“Camp Stump: The Sequel” is closed. The fall semester has begun. The Nation is finalizing travel plans … and come to think of it, I don’t know a whole lot about Nashville, Tenn., so if you’ve got some good restaurant ideas, I’m all ears. Tweet me!
Anyway, the first football game is almost here. Southern is preparing for Tennessee State. The two teams meet at LP Field at 6 p.m. Saturday, ready to kick off another fall.
Tuesday afternoon, Stump Mitchell met the media for his first formal press conference of the season. Here are a few select quotes from the big to-do.
On the state of the offensive line:
“I think the offensive line is doing pretty good. We have some returning starters up front, and we have some freshmen who we fill can come in and play as well. I don’t know if we’ll have to put any freshmen in that situation. We’ll see. We’ll get a unit together today, and we’ll see who we go with come Sept. 3.”
Any plans to play anyone beyond Dray Joseph at quarterback?
“We’ll see [laughs]. That’s all I know about that one.”
How is his progression going?
“Well, I think it’s great, in terms of the quarterbacks. We only completed, as a unit, 47 percent of our passes. Dray completed 49 percent, and Jeremiah (McGinty) completed 47. During training camp, I think we’re near 64 percent. So we’ve definitely gotten better in that area, and some of it is just familiarity in our offense now. Guys understand what we expect from every play.”
What has Dray gotten better at, in particular?
“I would say his dropback, No. 1. Also, getting the ball out on time, and also, knowing where his initial read is, and his checkdowns, if the initial read is not there.”
On being on the road, and whether there’s an us-against-the-world mentality:
“Well, I can’t ever use us-against-the-world, because the (Jaguar) Nation is going to be there. So I would never use that as an excuse.
“We’re going to pay our bills to stay there, so I think we deserve the right to win. We’re taking a lot to Nashville, in terms of money to that city, people traveling. So we deserve to win, if we just go play the type of game we’re capable of playing.
“They want to win, too. It’s the John Merritt Classic. It’s a big deal. So it’s going to be a physical football game. But if we take care of the football, and do the things we’re capable of doing … we have some players that I think can make some things happen.”
How has Jared Green looked so far?
“He’s catching the ball better. I think that was one knock on him that someone could’ve said. But being one of the primary guys here, he’s had a lot of repetitions of catching the ball. When he catches it, I mean, he is explosive. So we’re looking to get the ball in his hands and giving him a few opportunities.”
How big of a fight do you expect this game to be?
“It’s a big deal. This is probably one of their biggest games, in terms of attendance. This is The John Merritt Classic. They’re expecting Southern to show up, and of course, their pocket is going to be higher than it is for the normal games, because we’re the Jaguar Nation. But that’s OK. We’re going to give them an extra dime. And we’re going to go there and do what we know we’re capable of doing.”