Coach Hopson Media Conference (Oct. 23)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson held his weekly news conference at the Duff Athletic Center Monday, recapping last Saturday’s exciting 34-27 double overtime victory at Louisiana Tech as well as previewing this week’s home game against UAB.
The Golden Eagles and Blazers play Saturday, Oct. 28, in a 6 p.m., contest at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium. The game will be the school’s annual Blackout contest.
Here are some of things Hopson said during his news conference:
"Just a really exciting game (at Louisiana Tech). Our guys kept fighting and found a way to win. I thought Korey Robertson played a tremendous game where he just made big plays. In the second overtime, he went up and made a tremendous catch and in the end of regulation, he made a great run to get into the end zone. Parker Shaunfield made some crucial kicks. Our unit of the week was our onside kick team. Briggs Bourgeois with a great kick and then Xavier (Thigpen) and Paxton (Schrimsher) went in there and got the ball. It was a tremendous job there. I really thought defensively, Tarvarius Moore played fantastic. He had a huge interception in that first overtime. He made some big tackles. He made PBU's, tackles for loss, as he played well in the game. Korey was our offensive player (of the week). I gave two to special teams. Parker was four- for-four and did a tremendous job kicking. That last one isn't easy to go out there in breezy conditions and kick a 49-yarder to give us a chance to get the ball to go to overtime. Also, Demarrio Smith was a seal protector when we punted and when we let the returner slip out on us we had an open field tackle on their best receiver and Demarrio goes in there and makes the tackle in the open field to save the touchdown. That effort from him was worth the co-special teams player of the week. It was a nice win, but it's a win we have to forget now and move on. We know we have an excellent football team coming to town and we have to be ready."
On words of encouragement to Keon after the thrown interception in the first overtime:
"I don't think they were words of encouragement at that time. I'd be lying if I said that. It was a learning experience. At the end of the day, the thing about Keon is I'm so proud of him. It would be easy for a guy to melt, but Keon just came right back and threw a touchdown pass in the second overtime and that was basically a game-winning pass. Keon is an outstanding kid. He's a competitor. Just a great job by him overcoming that adversity and battling back for a touchdown pass says a lot."
On the health of Ito Smith for this week’s game:
"Ito will be fine."
On Tez Parks:
"Tez is an outstanding talent. He's one of those guys, and I don't throw this around loosely, but he has that NFL potential. Tez knows it's up to him to go out there and do that on Saturday. He's big, physical, fast and has a tremendous upside. He runs the ball hard. We have complete confidence in Tez. I think that was a good challenge for those guys, because we have guys on this team that can make plays. We lost Ito for the second half, but I felt we moved the ball great in the second half offensively. Sometimes we were held to field goals but we got field goal, field goal, took it down to the 1 where we actually had a turnover and we came back before the end of the game and had another field goal drive. So I felt like we moved the ball extremely well in the second half. We've got to continue that. As part of our journey each week, we just have to get better.”
On freshman wide receiver Tim Jones:
"Tim is one of those players. I remember talking about it in August and you're talking about a freshman talent. Tim Jones is going to be a special, special football player at Southern Miss. He's big, he's fast. He's just a combination of everything you want in a wide receiver."
On freshman offensive lineman Woodlyson Alcius:
"Talk about special kids. You're talking about two freshman (along with Jones) but he will be a special football player. He has it, too."
On Korey Robertson:
"Korey is strong at the point. He can go up and get the ball. He's hard to bring down. Korey's a guy who had a tremendous spring and summer and he's been working hard for a year and you're seeing it pay off on Saturdays. He's put out a lot of sweat equity and was a guy I thought played tremendous Saturday. He made play after play. He's been doing that all year and did it against Kentucky. He's had an outstanding season."
On C-USA competition:
"You don't know what will happen. That's the one thing we have to understand this week. We have another outstanding football team coming to town. We have to be prepared and ready. We're not going to talk about LA Tech because it's done. It's time for us to move on but we know we have our plate full this Saturday."
On the uniqueness of UAB:
"They're an old football team, extremely old because when you look at it, it was a year or two ago (when they started building back the program). So you have a lot of junior college players that were able to get in the system for a year and really have that eligibility frozen. Therefore, you're in the system and older. They're an older football team. An athletic team that plays hard and is extremely well coached. It's a big challenge and we know it."
On the success after two years compared to rebuilding at Alcorn:
"They're two different situations. We were just down and theirs is unique. They've done a tremendous job. They've been wise on how they built it. Give them credit. They've done a great job and a great football team. We know we have an excellent team coming to town. We know we have an old team coming to town. We know we have to be ready."
On UAB’s offense:
"They'll make you work."
On UAB quarterback A.J. Erderly:
"He's a dual threat. He runs their offense extremely well. You can tell he's a talented young man. He throws it well. He runs it well. He does a tremendous job leading their offense."
On keeping the team's head in the right mindset after the win:
"You better understand it is football. In football, life's about living and learning and every week it happens. If you look at it, Troy a few weeks ago beat LSU but then five days later, South Alabama got them. Bottom line is, it's a new week, it's a new game and it's a new challenge. What happened last week has no significance on this game and no relevance."