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Southern Miss gets back to work after tough loss to Troy

NCAA Football: Troy at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

For first year Southern Miss Head Coach Jay Hopson, a new challenge is presented to him this week.

Coming off his first loss this season, the Golden Eagles look to regroup this week ahead of their long road trip to El Paso to face UTEP.

Here are some of his quotes from his weekly press conference in preparation for UTEP.

Coach Hopson reflects on the tough loss to Troy last week

“Tough loss, but I’m proud of the guys’ effort. We fought back and gave ourselves a chance to win at the end, but too many mistakes. We had the fumbled snap, fumbled a kickoff return. It was a couple of minus field turnovers and we have to do a better job of protecting the football and tackling. We’ve got to clean it up.”

On bouncing back after their first loss of the season

“This loss is like anything else. You have to treat it the same. We hit the field today and have to correct it. You have to get over a loss, that’s the reality of football, but you’ve got to learn from it. That’s what we’ve got to do. You can’t turn the ball over and win games. I thought we played hard. As a coach you’re always proud of this fight and this team isn’t going to quit, doesn’t matter the score or situation. They’re going to fight to the end. We know we have to protect the ball and tackle.”

On the main things he's learned about his team so far

“They’ll play till the end and they’ll fight. We don’t go out there and want to turn the ball over, but those things happen sometimes and that’s what we have to correct. We have to work on our fundamentals, ball security, tackling and those things. This football team is going to fight to the end and as a coach that makes you proud. Always put the loss on me. It’s always my fault, but I’ll take that loss any day if the team fights hard for 60 minutes.”

Hopson hopes the early season loss turns into a wake-up call:

“You hope so. That’s what you’re counting on as a football team. Sometimes the errors or mistakes you make are amplified in a loss. When you win you can cruise through it, sometimes. [Mistakes] become evident when you look at them in losses. You learn a lot more in your defeats. Our job as a football team is to get better.”

Hopson then touches on UTEP

“They’re a good football team. They run the ball well. They mix it up though and give you a lot of different looks. Defensively, they are physical and they fly around. The biggest thing is we’re on the road in conference [play]. I worry about us more than anything. We’ve got to make sure we’re taking care of our business and being precise in what we do.”

Hopson drops a simple quote on Aaron Jones

“He’s got speed, power. He’s a really good back.”