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Coach Jay Hopson Media Conference (Oct. 16)

Oct. 16, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson held his weekly news conference return to the road for a tough Conference USA task against Louisiana Tech.

The game takes place Saturday, Oct. 21, in a 6 p.m., contest at Joe Aillet Stadium. The game can be seen on watchstadium.com or on THIS TV, channel 219 on Comcast in the Hattiesburg area.

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

Opening statement: 
"It was a good win. Any time you get a "W" that's a good thing. A lot of positives. There are certainly things we can work on. Again, I thought we played well on defense Saturday. Offensively we had a lot of explosive plays and some of them were called back, but I thought we did a good job on explosive plays. On special teams, we had a few difference makers there. For the whole we played hard and got the W."  

Players of the Week:
Defensive - Draper Riley 
"He went in there and had big (UTEP offensive lineman Will) Hernandez. He came in there and played really well up front on the defensive line." 

Offensive - Drake Dorbeck
"He's a guy who came out and played really well up front on the offensive line." 

Special Teams - Justin Abston, Tez Parks
"Justin made a big play on special teams on the punt. Then, Tez Parks did a great job covering on punts." 

 On health of players:
"We'll see. I'm kind of optimistic. I think Ty (Pollard) is fine. He'll be fine. But I am optimistic on some guys getting back this week. Again, I want to see how Tuesday and Wednesday practice goes before I say that for sure."  

On Louisiana Tech: 
"(They are a) good football team. I feel like this every week in Conference USA. You turn on the film and you know you have good football teams coming into town. There's a lot of parity in the league and a lot of good football teams. We need a good week in preparation and we know it will be a tough game."  

On a sense of a rivalry with Louisiana Tech: 
"Both teams are in the same division and both are playing for the same thing. (As for rivalries) That's for the fans. For us, we know we have another good football team we have to play. That's the reality of it. That's the C-USA theme. You go in, look at the film and have another good football team to play and Tech is a good football team." 

On offensive penalties: 
"It certainly was an issue Saturday. We had a nice throw from Keon (Howard) to Isaiah (Jones) and another nice run by Keon and both were called back. Those are some plays that are there that were explosive plays. That's something we'll address this week and we'll clean that up. We left quite a few explosive plays out there." 

On performance of QB Keon Howard:
"He managed the game well. Bottom line, we did some really good things. If we get those explosive plays, we're really rolling. The throws to Jaylond were big. We had another big one, but we just mishandled and could've been another explosive play. He did a good job. Defensively, offensively and special teams, we're all on that journey. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. We're just going to keep trying and get better." 

On the open door for Kwadra's return:
"We're always going to watch that close. We're always going to compete in that deal. I think competition makes the world go round. At the end of the day, we'll watch them and see how it goes this week." 

On addressing turnovers:
"I really don't think we've had that many this year. We're like 8,750 times better than we were a year ago. I don't think it needs addressing. Sometimes it happens. One thing is, we're doing a good job of creating a lot, too. I don't think it needs addressing. It happens sometimes, it's football. We just have to execute." 

On more specifics on Louisiana Tech:
"Not only can they throw the football, they can run it, too. They've got weapons. They have athletes out wide, at running back and quarterback. Defensively, they play good football. They have our respect on both sides of the ball and we know we're playing a good football team." 

On Briggs Bourgeois:
"He's been a real plus and advantage for us. If he gets a hold of it, he's that guy who can sail it out the end zone. I think he's done a tremendous job. That's a big help to the defense to have a kicker like Briggs. I said this last week, Briggs is a multi-talented kicker. He's a guy who can kick field goals and punt. As his time here continues, you'll see Briggs being used in more and more roles. He's a big advantage for us." 

On Louisiana Tech’s offense: 
"They have a good running back, too. It sounds like coach speak, but it's true. They have guys at tailback who can run the ball and guys that can do stuff with the ball out wide and have a good quarterback. Again, it's another C-USA team who has weapons at every spot. They are more balanced than you think. When you look at them, they are little over 50/50 (balance). They're a team that is going to run and throw the ball." 

On Louisiana Tech’s quarterback:
"He's a duel threat quarterback for sure. You know he can run and throw. We've seen a few duel threat quarterbacks. He's a guy who has our respect in both areas. He's a complete quarterback. He's going to make the right decision. He's going to throw and run."

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