Lumberjacks take part in 2016 Southland Conference Football Medi - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lumberjacks take part in 2016 Southland Conference Football Media Day

SFA Athletics

LAKE CHARLES, LA (Press Release)- Football season’s first official event of 2016 is in the books as Stephen F. Austin took its turn at the 2016 Southland Conference Football Media Day at L’Auberge Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Represented by head coach Clint Conque, senior safety Patrick Martin and junior defensive end John Franklin, the Lumberjacks took their turn, along with the other 10 SLC football programs, looking ahead to the 2016 season. After learning it had been picked in the preseason polls earlier in the day, SFA took to the dais at 3 p.m. with Conque, Martin and Franklin answering questions from media members throughout the Southland Conference footprint.

Following its time at the podium, the Lumberjacks filmed its segment for the SLC Football Preview Show on ESPN3, which is available on demand through the WatchESPN app. Martin and Franklin sat down with host Lincoln Rose while Conque had a one-on-one interview with co-host Kamady Rudd, weighing in on their thoughts about the upcoming 2016 season.

After the taping for ESPN3 came a number of additional interviews, including meeting with producers from the American Sports Network and making an appearance with the Southland Conference on Facebook Live where Franklin and Martin gave the world a glimpse into their not-so-secret handshake.

With its media day obligations fulfilled, SFA returns to Nacogdoches to close out the summer conditioning schedule and preparing for the start of fall camp, which gets underway on Monday, August 8th. Picked fifth in the preseason polls, the Lumberjacks look to see if they can make a mark on the conference race this season as the 2016 campaign gets underway in Lubbock on Saturday, September 3rd when the ‘Jacks take on Big XII foe Texas Tec h in the season opener.

Southland Conference Media Day Transcript

Head coach Clint Conque

Opening statement…
“It’s good to be here and I appreciate the media sticking around this afternoon. It’s great to see so many of you here today covering our conference. I’m excited about the upcoming season and certainly there are challenges within our program as a lot of people have. Questions marks and so forth to answer, but we feel as though we’ve had an outstanding summer. The investment and commitment levels have been extremely high and certainly we do return some key players but there are also some opportunities for new people and redshirt people and so forth to step up. I’m looking forward for the opportunity to coach this team and to get prepared for this upcoming season.”
  
On SFA’s offense…
“As I mentioned, the starters that we lost were offensive linemen, so we have to replace those guys but all of our receivers that are back started six or more games, all of our quarterbacks, all of our running backs and tight ends return so we’re really excited about our skill sets. We have the ability to maybe add a couple more receivers and backs to that list, too, and I think if we can stay healthy, which was an issue last year, we have the opportunity to have a pretty good offensive football team.”

On SFA's recruting class...
"We feel like with these last two recruiting cycles we’ve had a full year to evaluate recruits, bring them though camps and so forth and we feel as though the 2015 signing class is going to start making more of an impact in our program. Certainly there are six or eight young players that have been on campus all summer that have shown some potential to be able to help us this year as well."

On the addition of Gary Crowton to the staff...
"You get to a point in your life where being around the right type of people, the right type of mindset people you’ve worked with in the past becomes important. We feel like it’s a real positive injection of energy and experience into our coaching staff. As a head coach its nice having another former head coach in the meeting room to be able to bounce ideas off of and someone that shares similar philosophies as you do of how to run a program. Gary has always kind of been a mentor me. When he became the head coach at Louisiana Tech, he could have replaced me. We were assistants together for just one year and he was promoted to head coach but I was always grateful that he allowed me to stay. Then I became the offensive coordinator and eventually left but just at a time in his life and my life where the opportunity presented itself and all the starts kind of lined up and he has added a lot to our staff room and a lot of energy to our offensive players."
  
Closing remarks…
“You guys know that have been following me for a few years that – I think this is my 11th or 12th media day – and boy it’s good to be seen. I want to compliment Commissioner Tom Burnett. This event always seems to get bigger and better every year and certainly it’s because of the media, the interest in our programs and certainly the quality of play that we’ve seen this conference for a long, long period of time. I stand in full support, as I know other coaches do, of that 12th game, something I spoke passionately about last year. Certainly there would be challenges as there would be with any major overhaul of a schedule but that would be a very positive decision in the long run.”
     
Defensive End John Franklin

Opening statement…
“We’re just very excited just to show everybody how hard we’ve been working. We have a new dedication and different mindsets from last year. This team is just trying to finish hard from last year and get the job done.”

On what he learned during his winless high school career...
"I think I play every day with a chip on my shoulder by not winning games in high school. It was my fault, partially, because I wasn’t the hardest worker but I feel like lately that I’ve improved and become better. Now that I know how to win, I try to show these young guys that this is what it takes to win. That’s what’s important because I’ll be gone in two years and then, you know, that’s who’s there. I try to make sure to focus on the young guys and to try and encourage everybody on the team to become their best."
  
Safety Patrick Martin

Opening statement…
“I’m thankful for this opportunity and I’m excited for this season .We have been working hard in the summer and we’re ready to see what these young guys have to offer.”
 
On the importance of leadership…
“It’s very important seeing the fact that this season my days are numbered now. I’ve never been in this position more and I tend to take it a little more seriously. The thing we’re trying to drill into our younger teammates is to get them to realize how seriously you have to take because it can all be over so quickly. You have to give it all you got while you can, give it all to the team and buy in.”

On his legacy at SFA...
"I just want the legacy to be one of winning – a winning season, a winning conference. Everybody knows that this is a tough conference – McNeese, Sam, Southeastern – but we just want to be known as the team to never give up. Just to give everything we got every second. I just want to pass that on for them to never give up, just keep fighting and that’s what we’re working so hard for right now."

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