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Southern Miss’ Jay Hopson impressed with UTEP’s performance against WKU

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

Check out what Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson said about their big win at UTSA last week, and the preparation for the Miners.

On last week’s road win at UTSA….

"It was an exciting game. Good win. I thought we played hard. Offensively, We did a good job. Had some good explosive plays.”

“I felt like Ito (Smith) played his normal, great game. I feel like out wide at receiver, we had some great plays. Keon (Howard) did a good job of directing the offense. We knew both sides of the ball were good. Guys like Curtis Mikell with that pick and Cornell's play were just huge difference-maker plays for us. For the most part, we played hard and gave ourselves a chance to win and found a way at the end to win the ball game."

On Southern Miss’ quarterback situation between regular starter Kwadra Griggs, and last week’s starter Keon Howard

"We're waiting to see with Kwadra Griggs. You know how it is with injuries. We're just trying to wait and see. Kwadra can play, but is he going to be at 100 (percent). I don't know yet. So we're just watching. We'll go out here and just watch the first couple of days this week. Certainly, we're blessed to have two young men playing well at that position. We just have to see how it looks on the practice field. That's all you can go by."

On getting the ball to stud running back Ito Smith:

"Ito is Ito. We can say the same thing and it would be like rewinding the tape. Ito's a football player. He's a guy who made another big play, but he's been doing that for three years. Again, he's a football player. Ito's a humble guy, too and he deserves everything he gets. He goes to work and, one thing that helps is we have other guys, too. We have Quez Watkins, Korey Robertson and Allenzae Staggers and other guys, too that can make explosive plays and that certainly helps."

On keeping the team focused on UTEP:

"Well it's conference play and it's Conference USA and one of the things I've learned over the years is you have to be ready to play every week. They played Western Kentucky 15-14. If that doesn't get your attention, nothing will. We know we have a good football team coming to town and we have to be prepared. We have to have a great week of practice. They have our utmost respect. We understand we have another tough Conference USA game and we have to get ready. "

On playing UTEP:

“It’s Conference USA. They’re a good football team. They played well last week. We understand that we’re going to work. That’s our challenge this week. We want to get better each week and our guys understand the challenge we have for the next seven weeks.”

On if there are changes preparing for UTEP defensively:

“There’s always a little something, but not really. At the end of the day there’s always subtle changes each game week. That’s one thing you see from each team, there’s always a little something different. We’re six to seven weeks into the season. You’re not going to see with anybody you play a tremendous amount. We’re preparing for seeing changes."

On UTEP’s strengths:

“Their quarterback and their running backs. They run the ball well and their quarterback does a good job running their offense. They give you a lot of different personnel groupings. They’re very multiple on offensive. They make you work. Defensively they play hard. If you watch the Western Kentucky game from last week, they did a good job playing sound football. They made Western Kentucky work for everything. They have our utmost respect. We know we have to be ready.”