Arkansas State football hosts James Madison Saturday night
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State football will be tested against a team on the doorstep of the Top 25. James Madison is a Sun Belt newcomer, 4-0 this season, and receiving votes in the AP & Coaches Polls.
“Very, very complete football team in all three phases, offense, defense, special teams,” said Red Wolves head coach Butch Jones. “You see a style of play, you see toughness. You see individuals give high effort. They’re #1 in the country in total defense. Then on the other side of the ball, offensively, #1 in scoring offense, almost 45 points a game. They have the swagger that they expect to win anywhere, any time, any place they go. I would say the biggest growth and development would be consistency. Consistency week in and week out in our preparation. Players have come with a mindset, they’ve done a good job, also our in season lift. So I think the consistency, and why we’ve been able to improve. The way we practice, a lot of good on good.”
The Red Wolves have embraced #ForTheBrand and it’s paid off with the best special teams unit in the nation. One of Johnnie Lang’s 3 touchdowns vs. ULM was a kickoff 98 yards to the house and Sun Belt weekly honors.
“We rep those in practice. We have live reps in practice. So I wasn’t like shocked that it happened,” Lang added. “Those live reps give you a confidence booster to go out and execute. You want to execute as a unit. Courage and loyalty. Them guys got the courage to go out and get on their blocks. And I know that’s loyalty to me, to go hit the crease, don’t hesitate. Knowing that those guys got my back and I got theirs as well.”
Punter Ryan Hanson leads the conference averaging 44 yards per punt. “Coach Schoonover has made a really big impact on us, and has put us in the best possible positions to be successful each time we go out onto the field,” Hanson said. “Having somebody like Coach Schexnayder is very good for us. And the oversight he has on us as a group, it gives us another perspective on everything. Just having somebody that has been there and done that, and has done very well.”
Arkansas State hosts James Madison Saturday at 6:00pm at Centennial Bank Stadium. The #FunBelt will be in the national spotlight in the NFL Network.
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