Southern Miss Football Coach Jay Hopson Holds Weekly News Conference (Nov. 20)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss football coach Jay Hopson held his weekly news conference at the Duff Athletic Center Monday, recapping last Saturday's home victory over Charlotte as well as previewing this week's regular-season finale at Marshall.
The Golden Eagles and Thundering Herd play Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET. The game can be viewed on Stadium 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 felt like we played good football Saturday. Offensively and defensively, we did some good things. I was proud of the effort. We have a big challenge to continue to get better this week. We know we have a tough opponent this week. We need a good week of preparation."
On quick transition to next game after win:
"It's the next one. It's kind of the same story every week I realize. That's who we have to be and that's who I am as a coach. It's the next game. The next game is always the biggest game. In Conference USA, you have to be ready every Saturday. I think we've proven that. Most teams have proven that each Saturday. So we know we have a tough opponent this weekend. We know we have to prepare and be ready. It's as simple and as true as it gets."
On QB Kwadra Griggs:
"He played well (against Charlotte). For the second weekend in the row, he did a good job of leading the offense. I've been very proud of him. He's played well. We need that to continue. That's part of football."
On the Golden Eagles' run game that registered 363 on the ground against Charlotte:
"I was really pleased with the run game. We blocked well up front. Ito played an Ito (type) game. That long run, he found that super gear and on the 40 I thought that guy was going to get him, but he kicked it in to overdrive. I told him on the sidelines, `You put it into high speed on the 40.' He separated from the guy and took it to the house. Ito is a special guy. He's a great football player. That's what you see week-in and week-out from Ito. I was also pleased with Tez (Parks) and T-Rod (Daniels). Tez ran the ball extremely well and then we got T-Rod in there and he had some big plays. That was also good to see that our No. 2 and No. 3 backs came in there and had big explosive plays. So that's something we're going to need now this season and need for the future."
"Their defense plays hard, plays fast. They are a talented football team and another team whose quarterback is playing great. (They possess) skill at wideout, skill at running back and are a football team that shows a lot of talent. We know we have to prepare hard this week."
On the difference from this time last year to now:
"Last year, we had a lot more injuries. This year, we're probably a more complete football team. Losing Nick (Mullens) last year was tough because we didn't have anyone with reps under their belt. We have a lot more depth at the QB position this year. We're deeper in some critical (position) spots. Going back to the San Antonio game last year, we were trying to find a way to plug holes there. Keon (Howard) came in and did a good job there for the couple of games as a true freshman out of high school. This year we're top to bottom, we're filling the holes. We have to continue to grow. That's our journey, to grow and get better."
On if he thought the team is at now, where he thought it would be at the beginning of the year:
"This was a season, at the beginning, I was anxious to see. Anytime you go into it with young quarterbacks and young offensive line...You have a lot of new starters of defense. Some of them are upperclassmen and haven't started before. There are a lot of new faces. I'm very proud of this football team. We're ahead of where I thought, but at the end of the day, it was an unknown to me at the beginning. A lot of times as coaches, you're cautiously optimistic. I'm pleased with the way a lot of freshmen and young guys and how they've stepped up. You think about (linebacker) Racheem Boothe, he's had an outstanding year. You think about (receivers) Quez Watkins, Tim Jones, Jaylond Adams, (offensive linemen) Arvin Fletcher and Drake Dorbeck. You have a lot of younger guys whose first game was against Kentucky. It was Kwadra's first game at Kentucky, so there's a lot of guys who are walking onto the field for the first time and responded great. Now you're not young anymore, they have 11 games under their belts. I'm proud of this football team. They've fought until the clock has hit zero every week. They'll do that every week."