Seemed like everything was going right and then we had that near miss and didn’t quite get the safety. It seemed like everything went wrong for a quarter and a half. Tough third quarter. They got a big touchdown right before half and a field goal on the last two possessions and a couple of scores to start out the third. I thought the third quarter was a tough quarter. We started to come back, late third early fourth, and got it within five there and then had a critical penalty, I think, on third down where it allowed them to give the drive alive. They did a good job on fourth down. We had a lot of drives that they went for on fourth and got it. I don’t know if that led to 24 or 17 points on those drives but it seems like every time on fourth. It will be something we’ll work on some more this week. Those fourth down conversions really helped them and allowed them to keep some drives alive.” 

On when the momentum changed:
“I’ll tell you, you can’t every blame a play, but it seems like, looking back on it, after that. Everything was going good through the first two quarters. We were up 21-7, had the pick by [Jomez Applewhite], weren’t able to capitalize on that drive, but then had them back down. It looked like we might’ve had a safety there and then they hit a big play, got a fourth-down conversion and scored a touchdown. Their first touchdown came on a fourth-and-1 or fourth-and-2. Bang, that’s 14 points and they capitalized at the end of the half with a field goal. They had a couple of other conversions that led to more scores. After that play, the last four minutes of the second quarter and the third quarter was our worst quarter of the season. It seemed like nothing went right in the third quarter until the very end. It was a weird game, but certainly give North Texas credit. They did what they had to do to win the ball game.” 

On critical errors that were made during the game that need to be addressed:
“We have to make sure we keep our eyes on our man. That’s one big thing. We had a couple times where we were fitting in the gap there, just like two ships passing in the night. They had big fourth-and-short conversions. So those are things defensively. Offensively, always execution. That’s something, as coaches and players, we just got to continue to get better. That’s our journey. That’s the beautiful thing about football. It’s a team game, a we game. We just got to get better. I thought we played hard, proud of the effort. We just have to execute and that’s our charge.” 

On if they got away from giving the ball to Ito Smith:
“He probably didn’t have as many touches as he needs to have. He capitalized when he did get the ball. At the end of the day I’d certainly say we would’ve like him to touched the ball a few more times. You can never have Ito [Smith] touch the ball too much, but sometimes you have to take what they give you.” 

On the play of Allenzae Staggers:
“[Allenzae] made some big plays. Ito and [Allenzae] were two guys that we thought were our players of the game. We gave it to Ito, but either one of them could’ve been player of the game. I thought Korey Robertson did some good things blocking on the perimeter and catching the ball. He played really well. Again, [Allenzae] made some tremendous plays, went up and got the ball. He had a great catch down the sideline that I thought they were going to pull it on him and he made a great catch there. He had one where he went up and made a tremendous catch twice, so great game by [Allenzae].” 

On the other players of the game:
“Defensively we went with Jomez [Applewhite]. I thought he played well, had a lot of tackles with a big pick. Special teams, WyDale Flott, a freshman out of Mobile. WyDale had a big hit on the kickoff and kind of set the tempo there early for us. Those were our guys.” 

Similarities between North Texas and UTSA:
“They’re both good football teams. We’re playing two good teams in conference play right off the bat in conference play. Both of them are good teams, athletic teams. I said that last week. Both of them have players at skilled positions and on the line. Again, another big challenge, but I worry about us and us alone. We just have to go to work and just keep executing and keep getting better.” 

On playing the top offense in the conference one week and the top defense in the next:
“We have to play them so it doesn’t matter when you play. It’s the next game and that’s why it’s the biggest game. We understand we’re playing a good football team. I said the same thing last week. Everybody might think it’s just coach talk but we’ve got a good football team we need to play this week.” 

On this week injury report:
“We’ve got some guys healthy, but we got some more guys banged up. We’ll see. I’ll probably know better on Wednesday exactly who will be available, but we got some bumps and bruises. It’s the middle of the season and that’s to be expected.” 

On the defense starting out the game with three three-and-outs:
“We would’ve had a lot more stops, but if not for fourth down. There were a few plays they made, but fourth-and-2, fourth-and-1, we’re really there but we just run by the guy. A guy runs by us in the gap and goes for a long gain. Then you look at another play where the guy is kind of flushed and we go inside and that’s a sack and that’s the end of a series there. That’s 14 points, which is big. Then there’s two more fourth down conversions that might’ve led to 10 or 14 more points. Fourth downs were tough on us Saturday. They took the gamble. On a couple of them I was wanting them to go for it on fourth. I was hoping they would go for it, because I thought we were going to get them in the backfield and we just didn’t get them. It’s part of football and we’ve just got to regroup and get back to work.” 

On the importance of this week’s game:
“We’ll count those poker chips up at the end. Football is a long, tough season, it always is. We just have to go fight. We have to keep playing. Each game is a new game, new challenge and on November 25 or 26, whenever it is, we’ll count our chips up. Our guys know we have to get back to work and get ready for the next opponent.” 

On what UTSA does that has them off to an undefeated start:
“They’re playing physical football. They’ve been very good on defense and offense this year. They’ve got good players at their skill positions and up front. They’re a team that’s playing with a lot of confidence. They’re a football team that, athletically, is a good football team. They had a big win against Baylor starting off the season, then beat Southern and Texas State. We know we’ve got a good football team.” 

On if you pay close attention to games against common opponents:
“You pay attention to all of them. They’ll watch all four of our games and we’ll watch all three of theirs. I don’t think there’s really one game that sticks out at as the game to watch. We certainly know they’re playing good football right now.”

On opening drives scores in back-to-back games: 

“It’s good. Certainly we want to score on the opening drive and every drive. It’s good to get off to a fast start. It certainly helps us. I thought we got off to a fast start. I thought, again, up until five minutes left in the second quarter we were, offensively and defensively, we were doing some good things and playing good football.”

Online Store