Southern Miss Football Coach Jay Hopson Holds Weekly News Conference (Nov. 6)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson held his weekly news conference at the Duff Athletic Center Monday, recapping last Saturday's game at Tennessee as well as previewing this week's Conference USA tilt at Rice.
The Golden Eagles and Owls play Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game can be viewed on Stadium on Facebook as well as be heard on one of the affiliates of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
Here are some of things Hopson said during his news conference:
"I was proud of our effort Saturday. We played physical and gave ourselves a chance there at the end with five minutes (to play). We were down on 4th-and-1 on about the 38 or 39 and, if we could've converted there, it would've been interesting. I felt like we had a really solid day defensively. I was proud of our offense in the fourth quarter. We did some good things there. I leave this game at Tennessee with a lot of positives, I really do. Just looking forward to building on that this week and getting back into conference play."
Expand on the positives:
"Anytime you see that fight and competitiveness, that's something you really, really like. (Wide receiver) Korey (Robertson) had another big day. He's had an outstanding year. Tez (Parks) and Ito (Smith) did good things. I was pleased with Kwadra (Griggs). One good thing with that is he's back to 100 percent healthy now. We got the cast off yesterday. Now he's back healthy, ready to roll and feeling 100 percent.
"We had the cast where it was covering up those initial three fingers, which was making it hard to catch snaps. There's certain things you have to look at and it doesn't matter if you can't catch the snap from center. Last week, we were able to get it down where he had more hand flex action in that left hand. One of the issues we ran into, because you're in a noisy crowd, snaps sometimes are an issue. You have to be concerned with the whole operation. I said this Sunday, he'll probably be our starter this week. He didn't lose the job when he was injured. He was injured.
"Keon (Howard) did a lot of good things. He came in and look at the UTSA, El Paso, LA Tech games and big wins and big plays. Keon didn't play that bad Saturday. There were a lot of positives that he had. I believe Keon's doing a good job and we're looking forward to Kwadra getting back. Kwadra did a good job. I said this at the start of the season, but we're blessed to have two talented quarterbacks that are competing. I felt after that Kentucky game that Kwadra won the start and then he got hurt. Then Keon took advantage of his opportunity. Looking at the game, having Kwadra back healthy is probably who we'll go with. I will still evaluate through the week just to make sure I don't do anything premature. That's kind of where my mind is right now. We'll watch in practice.
"I was pleased with what Kwadra did when he got in. He did a good job of moving the team. But it's more than a one-man show. That's the reality. Keon did some good things, not only running the ball but making plays. Sometimes the quarterback gets too much of the credit and too much of the blame. That's the reality of football. I couldn't be happier with the two young men. They keep competing and keep their heads up. They're both class acts through and through. We're blessed they're Golden Eagles. They always pull for each other. They are two good outstanding men and we're just pleased to have them."
Players of the Week:
Defense - Kelsey Douglas
Offense - Korey Robertson
Special Teams - Zac Everett
On Korey Robertson:
"He has played really well. The bottom line is - if you earn it, you earn it. Korey went up there and gave us the big catch and kind of gave us some juice at the end of the first half. I think he has seven or eight receptions. He's physical with the football, blocked well and had a complete football game. Kudos to him."
"It's Conference USA play. We know we have to bring our "A" game every week. They're a football team that does a lot of shifting and motions on offense and a lot of misdirection. Defensively, they give you even and odd looks. They make you work on both sides. They have our upmost respect and we know it's going to be a tough football game. Again, they have talented guys in the backfield, at wide out, on the defensive end running the ball hard. They're a good team."
On Darian Yancey:
"Yancey had a really good game, Saturday. He might have had his best game of the season that game. He played well. We need that (kind of effort from everyone) to continue playing at that level. He's a smart football player. He's a competitor and is doing a great job for us."
On the physical game at Tennessee:
"We played hard. How can you not be proud of a physical, hard-fought effort? I thought that's what we did. Basically, the first kick off we had two guys unblocked. We hope to tackle them on the 15 but somehow magically it winds up on the 49 or 50. They hit us quick, but we settled down after that and played football. The guys played hard and I'm proud of that."
On the last stretch of the season:
"One week at a time. All that matters right now is Rice. It's a big game. Our team understands it's a big game. They better understand it's a big game. That's all our focus and all we're worried on."
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