Arkansas State football holds weekly press conference, prepares for SBC opener vs. Southern Miss

The Red Wolves greet fans before they take the field on September 15th, 2023.
The Red Wolves greet fans before they take the field on September 15th, 2023.(Source: KAIT)
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 3:40 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:25 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - It’s another Talkin’ Tuesday for Arkansas State football. The Red Wolves finish their September three game homestand with their first Sun Belt contest of 2023.

A-State and Southern Miss are eerily similar. Both teams are 1-2. Both teams have wins over FCS opposition, but both have losses to a top 15 opponent and a AAC foe.

Head coach Butch Jones wants to see more progress with his young squad. “We have to make great improvements this week, when you’re a very youthful team,” Jones said. “We played 63 players this past Saturday night. 46 of those players are in their first our second year in our program, which is pretty remarkable. But we’re going to have to improve greatly. This is a Southern Miss football team that we have to play our best. And we must improve in order to do so in order to play our best football against team. When you think of Southern Miss, you think of Frank Gore and all of the different things he does for their football program. He’s one of the elite players in our conference. They’re big, they’re athletic.”

Junior safety Justin Parks is one of several Red Wolves that played in last year’s close contest in Hattiesburg. A-State led 19-7 entering the 4th quarter, but USM rallied to win 20-19.

“You always go back, you don’t want to let history repeat itself,” Parks said. So that’s been really the thing, Last year, whatever happened, you can only learn from that. You can’t waste a failure. That’s one thing we’ve been preaching all offseason, not wasting a failure. And that’s what we’ve been preaching all week. Don’t let history repeat itself. And we know what it takes to win this game. It’s going to take four quarters of physical football to beat this opponent.

Junior wide receiver Courtney Jackson had his first Red Wolves touchdown in the Stony Brook victory. I asked the Syracuse transfer what drew him to the pack coming out of the portal.

“Yeah, the portal was crazy,” Jackson added. I think a lot of things attracted me to A-State. First of all, the coaching staff. I love Butch and Coach Lett. The facilities are beautiful here. And then I seen a lot of opportunity. How last year went, obviously I wasn’t here but I learned about it. Think there’s a lot of opportunity here. Think there’s a lot of opportunity for me to be successful here.”

A-State hosts Southern Miss Saturday night at 6:00pm at Centennial Bank Stadium. The SBC opener will be streamed on ESPN+.