Highlights from Dawson Odums’ Press Conference

By Mike McCall

Southern interim coach Dawson Odums held his weekly press conference on Tuesday, discussing his team’s 34-7 homecoming win over Texas Southern and previewing Saturday’s clash with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, where first place in the SWAC West will be up for grabs.

Highlights below.

  • Odums, wearing a pink construction helmet, opened with a tribute to Lulla Johnson, a close family friend who helped raise him and who has battled breast cancer for more than 20 years. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Odums spent a few minutes honoring those who have been affected… “Sometimes we look at athletes and say that they are our heroes, but I’m here to tell you that Lulla Johnson is a hero to me. Regardless of what goes on in our life, people that have taught you to fight to the end are great and special to my heart. I learned that from Lulla Johnson.”
  • On his team’s mindset going into the UAPB game… “They’re excited about the opportunity to be playing for first place, and it’s a great opportunity for them to go out and beat a football team with a winning record. We’re excited about that opportunity, and we have it here at AW Mumford Stadium. We’re trying to teach the young men how to defend their home turf. We’re looking for an exciting football game, and we’re excited about the opportunity to play for first place.”
  • On the Golden Lions’ spread offense, led by former Southern assistant coach Eric Dooley… “They’re a wide-open offense. We know we have to take care of the fundamentals, and I just believe as a defensive coordinator that you have to be able to stop the run. We’re going to do all the necessary things this week to prepare our guys to stop the run, and the offense they run has given us some problems in the past, but we’re going to fill in some areas and correct some things and hope we get a better showing here on Saturday.”
  • On getting a chance to play both Dray Joseph and J.P. Douglas at quarterback… “We’re blessed to have two special quarterbacks here at Southern University. It wasn’t anything that Dray was doing, we see an opportunity to run J.P. a little bit more. We don’t want to run the risk of getting Dray beat up, so it’s good to see J.P. come in there and move the football for us and we’re excited that we can still be competitive on offense by playing two quarterbacks.”
  • On what he tells his players regarding the brawl between SU and UAPB last year… “It’s the same message we’ve been giving them all along, just being disciplined. We try to teach young men the right thing. You have to be able to walk away. Don’t get caught up in the extra curricular activities on the field. Just play the game, play a clean game and do the necessary things it takes to win the game, but don’t get in any controversy, just learn how to walk away. I think everything will be all right.”
  • On the philosophy of playing more backups… “The only way you can cut down on mistakes is by playing the guys that are behind you. If the guy in front of you is making mistakes, give the guy behind him a chance and see what he can do. I think as long as we go ahead with that approach, we’re going to see a lot of different guys playing football, and it’s going to create that competitiveness that we need going down the stretch.”
  • On the running game… “I’m pleased with the improvement in the running game. We have to get better at it, but we’re making strides and attempting to run the football. I was more pleased with the way Terence Clayton ran the football. It’s exciting to see those guys get some execution and to see the offensive line start to open up some holes. We’re going to need that running game if we’re going to be able to beat some of the better teams coming down the stretch.”
  • On the home crowd against Texas Southern and what they’re expecting this weekend… “I tell people when you go on the road, you should be a seven-point underdog. The fans should create an environment that’s like no other. We’re blessed to have Jag Nation behind us because they’re very supportive. We need them to be loud and we need this to be a furious stadium once again. When everybody comes out and they make noise for the Jaguars, it’s exciting to see the kind of response they get from the players.”