NEW ORLEANS, La. (WALA) – The South Alabama Jaguars appeared before the media Tuesday for Sun Belt Conference Media Day at the Superdome in New Orleans.
After a 2-11 season in 2012, a turnaround season in 2013 made the South Alabama Jaguars bowl eligible with a 6-6 record. Now the Jags embark on its third season of Sun Belt Conference play in 2014. The Jags were ranked #3 in this year’s pre-season polls. Last year, ranked #7. This year, hopes of a Sun Belt Championship and a bowl game are not out of reach for the Jags.
Sun Belt Conference Media Day was the place to be Tuesday, as South Alabama head coach Joey Jones, senior offensive lineman Chris May, and senior offensive linebacker Maleki Harris fielded questions from the media. The Jags finished out the 2013 campaign 6-6 – but not before becoming bowl eligible – for the first time in the program’s short 5 year history. South Alabama however did not receive an invite to a bowl game.
“One of our goals last year was to become bowl eligible. The other goal was to win a conference championship. We were basically one play away from those two goals becoming true. I was proud of what our guys were able to accomplish. But we want to do more,” said Jones.
May and Harris say the morale of the team is upbeat coming into 2014 season.
“Seeing the buzz of our program and our school grow from year two to year five, six whatever it is now, it’s been really cool and I think that’s just gong to help push it into another level,” said May.
“I feel like…us as a team, we are more focused on taking it one step at a time,” said Harris.
Quarterback Ross Metheny has graduated, leaving the position for senior Brandon Bridge. As for the schedule this season, the Jags will face its normal Sun Belt opponents. However, other teams on the schedule are getting a lot of attention.
“It’s tough when you look down the barrel when you’re playing South Carolina, Mississippian State, Navy, and Kent State as our out of conference games,” said Jones.
But if the Jags want to win the Sun Belt title…
“You’ve got to find a way to win on the road to win the championship,” said Jones.
“Sun Belt title or bust, man. It’s my opinion it’s either that or…that’s what I want for our team,” said May.
“Starts with Kent State. That’s the whole thing. Starts with Kent State and we’ll go it from there. We’re going out there, with the expectations of conference championship. We don’t want to finish top three in the conference and be ok. We don’t want to be: “we were almost there.” We want the conference championship and it all starts with Kent State,” said Harris.
The Jags open with Kent State in Ohio on September 6.