Tommy Hicks of the Mobile Press-Register took a few minutes to answer these questions about South Alabama, Georgia State’s opponent on Saturday. You can follow Hicks on Twitter at @TheTommyHicks.
Q: Why has South Alabama experienced success in the Sun Belt as quickly as it has?
A: The school started with a plan to move quickly, but not too quickly, and it followed that plan. They started out playing junior colleges and prep schools the first year, moved to all four-year schools the second season and steadily built the competition level of its schedule, leading to this year’s schedule, which is the toughest it has played to date. As for players, they concentrated on getting JUCO players and transfers to mix with freshmen signed with each class, balancing out the classes and adding experienced players to the roster at the same time. A solid coaching staff — led by Joey Jones who took on a similar task at Birmingham Southern prior to taking the South Alabama job — was also important.
Q: What is the key to this offense this year?
A: Brandon Bridge’s growing confidence at quarterback. he has all the skills — big arm, quick feet — but it is his increasing experience and improved decision-making that has added to his added confidence. His confidence in running the offense has spread to others on the offense. He has talent around him, enabling that process to take its current course.
Q: How does South Alabama view Georgia State?
A: I believe they see Georgia State as a similar team, based on how closely the two programs began playing. They took different paths, but there is some commonality there. In terms of a rival, Georgia State would be down the list, especially behind in-state rival Troy, but also teams such as Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State because they have built rivalries in other sports in Sun Belt Conference play.