Jacksonville State Football Weekly Press Conference
October 5, 2021 – Stephen F. Austin Week
Head Coach John Grass
“It was a very disappointing day on Saturday and none of us were pleased with anything on Saturday. It goes back to playing a triple option team and they (Kennesaw State) are really good at what they do and if you drew out a perfect scenario for a game plan with the triple option, that was it. They had eight possessions and they scored on five of them and they did not punt and ended the game with the ball in their hand. We had seven possessions and a lot of missed opportunities offensively and if you get in the red zone, you have to put the ball in the end zone. We get a field goal blocked, which I though was a huge turning point momentum wise in the game. Instead of getting points and kicking off, they get the ball at the 50-yard line. We get down near the end zone a few more times and we get in there the one time. We had two turnovers in the game, which played a big part in the game. It was a very difficult game to prepare for. It is hard to play that under center, triple option offense in four or five days of practice, especially when they had an open week to prepare for us. I thought they came off the open week with a really good game plan for us and did a few things different on offense and on defense. Normally, you would work on that stuff in the Spring, but we were playing in the spring this year. It was three years since we have played them and we played Georgia Tech and them in the same year, we dedicated a whole week in the Spring to defending the option. Sometimes you work on it in Fall camp, but this time we were not able to do that because we had UAB and Florida State to start with and you don’t have time to worry about a game five. With that said, I think our guys are still playing hard and get ready for this conference race. We have to get some guys well and get some healthy this week and we are closer to getting there.”
“It’s a very tough conference schedule and you have to win these games. Stephen F. Austin is coming in here with a very talented team and had the game with Sam Houston in command last week, up 20-6 in the fourth quarter. Sam Houston comes back to win in a thriller, but SFA was very deserving to win that game. We have our hands full this week, they have a dynamic receiver and big upfront. The quarterback can really dice you throwing the football. On defense, they have big guys everywhere. We have to play well ourselves. You have to score points in this conference and not settle for field goals. Defensively, we just have to play better and the last two weeks, we have not tackled very well. I think our guys are up to the challenge.
On Zerrick Cooper’s play:
“I don’t think Zerrick (Cooper) had his best day and I think Zerrick would tell you that. He played well at times and really good early, but as time went on, I think we all pressed. They come out and score on the first drive and we are not able to get off the field on second and third down in long yard situations. I think after the blocked kick, everyone started pressing and that is never good in a football game. I think Zerrick pressed and made some mistakes that he has not made this season.
On Malik Feaster’s comeback from the injury in the Spring:
“It was a big loss to lose him in the spring with the injury and you really missed him out there because he also plays on all of our special teams. He plays a vital role on the back end of our defense and he is very capable of making plays. When you take him out of the lineup in the Spring, it was tough, so to see him back out there right now is great. As we move on in the season, we are looking at ways of getting him on the field, maybe at the safety position. He is a great athlete and looking forward to what he will do down the line for us defensively.”
On PJ Wells:
“It has been a fun process to see him grow and mature with on and off the field. I don’t think he handled college well coming right out of the house for the first time. He was a young guy that needed to mature and handle his academics better. He blossomed when he matured academically, and he put it all together. He made a big jump in the Spring to the fall camp. He came alive in the summer and it was like a light switch came on with him. He started making unbelievable plays in fall camp and it was a neat process. I am very proud of him getting his first touchdown last week and now he has two games in a row with a touchdown. His ceiling is very high and he was a really good basketball player in high school.
PJ Wells, R-Fr., WR
On scoring touchdowns the last two weeks:
“It has always been a goal to score touchdowns and do anything I can to help my team out. Whatever I have to do to help this team win, I will do.”
On going from a walk on to playing many snaps:
“It has been a lot of hard work and some sleepless nights, but it has always been a goal to play here and I am not surprised by it. At the end of the day, it is about getting wins and what I do is all about putting the team on top.”
Malik Feaster, Jr., CB
On coming back from the injury in the Spring:
“The injury was tough and right when it happened, I knew it was something major. I could not get up after the injury and I knew something was wrong. I had to make sure I did everything right in rehab and do what I was supposed to do to get back on the field. So far it has been great and the training staff and coaching staff has been pushing me. I think the injury matured me as a player and made me appreciate the game more as I had watch the game from the stands or on the couch.”
On the challenges Stephen F. Austin presents:
“It is going to be exciting and we a team that throws the ball, because that challenges us. We like to say the game is on our back because if we make the plays on our end, then there won’t be a ballgame because we know the offense will get the ball and score. We can’t give up big plays on the back end and we know that going in to this game. We have been harping on our techniques and our eyes. We have to be disciplined and make the plays we know we are expected to make.
On PJ Wells:
“When I got back on the practice field and went up against PJ (Wells), I could tell he was a totally different player in the way he ran routes and the way he came off the ball. He is a strong guy and he has surprised a lot of us and he is hard to guard, so I knew he was going to be big for us this season.”