Press Conference Coverage

The Eagle coaching staff talked with the media today after a loss to Rice that sent the program to an 0-8 start. Here is the report from the press conference.

Southern Miss is in a situation this season no one could have, in their worst nightmare, imagined.

Losing to a Rice team who is struggling themselves, the Eagles have now dropped eight in a row and can't seem to find any answers.

Head coach Ellis Johnson, offensive coordinator Steve Buckley, and defensive coordinator Tommy West all sat down for their weekly press conference earlier today. Among the topics were the Southern Miss loss, what the team can salvage from the season, and the upcoming home game against UAB.

"Obviously it was another very disappointing day for us as a team," Coach Johnson said.

"I thought there were more good football plays on both sides of the ball than we've had in any other game. There were great plays, but there were no great performances."

"If there is one story about the whole season it continues to be the turnover ratio," the Southern Miss head coach said.

"As coaches we keep trying to find ways to practice it. Sometimes they come in bunches, and we sure do need a bunch."

Coach Johnson talked about what he thought of the play of quarterback Arsenio Favor.

"Coach Buckley did a solid job of getting them ready," Coach Johnson said. "He can make some throws downfield, that frankly some of our other guys can't. He did struggle at times with the total game plan, but he didn't get much practice. He didn't really grade out well, but he made some big plays."

The question of who the quarterback will be for the week came up, a question that has persisted throughout the season.

"It really depends on who's healthy. I think had [Favor] had a higher grade of performance it would be him, but we have to see who's healthy."

Coach Johnson also talked about some negativity fans have expressed about the program due to the lack of wins this season. "That's going to happen when you're having a lack of success," Johnson said.

"The players are unhappy and the coaches are unhappy. We're going to work as hard as we can to put a good product of the field. We have to turn our attention to the players. I've said it many times, I've seen this before, but many of these kids have not. It is a very difficult transition for a football team, and not getting any wins on top of it makes it harder for them. My attention is on the kids and trying to keep them motivated, focused, and playing hard."

Southern Miss offensive coordinator Steve Buckley talked about what the team is facing in the UAB defense. "Same scheme as Rice, with the 4-2-5," Buckley said. "They're not afraid to play different schemes. They're very multiple, and not afraid to blitz. It's nothing we have not seen before, but it's probably a lot of the things we've seen compiled into one defense." Defensive coordinator Tommy West believes that despite the team's record, the defense is headed in the right direction.

"I know we didn't win the game, but I think we're getting close to a point where we can stand up defensively."

"We did get three turnovers, so that was a positive and something to build on," Coach West said. "We really want to try to build on that."

Coach West believes the UAB offense is not one to be overlooked.

"In this league, everyone can score points. That's just the nature of our league," Coach West said. "They're very capable, and their quarterback is an extremely talented young player."

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