Q&A session with South Alabama coach Joey Jones
1. This will be South Alabama’s first season as a full member of the FBS. Is there different approach to the spring this time around?
“Not really. We were able to see what the Sun Belt was all about last year, which was really an [important] standpoint of gaining experience at the [Division 1-A] level. This factor will be much better.”
2. What’re your overall thoughts on the spring session?
“This was the best spring we’ve ever had. Obviously be have better players and we have more coming this summer, including some JUCO transfers that can make immediate impacts.”
3. What’s been the main focus for improvement?
“Offensively, we need to learn to run the ball. Last year was the first time we went to a pure spread, and we didn’t run effectively. We have to fix those problems and we’ve definitely got off to a good start this spring.
“We have to take care of the football. We had 33 turnovers last year, which was awful. We’ve spent at least 15 minutes per day solely on that.”
4. What have you been most impressed with thus far?
“The amount of leadership. This is the first time we’ve ever had over 10 seniors. There are 23 seniors on this team, and the leadership [has been the] biggest difference on the field.”
5. You return your quarterback (Ross Metheny) and all of your skill players. How did they look this spring?
“I think we had a great spring in terms of skill players. Brandon Bridge is a [quarterback] transfer from Alcorn State – he can really run and throw the ball. We’ve got a real interesting battle for us there and either can win it for us. We feel good at running back – we two coming in that can really help us, including Caleb Blanchard (a former Arkansas commit).”
6. Can you tell me a little about Jereme Jones and your expectations for him as a playmaker?
“Jereme is our go-to guy. He is uncanny in his ability to get open. He’s so quick and understands how to run routes. We count on him in a lot of situations had a great spring.”
7. Have you been able to find replacements for (center) Trey Clark and (left guard) Tremain Smith? How is the offensive line gelling?
“We’re a little unsettled there and may make some switches. We have more depth here than we’ve ever had. We don’t know who our center is yet. There are eight or nine that could win jobs for us and we have to find the best five.”
8. There were some big names lost to graduation on the defensive side of the ball, too. How do you replace guys like (linebacker) Jake Johnson and (safety) B.J. Scott?
“Those two guys were definite playmakers for us. Jake led the league in tackles and I don’t know how you replace a guy like that, but we do have some depth at linebacker. There are four or five guys that I feel great about. At safety, Charles Harris was a starter for us but was [ineligible] last year and now we have him back.”
9. What will you guys be doing from now until June and July?
“As a staff, our number one recruiting right now is recruiting. The players have to learn to lead at this point because we can’t work with them until August. We strongly encouraged their [voluntary] workouts and it’s up to them now to put all this together and be ready when August gets here.”
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