I think the biggest difference is that we’re going into a stadium that will probably have 60- to 70,000 people at the game. The crowd noise can be a different factor. Obviously we have never been in front of a crowd the size of the one that could end up being at the game. We’re going to make sure we get the crowd noise playing during practice to try and mimic that as much as we can so we’ll be used to it. Other than that, our preparation will be the same."
"I’ve never played in front of a big crowd, except here in Mobile. I came from a junior college, where there aren’t a lot of people watching and the same in high school. The big difference will be how loud N.C. State’s fans will be. Noise really makes a difference—you can have stupid penalties if it’s real loud. Hopefully we’ll go through practice this week and prepare for it."
"The biggest thing when you play a team like that is how they execute during a game. We’ve played some good teams since I’ve been here at South Alabama, but when you play a team like North Carolina State, their execution is going to be perfect. I like that better because I can read their linemen better. That’s the biggest thing for me—everything is smoother because they’re so well coached."
"The biggest thing is saying who we are as a team, how physical we are,'' he said. "That's who we are. We may not be the biggest of the fastest, but we're going to be the hardest-working and the most physical team out there. Win or lose, they're going to know who South is. They can think what they want about who we are, but we know who we are, we know what we can do, we know what we've done.''
"I grew up an FSU fan, so I watched a lot of those games against N.C. State," said junior defensive tackle Andy Dalgleish, a Pace High graduate. "It's exciting thinking we're going up there to play them."
Coach Jones is worried about how his team matches up in the trenches:
"Obviously, as we step up in competition, the line of scrimmage is going to be much bigger on both sides of the ball," Jones said. "Bigger and faster. Those guys are hard to find. I think there are a lot of receivers out there that can play, a lot of running backs and a lot of DBs (defensive backs). But God didn't make too many 320-pound people. So the market's slim."
"So we've got to do a great job, and we have done a great job -- coach (Justin) Schwind has done a heck of a job getting our kids to put on weight and gain strength and gain speed. We're much stronger and faster than we were just two years ago."
The left side of South Alabama's offensive line could be a real problem for them on Saturday. Per the depth chart, the probable starters are:
C: Trey Clark (6-1, 270)
LG: Jon Griffin (6-1, 265)
LT: Brian Krauskopf (6-3, 260) OR Tremain Smith (6-4, 305)
It'll be interesting to see if they try to do what Liberty did and throw as many quick passes as possible.